Hockey players have usually been a classy lot, that maybe sometimes they were outspoken, but most of them remained tight-lipped and stand-up people off the rink. Few other sports can bolster the class that hockey players (in general) have. Many wear suit and ties to games and make it a habit to keep clean shaven during the regular season, also keeping their hair trimmed down. They make Don Cherry proud in doing so. "You wanna win? Then dress like winners!"
But between Versteeg calling them cancers, players getting upset at the ranch analogy which I'll explain next paragraph, Ian White calling Bettman an idiot, Kovalchuk and Ovechkin making threats, Krejci expressing bitterness towards Bettman's salary, none of this aids in the negotiation process. They need to remember that these deals end in a handshake!
As for the analogy, it's just that. Jimmy D never actually called the players cattle, he specifically said that a comparison can be made in that the owners can be seen as the ranch and the players the cattle... this functions like a simile (use of as). What he was essentially trying to say was: we're the company and they're the product that feeds off the owners. Which is also incorrect; they're actually the workers who take care of the product (hockey), both both owners and players feed off a third party revenue (the fans, oft forgotten in the process). Are they a bunch of cows, sheep, goats? Nobody said so... it was just a less-than-tactical analogy on his behalf. All he was trying to say was, "The owners run the game and players are privileged to play it."
I get into arguments about my analogies because I also get accused of calling people things according to the analogy and I'm really just trying to illustrate the decision making in the scenario. Obi Wan once tells Han, "Who's the more foolish? The fool, or the fool who follows him?" Is he calling himself a fool, Han a fool? No, he's saying "don't follow me if you think I'm a fool".
So I give kudos to players like Crosby, who's NOT playing in Europe, and who voiced his frustrations in a more objective way. “The desperation to play doesn’t really seem like it’s on their side. I think there’s a deal to be made [but] I think negotiations have to be made if there’s going to be a deal,” he said. “If it keeps going like this everybody’s going to lose, there’s no way around it." This is class and an honest and humble player's viewpoint. Thank you, Crosby.
And he's right, everyone is going to lose if it keeps going on like THIS. This war of acid, this bitterness, this wanting to fault the other side. Peace gets more difficult to negotiate after damage like this is inflicted. Please players, people understand how frustrated you are, but hold those missiles in the silo, because people know that there's no way hockey is going to be played anytime soon with players running their mouth off to the press about how much they dislike Gary Bettman. Yes, there's a reason Bettman fines the owners for making comments like that; it's because it hinders the progress of negotiations.
But where is Fehr in all of this? He has to make calls and tell them to shut their mouths! Players should publicly take responsibility for these words and come out the "bigger man". We understand fighting on the rink, but the idea is to keep it on the rink. And I remember Dreger (after tweeting that White should apologize for calling Bettman an idiot) posted a retweet from Clowe saying owners should apologize for the cattle analogy: they essentially did by fining the Red Wings 250k. However, no players get fined, nor do they apologize. Or if they do, we don't hear it!
This lack of charisma from the heads of the negotiation are still harming the process: they may be the brains behind it all, but perhaps now they need a pretty face to speak for them before this acid war continues. The way I see it, though, is that Bettman's bosses are the owners, and they're not firing him. So these select few players need to stop using him as a scapegoat for their frustrations and start being more like Crosby. I know it's tough to keep the ranks of 700+ people in line, but it's still crucial.