Senators' Chris Phillips rips Mark Recchi over CBA comments
DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
|Mark Recchi, who retired after winning the Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011, said on Monday that the locked-out NHLers should accept the owners’ latest offer and get back to playing. Recchi’s opinion didn’t sit well with Senators player rep Chris Phillips. (MIKE BLAKE/Reuters file photo)
OTTAWA - Mark Recchi knows not of what he speaks.
That, in a nutshell, is the viewpoint of Senators player rep Chris Phillips, who all but rolled his eyes when commenting on the ex-Bruins’ “advice” for players to take the owners’ offer now because it isn’t going to get any better.
“I guess I would say it’s an uninformed answer, unless he’s now tied in with ownership somewhere, or wants to get involved with ownership, and trying to take that side,” Phillips said Tuesday of Recchi, a respected NHL winger from 1988-2011 who now has shares in the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. “Unless you’re on the calls all the time or know exactly what’s going on ... I don’t know what those comments are based on, because he’s not involved.”
As someone whose playing career included two lockouts, Recchi surely raised some eyebrows by seeming to side with the owners in the NHL’s most recent CBA dispute. If he was still in a jersey and uttering those remarks, he’d be the only player appearing to publicly break from the ranks.
Union brothers would frown on that, to be sure.
Instead, as part-owner of a junior team, Recchi professes to see “both sides” of the debate. He says the Blazers have lost money every year since he’s been involved and while it’s a different level, the “business dynamics are similar” to NHL teams.
“The longer they’re out, the revenues are going to go down and down,” said Recchi. “So how are you going to get a better deal? Personally, I think the best time (to give in) is now.”
Many observers of this mess would agree, but Phillips doesn’t quite see it that way. He maintains that the owners, with commissioner Gary Bettman as their frontman, are following an agenda. Their final card in the high-stakes game of poker has yet to be played, he believes.
“There’s obviously negotiating to be done,” said Phillips. “So, yeah, it’s going to get better. Of course it’s going to get better. It’s going to get better for both sides. There’s got to be some give and take.
“There’s obviously something in the deal that’s a must-have for them, that they’re going to fight to the end for,” he added, referring to the owners. “And there’s things in the deal we feel the same way (about). Is that where the give and take is? Maybe. So it could get better for both sides.”
Asked if he senses some players are ready to cave, take the owners’ offer and stop the bleeding while they can, Phillips hedged.
“I think everybody is frustrated,” he said. “But again, guys that are saying that are not the guys that are there every day, and know what’s going on. If you go and make a deal for the sake of getting a deal done, it’s going to hurt a lot of guys, now and in the future.”
He did say players are asking more questions about the situation all the time.
“And that’s a healthy thing, to raise your concerns and ideas,” said Phillips.
If D Jared Cowen is indeed lost for the season because of hip surgery that is scheduled for Saturday, the Senators will feel the pain. “That hurts it, for sure,” Phillips said when asked how much damage Cowen’s injury would do to the team’s blue line. “He’s a guy that, although he was young, stepped up and played a lot of minutes for us, was a big part of our team. It’s a big hole to fill.” Lining up to fill that hole, should it be done from within the organization, will be Andre Benoit, Mark Borowiecki and Patrick Wiercioch. “It’s really unfortunate with Jared, we could definitely use him here in Binghamton while this lockout is going on,” Benoit told the Team 1200 Wednesday afternoon. “If they could figure it out and settle this thing, it would be interesting to see what happens from there.” Indeed. Benoit, with his experience, could have the inside track. But because the Senators lost Matt Carkner and Zenon Konopka to free agency in the off-season — and because Cowen is their most physical defenceman — Borowiecki’s chances of also sticking in Ottawa should improve ... While they cancelled the charity game in Thunder Bay because not enough locked-out players would confirm their participation, the trip to Northwest Territories is still on. Currently, 19 players are signed up, while Phillips plans on bringing along his nine-year-old son Ben for the experience. The group leaves Sunday and, after three games, intends on returning Nov. 22.