Steve Bartlett doesn’t think the sky is falling. The veteran player agent that represents the likes of Ryan Callahan and Erik Cole believes the NHL lockout will be solved in a matter of weeks, not months.
Because unlike the last labor dispute that resulted in the cancellation of the 2004-05 season, the two main counterparts – commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr – have so far been respectful of each other, relatively speaking.
“Gary Bettman and (former union chief) Bob Goodenow hated each other,” Bartlett told the Edmonton Journal. “There’s no throwing of spears now. Nobody’s saying the other side are a ***holes.”
Bartlett believes the “tipping point” of the negotiations will be the Thanksgiving Showdown, NBC’s first nationally televised game on Nov. 23. (The same assertion has been made by a handful of players.)
Bartlett also knows it will be the marginal players that feel the real pinch of missed paychecks.
“The star players will be fine, but the third- and fourth-liners will feel the pain,” he said. “It’s more mental anguish for the stars.”