It took some time, but the anticipated cracks are starting to show in the dam that is NHLPA resolve. The first public criticism of NHLPA exec Donald Fehr came at the hands (or rather the mouth) of Roman Hamrlk.
I am disgusted,” Hamrlik told Daily Sport and translated by Roman Jedlicka of TV Nova. “We have to push Fehr to the wall to get the deal. Time is against us. We lost [one-quarter] of the season, it is $425 million. Who will give it back to us? Mr. Fehr?”
In the article, Erik Cole responds to Hamrlik’s comments and didn’t react too favourably. Also from the above mentioned TSN article:
“If that’s his opinion, then he should just stay over there (in the Czech Republic),” Cole told the Gazette.
“For him to come out and say this, it’s the most selfish thing I’ve heard during the lockout. Without a doubt. It’s just disappointing. You’d think the veteran guys are the guys who’d take more pride in what other veteran guys sacrificed in the last lockout, how we all benefited from that as a group. Some guys never played again.”
These are the first signs of infighting and the first semblance that all is not well in the NHLPA. This is what ownership has apparently been counting on since the beginning, that 30 voices were easier to keep united than over 700.
There is no doubt that many players would want to take the NHL offer and get back on the ice, and have probably had that opinion for some time. However, the first public indication of unrest within the NHLPA could be a landmark moment in the negotiations, because once that crack is shown, it isn’t going to take too much for others to follow suit and also air their greivances.