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12-08-2012, 05:59 AM
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So far we've seen Hamrlik and Neuvirth give negative responses to the union...and get cold shouldered and obliquely threatened for doing so. The talk has always been that the union is 750 brothers, standing shoulder to shoulder, strong and unbending. But maybe not so much now.

Donít get misled for one second by the images of players appearing on your television screens saying all the right things about how theyíve been conceding and conceding and conceding, only to be rejected by a voice-mail message, of all things. These are all people who still trust their executive director Donald Fehrís statements that thereís a better deal to be had, just wait and see, the league will come back crawling, with tears in its ownersí eyes, begging us to please accept our own offer.

The fact is that Donald Fehrís message to the troops after the Thursday night bloodbath has been along the same lines: just donít you worry, guys, we know what weíre doing.

The fact is, too, that the number of players who are getting more and more sceptical with each of their leaderís pronouncements has been growing constantly.

Iíve talked to more than a dozen such players with growing concerns of one kind or another about the unionís direction. Some of them have begun talking to their colleagues, not only their teammates but to other players from other teams, too, comparing notes and coming up with interesting conclusions.

Such as: how come, when there are two binding offers on the table, do we not get to read them so we can decide whether we want to vote on either or both of them? The explanation they get is itís their negotiating committee that makes those calls and recommends whether this or that should be put to a vote. Trust your negotiating committee.

Judging by a number of conversations with players from several NHL teams, the unconditional trust that the NHLPA brass used to enjoy is no longer there. And that includes the negotiating committee membership, also. So, these players persist: stop telling us thereís a better deal to be had, just let us know precisely where weíre at right now. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Right now.
Bobby Mac alluded to some of this the other day as well. The rank and file, the 3rd and 4th liners, 6th and 7th defencemen and not happy with Fehr, or with the players on the negotiating committee. I do wish a few of them would actually give their names, but probably they don't want to be Hamrlikd.

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