Hockey World Blog

Kris Versteeg becomes the latest player to sound off on lockout

Just days after Detroit Red Wings defenseman voiced his frustrations over the current labor dispute and called NHL commissioner Gary Bettman an “idiot,” Florida Panthers forward Kris Versteeg is weighing in on the matter and taking the gloves off, too.

“I think when you look at Bill Daly and Bettman they’ve been polluting this game for far too long,” said Versteeg in an interview with TSN 1050 Toronto.

“Obviously I’m really frustrated, it’s not good,” said Versteeg, who had 23 goals and 32 assists in 71 games for the Panthers last season. “You do try to look at the best case scenarios moving forward once the CBA does get done and you gotta look for the cancers and you gotta cut out the cancer.”

Not only do Versteeg’s comments come days after White sounded off to the media with his personal take on Gary Bettman, but it also comes on the heels of reports that Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider is beginning to sour on these labor negotiations.

According to an article in the Philadelphia Daily News, the length of the labor negotiations so far and the fact that we will not see a start date by Dec. 1 has led Snider to believe that the final deal may not be as good as what commissioner Bettman originally envisioned.

However, this report was quickly disputed in a statement issued by Snider.

“An article appearing in today’s Philadelphia Daily News is absolutely erroneous,” Snider said. “I am a solid supporter of National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman and the League in this unfortunate situation.

“Like all fans, players, owners and League officials, I am extremely hopeful that an agreement can be reached and we can eventually be playing hockey again soon. League rules prevent me and all owners from making any comments on the labor negotiations. I will continue to honor that and not make any further comments.

It would be highly unlikely for Snider to publicly admit his dissent from Bettman, but privately, perhaps there is some truth to the article published in the Daily News. Regardless, the emotions and frustrations of both sides seem to be reaching a boiling point as the labor negotiations continue to drag along with no progress. More games will likely be cancelled into December within the next week and each passing week brings the prospect of the NHL having another entire season cancelled – something that could have major ramifications on the success of the league in the future.

Once the labor talks end, whenever that may be, Versteeg believes that commissioner Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly should be replaced.

“The fans have been left with too many bad tastes in their mouths for too many years,” Versteeg stated during his interview, “and I think when this is all said and done it will be a good time to finally make that happen.”

With White calling Bettman an idiot and Versteeg calling for his replacement while Bettman talks about taking two weeks off of negotiations, it seems like the players really may be the only ones making any sense right now.

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