Report: NHL Could Resort to Replacement Players in Attempt to Break Up Players Union

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October 5, 2012

Report: NHL Could Resort to Replacement Players in Attempt to Break Up Players UnionWith the NHL cancelling games for most of the month of October, more cancellations are likely on the horizon. However, the season may not be completely lost.

According to former Toronto Maple Leafs assistant general manager Bill Watters, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would consider using replacement players in an attempt to break up the NHLPA union.

This tactic has been used before in locked out professional sports. In 1987 the NFL used replacement players for three weeks to force the hand of their striking players, and as a result, was able to end the work stoppage. It was also speculated in the 2004-05 NHL labor dispute that the league would resort to replacement players, but the trigger was never pulled.

Though most young players would not consider crossing the picket line, the owners and executives could plausibly put rosters together for all 30 teams. Whether or not bringing in replacement players happens, the threat of it could be enough to force the NHLPA?s hand in taking a smaller revenue share.

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