Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi, in town (we think) this week, joined Norm Hitzges on Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket Wednesday morning to discuss, as much as a gag-ordered NHL Governor can, the labor situation in the National Hockey League and comment on the situation as it relates specifically to his new club.
What follows are highlights from the interview, and thanks go to Erin Bolin for many of these transcriptions. Gaglardi did add that new uniforms are in the works and we'll have further discussion and quotes on that issue later today or tomorrow.
How high is his frustration level as the stoppage continues and he's unable to see his new team on the ice?
"It's getting there. We haven't missed too much of the season to date, so it's not anywhere near panic or over-stressed.... I must say that I'm certainly not surprised that we're struggling. We've got some issues in the game, and we knew it would be a process. I think everybody knew going in that we knew there was a chance that we could have a later start to the season."
Is he optimistic about the state of the negotiations with the meetings taking place this week?
"I don't know. I guess when you're talking, it's better than not talking. I'm not close enough to the situation to know if any progress was been made or not but certainly it's a positive sign for everybody that they're at the table, and that they're at the table for longer than 10 minutes. Hopefully it will result in something good but I think it's far too early to tell."
Hitzges then asked a question on the minds of many these days - Why is there a significant work stoppage every time this league in particular needs a new agreement?
"I don't have an answer for that. I wish I did," said Gaglardi. "I wish a lot of people did. Being so new to the inner circle here, I don't really know how to say that. It's discouraging for sure, and hopefully there can be a deal that's on common ground that will leave the league in a position that we won't have to have a work stoppage every time we have a new CBA."
The lateness of the hour is top of mind as well, so Gaglardi was then asked if the two sides are approaching what might be a "drop-dead" date for the season as a whole.
"I really don't have any idea about that. I haven't been privy to any discussion of any such dates, and even if I had, I wouldn't be able to comment on that."
When asked if the franchise's progress late last season following the ownership change would be damaged by the lockout, Gaglardi said he preferred to view it as momentum deferred to whenever the club starts playing again.
"I really view it as a delay of what will be a certain turnaround and a certain relevancy of this franchise again," said Gaglardi. "I don't have any doubt that we're going to grow this back to where it was and become a successful sports team again, but it's just a matter of when we get to start."
Lest anyone forget the hockey side of things, he did sign off on big changes in July designed at keeping the club competitive while the prospects in the Texas Stars' system continue to bloom, but they feel they've made strides on the business side of things as well.
"We've had a great off-season here in terms of what we've done with our hockey team, our prospects and also on the business side. We've really gotten a lot of people back involved with the stars again with new season tickets and sponsorships of great businesses and companies that were always affiliated with the Stars that for some reason or other lost their connection to the club. We've been working tirelessly to reestablish those ties. I don't think that stuff is going to disappear just because we're having what's going to be a late start to the season."
What's going to be a late start to the season, he says. We will continue to vigorously hope that is the case as the NHLPA and NHL meet in New York as I type this.
"I really feel strongly that we have a lot momentum going here and this is unfortunate. It certainly stalls our momentum but I don't think that it hurts it in any great way other than it's just a delay."
The Stars posted audio of the interview here on Stepneski's blog. There's Dallas Cowboy talk with Gaglardi there and brief uniform talk, on which we'll have more later.