Like every other NHLer, Washington Capitals defenceman Roman Hamrlik is frustrated by the lack of progress in CBA negotiations between the league and NHL Players' Association.
But Hamrlik's remarks made to a Czech newspaper on Wednesday calling out NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and asking for a player vote on a new CBA has him in some hot water with some of his fellow players.
"I've been in the league for 20 years and faced three lockouts," Hamrlik told TSN's That's Hockey on Wednesday. "There's only 14 other players in the league that are facing their third career lockout. I believe I've earned the right to say what I think."
The 38-year-old told Daily Sport this week that he's concerned with the amount of money that is being lost by the players as the lockout continues and pushed for Fehr to get a deal done or leave so that someone else will.
"Someone thinks I'm selfish - I might be," Hamrlik told TSN. "But it's selfish to play hockey. I still want to play with the Capitals or at least have the chance to win and go as far as I can. I think time is against us and we need to find a solution. I think that it's a fight between two groups that have too much pride. We need to find an agreement - I still support Fehr, but we as players we need to push him a little bit more and get the best deal possible."
Hamrlik's remarks drew immediate criticism from Montreal Canadiens forward Erik Cole, who has questioned his stance during this labour standoff.
"Erik Cole has his opinion like everyone else," said Hamrlik. "I'm a little bit disappointed in what he said. What I do know is he has three years left on his contract and I'm sure he got a nice signing bonus this summer, so I don't think he didn't have to sacrifice anything. So good for him, good agent."
Hamrlik, who has played 19 NHL seasons with six different teams, 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.
"I've talked to the guys in the locker room when we skate in Montreal, I've been in a meeting in Barcelona this summer where we were meeting with Fehr," he expalined. "From my experience at the meeting in Barcelona, they said we have everything set up. I have a proposal for the owners, we should be okay, blah blah, blah...but nothing happened. I'm just disappointed - I know it's a really tough business, it's not just me losing money. Everybody's losing money - the sooner we figure it out, the better for everybody."
The NHLPA declined to comment on Hamrlik's remarks when contacted by TSN and added that there are no plans to hold a vote on CBA matters at this time.