Somewhere, Roman Hamrlik is looking at this picture and thinking of happier times.

The NHL lockout is now in its 69th day. Hasn’t the time just flown by? As this wonderful experience drags on (and on), fans are beginning to lose patience with the entire process. For every negotiating session that comes and goes with no deal in sight it gets harder and harder to care. It’s just soul sucking at this point, it’s almost like the NHL and NHLPA are just screwing with us. “Hey, here’s some optimism. Sike! Haha, deal with it, sucker.” It’s starting to feel almost rote.

Apparently, there are some NHL players that have become disenchanted with this wonderful experience. Namely one Roman Hamrlik who has found himself to be quite the trending topic. Hamrlik gave an interview with a Czech newspaper on Wednesday, and thanks to Greg Wyshynski we didn’t have to translate it for ourselves, in which he said that he was “disgusted” with the state of the lockout and that:

“There should be voting between players. Four questions – YES or NO – then count it. If half of players say let’s play, then they should sign new CBA. If there is no season he should leave and we will find someone new. Time is our enemy.”

Huh. Those sure are words and, frankly, I think it’s about time that a player took a hard line at these so-called negotiations and called a spade a spade. It at least gives credence to the notion that there are certain players that are just as fed up with the whole situation as we are and just want to get on the ice and play. Or want to collect a paycheck. Either/or, really.

Then this happened.

So the NHL players are off the rails and Gary Bettman is currently stroking a white cat somewhere while smiling. Or not so much, apparently.

Hamrlik and Neuvirth’s teammate (and alternate NHLPA rep) Troy Brouwer is none too pleased with his outspoken friends. Brouwer told the Washington Post:

“Those are two guys that have never been on a conference call, never been to a meeting, never paid attention. People are going to have their own opinions but when you’re fighting for something with 700 other guys, all you’re doing is just making it harder to make a deal and making it harder to accomplish the things we’re fighting for.

For me, I think those guys selling us out, being selfish like that and making those comments … Me being on their team, how am I going to trust them as a teammate from now on? Because you know they’re not going to support players in the big scheme of things when you go and you play on the team with them; it’s going to be tough to want to back those guys from now on.”


I don’t claim to know what the prevailing attitudes towards Hamrlik are in the NHLPA offices but, if Brouwer’s opinions are any indication, breaking line from Fehr and his lackeys is not exactly encouraged amongst the players. We’ve theorized in this space about the players being a united front behind Fehr and I know that Bourne has made mention of the fact that hockey players have a team mentality when it comes to these things and aren’t looking to be seen to be out of step with those who are leading the charge. Brouwer’s especially harsh words seem to speak to that which, I guess, is both a good and bad thing for the NHL.

It’s a positive because a united front from the players helps their case in getting the best deal possible and not just caving to the NHL’s bullshit. The negative comes from the fact that a lack of pressure from players to just shut up and play means that this thing could drag on even longer as there is no internal pressure to do whatever it takes to make a deal, at least publicly. And, I mean, no offence to Roman Hamrlik but he’s still Roman Hamrlik. If Crosby came out with a statement like this, maybe the lockout would be over sooner rather than later. Someone of Hamrlik’s stature just isn’t going to change anything (sadly).

I’m honestly surprised it’s taken this long for a player to speak out so blatantly against the lockout continuing. I would have thought that, by now, there would be a large, vocal segment of players who are just as tired of this whole process as we are and would be making that clear. It really wouldn’t shock me if there is a whole group of players that agree with Hamrlik but just haven’t made that known in the press. Regardless, the unified front of the players is just another reason why this whole thing is going to get worse before it gets better (or it’s just going to stay awful) and there’s absolutely nothing anyone, Roman Hamrlik or otherwise, can do about it.

Comments (17)

  1. F*** Hamrlik – I’m with Brouwer on this one, even if it’s not the popular opinion.

    Being in a union means showing solidarity during hard times like strikes and lockouts, and stepping away from the rest of the group to shoot your mouth off doesn’t do any favors for the rest of the guys trying to get EVERYONE involved the best deal possible. There’s a reason for it when fellow union guys who pull crap like Hamrlik are referred to using nasty terms like “Scab” or “Rat” – it’s because the rest of the employees find them very unpleasant to be around after the dust has settled, just like Brouwer is suggesting…

    If Hamrlik wants to hold up his experience of going through three lockouts as a trophy that gives him the right to sound off to the media when it obviously damages the union’s position at the table, then why the Hell isn’t HE one of the Caps’ union reps in Brouwer’s place, if he’s such an expert? If Troy is telling thetruth that Hamrlik has missed every conference call and meeting, why should ANYONE value his opinion, when he’s obviously not willing to put all his worldly lockout experience to good use and HELP GET THIS ONE OVER WITH SOONER?

    • Get some perspective. This not a traditional union, this is a club of millionaires that are getting paid ridiculous money to play a sport that most other people drop up to $1000 a year for ice time and equipment. Nobody is lining up to spend their free time to be a teacher, steel worker, nurse, etc. and pay out of their own pocket. Those unions are looking out for their member’s basic needs for quality living.

      True, Hamrlik is protecting his interests, but I would argue that he is representative for those interests of most other players; he just stopped being silent about it. Hamrlik is just looking to cash in on his last year of contract that guarantees him a $2,000,000+ payout. He has not been treated badly as a player in the league as he has something to the tune of $50,000,000 in salary earned to date. Also he has apparently been through this lock-out situation twice before, so listening on all the calls would probably just leave a sour taste in his mouth or just bore him as he has been through all of this before!

      It would be nice if they NHL and NHLPA were talking about ways to make the game more affordable for people to watch and ultimately want to attend these games.

      • Such a simpleton approach, they make millions so they should just set up and take whatever owners offer, don’t be so dumb, seriously.
        Whatever you’re salary, you should fight for you’re share, employment rights and not continuously have you’re agreed contract reduced every time negotiations come around. The NHL can’t keep giving contracts and then tell the players that we overpaid, take less or be locked out.

        • your* and your* again

        • The owners pay for everything, (travel, health, whatever else you can imagine) and the players get probably close to everything free that they need for hockey anyways; stick, skates, etc, from the manafactures. Plus on top of that they get paid millions a year from the same owners no matter how their preformance is during the season.

          The owners are greedy, the players are greedy, the fans lose.

          ps. did i mention the MILLIONS, the players and owners get for playing a game?

  2. Being in a union means sometimes you don’t have a choice if you want to be in your chosen field. And there isn’t a union out there that doesn’t have a group of dissenters and and a group old union hands that do not and will not ever get along except on payday.

    I made a bet with a friend of mine 3 months ago. This thing will NOT be over until the dissenters in the union become vocal and the union “brotherhood” starts to fracture. It is much easier to keep 30 owners in line than 600+ players. It has been proven again and again in most all sports CBA negotiations.

    • Pep, I hope you’re wrong about your bet, ’cause if that happens, the underlying problems behind this lockout will continue. We’ll be singing this same song and dance each and every time the CBA expires, simply because the owners know they can afford the financial losses each time they lock the players out and shut things down. The owners wouldn’t have any reason to change things up until those losses from the fanbase fallout started to outstrip the potential profits to be gained from taking just a little bit more from the players each time.

      By then, Bettman ought to have teams in Mexico and a few other hockey hotspots, and won’t that be fun?

  3. And so, predictably, the opinions start coming that “the union is cracking” because 2 guys out of 700 something guys made an uninformed and selfish public comment. Ownership must be in tatters then because 1 out of 30 of them (Ottawa) has broken ranks twice publicly. Hamrlik’s comments amount to John McCain wheezing about Benghazi and then missing a debriefing on the subject so he do more wheezing at a presser.

    And I love how the players are somehow villains for being millionaires and yet the BILLIONAIRE owners are virtuous and chaste……..despite the fact that this lockout exists because they can’t be trusted not to exploit every legal loophole to at the expense of their own business. The players are the bad guys for not wanting to give up what they have, the billionaire owners are the good guys for wanting more on every front.

    And no, we are not dropping thousands a year to “do what they do”. I play beer league/shinny 3 nights a week and what we do isn’t even in the same universe as what they do. What we do isn’t even what the local college club hockey team is doing.

  4. Surprised that so many people making such a big deal of any of it, and that so many people agree with Brouwer too. All Hamrlik really did was voice his displeasure with the whole thing, and I don’t think he actually thinks that what he proposed would ever happen so it should have just been ignored. Has no bearing on how him or Neuvirth are as teammates. For Brouwer to react like he did, will now create a rift in the locker room there when they get a deal done. To say he can’t back his own teammates just because of what they said, shows that he hasn’t changed from the dumbass he was when with Chicago and my guess is that when the lockout is over, Brouwer will be with a new team….But will they want to back him now?

    • Recently, Ovechkin himself weighed in and expressed his own displeasure with both Hamrlik and Neuvirth for making statements when they haven’t bothered to pay attention to the proceedings so far, so I think Brouwer will get along just fine in that dressing room. If anything, Hamrlik and Neuvirth are the ones who’ll be drawing any fire. Consider the fact that it was Cole (not a Caps teammate) who originally called Hamrlik out, and that Troy didn’t sound off until a SECOND, equally-uninformed Caps teammate (Neuvirth) decided to shoot their mouth off without bothering to attend a single meeting or anything. He obviously didn’t want to get involved and was willing to let Hamrlik’s comments fly until Neuvirth went and made it worse, so I think Troy had the health of the Caps’ locker room in mind to some extent. Hamrlik and Neuvirth put Troy in a tough position where his job as a union rep trumped locker room chemistry and I think almost everyone else in a Caps uni will see that.

      Toss in the fact that Martin Brodeur also called out fellow Three-Time Lockout Loser Club member Hamrlik for knowing better than to show weakness to the owners, and it appears that Hamrlik is indeed setting himself up to be at least a little bit of a pariah when the game returns. By jumping in with his impatient attitude after missing out on every meeting, etc up ’til now, Hamrlik’s Leeroy Jenkins impression apparently didn’t do him any favors as far as the rest of the players are concerned, whether they’re a big fish like Ovie and Brodeur or a smaller one like Brouwer.

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