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Reports: Hamrlik not happy with Fehr; Cole responds

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TSN.ca Staff
11/22/2012 2:09:34 AM
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It appears not all NHL players are in full support of the tactics of NHL Players' Association Executive Director Don Fehr in the current labour talks.

According to Czech newspaper Daily Sport, veteran Washington Capitals defenceman Roman Hamrlik is concerned with the amount of money that is being lost by the players as the lockout continues.

"I am disgusted," Hamrlik told Daily Sport and translated by Roman Jedlicka of TV Nova. "We have to push Fehr to the wall to get the deal. Time is against us. We lost [one-quarter] of the season, it is $425 million. Who will give it back to us? Mr. Fehr?"

Upon hearing of these comments, Montreal Canadiens forward Erik Cole voiced his displeasure in an interview with the Montreal Gazette.

"If that's his opinion, then he should just stay over there (in the Czech Republic)," Cole told the Gazette.

"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."

As for the possibility that Hamrlik's comments may have been loosely translated or taken out of context, Cole expressed his doubts.

"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," said Cole.

The 38-year-old Hamrlik was hoping the players would have learned a "lesson from 2004" when they refused an early offer from the league but then "came to an even worse deal" to end the last lockout.

The Czech-native feels that if the season is lost, Fehr should step down as head of the NHLPA.

"There should be voting between players," Hamrlik told Daily Sport. "If half of the players say let's play, then they should sign a new CBA. If there is no season, he should leave and we will find someone new. Time is our enemy."

But Cole feels there is something much greater at stake in this lockout, an opportunity to do for future generations what was done for him by former players.

"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," added Cole.

"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."

Roman Hamrlik (Photo: Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)
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