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Fehr thinks Hamrlik’s ability to criticize separates players from owners

Nov 24, 2012, 9:50 PM EDT

Donald Fehr: AP

Roman Hamrlik hasn’t been particularly kind to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr lately. Among other things, he argued that Fehr should be ousted if the 2012-13 campaign is lost.

Hamrlik’s comments sparked a firestorm and have been countered by several players.

Still, Fehr isn’t swinging back or suggesting that Hamrlik should back down. Instead, he’s using Hamrlik’s comments as an example of one of the ways he thinks the union is different from the NHL.

“We don’t believe in censoring anybody,” Fehr said, according to Newsday’s Steve Zipay.

Comments like Hamrlik’s don’t just contrast the chorus of players vocalizing their support of Fehr, in a way, they validate that praise. After all, if Hamrlik — and Michal Neuvirth for that matter — feel comfortable deviating harshly from the union’s position in a very public way, then it suggests that those that voice their support for the union are being equally genuine.

Of course, we can’t truly know exactly how much support the union leadership has or if Hamrlik and Neuvirth are vocalizing feelings that other, still silent players share. At the end of the day, the hope is that the lockout will end soon and render questions like that moot.

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