Are the NHLers Scabs?

Many of you have seen the recent article by former NHL goaltender Corey Hirsch. Hirsch, who earns a living playing hockey in Europe, has been displaced by an NHL goaltender who took an overseas job to stay in shape. Hirsch points out the NHLers are pushing out people who earn far less than them and are essentially destroying the careers of these hockey players.

“Some of these players should have a talk with my pregnant wife and kids who moved their lives to Europe, only to watch me sit in the stands game after game because I have been bumped by an NHL player,” Hirsch writes. “There’s a good chance I may not play a game this season.”

The NHLPA better soon realize that they have no friends in this battle and that they will only be collecting negative publicity throughout the lockout. I think that playing in Europe is a lousy thing to do but I realize they need to keep their skills at peak level in case the season actually does materialize (fat chance).

It’s tough not to be sympathetic to Hirsch’s position.

14 Responses to Are the NHLers Scabs?

  1. rojoke says:

    No, they aren’t scabs. They’re mercenaries. They’re also a lot of other things that I won’t mention because they’d only get censored out anyway. They’re playing for pennies compared to their NHL contracts in a fight to keep earning their NHL salaries. Some of these guys have been practicing without helmets again, haven’t they.

    Let’s examine the irony of this situation, shall we? Corey Hirsch, a Canadian, after a rather uneventful NHL career, goes to Europe to play, then has a European goalie, Martin Gerber, come back to Europe and take his job.

    The fact that Hirsch has been in Europe for a couple of years now, and his family has moved over there with him, is the key point in all this. For that past 20+ years, European players have done pretty much the same thing. Every NHL player who has an out-clause in their contract, they aren’t scabs. They’re leeches. And as soon as a fresh body comes along, namely the NHL game again, they’ll be back across the pond before you can say, “Game on.”

    But look at this way. If replacement players are used in the league, I know who one of the starting goalies will be.

    Welcome home, Corey!!!

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  3. hockeyhead says:

    #1- the teams sign these players. they don’t care about lives…they care about filling seats and winning.

    #2- it is a competitive way to make a living..the strong survive. that is the nature of sports. the good play the not good sit.

    #3- since the ’80s, euros have come to north america and have taken spots occupied by canadians and some americans. (even tho hirsch is not euro)

  4. 19Yzerman says:

    Well isn’t scab labor when the employer brings in individuals to replace union works when they are on strike? How does that apply to workers who have been locked out of their work facilities and find work elsewhere?

    Since a lot of people think that the NFL system of pay and parity is such a great idea for the NHL. Then they should consider the relationship of NFL to NFL Europe and how what goes on there applies to this debatable topic.

    It sounds to me that you are faulting the NHLPA for the NHL lockout.The NHL could have allowed a season to be started under the terms and conditions of the old CBA and construct a new CBA as the season would have continued. You also could say that the players could have offered to play the season under CBA terms to be would be determined later and would allow the NHL to pay them retroactively. So you see the fact that neither side is giving some sort of willingness to work this out has me placing the fault on them both equally.

    One thing I have been wondering is since the NHL has shut the doors on this season. How many offers and counter offers has there been in attempts create a new CBA?

  5. hockeyhead says:

    probably one offer and one counter offer.

    they are planning to meet but bettman said he is doubtful for hockey this year.

  6. habsoverserver says:

    The article was not so much about taking sides, it was more to point out the unitended consequences of the lockout.

    Managements in Europe are hiring short term NHL labor to displace long term employees. Temporary labor that comes in to steal jobs from long term labor is like scab labor. If players want to stay in Europe after the lockout, then they are not scabs.

    I am pointing out that NHL players talk about the need to protect the little guy in the long run, yet are stealing jobs from guys who need the money.

    The NFL Europe does not displace existing European football players. Europeans do not play American footaball.

    I am faulting the NHLPA for the lockout. They need to accept the financial limitations of the game. My ticket prices have already doubled and hockey stinks. These guys play the most boring hockey in the world and they want millions?

    There was an offer by the NHLPA which did not include a salary cap so the NHL ignored it. There has been no basis for negotiation. The NHL is playing winner take all, hoping the union folds.

  7. shortcat1 says:

    Though I sympathize with Cory Hirsh, I have to agree with ‘hockeyhead’. Without being callous about it all, I agree that it’s part of the nature of this kind of livelyhood. The same thing takes place in many other work domains – the better ‘workers’ usually rise towards the top and replace/displace those who are not as good.

    In this hockey-specific situation, we see it all the time. A prime example is when players from all over the world come in and ‘replace/displace’ the north-american players that the Don Cherry’s of the game lament.

    So, on the whole, though Cory Hirsh’s concerns are valid in themselves, in the nature of his ‘business’ that’s one of the risks he takes. In my case, as a male teacher, one of the risks I take is to be forever on guard for accusations of abuse of children even though these might only be perceived. For me, these potential accusations, even if they are false or without foundation will still likely be the death-knell of my career and my personal integrity in society – it’s a risk I take to do what I enjoy.

    So, in all situations there are benefits and there are risks. It’s sad in some ways but there you go.

  8. hockeyhead says:

    that’s cool, i am a teacher too.

    and as teachers how can anyone expect us to sympathize with pro athletes and all the money and recognition they recieve. all they do is entertain.

    we teach subjects, morals, deal with tragedy and abuse, disorders, deal with learning disabilities, kids that have bad home lives….on and on and on and all we have for our rewards is to remind ourselves that we make a difference in some childs life and we may not even know it.

    poor rich athletes. they do so much for the good of our existance.

  9. 19Yzerman says:

    Your right about the NHLPA wanting millions and as I said I do fault both parties for the lack of intention to agree upon a CBA thats fair for both sides. I feel they both need to accept the financial limitations of the game. I also feel that the NHL was obligated to have put its idea of a CBA on the table with a deadline as to when the NHLPA can agree upon or there will be no season.

    As for the NFL analogy. I will point out that since the NFL contracts are not gauranteed players may be cut without any obligatory concern to finance.

    Those players such as Corey Hirsh who are replaced by these NHLers should have had rules within their contracts to keep things like that from happening to them. Perhaps they need a new CBA.

  10. -MJ- says:

    This has little to do with anything, but can anybody explain to me the cir*****stances that would enable the NHL to legally declare bankrupcy and screw the NHLPA?

    I’d love to learn more about this, contact me at


  11. rojoke says:

    You also could say that the players could have offered to play the season under CBA terms to be would be determined later and would allow the NHL to pay them retroactively.

    The sickest thing about all this is that many of the players, especially the highest paid players, will get paid whether the NHL plays a season. If I’m not mistaken, and feel free to correct me, Chris Pronger has a clause in his current contract which guarantees his salary for the 2004-2005 season. And I’m pretty sure that he’s not the only one, but he’s one I am certain of. This tells me two things. At least some owners weren’t planning on cancelling the entire season. And that some of the GMs and owners, knowing what would happen, are UNBELIEVABLY stupid!!!!

  12. 19Yzerman says:

    I think your right and I think that Fedorov is another one who get money whether playing or not. He was looking for a deal and that was something the Red Wings viewed as asking to much and the Ducks felt was worth the chance as they were the western conf champs and Fedorov could have pushed them over the top.

  13. Aetherial says:

    They are not “scabs” by the popular definition.

    Still, I liked one comment I heard that was directed at Bob Goodenow… how will the NHL players react to replacements who are willing to play under the terms the owners want to set?

    ROFL! Chris Pronger would not even talk about it.

    I hate the players more every day.

  14. hockeyhead says:

    it is not “the Players”…..hate their agents and the union reps. they are the true cause.

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