Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff has been deeply involved since the beginning in the NHLPA’s negotiations with the NHL over a new CBA. He was in Toronto when the NHLPA presented the league with three offers in mid-October. He was in New York when the players negotiated directly with the owners, before the talks went off the rails late in the week.
At this point, he’s not sure the NHLPA can serve the players any longer in its current form. He has already placed his vote that could give the NHLPA executive committee the ability to file a disclaimer of interest and dissolve the union. By the time votes are tallied at the end of the week, he said he’d be surprised if the disclaimer isn’t approved in a landslide.
"Guys are going to be pretty highly in favor of it," Horcoff told ESPN The Magazine. "I’ve been in conference calls with 200-300 players. We just feel at this point the union has done everything they can for us and we’re not getting anywhere. It’s time for us to go in a different direction."
Detroit’s Danny Cleary, another active NHLPA member, anticipates a lopsided vote, as well. He "overwhelmingly" thinks his fellow players will give the executive committee the ability to file a disclaimer of interest.
"Like, if it’s not 99.8 percent, I’d be disappointed," he said.
The NHL filed a pre-emptive lawsuit on Friday in an attempt to get a ruling that says the NHLPA’s decertification is only a negotiating tactic and not allowable. In that lawsuit, the league has requested that if the decertification is allowed, all contracts completed under the previous CBA be void.
It would ultimately make all players free agents.
"I find it surprising that teams would be in favor of that," said Horcoff, pointing out that his Oilers have some impressive young players who could hit the market.
Horcoff has two seasons left (through 2014-15) on his contract that averages $5.5 million per season, and isn’t concerned over the possibility of it getting wiped out.
"I’ve been fortunate enough to play long enough now where I’ve built security into my life and my family," he said. "For me, it’s just a matter of doing what’s right for the union and right for the players and just letting this thing play out."