WINNIPEG - Andrew Ladd has no problem with a friendly debate or a dissenting view from another NHLPA member.
However, when it comes to the recent firestorm created by comments from Roman Hamrlik about the NHL lockout, the captain of the Winnipeg Jets believes it would be best for the veteran defenceman to do a little more research before weighing in.
“I disagree with his opinion, for sure,” said Ladd, after a group of six skaters and two goalies hit the ice at MTS Iceplex for Friday’s session. “Everyone is allowed to state their own opinion, but if you’re going to do that, I would make sure that your facts are straight too.
“(Hamrlik) said the deal (in 2005) didn’t get better after that (lockout ended) and it did. It was a hard cap when they cancelled the year and it ended up being tied to revenue, which bumped it up to where it is right now. It’s inaccurate in that sense.”
Washington Capitals goalie Michal Neuvrith threw his support behind Hamrilik and said the lockout was only about the superstars, not about what was best for all members of the NHLPA.
“That’s completely false,” said Ladd. “Your superstars are always going to make their money, regardless. There’s so much more into it, (the NHL) wants to add another year before guys get salary arbitration and a lot of (contract rights) and stuff like that, it affects everybody.
“I would encourage them to check into it a little more, be on some calls and get a little more information.”
This is not to suggest that there are only two of the 700-plus members of the NHLPA who are not fully on board with where things currently stand.
Plenty are frustrated and several might actually be willing to sacrifice a better deal for a guarantee of a paycheque in the near future.
That said, it would be ridiculous to suggest the NHLPA is beginning to fracture.
It’s simply not the case.
In fact, there is a growing sentiment the NHLPA might move to decertify in an effort to push the negotiating process along through the courts and put some additional heat on the NHL.
However, this is more than just a scare tactic for the NHLPA.
“We’ve (exhausted) all options and it kind of pushes you into a corner — we realize (moving to decertify) is one of our options,” said Ladd. “To be honest with you, I think it would be a good one for us. At some point, you have to start fighting back. We don’t have much leverage and we know they’re just trying to wait us out. We might as well try to do something.
“We’re well aware that if we do it, it’s not something that you think is going to be a two-week thing. When you do it, you have to be ready and willing to go the whole way.”
Friday also brought the latest round of cuts and subsequent press releases from NHL and NHLPA offices, expressing disappointment.
Along with the cancellation of games through Dec. 14 — which brought the total to date up to 422 games (or more than 34% of the entire season) — the NHL also blow-torched the All-star weekend, scheduled for the end of January in Columbus.
Despite the cancellations, St. Louis Blues winger Ryan Reaves was trying to stay positive.
“I always like to stay optimistic,” said Reaves. “I don’t like to think that I’m not going to be playing hockey this season. But you never know.”