July 29, 2005
Goode riddance!Bob gets turfed by players
By TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun
Lex Luthor has resigned. Darth Vader has quit. Hannibal Lecter has left. Prof. Moriarty has moved on. Lord Voldemort has vamoosed. Dr. Doom is done. God Badenow is gone. Good riddance, Goodenow!
For the past year -- indeed for the past 15 years -- Bob Goodenow has been Black Bart.
He's been the baddest guy in the whole damn league, hypnotizing the black-helmeted hockey players to believe in their sense of entitlement at the expense of the game.
Yesterday Goodenow was turfed by the players, who lost an entire season of salary with nothing to show for it because they chose to follow him into the biggest game of chicken in the history of pro sport.
Somebody finally stood up to the bully who came close to killing the goose which laid the golden egg. First the owners. Now the players.
Goodenow didn't come out and say he was fired. The man doesn't use that kind of language. But he got the boot. And the timing was priceless. Today is the final day for player buyouts under the new collective bargaining agreement. He got bought out.
The NHLPA executive director had three years remaining on a contract that reportedly paid him $2.5 million US a year. Did he take the same percentage buyout as the players?
'SATISFACTORY TO EVERYONE'
"What we've done is worked out an accommodation that's satisfactory to everyone."
One week earlier, Goodenow said he had every intention of fulfilling his contract.
Yesterday he said he was going to call it a career and that discussions with the players' executive committee "accelerated" his departure.
As hockey moves forward to a new era, moving forward without the man who took hockey to the edge and over as the only pro sport ever to lose an entire season is every bit as much a positive as anything in the new CBA.
Goodenow didn't fit where the game is going. Ted Saskin, insiders have said for months, would have had this deal done without losing the season if Goodenow hadn't been in control. Saskin is the moderate taking Goodenow's place with a whole new game face. Build the business. Not try to milk it to its death.
At a press conference yesterday, one questioner painted Goodenow as a guy who was a good war-time general and not a good peace-time general.
"As for war time-peace time, I'm a negotiator and a businessman. I wear two hats. But I was usually seen as wearing one. With the new CBA it will very much be a business effort.
"The driving force of the deal is going to come off the business angle," he said of the players' 54% of revenues being the key to their salaries escalating again. Goodenow, once again, didn't come close to saying sorry. He said he didn't look at the new deal as a failure and gave no hint of apologizing to anybody.
"I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever."
Goodenow was never at peace with peace and never appeared to give a damn about the guy paying the freight. You.
There are dozens of stories of players, agents and GMs being comfortable with a deal that fit everybody involved, including the market, when Goodenow said 'whoa' because he always pushed the envelope to bring everybody in the envelope up.
Bob Goodenow wouldn't have lost a minute of sleep if the Edmonton Oilers disappeared from the hockey map. And, due in a large degree to Goodenow, the franchise damn near did disappear.
History is not going to remember Goodenow fondly, especially here. There are those Goodenow hardliners, the 13% who voted not to ratify, who will tell you it wasn't Goodenow's mistaken belief that the owners would capitulate that was what went wrong here.
LET THE GAME DOWN
They say if the players hadn't caved, if they'd stayed the course into next season, that Goodenow would have won. Can you imagine where this game would be at this time next January? Next July?
The players all let the game down.
Now they're all trying to worm their way back into your affections.
It's a lot easier without Goodenow's face around to remind you they were the bad guys in this movie.