Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Trent the Klatter

I think it's now crystal clear why Trent Klatt retired from the NHL.

What I am absolutely dumbfounded by, however, is that no one in the media has tracked him down before now to get his side of why he left the game. Only 34-years-old, Klatt was supposed to be entering year two of what was the most lucrative contract he'd ever had in his somewhat motley career. I'm not sure how anyone would think he would leave the game for any reason other than the rather uncomfortable NHLPA dispute he was stuck in the middle of at the time.

In early September, when news of a 'mutiny' in the NHLPA ranks we coming out, Lyle Richardson (Spector) downplayed the news and called the term mutiny 'sensationalistic'.
So far, however, any dissension over the new CBA has been muted. If some players and agents are unhappy , and undoubtedly they still are, they've been keeping it to themselves for the most part.

They may also be in the minority, and over time if the new CBA proves to be beneficial to them over the run of this deal, any potential for mutiny could vanish outright.
With talk of potential litigation looming, that now hardly seems the case. (To be fair to Spector, he has reported on this many times since then. I just recall thinking (and writing) at the time that this had the potential to be a huge deal, one that could further fracture an already divided union — and I was blown away that some were biting Saskin's line about it being a small band of dissidents with an agenda. Much to the contrary, as this is about to get ugly.)

What I find interesting is that Klatt is pursuing this even now that he's retired and no longer part of the union. I don't know him personally, but his on and off-ice demeanor was always that of a hardworking plugger, a guy who battled in the trenches for everything he ever got for the game.

I'd be remiss if I didn't think at least some of that selfless on-ice persona was part of his work here. Klatt obviously believes the union membership — his partners, if you will — were wronged, and if he has to be thrown under the bus to keep this from being swept away, he appears willing.

This isn't going away any time soon.

♦ ♦ ♦

PS Not surprisingly, Tom Benjamin is on this quicker than anyone. If there's anything ol' TB likes, it's a little in-fighting.
Nobody in the NHLPA really cares about the process and Saskin would not be having any problems having his contract approved if he had negotiated a contract that was perceived to be good.
TB always does a nice job of simplifying the complex for his readers (maybe he should think about being [shudder] a journalist), which is one of the main reasons his was generally the blog to read throughout the lockout.

Much of the reason I believe the players lost their shirts in negotiations is that they simply didn't fully understand the ramifications of something like the 12 per cent escrow. After all, how many stories were there of players wondering why they were losing a chunk of their paycheques this week? (Players received their first pay stubs on Tuesday.)

It's complicated business, but, as I said, that's why we've got Mr. Benjamin on our side. Well, for that — and the heckling.

♦ ♦ ♦

Sportstalk listeners in Vancouver will know this post's title references a Heavy Eric song. (Yes, Trent Klatt has his own song.)


At 1:07 p.m., October 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and I was blown away that some were biting Saskin's line about it being a small band of dissidents with an agenda. Much to the contrary, as this is about to get ugly

Maybe I'm missing something on the page, James, but I still don't see any indication anywhere that there is in fact more than a small group of players making noise. It's typically the same ones in the media, too.

Forgive me if I overlooked something.

At 1:34 p.m., October 20, 2005, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Klatt says there are more than 60 members of the NHLPA involved in the litigation. I suppose it's semantics to debate if that's a small group or not, but that does comprise about eight percent of the union's membership.

Why would Klatt even need a secure login for PA members if there were only a handful of them? Couldn't they all talk on e-mail?

My thinking is that there are a lot more players unhappy with the deal and how it went down than have come forward so far. Klatt's trying to 'rally the troops,' so to speak.

At 1:51 p.m., October 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Klatt was probably the hardest of the hardliners amongst the 'PA leadership. If you heard his comments during the lockout, he truly did see this as a battle between good and evil. (Klatt would have been amongst the minority willing to stay out for another year.)

Klatt was bitterly unhappy about having to eat the cap and linkage. To see his guy Goodenow knifed and dumped overboard by Saskin and Linden would have sent him over the edge.

Klatt simply wants someone's head on a platter as revenge for the way the whole thing fell apart at the end, and he has zeroed in on Saskin as the head he wants.


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