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."
The guys react to what Don Banks had to say and get into some more thoughts on Deflategate. Are McNally and Jastremski ever going to break their silence and give their side of the story? Price says yes ... eventually.
Don Banks talks with the NFL Sunday boys about his reaction to Brady's appeal, where we go from here and the NFL's motives and decisions throughout the process. He also gets into the Pats offseason so far and their weakness at CB. Don gives his take on the AFC East this year and how some of the Pats' rivals have improved.
Greg and Price discuss their thoughts on some of the reports that have leaked after Tuesday from Brady's appeal hearing. The boys talk about what the reaction will be if Brady decides to accept a 1-game suspension. Fans want a complete exoneration, but there's a good chance that they won't get that - how will they react? They also talk with Mike Petraglia and get his thought on the appeal and more.
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Sam is joined by Jared Weiss from The Garden Report and CLNS Radio to breakdown game 4 of Cavs-Warriors, preview game 5 on Sunday, and analyze the Celtics needs this off-season.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox starter, who threw a much-needed complete game win against the Astros at Fenway Park.
Joe and Rob Bradford talk with Red Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza about the Red Sox solid road trip and offensive outpouring in a win against Toronto.
We discuss the state of the Sox, specifically Rick Porcello, with Red Sox Manager John Farrell.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
Gary and Ben on the Pats.
The guys discussed the latest Red Sox news with Larry.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Gary Tanguay.
Conor McGregor has harsh words for Floyd Mayweather on Conan, Colbert hosts public access TV & will Joey Chestnut defend his title in Hot Dog Eating Contest?
Discussing Greg Monroe signing with Milwaukee and debating if that gives hope to a cold weather city in Boston
Kicking around the dream of acquiring a pitcher like Sonny Gray and how much you would have to give up in order to acquire that caliber talent
In honor of the 4th of July holiday, guest hosts Rob Bradford and Andy Hart examine the four worst renditions of the Star Spangled Banner at sporting events.
WEEI.com's Rob Bradford and Andy Hart of Patriots.com are in for Dale, Holley, and Thornton. Bradfo and Hart take some time to discuss the upcoming issues for Pats training camp, including what QB reps will be like between Brady and the backups.
Rob Bradford and Andy Hart are in for Dale, Holley, and Thornton and are joined by Houston Astros writer Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle to preview the weekend's Red Sox - Astros series as well as to get the inside word on the St. Louis Cardinals hacking scandal.
WEEI Bruins Reporter D.J. Bean joins Mikey Adams and Lenny Megliola to talk about the signing of winger Matt Beleskey on the opening day of NHL free agency.
With 80 games played for the Red Sox, Mikey Adams wants midterm grades for several players. Also, after another Rick Porcello clunker in Toronto, callers and texters give unflattering Porcello Limericks. Lenny Megliola and Textress Lucy are along.
Danny's early thoughts on Celtics drafting Terry Rozier at the 16th pick
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