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Motor City Madness
Red Wings defencemen Chris Chelios and Derian Hatcher along with forward Kris Draper are about to join the Motor City Mechanics of the United Hockey League. The news comes as negotiations between the NHL and the players association reach a critical point. The three Red Wings may even by joined by Kirk Maltby, who last played during the World Cup/Canada Cup last fall. With over 300 NHL players playing in other leagues (mostly in Europe), this latest move into the UHL has raised the ire of some hockey players and commentators. Kevin Kerr of the Flint Generals is the leading career goal scorer in the minor leagues and finds this action by highly paid National Hockey League players taking away jobs from minor leaguers, very hypocritical.
The UHL operates under a salary cap with weekly pay ranging between $300-1500 with the veterans making the top end pay. Chelios, Hatcher and Draper would be displacing three veterans from the team - a decision that isn't sitting well with hockey commentator Don Cherry. The former player and coach spent almost 25 years in the minor leagues (both as a player and coach) and shares Kerr's opinion on the insincerity of these NHL players.
Two more NHL players have joined the ranks of the Motor City Mechanics. Brian Smolinkski of the Ottawa Senators and Sean Avery of the LA Kings. Avery also had some choice words for critics who have argued against NHL players taking away jobs from minor leaguers in this fourth tier league.
Avery said that, "If (a player) doesn't want me to take his job he should work harder. Work harder until he's good enough to make the NHL then I wont be able to take his job...In all businesses, there's always changes. I'm here to earn a spot. I haven't heard anything. If someone wants to talk to me about it, I'm sure they will. They know where to find me."
Spoken like a true meathead, Sean. May you continue to hold on to that precious spot in the the UHL, long after the NHL is back and running.