During his two years in the Valley, no one — outside of Shane Doan — was probably more respected in the Phoenix Coyotes’ locker room than veteran Ray Whitney.
Whitney, who recorded 77 points during the Coyotes’ run to the Western Conference Finals last season, has already been through one lockout. At age 40, he’s not exactly thrilled about having to sit through another one.
After signing a two-year deal with the Dallas Stars in the off-season, Whitney was anxious to get started with his new team. But with the NHL’s latest cancellation of more games and the 2013 All-Star Game, it doesn’t look like ‘The Wizard’ will be skating any time soon.
Here’s some of the comments he had for ESPN.com on Friday following the announcement.
“We have to stop the cycle of work stoppages. It kills the game. And I’m not saying this to kiss up to them, but it’s not fair to the fans.”
“To be out this long, for a game that was thriving, to be doing this kind of damage to the league makes no sense to us as players. To me, it just shows a lack of respect for the game by the people in charge. They’re not really hockey people, they didn’t grow up loving the game of hockey.”
“They’re like schoolyard bullies right now; they want everything. That’s not negotiating.With us coming down to 50-50 [split of revenues], I don’t see the need for this to go as long as this has.”
Take them however you’d like, but it’s clear a player as respected and revered among his peers as Whitney is, isn’t just speaking for himself in the latter stage of his career. With over 400 total games, the Winter Classic and the All-Star Game now cancelled, time is running out for the players and owners to save their season.