Milan Lucic was remarkably diplomatic days after Red Wings executive Jimmy Devellano compared NHL players to “cattle” while at the same time suggesting Lucic should be “grateful” for signing a three-year, $18 million contract with the Boston Bruins.
“I guess I must be Grade A prime beef. I think we’re pretty good cattle if you’re looking at it that way,” Lucic told CSSNE.com Monday morning.
“You definitely as a person don’t like to be called ‘cattle.’ You’d think people would treat you better than as just an animal. Obviously he’s got his name on the Cup a lot of times. I’m not going to say anything to disrespect him. But he said what he said and I kind of laughed at it. It is what it is.
“He singled me out and I don’t know where or why he even singled me out. For me from an athlete’s perspective you look at him and what he’s done in his hockey career, and respect what he’s done for the game.”
Devellano’s comments have proven to be a PR nightmare for the NHL, which was already trailing the NHLPA badly in the fight for public support.
While it’s hard to disagree with Devellano’s assertion that the “players want for nothing…it’s first class this, first class that, meal allowances, travel money on the road, the whole shebang,” the rancher-cattle analogy only succeeded in putting the players squarely in the downtrodden category.
And we’re talking about players that are treated so well that it’s a story when they’re forced to do their own laundry.