John Tavares, you have disappointed me.
You are one of my favourite players in the NHL, because you’re half Portuguese. It’s not the only reason, because you do have some skills despite barely being a better skater than myself. I also do count on you to help strengthen my hockey pool team.
You just had to do it though, didn’t you? In the future, you will be the New York Islanders captain and lead that ship, but right now you’re a follower. You have joined the contingent that has gone overseas to play.
How could you? Especially since I have read you are taking a more active role in the NHLPA with the labour negotiations in this lockout.
Why does this bother me? You are taking away employment from another player, whose talents unfortunately are not good enough to play in the No Hockey League. Sorry. I couldn’t resist that.
I understand that players in the NHL can have their jobs taken away from them if they don’t perform well enough, or they are simply outplayed, but these athletes in Europe don’t fall in that category.
However, Mr. Tavares, you will be happy to know that there are a few people happy to find out this news that NHL.com reported. Fans from that league responded that they are excited to see you play. A friend of mine is also in full support of you.
This is part of a message a friend of mine posted on Facebook:
“This time around I sit on the player’s side and hope they stick together…Good on the NHL players to sign in Europe. Don’t like the system? Leave! Don’t like your job… Quit! I hope the NHLPA sticks together for as long as it takes!”
A part of my friend’s message I agreed with was when he blamed the owners. But then sticking together and fleeing to Europe? Nope. His response to me: “Boo hoo.”
Ken Campbell of the The Hockey News made some good points in an article published online last week.
“Interesting, isn’t it, how the members of the NHL Players’ Association were all kumbaya leading into the lockout, displaying an unparalleled level of solidarity against the greedy owners? (And yes, they are greedy.) But then once players were faced with even a hint of inactivity, about eight percent of them – with many more to come – bolted to take another player’s job at the first opportunity.
“You have to wonder how these same players would feel if the NHL went out and hired 720 replacement players to take their big-league spots while this imbroglio gets worked out. They would be outraged, of course. And there’s little doubt that any of those replacement players who managed to gain permanent employment would be skating around with a target on his back.”
Looking at Eliteprospects.com, under rumours, the website shows 12 more players who may join European teams. Sportsnet.ca has reported that Evander Kane has signed with Dinamo Minsk in the Kontinental Hockey League, becoming the first Canadian to commit to that league.
There is nothing wrong with players choosing to head overseas, if their plan is to not play in the NHL again. I agree with my friend that if you don’t like your job, you should quit.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has been quoted saying that players may not return to the NHL if owners are insistent on cutting player salaries back after they offered those big-money contracts.
If NHL players are unhappy with their employers, they have a choice to not work for them. If people are unhappy with their employers or circumstances with their work environment, then they should look for something better and quit. Don’t complain about it.
No doubt it would be hard to leave the best league in the world, but it’s players such as yourself, Mr. Tavares, that make the NHL the best league. Would the NHL still be the best if the talent isn’t there?
Emanuel Sequeira is the sports editor of the Penticton Western News.