If the National Hockey League players go out on strike today as threatened, some repercussions will likely be felt by the Salt Lake Golden Eagle franchise.
The Eagles, who are affiliated with the NHL's Calgary Flames, could have several of their players called up by the Flames to fill in for striking players.But Eagle player representative Scott Sharples, who has kept in contact with NHL representatives over the past few weeks, doesn't feel the strike will affect the Eagles too much.
"Assuming (the players) strike, Calgary is going to try to call up some of our players," said Sharples. "But the feeling here is that only a handful of guys will go up."
Sharples says the only players likely to cross the strike lines will be players who are older or those whose careers are stagnating.
"A lot of the young guys don't want to go if they feel they have a future in the NHL. They don't want to rock the boat," said Sharples.
Sharples speculates that the NHL may get most of its players from three sources - the East Coast League, Europe, independent teams in the IHL such as San Diego and Fort Wayne.
"My personal opinion is that the quality of play in the NHL will be below par of that here in the IHL," said Sharples.
Another negative factor for Salt Lake players considering going up to the NHL is the fact that Calgary is unlikely to make the playoffs, thus limiting exposure.
The Eagles, meanwhile, are fighting to make the playoffs themselves with three games left. They lead Indianapolis by two points going into Thursday's game against Phoenix at the Delta Center.
"We're caught in the middle," said Sharples. "We want what's best for the (NHL) players, but we don't want to be blackballed either. It's a tough spot for us to be in."