Sharks’ Havlat: ‘We’re just pieces of meat’

For as much noise as Detroit Red Wings senior VP Jim Devellano made by referring to the NHL players as “cattle” in an interview last week with the Island Sports News, San Jose Sharks forward Martin Havlat says he’s heard much worse from NHL brass.

The San Jose Sharks forward responded to Devellano’s comments through his agent, Allan Walsh, who relayed his client’s words through Twitter on Sunday.

“The comments made by Devellano are nothing new. The players know that’s how (commissioner Gary) Bettman and some of the owners think.

“We’re not shocked at being called ‘cattle,’ ” Havlat, 31, said. “I can tell you the players have been called a lot worse by some of the guys on the other side. It’s just never been reported publicly. I think it helps that the fans get to hear what we already know. We’re not humans in their eyes; we’re just pieces of meat that get to eat some grass for awhile.”

Havlat’s response extended the controversial metaphor made by Devellano that cost the Red Wings a fine from the league.

“It’s very complicated and way too much for the average Joe to understand, but having said that, I will tell you this: The owners can basically be viewed as the Ranch, and the players, and me included, are the cattle,” Devellano told Island Sports News last week. “The owners own the Ranch and allow the players to eat there. That’s the way its always been and that 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.”

Havlat’s current six-year contract with the Sharks, which pays him an average of $5 million per season, expires at the end of the 2014-15 season.

A Czech native, Havlat has not committed to playing overseas during the lockout, but according to an email Walsh sent to, “all options are on the table” for the veteran winger.