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Sabres' Ryan Miller first player to publicly endorse decertifying NHLPA

Sabres goalie Ryan Miller believes the NHLPA should decertify to help end the NHL's lockout. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller became the first NHL player to publicly call for decertifying the NHLPA in an email to The Globe and Mail.

“After watching the other sport leagues go through labour disputes last year, it is apparent that until decertification is filed, there will not be any real movement or negotiation,” Miller wrote. “Many things in our negotiation are very consistent with the NFL and NBA negotiations, and both of those leagues filed papers necessary to decertify.

“It seems like the players in any league are going to be subjected to the same scripted labour dispute developed by [NHL and NBA law firm] Proskauer Rose in all collective bargaining discussions now and in the future. Decertification becomes part of the script because Gary Bettman and the owners are trying to get a sense of how far they can push us and at some point we have to say ‘enough.’

“They want to see if we will take a bad deal because we get desperate or if we have the strength to push back. Decertification is a push back and should show we want a negotiation and a fair deal on at least some of our terms.”

The NHLPA has unofficially categorized decertification -- a dissolution of a union previously used by the NFL and NBA player unions during their lockouts -- as a last resort. Decertification could be used as a tool leading to a legal end to the NHL owners' lockout, or an antitrust lawsuit.

It's widely believed that the majority of NHL players do not favor ending their union, but decertification could gain support after NHL owners rejected the players' latest proposal on Wednesday.

“This is going to galvanize them,” one member on the players’ side said.
The NHLPA could also seek to make a dramatic move in anticipation of the league cancelling more games and the 2013 All-Star Game scheduled for Jan. 27, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio.
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