After watching the NFL struggle for three weeks with replacement referees it’s hard to imagine any other league would even venture down that path and mutter the word replacement. But we are now hearing it being associated with the NHL for the first time and while it may not hold a lot of merit, it’s worth exploring the topic and asking if you would support this type of action.
The source comes from Eklund, the anonymous blogger at HockeyBuzz.com who writes that Bill Watters stated on Josh Rimer’s podcast that he believes Gary Bettman will explore the option of replacement players by November if a new CBA is not worked out. Eklund goes on to say that his sources have yet to hear the same whispers so it’s difficult to believe the rumors at this point.
But let’s play the hypothetical here and go the route that replacement players do indeed suit up in the NHL. What would that look like? Well for starters you’d have to think that any player who was playing in Europe and the KHL would be the first phone calls that Bettman would make and I don’t mean the locked out NHL players over there. Guys like Dominic Pittis, Hnatt Domenichelli and Mickey Dupont who have been in and out of the NHL over the early stages of their careers can still dazzle on the ice, just not to the level that the locked out players can. Would they be entertaining? Sure they would be, but would you want to support a league full of players who bounced around the show for four or five years and then finally ended up in Europe? Or would it be more about showing Bettman and the NHLPA that this type of theater would be a disgrace to the game of hockey and everyone involved; a boycott so to speak.
Would the players who are overseas making a living every year even think about coming back to support Bettman in this off the wall idea? It’d be hard to fathom that these players come back and have a chance to play for the Stanley Cup, only to have the regular players agree to a deal and punt the replacements with two months left in the season. A strict, hard clause would have to be made to ensure this didn’t happen and that the locked out players would be done for the season, if the commissioner chose to go this route.
It’s likely a far fetched scenario, having replacement players in the NHL. Then again with Gary Bettman at the helm, anything is possible. So we ask you the readers, would you support the NHL if they went the route of replacement players? Take part in our poll and let your voice be heard.
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