Oct 2, 2012, 12:14 PM EDT
On the one hand, it would further damage the reputation of the NHL.
On the other, just think of the comedy!
Monday night on Josh Rimer’s radio show, former Leafs assistant GM Bill Watters speculated that league commissioner Gary Bettman could bring in replacement players – possibly by mid-November – in an attempt to break the union and end the lockout.
Some in the media are skeptical.
But it’s not the first time Watters has touched on the subject of replacements.
“There are enough free agents around and players under contract in junior, on reserve lists and in the AHL to ice a team in every city,” he told the Toronto Sun in September. “It is conceivable. It wouldn’t be a long-term thing but a union breaking move.”
OK, first question: Would that even be legal? Surely there are labor laws that cover this sort of thing. Replacement players have been used before in sports, but we imagine it took a few lawyers to usher them in.
Next question: Assuming the NHL finds a way to jump through all the legal hoops, what kind of player would cross the picket line and be willing to wear the “scab” label the rest of their careers?
—- A fringe player who knows he’s not good enough to make the NHL except as a replacement.
—- A veteran that’s on the verge of retirement and has nothing to gain from a lost season.
—- A player with a beef against the union.
Sounds like a fantastic product.
It’s also worth wondering if this sort of move could seriously backfire for the NHL. We all saw what happened when the NFL attempted to use replacement officials. The product suffered and the league became a laughingstock.
Plus, it might not be a good idea to give hockey fans a means to gather in the thousands and demonstrate their unhappiness with the NHL. Lest we forget the extended “bull****” chant a few weeks ago in Baltimore.
- Video: Bolts lose Garrison, Paquette in loss to Wings 0
- Bruins ruin Lundqvist’s return 20
- Letang hospitalized after Doan hit (Update) 22
- Bruins chalk Rask’s absence up to dehydration (Update) 3
- Happy returns: Datsyuk plays for Detroit 1
- Gearing up: Malkin, Hornqvist return for Pens 0
- Five big games to watch this weekend 7
- Video: Kessel, Booth get into altercation at Leafs practice 34
- Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do 29
- After Howard fails to ‘bounce back,’ Mrazek to receive ‘opportunity’ 36
- Dreger: ‘In Kessel’s case, I firmly believe he’s going to be traded’ (73)
- Coyotes ‘win’ against Sabres in OT (58)
- Red Wings beat Blues in OT, but should winning goal count? (56)
- Tank-worthy? Connor McDavid finishes OHL season with 120 points in 47 games (56)
- Report: No fine or suspension for Tyler Toffoli’s hit on Alex Burrows (51)