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Jeremy Jacobs on lockout: 'Nobody won'

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  January 19, 2013 06:21 PM

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As chairman of the NHL’s board of governors, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs played a critical role in the lockout. In hindsight, neither the NHL nor the NHLPA should be declared the victor, said Jacobs.

“Nobody won,” Jacobs said. “More importantly, nobody lost. If I won and they lost, then we both lost. If I won and they lost, we both lose. This is a game. We did hurt the game. We didn’t just hurt Boston. We hurt the game of hockey.”

* Jacobs acknowledged the NHL’s framework for the previous collective bargaining agreement was off in terms of numbers. “That was definitely the right direction and the right composition,” Jacobs said of the CBA, which included a salary cap. “The numbers were wrong. We just got the numbers wrong. We believe we’ve got the numbers right. It took a lot and it was very expensive to all of us getting there.”

* In retrospect, the NHL’s initial offer in July set a bad tone for negotiations. The players were at first baffled, then galvanized, by the proposal, in which the NHL claimed 57 percent of hockey-related revenue. Jacobs said he didn’t know what kind of effect the initial proposal had on following talks. “I know that prior to the opening and trying to save the 82-game season, the same offer was pretty much substantially made that was agreed upon last week,” Jacobs said.

* Jacobs cited his team’s situation – recent Stanley Cup winner, playing in a sold-out building, featuring a contending roster – as reasons why, as an owner, he would have been against a lockout. However, as board chairman, Jacobs said he had a greater responsibility. “I’m the last guy that wants to shut this thing down. Absolutely the last ones out there,” Jacobs said. “There’s a couple Canadian teams – I don’t have to name them – that irrespective are going to be very successful. This is a successful franchise. I don’t want this to shut down. Unfortunately, I play in a league with 30 teams. When I step back and look at what’s going on with the broadest sense, I’ve got to play a role productively in that way. My selfish interest definitely was to keep this going within the parameters of the deal that was out there. But it doesn’t make sense for the league long-term. We have a lot of people that were very tired of this. A lot of people that were promised we would right-size this. I had to play a role in it. From a leadership standpoint, I think I had to play a role. To be vilified, I don’t think is right. But what’s my opinion on something like that?”

* Jacobs spoke with his players earlier today. Jacobs said he didn’t get the sense there was any animosity.

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