Skip to content

On the subject of replacement players

Oct 2, 2012, 12:14 PM EST

Replacements Getty Images

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?

Perhaps…

—- 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.

Latest Posts
  1. Video: Who are the Bruins targeting in trade talks?

    Dec 18, 2014, 2:05 AM EST

    Peter Chiarelli AP

    Chris Stewart is one name, which has been linked to Boston.

  2. Mark Howe on his father’s health: ‘He’s back in the ballgame’

    Dec 18, 2014, 1:40 AM EST

    Antti Niemi Antti Niemi

    He’s even walking under his own power according to the report.

  3. Treliving: ‘We’ve got the right guy steering the boat’

    Dec 18, 2014, 12:45 AM EST

    Brad Treliving AP

    Calgary signed Bob Hartley to a multi-year extension Wednesday.

  4. Video: Is Peter DeBoer’s job on the line in New Jersey?

    Dec 18, 2014, 12:15 AM EST

    50667_panthers_penguins_hockey-peterdeboer

    The Devils have lost five straight.

  5. Video: Lehigh Valley Phantoms score 3 in 21 seconds

    Dec 17, 2014, 11:15 PM EST

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    Jason Akeson was in on the action for the Flyers’ affiliate.

  6. Turris, Anderson lead Sens over Devils

    Dec 17, 2014, 10:15 PM EST

    Craig Anderson AP

    New Jersey has now lost five straight.

  7. Holland: ‘I’m not against fighting’

    Dec 17, 2014, 9:30 PM EST

    Ken Holland

    Detroit ranks 30th this season in fighting majors.

  8. Penguins recall goaltender Jeff Zatkoff

    Dec 17, 2014, 8:45 PM EST

    SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 11: Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff #37 of the Pittsburgh Penguins stops a shot by the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on October 11, 2013 in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Penguins 6-3. Getty Images

    Marc-Andre Fleury is unavailable Thursday.

  9. Blues’ Schwartz (foot) placed on IR

    Dec 17, 2014, 7:45 PM EST

    St. Louis Blues v Toronto Maple Leafs Getty Images

    Jaskin recalled from the American Hockey League.

  10. Watch Live: Bruins at Wild (8 p.m. ET)

    Dec 17, 2014, 7:20 PM EST

    David Krejci David Krejci

    Boston looks to snap a three-game skid.

  11. Bruins activate Krejci from IR

    Dec 17, 2014, 6:35 PM EST

    David Krejci David Krejci

    Has not played since Nov. 18.

  12. Ducks assign Gibson to Norfolk

    Dec 17, 2014, 6:20 PM EST

    Buffalo Sabres v Anaheim Ducks Buffalo Sabres v Anaheim Ducks

    Hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury Nov. 2.

  13. Preds’ Neal fined for diving

    Dec 17, 2014, 5:25 PM EST

    Florida Panthers v Nashville Predators Florida Panthers v Nashville Predators

    It’s the first time the league has made a fine public for embellishment.

  14. After surprising start, Flames sign Hartley to multi-year contract extension

    Dec 17, 2014, 4:53 PM EST

    Calgary Flames v Columbus Blue Jackets Calgary Flames v Columbus Blue Jackets

    Currently has Calgary in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase.

Featured video

Next steps for the Oilers after Eakins

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (4082)
  2. D. Krejci (2796)
  3. C. Crawford (2374)
  4. B. Bishop (2281)
  5. C. Kunitz (2140)
  1. J. Toews (2060)
  2. O. Palat (1904)
  3. C. Perry (1824)
  4. B. Elliott (1635)
  5. J. Boychuk (1436)