Cole carves Hamrlik, not surprised by NHL’s rejection

Canadiens’ Erik Cole battles with Washington defenceman Roman Hamrlik in front of Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth last January at the Bell Centre.
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

To say that Habs forward Erik Cole is angry with Washington Capitals veteran Roman Hamrlik for the latter’s boat-rocking comments Wednesday would be to greatly understate the truth. Cole, not the least bit surprised the NHL rejected the NHLPA’s proposal earlier in the day, spoke candidly with The Gazette and HIO Wednesday evening.

• Author’s note: This story has garnered a great deal of reaction from the moment it was posted and has been picked up by various media outlets in Canada and beyond. My take on what follows: Roman Hamrlik sees what might be his final NHL season slowly slipping down the drain and he’s angry about that. Erik Cole is a fellow veteran who believes the lockout is bigger than any one player, the sacrifices made being for the good of the players still to come into the NHL. With careers generally short and a lot of money at stake, tempers during the lockout will be short and opinions will be widely divergent. That’s what the story below illustrates to me.

The Gazette

Locked-out Canadiens forward Erik Cole is happy that he’s not sitting in a suburban dressing room across from fellow NHL veteran Roman Hamrlik, a locked-out defenceman for the Washington Capitals.

It wouldn’t be a pretty sight.

Hamrlik made headlines from the Czech Republic on Wednesday as the first obvious wedge in the NHLPA’s battle with the NHL to produce a new collective bargaining agreement, the players having been thrown out of work since the league called the lockout on Sept. 15.

Hamrlik, the 38-year-old former Canadiens rearguard, gave an interview with Daily Sport in his native Czech Republic that more than rocked the NHLPA’s boat Wednesday.

In it, Hamrlik called out NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and, by extension, the NHLPA’s negotiating committee as the lockout lumbered through Day 67.

“I am disgusted,” Hamrlik is quoted in the interview, his comments translated by TV Nova Sport’s  Roman Hedlicka and devoured by the hockey world in a series of tweets on the social-media Twitter platform.

“We have to push Fehr to the wall to get the deal. Time is against us. We lost a quarter of the season, it is $425 million. Who will give it back to us? Mr. Fehr? 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.”

From his upstate New York home, where he and his family will spend U.S. Thanksgiving, Cole was fairly bursting to offer his view on the point of view of Hamrlik, who might be hearing a loud ticking of the final year of his Capitals contract.

“I am bent on this one, yeah,” Cole, 34, said Wednesday evening, so angry that for the first minute or two of our conversation he spoke in phrases and half-sentences, stopping to reconstruct his thoughts.

“This (Hamrlik) is one guy out of 700-plus guys (in the NHLPA), this is the one guy who’s actually tried to have conversations with some of the guys we’ve skated with (during the lockout) and they’ve all just been, ‘Hammer, seriously, wake up.’

“For him to come out and say this, it’s the most selfish thing I’ve heard during the lockout. Without a doubt. It’s just disappointing. You’d think the veteran guys are the guys who’d take more pride in what other veteran guys sacrificed in the last lockout, how we all benefited from that as a group. Some guys never played again.

“That’s … I don’t know, for me, and I’m not over 35 or anything, but being an older player, (expletive), I feel grateful to the guys who gave me the opportunity to earn what I’ve earned in this game. Out of that I feel a responsibility, not entitlement. Maybe that’s just the difference between Hamrlik and me.”

Cole wouldn’t hear of Hamrlik’s comments, as reported in English, being the product of dicey translation or remarks that were taken out of context.

“If he (says) that then I wouldn’t believe him,” he said of Hamrlik, “because of the things he’s said previously to the guys who have been in the (barnstorming charity) Tournée des joueurs.

“Because of his conversations with Josh (Habs NHLPA rep Josh Gorges), some of the things he’s said to him in private conversations and Josh has been just like, ‘Is this guy serious?’ We couldn’t believe what his stance was on certain things.

“If he were sitting in a dressing room across from me tonight…” Cole said, the rest of that sentence off the record. “I’d be all over him on the ice. I’m pissed at him. If that’s his opinion, then he should just stay over there (in the Czech Republic).

“As a veteran guy, especially him, he’s been around awhile… other veteran players have sacrificed their careers for the last CBA, missed out on a year, 240 guys never played another game,” Cole continued.

“For me, I don’t look at this lockout and see what I’m not earning as the entitlement to, ‘Let’s get a deal done and let’s get playing.’ I see it as an opportunity to repay an opportunity that was given to me.

“That’s what this is supposed to be about, that’s what makes hockey players different. You sacrifice something for the people coming behind you. That’s where the respect factor comes in. Whoever’s kid is the best kid on your son’s hockey team, you want that kid to have the same opportunity that you’ve had. That’s what it’s about. Hamrlik is unbelievable.”

The Hamrlik story was only a subplot in a day that saw the NHL reject an NHLPA proposal that the players believed would seriously prepare the foundation of a new CBA.

Its rejection hardly surprised Cole, the Canadiens’ alternate player rep who was on a conference call Tuesday night in advance of the proposal’s presentation in New York, and another call after the league turned it down.

“It was basically another dismissal but (the NHL was) smart enough not to do it within 10 minutes,” Cole said, referring to the league’s rejection of three NHLPA proposals in Toronto a few weeks ago.

“They made it seem (Wednesday) as though they were contemplating so we’d not go to the fans and say, ‘They took 10 minutes again and then shunned our proposal.’ But they basically (rejected it) across the board. It clearly showed how close we are to having a deal done and they continue to view it in another light.

“And on top of that, on a lot of the stuff they were hinting at once this gets settled, that we’ll talk about player contract and rights, we’ll have some wiggle room, well, that’s not necessarily the case. So we’re stuck here again.”

There was talk during the day that a decertification of the NHLPA as a union would expedite a settlement. Cole dismissed that.

“That’s not something that we’re taking about,” he said. “People think it’s out there so it’s the next step but I don’t think so. We all have confidence in what Don is doing and how he’s handling our negotiation. There’s only so much this guy can do to put an end to this thing.

“I’ve said for awhile now the league have this thing well calculated, they know what they’re doing. Unfortunately for everyone else involved, it’s just a matter of time for us to sit here and wait and see when they finally decide that we’re allowed to play again.”

Cole isn’t on Twitter, but says a group of Canadiens have their own corner of cyberspace “that’s a little bit better than Twitter,” a lockout thread on which a player can text message another, the message available to all.

So while new Canadien Brandon Prust caused a stir with this tweet late Wednesday afternoon – “Gary bettman’s autobiography is in stores now. It’s titled ‘how I destroyed a sport and a nation’ ” – Cole read it on the players’ private thread, as he’s read about some of the other heated comments tweeted in recent days by a number of locked-out NHL players.

“Yeah, guys are legitimately mad,” he said.

Is this season toast? he was asked.

“Before today, we were saying, ‘There’s no way (owners) won’t take this deal,’ and we were thinking we couldn’t believe we can be starting up soon. But now guys are like, ‘That’s it, the season’s a write-off, these (owners) don’t want to play hockey this year.’

“Fast-forward about another month. If we’re sitting here just after New Year’s and it’s pretty much the same (in negotiations), I’d say it’s toast.”

Cole said he’s aware that some have been offended by the hat he had made up that reads “Puck Bettman/2012-13/NHL Lockout” and has been worn by a number of players in recent days. He’s had a conversation with the NHLPA about the hat, which he had privately produced for use by players.

“I wouldn’t call it heat,” he said of his communication with union brass. “I did receive a (PA) text, yeah, saying, ‘It’s probably not a good idea.’ I got a text saying we need to refrain from making personal attacks. I said that, technically, it’s not a personal attack, but rather voicing a small gesture of our displeasure. My thing back to the PA was, ‘Why can’t people see the humour in some things? This was more to lighten the mood of the guys.’ ”

That said, Cole said he won’t wear the hat in interview situations to avoid the perception that it’s NHLPA-approved.

“But I’m not going to stop wearing it,” he said, chuckling, “because it’s a pretty comfy hat, to be quite honest with you. I don’t see where it’s all that harmful to anything, quite frankly.

“Some of the messages I receive from people say it’s a legitimate thing and we probably could sell them to raise a lot of money for charity. That’s a possibility and I’ll look into it, that’s for sure.”
Twitter: @Dave_Stubbs


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  2. The Chicoutimi Cucumber says:

    Cole is spot on, and while Hamrlik’s self-interested stance is understandable, it’s also indefensible. He has benefitted hugely over his career from the gains secured by collective bargaining; but he doesn’t want to pass those on to future players. He is a hypocrite, pure and simple.

    Anyone taking the owners’ side in this dispute is out to lunch. These owners clearly do not believe in good-faith collective bargaining; their position boils down to the proposition that rich teams should continue to pocket artificially inflated profits courtesy of a salary cap, while players should bear all the cost of supporting a handful of garbage franchises. Real fair. More than that, it’s pretty clear that a good chunk of owners simply don’t believe unions have any legitimate right to exist and that they should be able to dictate to their employees whatever terms they like. This is a view worthy of John D. Rockefeller. If you oppose the players in this dispute – unlike in past disputes, where the owners actually had a case – then you simply don’t believe in collective bargaining, period. And you probably cheer for the decimation of the middle class in North America too, because they historically go hand in hand. Let’s just hand over total power to millionaire plutocrats and go back to 1890, why don’t we.

    • KLear says:

      I think both the PA and the NHL should be ashamed of themselves for messing up a League that’s taken years to get positive traction in the North American market. But when you reference ‘millionaire pliutocrats’ have you not forgotten that the players ARE the millionaires ?

      I had some sympathy for the players until:

      1) Fehr deliberately waited until the last minute to enter negotiations and only AFTER the NHL made a pitch. Yes it was a crappy pitch at 43% of HRR, but still a pitch to get it started. More than I can say for the PA.

      2) The PA made the same pitch 5 times – in which they get a guaranteed pay cheque no matter what happens to the franchises or the League. Five times ?? Five times when the base starting point was a split of HRR ?

      ‘Millionaire Plutocrat’ players like Ian White complain about Bettman when in reality cost control is the only reason he has a job; without the cost control this is a 12 team league. Time for Fehr and everyone to wake up – the NHL is not a money making machine like the NFL, NBA, or MLB where salaries can exponentially escalate unregulated.

  3. j2w4habs25 says:

    SHAME on Erik Cole. I feel so embarrassed right now. How can he be so stubborn and messed?

    He’s one of the leaders in this team and he brings himself out like this? hes worse then Sergei Kostitsyn!!.

    Carey Price #31

  4. KLear says:

    Have a lot of respect for Cole but Hammer has a point (and HUGE courage). He has been through 3 work stoppages, and is facing the last year or 2 of his career.

    They came to the NHL through two different paths, and with all due respect, Hammer is a better player when you normalize for age. As of his draft year, he was the FIRST non North American D-man taken #1 and only the second non North American taken #1 (Sundin, 1989). He is the most under rated D-man of the last 20 years IMHO. Until last year he was a top 4 D-man for nearly 2 decades.

    He has earned the right to speak his mind. I wonder if the reaction would be different if it was Ed Jovanovski or Chris Phillips ?

  5. DorvalTony says:

    Shame on Eric Cole. What a despicable moron.

  6. Good for Hamrlik…it takes huge ones to come out and speak the truth like that…so few other players were willing to do so…

    Fehr is Goodenow number 2…leading the players down a road that will end up costing them millions that they will never see again in their lives.

    Cole is so stubborn he doesn’t realize how his position is hurting no one more than himself.

    Good job Hammer! One of the few who has the guts to speak out against Fehr’s terrible leadership.

    The greatest Canadiens and NHL news-site:
    Twitter: @teliopost

  7. nunacanadien says:

    Barrack Obama, new topic to pursue: The NHL Act, an act to ensure that wealthy owners don’t take advantage of players through marketing, advertising, and other means.

    The great American puppet Stephen Harper would of course kiss the Great American Way, and invoke a similar NHL Act in Canada. This one would ensure that wealthy players like Scott Gomez can’t gyp fans by playing lacklustre hockey and invoke a penalty clause where Gomez would not get his full salary, performance based contracts should be mandatory…..

    Actually it is time the NHL was regulated in Canada and the USA as the business it is and the dire economic impacts it has on both country’s markets.

  8. nunacanadien says:

    The top salary earners should be locked out of negotiations, and so should the top losing teams be locked out of negotations. Negotiate the agreement between the real players, and the team owners who actually pay for hockey markets in places like Arizona where no team could actually keep running based on gate proceeds and television ad revenue.

    Any extra’s should be regulated and the two federal governments in the USA and Canada should be saying enough of this graft and corruption around hockey, time to invoke some anti-trust and lock out the greedy players and greedy owners who are just scamming the system and who benefit anyway regardless if there is a season or not, the biggest bums of hockey, the hockey welfare bums should be locked out, including the biggest welfare bum Bettman!

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  10. pottymonster says:

    reading the comments, i guess a lot of you are business owners? that’s the only reason i can think of as to why you’d side against the players.

    the player proposal seemed fair to me, contracts that were negotiated before the lockout need to be honored 100%. that should be a no brainer, otherwise the owners negotiated in bad faith and all those contracts signed in the last couple of years should be voided and the players made free agents.

    a 50/50 split is obviously also fair. the way the players phrase it though uses the make whole payments which turn it into more of a 52/48 split for the players. i think that’s fair because the contracts should be honored.

    from reading what some people write here though, it seems like a lot of you just wanted the players to agree to 57/43 this time, and then next time it would be 63/37 and so on until the players were making 25%. you’d all feel good because you’d say ‘look the players arent getting paid exhorbitant amounts to play a silly game anymore’, but you’d just be transferring the wealth to the 30 owners who would now be making a shit ton more money and doing nothing to lower your costs at the gate.

    • wjc says:

      57-43 was just a beginning proposal. The players could have just as easily proposed 52-48.

      It was not accepted so the point is moot. It was a proposal to work off of.

      People have to stop comparing owning a business to the NHL. The NHL and players association are bound by the CBA.

      30 owners…720 players (with agents) most are mult-millionaires (good for them). This is about both winning. This is about making the right deal and not being the fool.

      When the NHL grosses 3.3 billion dollars, of course there will be lots of money on the line. What share is fair, that is the big question. What is fair.

      Do I pretend to know? Do I understand all the numbers being thrown around? Why would I take sides? If the players had kept 57% – 43% split and the owners accepted it, I would not have cared. This is extremely complicated bargaining.

      There are about 50 media types expressing opinions and debating pros and cons of every word uttered in this process.

      People listen/read this guy and reach his conclusions other listen/read that guy and repeat his conclusions.

      Remember the media types depend on these guys for quotes and stories on slow days. They depend on the owners/managers/coaches/scouts goodwill and try not to damage those relationships. So they walk a tight rope.

      Gretzky dances around questions and tries not to get cornered into making a headline making comment that helps him zilch.


      • B says:

        The PA wouldn’t make a proposal (it took so long for them to even get to the table) so the league made one to kick things off. It had to start some where. Most sides in a negotiation will not lead off with their best offer, far from it. I don’t think it was a coincidence that the leagues opening offer was that they get the 57% instead of the players. Also no surprise that they ended up in the middle at 50/50. It seemed so inevitable and it’s disappointing that it took this long to get even this close. Way too much time has been wasted along the way.

    • Mustang says:

      The players make millions of dollars playing a game. The owners are already extremely wealthy so it is quite difficult to feel sorry for either side. When you come right down to it, they do not contribute any real value to society other than to provide some entertainment when they are actually playing. It appears that no one directly involved with the NHL gives a damn about the game of hockey or about the fans that love the game. I am personally fed up with the entire process and I get the desire to throw up every time I see Buttman or Fehr on TV.

  11. Cal says:

    Now with Party Hats!

  12. habstrinifan says:

    What are you doing during this NHL lockout? Humourist Andy Juniper reports the following at Huffington

    “Indeed, retailers from coast to coast are reporting a remarkable rise in the sale of sex toys — and they attribute this solely (and, we must admit, without benefit of research or science) on the NHL lockout! Sex toys. Sex games. Sex paraphernalia — monkey bars, trapezes, pole vault poles, and such. Sex guides (and if you’re purchasing the paraphernalia, for goodness sake get a guide). Lingerie. All flying out the door like there’s no tomorrow — or, at very least, like there’s no hockey today.”

    Find the article here:

  13. rhino514 says:

    Here´s what I don´t understand. Bettman recently admitted (yes, actually publicly admitted) that the 57/43 split initially proposed during the summer was just posturing; that anyone could see that 50/50 was the end goal.
    Why waste precious months putting on the whole charade? Why all the free theatre? The walking away from negotiations in a huff? The “dissapointment”speeches?
    Why does everything american have to be a show? Why can´t there be good faith bargaining? This idea that the owners had to start with an extreme proposal because half of it would eventually be negociated away is ludicrous.
    When there are good faith negotiations, parties can put forth proposals which they truly believe represent fair solutions. They believe that they need to work together and have a common goal. The NHL, conversely, believes that it is all just a simple formula; let´s ask for double what we really want and we will settle for half (or less than half, if you take into account the player contracting issues) eventually”. Their approach is completely adversarial. The jaded posters on here, the same ones who have stated that hockey is JUST business, will doubtless say that that is how things are done in business. I will insist on the fact that there is such a thing as negotiating in good faith, and it is done all the time in other leagues in other parts of the world.
    the NHL really does deserve to be taken down a notch, it deserves to suffer and it deserves to see other leagues come in its place and pry away the monopoly on talent which they smugly believe they own.
    The NHL´s motto is “We will screw you because we can”. G&d willing, one day they will be penalized for this and they won´t have anyone to blame but themselves.

    Also slightly disappointed in Gretz, during the recently posted interview clip, who sympathizes equally with both sides. I Have trouble understanding why does he, a former player most of his life (and only briefly a part owner) not openly support the players. Though a nice guy, a classy guy, and the greatest player of all time, there are times in life when one does take a stand. I don´t appreciate players or former players who, irresponsibly, run off at the mouth all the time, but I´ve never seen Gretzky actually take a hard stand on anything.

    • wjc says:

      Rhino: Jaded poster here.

      Bettman (owners) propose 57-43….Players could have counter proposed 50-50 the next day and got the ball rolling as far as proposals go.

      What would you rather be greedy or a fool.

      If you don’t get what is rightfully yours…you are a fool

      If you get what is rightfully yours….you are greedy.

      Gretzky was being interviewed….he has no dog in this fight.
      Why would he take a stand, maybe he can see both sides, that is possible.

      Why can’t people say….”I do not know”…. I do not understand it completely to make an informed opinion.

      He is not hiding behind a made up name on the internet. Gretzky does not need to take sides to entertain or invite attacks, why would anyone.

      Gretzky and Beliveau and Lafluer Bobby Orr, Mahovalich and other former super stars walk a tight rope, high wire balancing act.


  14. bwoar says:

    I’d like it if the NHL correctly shared revenue between teams, all out of their pocket, and then the NHLPA funded the players’ pension, all out of their own pocket.

    Any chance of getting that on a hat? Sanctioned or otherwise?

  15. shiram says:

    I think Cole made a faux-pas, maybe he should not have spoken to the media while being so emotional, but you’d think a hockey player would know to keep those emotions in check already, I guess some issues hit closer to home than a check on the boards.

    Hamr just sounded honest, and I can appreciate that it’s not helping the PA, but what he said was definitely alot better than what I’ve seen players post on twitter and the like.
    Prust’s tweet about Bettman and losing a nation was really childish.

    • bwoar says:

      It’s gonna be a bit harder to cheer for the Habs when hockey comes back. Some these guys have really embarrassed themselves.

    • wjc says:

      Is a faux pass, one that can easily be tipped in.

      Hockey players should not show emotion. Keep them in check.

      Like a fore check or a back check, or a signed cheque.

      Hamr sounded honest, but was he really honest. (lol)

      You say Prust’s tweeted like a child. From now on tweet like an adult….tweet….tweet….tweet.


  16. outsider89 says:

    What is going on with HNIC “Your Pick” its no longer on the CBC website to vote.

  17. habs-fan-84 says:

    Bulldogs sign Mike Commodore to try out:

  18. nunacanadien says:

    Is it time to fire the NHLPA’s rep in the talks? If he can’t get his act together enough to actually craft a negotation, then what is this lockout over? A bunch of stupid players who give bad advice on behalf of the overall underpaid group of players, so you have Sid the kid giving bad advice.

    Maybe it is time the NHLPA get a real negotiator.

    • Ali says:

      or maybe it’s time the NHL didn’t demand the the PA cave on every single demand they’re making? Name me one single concession the NHL has made in these negotiations. And don’t cite the Make Whole provision, because agreeing to honor contracts you agreed to in the first place is not a concession.

      • nunacanadien says:

        And what has the players done except speak a different language of economics? What the F**K????? Hello, players if you don’t play your not contributing to the economy….and you won’t benefit plain and simple. Sure there should be some equity for gate proceeds and other areas but really, there is no other easier way except to say that maybe it is time the players decide what they really want and not have a bunch of middle men Alan Eagleson style rip them off for millions that will never benefit the players to begin with and since what has the NHLPA done for the average person? Nada. Really, a multimillion dollar organization that is only a front office for what, and represents who? Except only at salary negotiation time etc. Why waste millions creating another tier of manager/owner types.

  19. habstrinifan says:

    I firmly believe that there will be hockey. And once again the site will be back on topic. With the usual rants back and forth… so I am beginning my practce drivel response to the usual post game drivel.
    Legend: STD=Standard Drivelpost . MED=My epithetical drivel reply.

    STD: That show boat Subban. He misses the f’ing net on every shot. It’s that bleedy wind-up. They should sit him down. He cost us the game.
    MED: Shut to f—up you troll!

    STD: Habs are still soft.. especially Diaz the Dainty! They got mis-handled.
    MED: You are so tough.. hiding somewhere in the internet.

    STD: Price shoulda had that winning goal. Halak woulda!
    MED: Give it up already you Halak-lover. You have no clue. That was all Subban’s fault.

    STD: What the F was Therrien thinking. Weber and Kaberle on the ice in the final 2 minutes. Fire this freaking idiot.
    MED: What can I say.. when you are right you are right.

    STD: Bias refereeing. That A-hole Lee cost us the game.
    MED: What can I say… when you are right you are right.

    STD: Gomez should never been traded after the first game. Bergeron panicked.
    MED: You are so freaking stooopid. Trading Gomez for MAB was a good move. You must be an anglo.

    STD: I told you Armstrong was a bust.
    MED: Go run across the Don Valley Parkway naked you dumb leaf fan.

    • Cal says:

      LMAO! Thanks, trini- I needed that! 😀

      • nunacanadien says:

        Sure let’s all hope this bunch of underweight, skinny and short players mixed in with a weird bunch can gel as a team….for real. But hey when Geoff Molson nickles and dimes this team to death instead of taking a gamble to sign a big name player……anyway.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          How did you know that was exactly what Cal was saying?

          • Cal says:

            He is psychic that way. 😉

          • nunacanadien says:

            Sadly but true, most Montreal fans are so jaded by Bob Gainey’s terrible 90’s hockey that any player who can skate without falling and breaking his knee is considered a superstar in Montreal. Sad but true. Gainey and Gilette lowered the standard for hockey in Montreal, and Molson and Bergevin have ensured that it continues to remain a dismal town for pathetic hockey! Imagine the answer to a stanley cup was Scott Gomez. Imagine the answer to the mighty shrimps in Montreal being pushed around was to bring in a mighty shrimp to play cheerleader and stable pony to Gomez. Weren’t we supposed to get Prust light? I guess Bergevin wanted the realy shrimp tough guy, as if there is such a thing in the NHL. A tough mighty shrimp like Prust who will only beat up other small players, while the rest of the NHL pushes the habs around. Ok.

  20. lavie says:

    Cole was supporting the Trade Union; Hamrlik was telling the truth.

  21. Kooch7800 says:

    I guess MB wanted some veteran leadership on D with the bulldogs to Mentor…they just signed Mike Commodore to a try out:

    “Keep your stick on the Ice”

    • ed lopaz says:

      I will take it one step further. If Commodore plays well in Hamilton I can easily see him earning a spot on the Habs.

      We are missing an experienced, big body presence on our back end.

      Subban and Markov should get #1 and #2 minutes
      Gorges and Emelin get #3 and #4 minutes
      Kaberle, Bouillon, Diaz and Weber are what’s left.

      Instead of Diaz and Weber, one of those 2 should be moved and replaced by an experienced, big body, D-man.

      Commodore is 6’4 and 225.

      If he can stay healthy and get his game back on track he is still young enough – just turned 33 two weeks ago.

      I would say this is an excellent move – and precisely what I expected the habs to have done this past summer.

      • Ron says:

        During free agent signings this summer his name was brought up here numerous times. I agree he could be a very good pickup for the Habs, both as a steading effect on a very young blueline in the AHL and even brought up if this season ever gets humming. Good move by MB.

      • habstrinifan says:

        I, like you, like. Conspiracy theorist that I am though I think this means that Subban is gone.

      • Phil C says:

        He is really slow is my only concern, he would be another “specialist” whose minutes must be managed. The Habs really need a big defenseman they can put out in any situation.

        I like him for the AHL though, nice signing and it shows that MB will be proactive when he can.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          He essentially replaces Paul Mara with a little more upside i think.

        • ed lopaz says:

          I think Emelin will get top 4 minutes. In Russia he was a power play d-man and played in all situations. 11 goals in 52 games his last khl season.

          I saw some really good stuff from him offensively but it was never encouraged by the coaches.

          watch for emelin to grab a lot of minutes if the NHL ever plays a game this season

      • bwoar says:

        I ‘ve always liked Commodore, but he’s a step behind the game. These days he’s a #7 IMO, even on the Habs weak D. That said, I’d rather have a big guy in that spot on the roster any day of the week.)

  22. Habfan10912 says:

    Because I’m in a “count my blessings” type of mood, Scott Gomez in 4 games played with Alaska has 2goals 3 assist and is a +1. 🙂


  23. English is not a Crime says:

    For the uninformed that keep saying the players are greedy and selfish and only care about themselves…. Roman Hamrlik just showed you exactly what those three descriptions look like.
    He’s greedy (wants his last year’s salary), selfish (doesn’t care about anyone down the road because he only cares that he gets his final year in) and only cares about himself (who cares who sacrificed before him like Ted Lindsay, with him like Erik Cole or anyone that will come after him like Connor McDavid for example… he only cares about Roman Hamrlik).

    • HabsWinn-ipeg says:

      Or, he feels that the players as a whole don’t have a voice, and is rightfully asking for the opportunity to vote on what the NHL is offering – if the majority say “No” to the offer then so be it.

    • Ozmodiar says:

      You say “the uninformed” call players greedy and selfish, then you call Hamrlik greedy and selfish. 🙂

    • mdp2011 says:

      Yes, because I am sure that you would be willing to give up 4.5 million for the benefit of somebody else, sorry nothing wrong with Hamrlik looking out for himself.

      • English is not a Crime says:

        Veterans of the two world wars gave up a lot more than 4 million bucks for the benefit of future generations, as did people like Ted Lindsay. Hamrlik cares about himself and he’s being told where to put his concerns.

    • bwoar says:

      Let me clarify something for you, EinaC:

      Roman Hamrlik- Not an asshat
      Erik Cole- Definite asshat
      Josh Gorges- Jr. Asshat Scout Leader

      • English is not a Crime says:

        I don’t need the clueless to clarify things (wrongfully) for me. Thanks for the effort, but you’re not qualified to clear things up obviously. Feel free to buy a clue next time, before trying to clarify anything though.

  24. habsfan0 says:

    While I don’t support either side in this dispute(a pox on both their houses)I find it somewhat astonishing at all the venom that is being thrown at Gary Bettman. He is only a mouthpiece,a puppet for the owners,saying publicly what he’s instructed to do by them. It’s not as if the majority of owners are saying behind closed doors that they want a deal NOW and Bettman is telling them that HE doesn’t like Fehr’s latest offer,so there is no deal.

    This being the 49th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bettman,fed up with all the negativity that’s directed squarely at him, came up with this line at a news conference:

    “I’m just a patsy!”

    • Habfan10912 says:

      You have to admit he’s so easy to dislike, no?


    • Mike D says:

      By many accounts, Gary is a lot more than just the voice of the ownership group. He has plenty of power in that group. That doesn’t absolve the owners or put all the blame on Bettman solely, but to dismiss him as just the owners mouthpiece is incorrect.

      The players/PA is not innocent in all this by any means either.

      – Honestly yours
      Twitter: @de_benny

      • habsfan0 says:

        So, you’re suggesting that Bettman has a veto if the owners agree to a CBA offer? Source?

        • Mike D says:

          Not at all – I never stated Bettman has a veto. I simply said he has more power than what you suggest. I agree he represents the owners, but to say he doesn’t have an agenda or wield any power within the BoG is false.

          Agents, analysts, and most importantly, former GM’s and Team Presidents have all stated as much on the record.

          It was Bettman that changed the rule (with BoG approval) from requiring a majority vote to only needing 8 (out of 30).

          – Honestly yours
          Twitter: @de_benny

          • habsfan0 says:

            While I’m not disputing what you say…what EXACTLY is Gary Bettman’s agenda and does it contravene what the majority of owners are aiming for?

          • Mike D says:

            I can’t say factually what the majority of owners want, nor can I say EXACTLY what Bettman’s agenda is.

            There are some players just want to play (Hamrlik), and I would assume at least some owners want the same. I can’t see Molson or owners of the other highly profitable teams wanting this lockout or wanting to contribute more of their profits to the struggling teams as the new CBA proposals call for.

            As for Bettman, I can only go by what I see. It appears to me though that he wants to break the union and is unwilling to really bend or concede anything to the players despite having a heavy list of demands. He obviously has the support of at least some owners….certainly enough of them that he is able to proceed the way he has.

            – Honestly yours
            Twitter: @de_benny

          • habsfan0 says:

            I respectfully disagree. I believe Bettman offers his input and counsel at ownership meetings,but I also think he actually wields very little,if any power. And his agenda fully coincides with what the majority of owners wish. The only time when Bettman would make an essential difference to what the owners want,IMHO,is if a CBA NHLPA offer was made to the owners, and they split evenly on it…15 owners vote for it,while 15 owners vote against it. In that case, I can envision a scenario where Bettman is asked to cast the deciding vote which would break the deadlock. Of course, this is all speculation on my part.

    • HammerHab says:

      I think people don’t find it a coincidene that when Daly & Steve Fehr negotaaite they seem to come to many agreements, then Bettman & Don come in and everything takes a step back.


      It’ll always be Habs Inside/Out to me

      • Cal says:

        Both Bettman and Don are the hardliners. Daly and Steve make nice.
        Considering what happened yesterday, the NHL should move a little more and the PA will move a little more as well, giving us all hockey for Christmas. Ach, who am I kidding? We’re all doomed!!!

        • habsfan0 says:

          I’m beginning to believe that mediation,by an impartial 3rd party,will be the only way to resolve this quagmire. However, the likelihood of that happening is remote, as both the NHL & NHLPA are terrified of relinquishing power.

        • nunacanadien says:

          Maybe it is time someone gave Don a flying hip check centre ice and slash Bettman, give these bastards five minutes each for being arseholes!

          Let the players and a group of GM’s decide what the contract should be. After all, what are Don and Gary except a couple of over pampered executives who couldn’t care less whether you enjoyed the hockey game or not.

  25. Kooch7800 says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to our American counterparts

  26. Mike D says:

    I’m quite surprised by the many anti-player posts so far this AM, specifically the ones directed at Cole.

    For those of you that claim it’s BS when Cole or other players say they are looking out for the next generation of players and respecting the ones that came before them, have a look at this:

    – Honestly yours
    Twitter: @de_benny

    • punkster says:

      Interesting. So where does this stand now?

      ***Subbang Baby!!!***

      • Mike D says:

        Not 100% sure, but I believe the NHL was made to pay what they owed to the pension and have done so. Pretty despicable though that “billionaire owners” are trying to rip off pensioners considering it’s such a small amount in comparison to league revenues and owners’ wealth.

        – Honestly yours
        Twitter: @de_benny

        • nunacanadien says:

          Since when have we heard from the Chris Nilans of the world saying “Thank God the NHLPA gave me what was due to me”….never. And you ask any player who hasn’t signed millions of dollars of worth of contracts what good the Players Association actually does for them? It is the benefits that go to the Players Association which owners wonder if they are actually spent on players? Where was the NHLPA when it came time to speak out against suicides in the past? Or where the heck were they for MaxPac? No where! So you have these group of executives who are used to doing nothing and getting paid highly for basically trying to skim the fat off the CBA! Time to kick Don out and let a real NHL player negotiate his own contract!

    • frontenac1 says:

      Man oh Man, I also can”t believe some of the vitriole directed at Cole,Josh and Hammer. Hammer played hard all his career and he is pissed because he knows its the end of the line for him,understandable. Two of our heart and soul ,stand up guys get made at Hammer when he mouths off and people start crapping all over them and taking sides? Jeeze Louise, there are over 700 players out there and less than 10 or 20 are making stupid statements and that is news? Oh well Time to get ready for some football. Have a great day Amigos, stay safe. Saludos.

    • Chris says:

      Cole or other players looking out for the next generation is a bit rich given that they aren’t exactly sacrificing their own dollars. If they feel strongly about pensions and such, maybe today’s players should volunteer to use their fantastic wealth to pay into a special pension fund to help the guys that preceded them, the guys who didn’t have massive salaries on which to base their retirement yet who paved the way for today’s millionaire players.

      In 1989-90, Steve Yzerman was the captain of the Detroit Red Wings and playing in his seventh NHL season. He posted the second highest goal total (behind Brett Hull) and third highest point total (behind Gretzky and Messier). And he earned $700,000 to do that.

      Inflation has happened, the league has grown and all sorts of other issues. But the staggering increase in salaries now means that a journeyman plugger like Mathieu Darche earned last year what a league superstar earned roughly 20 years ago. THAT is the definition of insanity.

      I’m all for the players gaining freedom to play anywhere they like…I hate the draft and restricted free agency on moral grounds. But I’m equally against the ridiculous salaries that they are commanding, but that is a function of a willingness of companies and individuals to purchase tickets and merchandise at exorbitant prices.

  27. Habfan10912 says:

    Happy Birthday Roadrunner. Now there was a hockey player, eh?


  28. wjc says:

    Agent say’s to Player “A”: We got 6 teams interested in you, where would you like to go if you had a choice.

    He picks a couple of teams. I think I can get you 5 million a year on a long term deal….we will try for 4 years.

    Player “A” says, “fantastic”.

    Couple of days later he calls player “A” up and says the second teams needs a left winger badly and have offered 6 million over 4 years.

    Player “A” says “fantastic, take it”…deal is done

    Media reports it, fans are happy, they are trying to figure where this exciting new player will play on their team.

    Question is player “A” greedy, is manager nuts for signing this guy, do fans care as long as this guy is skating on the left wing.

    Now multiply this scenario several times and you can see what is happening. Teams need to be competitive so when “A” gets signed other teams have to try and keep pace, and perhaps over spend. The fans don’t care “ya cheap bastards, get us a team to cheer for, to hell with the cost”.

    Now the league grows and grows and grows and revenue’s grow and grow and grow and players share grow and grow and grow. The owners eventually say, there are things out of our control at work here. The players share is out pacing our ability to be profitable.

    CBA comes along and the owners say, we need changes this system doesn’t work for us. Players say “we think it works just fine, you signed us, you pay us…..tough luck owners.

    Now the invisable line is drawn in the sand and Bettman is told to get it rightened. Growing the league does not help us like it should.

    So Bettman says, boys and girls we need a deal to righten the ship. The players say, “hey the ship seems fine with us”

    Bettman says we cannot start the season without a settlement. We could get into the season and about February the players could dig in and say the dreaded words “STRIKE”

    So they are locked out….and you know the rest of the story.


    • commandant says:

      No matter how many player As there are, the players couldn’t earn more than 57% of revenues… the share didn’t “keep growing and growing and growing” as you say.

      Your simplistic analogy fails at this most basic level.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

      • HabinBurlington says:

        The higher end players continued to get more and more, the result being 3rd and 4th liners getting less and less. This also then creates scenarios where teams count on more youth to fill in the roster and eliminate veterans who may feel they deserve a raise.

        Yes, the overall payments in one calendar year did not exceed 57%, but they did increase from the previous season.

        When top players salaries continue to increase, it makes filling out the rest of the rosters more and more difficult.

        I think you are both right! 🙂

        • Chris says:

          In some respects, though, this oft-cited analogy that more youth were being used to fill in the rosters at the expense of expensive veterans is overstated.

          In 2011-12 the last season under the old CBA, 225 of the NHL’s 894 (25.2%) players that played that season were 23 or younger on April 30th. 75 of those young players (or 8.4%) played at least 60 games.

          In 2003-04, the last season under the previous CBA, 211 of 916 (23.0%) players that played that season were 23 or younger on April 30th. 58 of those young players (or 6.3%) played at least 60 games.

          I showed yesterday that the number of older players in the league has actually significantly increased (roughly tripled), and we’re seeing that the number of very young players has increased as well (about one and a half times more than in 2003-04). The players that are being squeezed out are the journeymen pluggers in their late 20’s to early 30’s that were never much more than utility players to begin with.

          Like you, I think the dramatic increase in the salaries of the star players has made it more and more difficult to fill out rosters. But those stars are also the guys that carry the team.

          If we’re being honest, the difference between a guy like Mathieu Darche and Travis Moen is almost insignificant in terms of their on-ice play. You could probably find a slew of AHL players who could easily step into 3rd and 4th line roles and not make a mess of it.

          The NHL is largely a top-6 forward, top-4 defenceman, #1 goalie driven team. Once you get past those 11, the other guys are basically not much more than spare parts, largely interchangeable and who bear one responsibility: don’t generate negative publicity.

          • English is not a Crime says:

            Tell that to guys like Huet and Redden.

          • nunacanadien says:

            Honestly, a percentage of millions for a Sid Crosby, means what some more revenues for Crosby’s millions? The formula is all wrong. Only the rich get richer and the grinder hockey player who keeps the league going gets nothing in the end as very little of the money that is supposed to go to players actually trickles down to them unless they pay big bucks to get the money they deserve.

            So really, why are the two sides wide apart? Because the greedy Ovechkins, Crosby’s speak as if the extra they want will actually benefit a player who really needs help.

            Time to stop this charade and help the poor hockey player play hockey.

      • wjc says:

        Sorry I am too simple for you. As revenue’s grow players share grows and expenses grow and the share of the pie becomes lopsided.


        • Trisomy 21 says:

          Don’t take it the wrong way wjc, but that’s not exactly correct. 57% is 57%. the pie does not become lopsided, the pie gets bigger but the owners still get their 43% of revenue.

          • commandant says:

            Exactly… the Pie doesn’t become lopsided.

            In fact there is no single expense that has grown for NHL teams faster than 50% over the last 7 years. Since Revenues have grown 50% the league is more profitable today than it was when the CBA was signed. (the biggest increase… cost of fuel… grew 36-40%)

            Go Habs Go!
            Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

      • habs-fan-84 says:

        correct me if I’m wrong, but if revenue grows does that 57% not get calculated off a larger “pie”…?

  29. HabsWinn-ipeg says:

    I’m losing respect for Cole. He has a right to his opinion just as Hamrlik has a right to his, only in Cole’s mind Hamrlik doesn’t have a right to voice his. The NHLPA may say that they haven’t muzzled their members, but look what happens to anyone (current or former players) who speak anything other than the PA line. As for what would happen if Cole and Hamrlik were across from each other in a dressing room – my money is on Hammer.

    • commandant says:

      Hamrlik is free to speak his mind. Thats free speech

      That doesn’t mean Hamrlik is immune from criticism.

      Cole’s criticism of Hammer is every bit as much him excercising his right to free speech as Hamrlik’s is. Cole isn’t silencing Hammer and isn’t taking away “hir right to voice his (opinion)”.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

      • HabsWinn-ipeg says:

        Then Cole should simply state his opinion in disagreement with Hammer, not attack Hammer for having a different one. Lots of examples out there of players being silenced (shamed, verbally attacked, etc) – they may not be gagged, but every player knows that if they don’t spout the party line, they will be “corrected” by the thought police of the PA. Interesting that Cole has knowledge of a private conversation that Hamrlik had with Gorges.

        • Mike D says:

          “Interesting that Cole has knowledge of a private conversation that Hamrlik had with Gorges.”

          Did you even bother reading the article or Mr. Stubbs’ comments?

          – Honestly yours
          Twitter: @de_benny

          • HabsWinn-ipeg says:

            Yup – did you?

            “Because of his conversations with Josh (Habs NHLPA rep Josh Gorges), some of the things he’s said to him in private conversations and Josh has been just like, ‘Is this guy serious?’ We couldn’t believe what his stance was on certain things.

          • Mike D says:

            Try again:

            ” Dave Stubbs
            November 21, 2012 at 10:31 pm

            My guess: Hamrlik knew he was speaking to Gorges as the Canadiens’ NHLPA rep, expecting his views might be disseminated. Gorges, newly elected to the post this fall, wisely leans a great deal on team veterans who have labour experience before him, especially Cole, currently the Habs’ alternate PA rep. They might have spoken about the Hamrlik remarks as they relate to the PA.

            I know Josh Gorges well; he’s not the kind of guy who’d violate a trust if Hamrlik had told him the conversation was to be private. ”

            – Honestly yours
            Twitter: @de_benny

        • commandant says:

          I’m still thinking you don’t get how this whole “free speech” thing works.

          He’s not immune from being attacked by someone else’s words.

          If Hammer chooses to respond to Cole or anyone else, he’s free to do so.

          Go Habs Go!
          Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • L Elle says:

      Everyone right now is like the scientist stuck in his/her lab and can’t see beyond.

      I agree with Cole and Hammer both. They have different perspectives, as they are different people.

      But, Hammer has made 57 million over his career. Am I supposed to feel badly for him?

    • habsfan0 says:

      Agreed. I wonder if Cole would take the same stance if he was in Hamrlik’s position,38 years old and likely seeing his final year go down the drain.

    • Gerry H says:

      I think in view of the fact that the owners have been trying to drive a wedge into the PA, with all the talk about Fehr not being open about the negotiations, it’s hardly surprising that Hamrlik got some push-back. The NHL uses the hammer of a $1 million fine to keep up the image of solidarity on their side. The players don’t. I think the exchange was healthy.

    • wjc says:

      Don’t lose respect for, Cole. Solidarity may be an illusion, but it does not help the cause for Hamrlik to speak out at this late stage of negotiations.

      Cole is speaking the union line, so no harm is being done…remember solidarity. But, Hamrlik, who is frustrated and upset is speaking honestly, but at this point it does not move the process along.


  30. Old Bald Bird says:

    The anti-player ranting is amazing to me. They have bent quite a lot, but the pro-owners faction won’t be satisfied until they have truly bent over.

    Since the owners (wink wink, nudge nudge) lose money on the game, this lockout is a boon to them. The players are the ones willing to give up money and possibly a lot of it. They have lost $ and will lose more, but at least they know that they have fought the good fight. There’s something to be said for that.

    • Cal says:

      The players have thus far lost about 1/4 of this year’s salary with no escrow payments in sight.
      This lockout has been about the players trying to get rid of Bettman. It’s a vendetta and not a bargaining position.
      The players’ tweets and comments have been, on the whole, nothing but provocative trash talking. If they want to lose the whole year and more, they are doing a good job of it. Remember, minimum wage is $525K and they fly by chartered jets and stay in hotels. Their “working conditions” are taken care of and they make a (small to large) fortune every season. It’s time for them to forget about chasing Bettman out and get back to playing hockey.

      • commandant says:

        The players vendetta has been to get rid of Bettman?

        I see it as quite the opposite. The owners demands and unwillingness to give fair consideration to anything the union has offered to date, including yesterdays offer which is extremely fair, shows me that Bettman and the owners are trying to crush the union.

        For a difference of $1.2 million per team, they are willing to flush the season away. Non sensical.

        Go Habs Go!
        Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

        • wjc says:

          Remember the season “has not been flushed away”, it is an on going process. The process has to be played out.

          These numbers you quote are they based on fact. I don’t believe any of the numbers being quoted. Numbers can be bent and twisted into what you are trying to sell.

          An example. If you take pill “a” every day it will cut your chance of getting a stroke by 33%.

          Wow! you say….33% that is incredible, where can I buy them.

          Now the facts. Lets say you have a 3% chance of having a stroke.

          If you take the pill it will reduce your chances to 2%…big deal you might say.

          But if you play with the numbers 2% is better then 3% by 33%.

          Numbers can misinform. Lying by omission and distortion.


          • commandant says:

            The NHL has admitted that they offered 211 million in make whole, and that the NHLPA is asking for 393 million. Both sides (finally) agree on what the offers actually are.

            Go Habs Go!
            Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I have said this before, but don’t you think if the Players had continued forward with Paul Kelly, there would have been gradual talks between the PA and the owners over the course of the past season and a half? Gary Bettman is not someone I admire nor like and have difficulty respecting. However, I believe he was actually willing as a representative of the owners to build a relationship with Kelly and the players.

      Once the PA got into their own infighting, the hardline players appeared to gain control of the PA and in so doing went after Fehr, essentially the top hired gun available in sports union relations. This sent a signal to the owners, we are getting ready for the next CBA. It took months for the PA to officially announce the hiring of Fehr, and was widely reported that he essentially was re-writing much of the constitution as it related to the PA President position and the process in which that leader can essentially be undone.

      No negotiations were held between PA and Owners until expiry, I hold both parties to blame on this. I agree that the owners are going for more than they require, but I also believe the players are going for more than they require.

      However, as a result of having two leaders who are hugely ego driven, the negotiations have gone from being about issues to about personalities almost, or agendas perhaps.

      I can’t stand Bettman, and when this crap is over I hope he is replaced, the owners need a reset on who represents them, to me it is obvious that a handful of owners have hijacked the league and Bettman is in their backpocket.

      Just the same, the PA needs to realize that taking an adversarial approach with the owners, merely gets their backup, causes them to dig in their heels and we are left we steaming dog poop at the expiry of each CBA.

      I am neither pro owner or pro player, I am pro settlement with replacement of both leaders.

    • wjc says:

      If the lock out is a boon to the owners, then why not just fold up the show completely.

      Propaganda is a tool that deals with bending reality to suit your needs/purpose. Take most of it with a grain of salt. Trying to analysis this information will probably put you in the looney bin.

      There are no hero’s in this fight. If the fans just keep their heads up and their sticks on the ice and their eyes on the puck, it will all work out.


  31. skoalbandit says:

    I just lost a ton of respect towards Eric Cole. His comments show the ignorance of these players. He rips Hammer for his comments and then says that this lockout is to help future players.

    One thing that was a major hold up of a new CBA the past few weeks was the guarenteeing of CURRENT contracts. The players are holding out for THEMSELVES. How does holding out for current contracts help future players.

    Stop letting players hide behind ignorant statements. I commend Hammer his comments. Everyone makes good money, drop the puck.

  32. Renegade says:

    Good on Hamrlik for speaking his mind. Screw what the other players say, his comments are the only ones that have wrung true to me throughout this entire lockout. I’ve always liked Hamrlik, but now I respect him as well, as he had the guts to come out and say what we all know is the truth, even if it meant being bashed by the union chest pounders.

    Time to get a damn deal done and end this nonsense.

  33. von says:

    I agree with Cole. I like Hamrlik but he was wrong to come out like this. He looks totally foolish and selfish. He’s only got a year left probably so what does he care about the next potential 4+? years of a new CBA. I agree with Cole 100%.


    “Obviously it would be great, but they don’t really hang conference titles in this rink. They raise Stanley Cup banners.” – Carey Price

  34. Chris1138 says:

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this lockout, it’s that I like hockey and I do not like hockey players.

    –| Brad Marchand | Starley Cup Chanpiar 2011 |–

  35. arcosenate says:

    Wow, I guess this means the current players are going to donate 20% of their bloated salaries to take care of the guys that came before them. Guys that also built the game but were paid peanuts to do so.

    Frankly, this is getting disgusting, the global economy is in the toilet and these billionaires and millionaires are squabbling over money 99% of the population could never dream of.

    Ticket prices will continue to go up, average people won’t be able to take their kids to a game, the whole thing stinks to high heaven.

    Both sides should be absolutely embarassed at this demonstration of greed.

    What absolutely turns my stomach the most is that I will be the first in line to turn on a Habs game if this thing is ever settled.

    • commandant says:

      Player Salary has nothing to do with ticket prices.

      Ticket prices will still be high if salaries drop, it will just mean the owners make more profit.

      Ticket prices are set by the supply and demand of fans in the market.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

      • arcosenate says:

        Gee, do you think the amount of money paid to players plays a role in the bottom line of an organization? Do you think that players salaries play a role in how much money a team makes? Do you think that just perhaps, perhaps, players salaries at 57% of the revenue of the league might have even just an iota of influence on the price of a ticket?

        • Mike D says:

          Do you remember after the last lockout when Bettman said that ticket prices would go down because they got their salary cap…….but then they actually went up?

          Do you really believe that when the 50-50 kicks in that prices are going to go down because of THAT? They might go down in some markets, but only because teams in less enthusiastic markets need to attract fans back.

          – Honestly yours
          Twitter: @de_benny

        • commandant says:

          No they don’t

          People (not just owners) almost all people are greedy in nature.

          If you know fans are willing to pay $200 per ticket, why would you charge $150 a ticket and make less profit. Even if the $150 still meets your expenses. Why wouldn’t a team profit more.

          The best example that Ticket Prices aren’t set by salary.

          The Leafs, Habs and Bruins are all “cap spending” teams, which means more or less they all spend the same on player salaries.

          The Leafs tickets are by far the most expensive of the three, then Montreal, then Boston.

          If Boston makes enough money with the prices as they charge them, why are Montreal and Toronto charging more?

          Go Habs Go!
          Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  36. wjc says:

    I smell a settlement, soon.

    The lock out will be over soon, which should make most people happy. The process is almost complete.

    I think as early as this weekend will end this nonsense.

    Bettman admits movement by the players. Fehr say’s they gave as much ground as they can.

    Bettman will put together another proposal off of Fehr’s. The gap will be bridged further. Perhaps another proposal from the players. Some concessions by both sides and a …!

    Players are upset, mostly behind the scenes….Hamilic spoke out, spoke his mind…, sh, sh…don’t show weakness, it doesn’t help right now. Pretend to have solidarity.

    Owners, I am sure are grumbling behind the scenes. Pressure is on both sides to make a deal. It will happen….playing December 8th-15th.

    Will all be forgotten after a couple of games and people have something on the ice to focus on.

    Bettman and Fehr….just doing their jobs. What was lost:

    The fans lost a few games and saved some money.

    Players lost some money and may appreciate what they have a little more…who knows?

    Owners get a better structure in which to grow the game.

    So really nobody lost with the exception of business’s that depend on the game…restaurants, merchandise sales, but that is life.

    Interesting to watch all of it come down and hopefully we all learned something from it.


  37. Ah I love it! The old guys know what’s going on here.

    Hammer knows his time is short, times to gets paid he says!

    Morons all of them. The owners are doing the right thing here, no employee is worth losing millions over.

    I can go the entire year and more without seeing overpriced talent on ice, can the players go that long without playing?

    They get paid millions to play a freaking game and most of them are over paid in the first place.

    6 teams lost 23 million or more, another 14 lost in the millions, that tells me two things. The players are over paid and the product on the ice stinks.

    I wonder how many fans in Phoenix would watch the Canadiens and leafs like we do game in, game out?

    They all stink and aren’t worth watching, all over paid bums and they want more?


    Time to get the kids to school, prepare them for real life.

    Morning rant over. 😆

    They Call Me Shane
    “They never asked to be Canadiens, they were Chosen.”
    Shane Oliver
    Twitter @Sholi2000
    Custom Sports Figures

  38. Curtis O Habs says:

    Roman had a good idea with putting certain issues to a vote. That would show the true will of the NHLPA. Does Fehr truly know what is best for the NHLPA? Their stance smells of party politics and not of negotiation.

  39. ed lopaz says:

    the players also had a short term goal when they hired Fehr – not simply the longer term, protect the future, winners in life, character stuff people want to believe in.

    the players short term goal was to sign the best, richest deal they possibly could get – for today’s players.

    Hamrlik is 100% right.

    Every day that goes by the players are losing – not winning.

    It is time to sign a deal and let’s play hockey.

  40. Phil C says:

    The best thing about the Hamrlik story is that it really illustrates that the fight is indeed not about money.

    For the players, they feel an obligation to all those before them who fought hard and paid a high price for the benefits the current players reap. They also want to ensure the next generation doesn’t get screwed because they sold out their rights for a few million. They may be jocks, but they are also winners in life, and winners often have character and the will to do the right thing. If it was simply about money, 700 players would be acting like Hamrlik.

    For the owners, they want to prove they are the owners and have the power. They are only $180M apart over 5 years, however Bettman says the owners are losing $20M a day in this lockout, so if they shorten the lockout for 9 days or more, they at least break even. This should be an easy business decision. The problem is it’s not really about money or they would be negotiating with more urgency and would be taking the players’ offer.

    This is about dogma on both sides, with each side not really understanding where the other is coming from, which means the season is indeed in jeopardy.

    • Price07 says:

      Pretty easy to be a winner when you know you’ve banked more money than we’ll ever make in our lifetime, by playing hockey. They want more money from owners who made their money working hard (for the most part).

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I don’t know Phil, this really is about money. We can twist it however we want with stories of taking care of the future etc… but it is still about how much money players get now or in the future.

      It is foolish for either side to say this isn’t about money.

      • Price07 says:

        lol it is pretty much ONLY about money. They’re not trying to sign a CBA to make sure they have better work conditions because up to now its just been sooo rough..

        if they really talk about being selfish…what about the fans with modest lives and the little people who make their modest income from the NHL, that the players are screwing by demanding a few more millions to live their lavish lives.

        • Cal says:

          They get that fans can live vicariously through their play on the ice.
          They just don’t get that we diehards are as intense as they are during gametime and that we take losses personally, and don’t slough it off as just a bad day at the office.
          Of course, being fanatics (and we are- reading these pages in the middle of an extended lockout), we want the players to do what they should be doing: playing hockey.

      • Old Bald Bird says:

        Having been there a few times, I am forced to agree that all strikes (of course this is a lockout) are about money. In my limited experience, however, they are not also *all* about money.

    • wjc says:

      Sorry Phil, it is about money. Can you say for certainty how far they are apart. This is one side saying something that may or may not be exagerated.

      The worst thing a person can do is take propaganda as fact. It is all just words and more words.

      A deal will be made, the problem it has to be an exceptable deal.

      Players seem greedy, but the money is there to be made, would you turn it down.

      The owners seem greedy but dollars are there and they try to buy the best players they can. This keeps the fans happy and dreaming about victory.

      The fans will pay to see their team play. The want a dominate team a competitive team or they will be angry.

      The south needs teams, the idea being if they catch on, the league will grow even bigger, maybe double what it is now.

      Marketing indicates that hockey is an entertaining product, with the right mix of speed and violence. This is a good combination, so why would it not catch on in the south

      They could play in Las Vegas and be successful. This is a desert last time I looked, but people would come and watch. Hockey is a growing sport. The arena is just for atmosphere, the real money is in Televisions…..huge televisions, 3 dementional televisions, ideal for a high speed game like hockey. Surround sound to pick up the feel of the game. Pay per view is also part of this package which makes 100’s of millions of dollars and can be purchased anywhere in the world with a few exceptions.

      The game has just started to grow and the right structure has to be in place….try to forget about Saskatoon and Halifax etc as being a viable alternative.


  41. Price07 says:

    Of course I hate bettman and his dumb ideas to put hockey in markets it doesn’t belong which just causes the league financial distress. But the players are pissing me off too with their “we”re the good guys, we just wanna play, owners are greedy” if they were actually interested in playing hockey, if they had half a brain they’d realize they are beyond lucky to make any kind of millions for playing a game. The fact that their bosses make more than them should be normal, that’s how life works. Their proposal also guarantees them money, not taking on any risk. Nothing in life is certain, you have to live with some degree of risk.

    • HammerHab says:

      “The fact that their bosses make more than them should be normal, that’s how life works.”

      and thats how the NHL works too. even at 57/43 the individual owners make more than each individual employee.

      57% divided among 700 players
      43% divided among 30 owners


      It’ll always be Habs Inside/Out to me

      • Price07 says:

        You make a good point, but still, your boss decides how much you make not you. If you don’t like it you can go somewhere else. Where are they going to go? Play in Russia? If they don’t play hockey what are they gonna do with their high school degrees?

        While the owners, if they have to give up on their side project which is owning a team…they can go back to whatever they do that makes them the millions and billions of dollars that allows them to buy a sports franchise on the side.

  42. 365fan says:

    I have an idea for what fans should do just in case the players and owners somehow are able to salvage this season.

    Fans should walk out because of the lockout. The easy way to do this is to simply not attend the first home game for each team. Wathc it on tv, read about it, but don’t go. Imagine the visual power of 20,000 empty seats at the Bell Centre, 18,000 at the ACC, and so on. Players who are used to being adored for their performance would instead be playing in echo chambers. Owners used to thousands paying outlandish prices for beer and hotdogs would instead have to see what their actions have caused. It would be easy to do, easily spread through social media, and might, just might cause the players and owners to act more responsibly at the time of the next CBA negotiations.

    • Price07 says:

      That’s exactly what we should do. Right now, everyone is standing their ground and making their voice heard etc. (owners, players and i’m sure the tv networks too). But us, the fans, the people that really drive this business sit their losing the most and like dummies we’ll go right back and not teach the owners or players a lesson, we don’t show our disgust. I mean common, I’m 24 years old I’ve lived 3 lockouts…there’s a ton of other sports and none of them have this problem. Its absolutely ridiculous!! I’m so pissed off lol

      • 365fan says:

        Thanks. It would only have to be one game to be practical and effective. Things could go back to “normal” after it. The players and owners are taking fans for granted right now and have been for a long time.

  43. Cal says:

    Enough of the rhetoric! Both sides are nutters!
    This is what I felt like when I was a kid:

  44. HabinBurlington says:

    Very interesting endorsement for the hiring of John Gibbons as Toronto’s Manager. Shea Hillenbrand the player whom Gibbons had a dustup with, says in an interview that Gibby was indeed in the right and is a good choice.

    The more I have read and listened about this re-hiring, i am starting to understand it and come to support it.–blue-jays-hire-john-gibbons-as-manager-reports

    I respect Hillenbrand for providing this information and admitting he didn’t handle himself well. Interesting, he was a good player with a good bat, his outbreak really was a big factor in shortening his career.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      As it should have been. Whether Hillenbrand behavior was caused by a roid induced episode or just a brain freeze he was lucky Gibby didn’t get to him.


  45. Dust says:

    I don’t see the big deal is about what hammer said. I’m sure there are many other nhl players who feel the same way as he does. All he is really asking for is a vote to see what the majority of players think.
    I think the comments of Cole, Gorges and Darche are more telling. Talk about getting your back against the wall. The way they reacted it sounds like more players are privately going against what they want.
    Do a vote NHLPA see where the players really stand. Or just do what the Donald says.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I’d say I have no problem with Cole’s and others reaction either. I’m sure the PA would have preferred a behind close door debate. I am sure there is much more debate going on behind those doors daily. The union leadership as the league leadership are driving the train and ultimately will be held accountable by its membership. We hockey fans just want one thing. Hockey.


  46. Marc10 says:

    Hammer is only one voice in all of this. There are another 200+ Hammers out there that will lose their last chance at an NHL game and the salary that comes with it.

    And then there are the superstars (or guys on superstar salaries) that are going to lose bucket loads for missing a season. (What’s the total bill for a guy like Iginla for missing two full locked out seasons? Must be pretty staggering… That’s money he’ll never see.) There must be another 40 highly paid guys that are leaning on their agents to lean on Fehr to salvage some coin from this fiasco.

    The owners would be wise to bet on fractured union. The numbers are on their side. 18 odd franchises that don’t make much coin under the CBA can easily play hardball. Sure they’re killing the game, but what do they care?

    What’s the drop dead date on this thing? Early Jan?

  47. HabFab says:

    I think it is important to remember these guys are jocks, even super jocks. They are highly motivated and competitive people who want to win and hate losing. The owners may not be sports jocks but they are ever bit as motivated and competitive as the players, perhaps more so.
    Heck, us HIO posters have been going at each pretty good over this issue for the past couple of months so it shouldn’t surprise that the active participants do.It is sad and ugly but I fear we will see more in this totally ugly affair. It has always been my contention that both sides entered this looking for a fight…well they got one. Hopefully sanity prevails on both sides by day’s end.

  48. otter649 says:

    FA defenceman Mike Commodore signs a professional tryout contract with The Bulldogs …….

  49. Timo says:

    How long before Hammer comes out and says that he was misquoted. But really, sometimes I even sort of like hockey players. Cole and Gorges were 2 of 3 or 4 Habs players last season i could actually stand. But all the liking is gone once these guys start doing all the union talk.

  50. ProHabs says:

    I remember I used to come onto this site and there would be 1000 comments a night. What the hell happened.

    I mean Stephanie Myles posts a thread with some articles and all she gets for it is 1 comment. And that comment was from Commandant and if you read his comment, he didn’t even really want to comment on the thread. I feel for the girl. 1 measly comment for all of her work. I’m bent over this.

    • Timo says:

      Could it be that most of us are getting quite apathetic? I posted that Halak is better than Price earlier today and got what… a snorky response from Punkster? Before it would have been at least 2 pages worth of insults, bickering, typing in capital letters and account blocking. Now it’s all for naught.

  51. Chris says:

    As for Erik Cole and Josh Gorges, I guess I can respect their dedication to the union and their fellow players, but I sort of wish they would give it a rest with their public statements.

    Cole in particular has come across as little more than your stereotypical “jock” throughout the lockout, which is unfortunate because he came across in many of his interviews this past season a rather thoughtful guy.

    I work in a heavily unionized environment, and it always amazes me how union devotees can lose some of their rationality and perspective when they get a good pro-union rant going.

    I’ve been perceived as being a union supporter through this strike because I think many of the contract negotiation limitations the NHL are asking for are unnecessary.

    This strike would be over if both sides agreed to a 50/50 split of hockey revenues, to what the definition of those hockey-related revenues should be and a provision that the cap hit of any contract will exist for the lifetime of the contract regardless of whether the player is in the minors, Europe or retired.

    The 50/50 split is pretty much an inevitability, the HRR issue is thorny, but the contract thing is a no-brainer.

    Everything outside of that is just noise. The players would be wise to keep their mouths shut because the public IS turning on them, and this immature Bettman-baiting isn’t going to improve their image.

    The last thing the players need is this lockout stalemate appearing to the public as being due to a vendetta by the players against Bettman. If they’re not careful, that’s how its going to start being interpreted; we are already starting to see more articles in the media to that effect.

  52. Muckbringer says:

    “Fast-forward about another month. If we’re sitting here just after New Year’s and it’s pretty much the same (in negotiations), I’d say it’s toast.”

    To the real people who matter, its already toast; so is next year. LORD STANLEY ROLLING IN HIS GRAVE kind of ish. BOTH SIDES HAVE LOST MORE MONEY THUS FAR THAN THEY COULD EVER STAND TO GAIN!!!

    This my friends is not the definition of insanity, why we should care is.

  53. ProHabs says:

    Hamerlik expressed his thoughts in a private converstation with Josh Gorges. Then how the heck did Cole find out about this. If a player has a private conversation with someone, then he expects it to stay between them 2, not to be shared with others.

    Anyway, Hamerlik has been known to be a little puke (that is the words of Theo Fleury).

    • Dave Stubbs says:

      My guess: Hamrlik knew he was speaking to Gorges as the Canadiens’ NHLPA rep, expecting his views might be disseminated. Gorges, newly elected to the post this fall, wisely leans a great deal on team veterans who have labour experience before him, especially Cole, currently the Habs’ alternate PA rep. They might have spoken about the Hamrlik remarks as they relate to the PA.

      I know Josh Gorges well; he’s not the kind of guy who’d violate a trust if Hamrlik had told him the conversation was to be private.

      And lest I be viewed as partial in all of this: I wrote a great deal about Roman Hamrlik when he played for the Canadiens; I like the guy a lot.

      I think Roman Hamrlik sees what might be his final NHL season slowly slipping down the drain and he’s angry about that. I see Erik Cole as a guy who believes the lockout is bigger than any one player, the sacrifices made being for the good of the players still to come.

      With careers short and a lot of money at stake, tempers will be short and opinions will be divergent. That’s what the story above illustrates to me.

      Dave Stubbs

      Hockey Inside/Out
      Sports Columnist/Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette
      • On Twitter: @Dave_Stubbs
      • Email:

      • Ron says:

        No doubt the Hammer is abit angry, glad to see some see it that way.

        • frontenac1 says:

          Exactly, Hammer is great guy,he is pissed and knows his days are numbered and he mouths off. So what? So now people start shitting on two stand up guys like Josh and Cole because they get mad at Hammer? Really?

      • ProHabs says:

        Thanks for that explanation Dave. Appreciate your input.

      • Chris says:

        I hope that you or one of the other journalists gives Roman a chance to air his side of it. I’ve always found Hamrlik refreshingly honest, so I’d be curious to hear his rebuttal to Cole, whose comments come across as a pretty nasty hatchet job.

        Hamrlik isn’t necessarily wrong; he was in his prime when the players lost the 2004-05 season. And he was in his 3rd year as a professional during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season. So he might have an interesting perspective on how effective these hardline stances are for the players, having now been through three of them.

        • Dave Stubbs says:

          No doubt Hamrlik will be pursued Thursday in the Czech Republic; when this story was in production, it was after 2 am overseas, too late to find him.

          Dave Stubbs

          Hockey Inside/Out
          Sports Columnist/Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette
          • On Twitter: @Dave_Stubbs
          • Email:

          • Chris says:

            I figured that that would be the case.

            But given his seemingly genuine rapport with the Montreal media while here, he’d be an interesting guy to hear from in a couple of days when the initial hoopla dies down.

            I’m not so keen on the sensationalist stuff that’s going to run tomorrow, but more the in-depth comments. I can wait. 🙂

      • The Dude says:

        Dave,I think its fair to say Gorges is one of your faves and can do you no wrong….But in this case “It’s Hammer time!”

        • Dave Stubbs says:

          As someone who covers the team, players become “one of my faves” based on their availability after a loss as well as a win and the honesty with which they speak after either. Josh Gorges is one of those guys. Erik Cole is one of those players as well. When he played here, I very much enjoyed Roman Hamrlik for the same reasons. I have nothing emotionally invested in this story or wish to bury one guy at the expense of another. This is Hamrlik, a long-time NHL veteran, speaking on a topical issue and of Cole, another long-time vet, responding to his comments.

          Dave Stubbs

          Hockey Inside/Out
          Sports Columnist/Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette
          • On Twitter: @Dave_Stubbs
          • Email:

      • habsnyc says:

        Well said.

        Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

  54. Muckbringer says:

    Hockey WAS the last bastion of sportsmanship and Lord Stanleys’ cup was the epitome of greatness. This lockout is not the end of The NHL, no gentlemen, i give you charas hit on MaxFactor, and their cup win* there after.
    I ask you, what else convinced you the nhl has become “sports entertainment” that year?

    dont wait too long. Big Carey save in 10 on TSN

    Conan: Almost 20 years of pitiless cumber! No rest, no sleep like other men. And yet the spring wind blows, Subotai. Have you ever felt such a wind?
    Subotai: They blow where I live too. In the north of every man’s heart.
    Conan: It’s never too late, Subotai.
    Subotai: No. It would only lead me back here another day. In even worse company.
    Conan: For us, there is no spring. Just the wind that smells fresh before the storm.

  55. smiler2729 says:


    Jack Edwards is a clam.
    Gary Bettman is a bobblehead.

  56. habsnyc says:

    Hamrlik has played the most NHL games of any active player. He is in his third lockout. He has the right to express his opinion.

    Erik Cole is a multi-millionaire, grown man who thinks it is appropriate to wear a hat that says “Puck Bettman.” Cole comes off as immature,ignorant and intransigent, which is the trifecta Fehr needs to rule with impunity. The personal attacks on Bettman are tiresome.

    Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

    • Muckbringer says:

      He is “next goal” Cole. Last year he always came up big. If i had to take him or subban in a trade it would be ruff but im going cole.

      Conan: Almost 20 years of pitiless cumber! No rest, no sleep like other men. And yet the spring wind blows, Subotai. Have you ever felt such a wind?
      Subotai: They blow where I live too. In the north of every man’s heart.
      Conan: It’s never too late, Subotai.
      Subotai: No. It would only lead me back here another day. In even worse company.
      Conan: For us, there is no spring. Just the wind that smells fresh before the storm.

      • habsnyc says:

        We are not talking about his skill on the ice, but his immaturity off the ice. And besides, he is on the downside of his solid career.

        Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

  57. sreuel says:

    Hamrlik will be back in the news saying he was miss quoted. After he here’s all of players are mad at him

  58. SlovakHab says:

    Cole absolutely lost me there.
    He rips into Hamrlik for being selfish?

    Clearly the other 699 players are so giving they would love to share their “hard-earned” millions with fans.

    There is many other things from what he said that make me sick, but I won’t go there, not worth wasting my time.

  59. HabinBurlington says:

    I respect the passion Cole has for the cause, however, I think he is making a mistake venting like that to the media. He may well be pissed at Hamrlik, but the players should be dealing with this in house.
    Creating fractures within the PA by calling out fellow members can’t be helpful.

  60. habs12 says:

    This is dumb, there are many owners who dont agree with the way things have been going, just like there are clearly some players like Hamrlik who disapprove with it as well. To each his own. One thing is certain: the players will not win this stalemate and are delusional if they think they will. The longer this thing drags out, the more the players will lose, both in money off the table through missing games and in the new cba agreements.

  61. commandant says:

    2 goals for Charles Hudon tonight.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  62. PuckNHLPA says:

    So if I get it right, players are allowed to express their opinion as long as the follow the PA hardline. Got it. #democracy

    Many fans don’t relate to these guys, millionaires crying injustice in the media constantly, they are the poor victims, they can’t agree on a CBA with their billionaire owners.

    I might have to sponsor a few of them for Xmas, just to make sure they can put some premium gas in their Porsche/Ferrari.

    Players need to stay quiet, fans don’t care how they divide the $ pie with the owners, we just want to give our hard earned cash to go see a hockey game. The more the players come out (twitter is killing them), the more fans side with the owners. This is not a PR battle…it’s a battle to divide a huge pot of money. Most fans worry about making ends meet, not if they will have to go down from 2.4M (NHL average salary) to 2.2M in annual salary.


    • commandant says:

      NHL owners get fined up to 1 million dollars if they break party line in the media.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

      • PuckNHLPA says:

        I know but they PA should seriously ask its players to take it easy, comments made by Versteeg and his “brothers” are acceptable but someone dares to not agree with the PA’s strategy, he gets crucified. So much for Fehr saying the players are allowed to speak their mind.

        • commandant says:

          Free Speech is not a license to have your speech not be critiqued by others.

          There very essence of free speech is that one person can state their opinion, freely, and others are also free to criticize that opinion.

          Free speech has never made you immune to the criticisms of others.

          Go Habs Go!
          Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • Sean Bonjovi says:

      To believe your statement one would have to believe your statement. If you prove you can form a sound, logical argument you’ll make a better case for the idea that your opinions are well formed.

  63. commandant says:

    Dave could you ask Cole if its true that Hamrlik hasn’t once been involved in the NHLPA conference calls?

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

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