Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Packing Parachutes with the NHLPA

One aspect of an NHL labour dispute which perhaps doesn't actually resonate with the fans at home is the concept of players actually on a picket line.

Already we have seen some strange things in this dispute, the league teams which are of the opinion that the current CBA doesn't work, were in a Mad Max rush to sign up their stars and even some lesser names to long term contracts under the old and seemingly "broken" system.

Then, with the lockout on the final countdown, players were dispatched to the minor league outposts, which we imagine makes must see TV this year destined to come from such locales as Oklahoma City, Peoria, Abbotsford and St. John's to name a few.

Over at the NHLPA offices, the first order of business it seems is to find a good travel agent able to find a quick and affordable travel voucher to the Old World.

Unlike your average worker, the lumber yard hand, paper mill worker or the folks toiling in a mine for instance, the NHLPA's options provide for some European travel, the prospect of time away from the NHL to be spent in the KHL, the Swiss League or any other European host, all no doubt eager to add some star power to the usual migration of former US or Canadian college or junior players, still seeking to carry on their hockey lives for a few more years.

While the "stars" live the lives of the Griswold's of European Vacation fame, the very real fact is that by their arrival to sit in for a while, any number of migrant workers of hockey may soon be without a job.

Which somehow you might think goes against some kind of union protocol somewhere.

. Clark Griswold and the family, for all their  travelling faults, never cost anyone a job when they made their European jaunt. A situation that the stars of the game may very well create, and one which could have been avoided.

Considering the rather large salaries that we are talking about in this dispute, surely with just a wee bit of previous financial planning all of the NHL's A List, could have handled a little bit of idle time while the two sides supposedly work towards a deal.

As well, by their quick and apparent eager quest to find alternative work in Prague, Bern, Mocow et al, the collective stand seems a wee bit diminished back here on the front lines of the labour wars.

Without the likes of the big names to provide for the face of the dispute, the picket lines if such a thing should ever come to pass in a hockey dispute, will seemingly be left to the third and fourth line players who couldn't it seems grab a share of the Euro money being bounced around.

And while they have every right to pursue their occupation wherever they wish, the optics of the current airlift to Europe isn't a particularly great one for the NHLPA or for its membership.

Making your stand, while taking away the livelihood of those that didn't quite make the bar of the NHL isn't exactly the best way to push forward your talking points on fairness and all of that...

USA Today-- Locked-out NHL players continue European exodus
TSN-- Locked Out NHL PLayers looking to Europe for Opportunities
SF Gate-- NHL player's exodus to Europe begins
Winnipeg Free Press--- Frustration builds in NHL Lockout as more players head to Europe
Montreal Gazette-- Locked out NHL players eye work in Europe
Sports Illustrated-- NHL Lockout: Players heading for Europe, KHL
Ottawa Sun-- NHL players rush for jobs in Europe during lockout
Toronto Star-- Will Sidney Crosby sign with a European team? Time will tell, his agent says
New York Times-- As NHL Lockout Begins, So Does a Likely Exodus of Players to Europe

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