Big shock. Rob Ray is backing off his comments that he would become a replacement player in a scab-staffed NHL. He told the Buffalo News he has no intention of ever playing again.
The players actually have a lot of good reasons why the NHL wouldn’t work with replacement players. Canadian labor laws (or labour laws) are one reason. Matt Barnaby, as smart as he is mean, points out that people won’t pay for crappy hockey. And Buffalo defenseman Jay McKee reasons that if you take all ECHL and AHL players, you’ll have no one to play in those leagues. You know. Except me. Even though I can’t skate or shoot.
Meanwhile, the NHLPA is finally getting smart. They continue to resist a salary cap, but yesterday they trotted out NHL stars to reinforce their message. What does that do? It makes the players seem sympathetic and it gives a face to the union’s plight. What’s not touching about someone like Vinny Damphousse saying “But I made a lot of money because of the sacrifices from guys under the last deal. So I’m not going to be selfish. I’m going to do what’s right for the membership.”
If the players can keep it up, fans are going to start demanding to know why the owners won’t compromise on the cap. It’s all about momentum.