ESPN NHL analyst Barry Melrose joined Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about the end of the NHL lockout, which he said should be been over a long time ago because the owners were going to come out on top either way.
"I think the owners got what they wanted and what they needed," Melrose said. "Any of us that have been in hockey any length of time knew that was going to happen. The question is why did it take the players all this time to realize it was going to happen. Basically the owners said going in, 'This is what we want,' and once the deadline got close, they got what they wanted."
Added Melrose: "The players are going to get beat. The owners hold all the cards. They players can't go two or three years without a paycheck. Some of those owners could go 10 years without a paycheck. The players just basically when you go into something like this, you've got to put up a fight, you've got to try and get certain things … maybe some pension, input, things like that. But at the end of the day, the owners are going to win every stalemate or every argument between players and owners."
Some of the new rules are more about keeping free-spending owners under control and limiting extremely long, front-loaded contracts than about regulating players.
"It's a nightmare. It's ridiculous. Guys making $12 million the first year, $1 million the last year. I don't think it was good for the sport," Melrose said. "The trouble with everything the owners do is they have to put rules in to protect themselves. That's why they have to have a salary cap, because 10 owners spent way over the cap, and the bottom owners couldn't compete. Now, with this situation, you can't have the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and other teams give these 10-, 12-year contracts, and the poorer clubs, no way they can afford to do it, or if they do it, it's suicide. So again, these rules are put in place to protect the owners from themselves. They always are."
Commissioner Gary Bettman has been the subject of much criticism, but Melrose said he's doing the job he was hired to do.
"Gary's hired by the owners," Melrose said. "He's not hired by the players or the fans. He works for the 30 owners. I think if you talk to the 30 owners, he's done a good job. Revenues went up. It's a major sport now -- 3 1/2 billion dollars in revenues. It's got a 10-year TV contract on NBC. The players have never made more. You've got a franchise now worth a billion dollars, the Toronto Maple Leafs. So, if you look at the owners, you've got to think Gary Bettman's done a great job. If you look at the players and the fans, I think most people would say Gary Bettman is one of the most hated men in sports. But again, Gary does not work me, he does not work for the players, he does not work for the fans. He works for the owners."
Melrose said he does not expect it will take very long for the teams to get into midseason form, and the pressure will be on right from the beginning.
"I coached in '94-95, in the other shortened season, so I'm a little bit of an expert in this," Melrose said. "It's whoever gets out of the gate quickest, whoever stays away from injuries the most. Everything is magnified. Every game basically is a four-point game, because you're basically playing in conference or in division. Whichever team can get their guys in shape the most and the quickest. Whichever team jells the quickest. Whichever goaltender is the hottest at the start of the season. Because if you lose five in a row at the start of the season, you're done. There's no way you can catch up. If you get a seven- or eight-game losing streak in the middle of the season, you're done. If you lose your goaltender for any length of time, you're done. Everything is magnified drastically in a shortened season.
"I like young teams. I like young, big teams. Because obviously young guys are going to be a lot more resilient than a guy 38, 39. Don't forget, you're looking at four games one week, three games the next week. It's going to be a very condensed, tough, physical three or four months for the NHL."
Melrose said the Bruins are one of a few teams that appear to be well-positioned for this season.
"I like the Bruins, all their players are in their prime," he said. "A team like St. Louis, who had such a great run last year. They're a big, physical team. Phoenix, big, physical team, young guys. A team like Edmonton, if they could jell, with that immense amount of talent they have, adding [Nick] Schultz and adding [Nail] Yakupov to that great lineup they had already. Pittsburgh, with [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby in their prime, that's going to be very interesting.
"But the Bruins are an interesting team. What's going to happen without Tim Thomas? Is Tuukka Rask ready to accept the mantle of a No. 1 goaltender on a very good hockey team? The Bruins do have a few question marks. They don't have a lot, but they do have a few."
We check in for our weekly chat with Peter King, who says things are not looking bright for the 2014 Patriots given the current constitution of the roster.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price talk about what the Patriots need to do to turn things around before Sunday night's game against the Bengals.
Christopher Price, WEEI.com, was at the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady press conferences today. He spoke w/ MFB to talk about the upcoming game at home against the undefeated Bengals.
The debut edition of the We Hate Dwyane Wade show. Ben and Sam preview the Celtics and talk about other summer news around the NBA.
Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.
Joe Castiglione does his annual wrap-up of the season by reading the poem by Bart Giamatti.
Mut and Rob discuss the "kids" and the variety of young bodies the Red Sox called upon this season. Specifically, they look at Bogaerts and Bradley, Jr. and where things went wrong. They give their opinions on which one will right the ship next season.
Description: Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett looks back at the 2014 Red Sox prospect season by answering listener questions about a number of Red Sox prospects as well as broader issues and themes in the farm system.
DJ Bean, WEEI.com, joined the guys to talk about the Bruins signing two young stars to 1-year contracts.
Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.
DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla
The guys opened the show discussing the coaches less than amicable conversation with Dale & Holley.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
Tom Brady discussed the blowout loss.
A bill in California has been signed into law, banning stores from using plastic bags. A Canadian football player talks trash into a hot microphone shortly before an in-game interview. The FCC is looking to ban the word "Redskins" from television and radio.
The fallout from Monday night continues as former Tedy Bruschi criticized Tom Brady's play over the first 4 games. The show re-visits Rodney Harrison's comments from yesterday, specifically, that Brady is "scared to death" in the pocket.
Abandon ship! The dynasty is over! Is the Patriots blowout loss an indication that this is the beginning of the end of this era? We discuss it with you.
We tackle four Patriots stinkers in which they bounced back and rebounded from getting smoked the week before.
Mikey, Villani and a double dose of Lenny. Lenny Megs and Lenny Clarke are in and talking about where the Patriots went wrong on Monday Night Football, and taking predictions on this Sunday's Pats-Bengals game and talking about why they think certain scores may hold up better than others.
Mut and Chris Villani are talking about the issues the Patriots defense faced against the Kansas City Chiefs, particularly in the running game.
The Patriots seemed to have no answer for the Kansas City Chiefs. Mut and Price talk about how the Patriots were exposed in all aspects of the game.
Rob Bradford is joined by former Red Sox, and current Angel, John McDonald to discuss were his team stands heading into the postseason, his thoughts on its opponent, the Royals, and what the Yoenis Cespedes trade might have meant the A's. McDonald also bemoans the loss of the television show, 'The Baseball Bunch,' which was alive and kicking during Kansas City's last playoff run.
Ben and Russ break down some rumors surrounding Real Madrid and Manchester United. Also on the docket is the MLS and your New England Revolution.
Tom Brady discussed the blowout loss.More from this show
Dino, Gerry and Kirk talk about Gerry's passionate defense of Tom Brady, going to lunch and clock issues in the third edition of Breaking Balls.More from this show