For whatever reason the term Labor Relations Board conjures up images of autoworkers, teachers and janitors to me… not hockey players. Members of the NHLPA tried to file an injunction in Québec based on the provinces statutory laws saying that the NHL owners blocking out the players is unconstitutional. Unfortunately for the players the league one-man battle so now the players are moving very soon debate to the province of Alberta were the same statutory law exists. I think we all know what’s next, the players lose or the hearing was postponed to a later date. Either way it looks like there will be hockey for a long time to come, at least of the NHL variety.
I’m sure that the players have thought of doing this before and going to a Labor Relations Board is nothing new, but to me it just seems like a bunch of players desperate to play in North America because they don’t want to leave their families and go overseas for a paycheck. Unfortunately those players are going to have much to hang on to in a few weeks, especially considering the NHL’s main competitor in Russia, the Kontinental Hockey League, stated recently that they will only be excepting top talent into their league and that the fringe players from North America can stay home or go somewhere else.
It has also been announced that the NHL will no longer be covering insurance premiums for players as they had elsewhere to play, meaning that the NHL PA will now fit the bill for those premiums. Insurance for hockey players can run anywhere between 20 and $70,000 depending on the players age, injury history and a variety of other factors so I guess players can rest assured that if they do get hurt while playing away from home they won’t have to have fans raise money for them on Facebook to be flown in from Europe, seeing as how they wouldn’t be able to afford those costs out of pocket…NOT!
As for more players moving overseas, whole bunch of Boston Bruins are moving around to various leagues including young star Tyler Seguin who will play in Switzerland after recently signing a long term deal with the Bruins. Besides say again and Alexander Ovechkin, the list of players now headed overseas includes stars like Pavel Datsyuk and Evgeni Malkin. While Ovechkin has expressed that he might not come back to the NHL if he does not like the new collective bargaining agreement, there may be more of that kind of talk from players as the weeks go by and for the first time in hockey history the NHL has a legitimate reason to worry about losing some of its top talent to a competitor for good.
There is an idea! Maybe all the players should stand together and book flights to Russia. Maybe then the NHL owners will sit down at table with them and hammer this thing out?. Perhaps not! Although I myself am a descendent of Polish immigrants who learned Russian as a second language going through school, I don’t speak and myself. Does anyone know how to say, "canceled season" in Russian?
If you would like to follow more of the sports stuff that I have been doing, you can follow me on twitter @jackchoros.