The Detroit Red Wings have been fined by the NHL for lockout-related comments made by team executive Jim Devellano in an interview published earlier this week.
The amount of the fine was not disclosed in Saturday’s announcement by the league.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has reportedly threatened teams with the possibility of a $1-million US fine for inappropriate comments during the current work stoppage.
"The Detroit Red Wings’ organization and the league agree that the comments made by Mr. Devellano are neither appropriate, nor authorized, nor permissible under the league's by-laws," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. "Such comments are neither constructive nor helpful to the negotiations.”
In an interview that appeared on the Island Sports News website, Devellano referred to NHL players and executives such as himself as “the cattle” and owners as “the ranch.”
“The owners own the ranch and allow the players to eat there,” Devellano was quoted as saying. “That's the way it’s always been and that’s the way it will be forever. And the owners simply aren't going to let a union push them around. It's not going to happen."
Devellano, 69, was the Red Wings' general manager for eight seasons until moving to his current job as senior vice president in 1990. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010 under the builder category.
Commenting on the Philadelphia Flyers' 14-year, $110-million offer sheet to restricted free agent defenceman Shea Weber this summer, which was later matched by the Nashville Predators, Devellano said there was an "unwritten rule" against such moves — a comment that could potentially be viewed as an indication of collusion.
"If you are asking me if it's right, I would say there is, again, an unwritten rule," Devellano was quoted as saying. "We all know it in the NHL, but not everyone follows it."
Devellano also floated an idea for dividing revenues between the owners and players — one of the sticking points of the lockout, which entered its seventh day on Saturday.
“Let the players take 43 per cent and let the owners take 57 per cent,” Devellano was quoted as saying. “Just reverse it from where it is now and let the owners run the rest of their business and manage their expenses.”
Devellano suggested that players should be “grateful” for the salaries they receive from owners.
"Yes, [owners] are billionaires. Good on them, they deserve it, but they also make their employees millionaires. Not a bad trade off for a guy like [Bruins forward Milan] Lucic getting, what, $6 million a year? I mean good on him too, but he should be grateful.”
According to capgeek.com, Lucic was due to make $4.25 million US this season, and $5.5 million in 2013-14, when his salary-cap hit will be $6 million.