Don Cherry’s typically contentious tweets are hardly gospel, but he knows NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who he has apparently never seen so fired up.
“I have known Gary Bettman since he was named commissioner,” Cherry posted to his official Twitter feed. “He was almost shaking. That was no act."
Minutes after Donald Fehr, the executive director of the NHL Players' Association, addressed the media in New York Thursday night, comforting hockey fans with encouraging phrasing amid positive speculation from earlier in the week, Bettman marched in front of cameras and blasted the NHLPA for speaking out of turn.
“I find it absolutely incomprehensible he would do that,” Bettman said after listening to Fehr announce the sides were closing in on a deal. “The last time they said we were close, we were a billion dollars apart.”
Unsurprisingly, the backlash on Twitter has been marked. Throughout the NHL’s labour woes current and former players have taken to social media to voice their displeasure with the league’s top brass. It was no different following breaking news Thursday night.
“Looks like I will see a lot more (Toronto) Marlies, Junior and Minor Midget games this year,” Cherry wrote.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, free agent Mike Commodore, who is currently playing in the AHL in hopes of extending his 11-year NHL career, had fun with the back-and-forth banter, likening it to a wayward relationship.
“The NHL didn’t just break off talks via voicemail did they? I must be reading these tweets wrong,” Commodore joked about the apparent message the league left on Fehr’s phone Thursday night. “Did we just get dumped.”
After that, the usual suspects chimed in, arguing with Twitter trolls and questioning the bargaining practices of the opposite side.
“I’m done caring,” Montreal Canadiens’ winger Brandon Prust wrote. “This one-way street sucks.”
“There’s no pressure yet on the owners to lose this year, that’s why they still treat us like cattle,” Florida Panthers’ winger Scottie Upshall lamented. “They’ll need a partner come January.”
There’s no indication as to when talks will resume.