Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Spin at the Toronto Star,
Once upon a time, at the tail end of the 2004-05 lockout when the idea was first developed, the concept was that the competition committee would consist of 10 individuals, each there to vote their conscience regardless of what their constituency might be.
Those quaint old days are long gone. As seen today when the competition committee met at a downtown Boston hotel, this has grown from its original notion into a new level of bureaucracy and, really, an extension of the collective bargaining process.
At various times there were upwards of 30 people in the room, including NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players Association chief Donald Fehr. The players are now represented on the committee by Chris Clark, Chris Campoli, Mike Cammalleri, Ryan Miller and David Backes. Miller and Backes participated by phone today, while Steve Montador was present as well in a, well, non-voting, informal way.
For the owners/management, the voting reps where Jim Rutherford, Ed Snider, David Poile, Steve Yzerman and Joe Nieuwendyk, with the league’s new hanging judge Brendan Shanahan in attandance as well along with other hockey ops people like Colin Campbell and Rob Blake as well.
The main result people were looking for was some kind of agreement on the changes Shanahan wants to make with Rule 48, the legislation guiding head shots. Basically, it appears the idea will be add the word “defenceless” to the rule and take out “blindside,” and all members of the committee appear to agree.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The NHLPA has told agents that the union projects a salary cap of approximately $62.2 million next season if the players vote to trigger the 5-percent escalator, Slap Shots has learned.
That represents an increase of $2.8 million from the current $59.4 million cap, or approximately 4.7 percent. This means that, 1) the NHL’s “record” revenues have not increased by the 5 percent the players voted to bump the cap for this season; and, 2) the cap would remain flat or even decrease slightly for the first time if the players opt not to adopt the inflator for next season.
continued plus a few more topics…
“They grow on you — I just don’t think there is any other way to put it. They seem to be earnest. They seem to want to put the organization back together. They want to do a good job for themselves. And they appear to be interested in working on it. ... They care.”
-Donald Fehr, Executive Director of the NHLPA on the NHL players. More from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY.
Toronto (March 14, 2011) – National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Executive Director Don Fehr made the following statement today regarding initiatives announced at the GM meetings:
“The NHLPA is pleased that we have reached an agreement with the NHL regarding clarification of the Concussion Evaluation and Management Protocol. We are confident that the protocol will be properly implemented across the NHL by each of its member clubs. This is a significant step to improve player safety, and concussion protocol is an area where we will continue to work with the league, through the joint NHL/NHLPA Concussion Working Group.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Three years ago, after polling their players, Paul Kelly and Glenn Healy spoke to the general managers in the National Hockey League and made an impassioned plea for the elimination of head shots in hockey.
The reaction of the GMs, Healy remembers? “Silence.”
“I could feel the knives in my back as I was walking out of the room, everybody staring at you,” said Healy, who was then Kelly’s assistant with the NHL Players’ Association.
“The response was that there was no response. We knew we were working in a hostile environment.”
He didn’t know that just about everything they proposed would be the centre of so much controversy three years later. Kelly has since been fired, Healy is back on television and the problems of hockey are at a crisis point once again.
continued plus other NHL topics…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
You’d think he would have. Just as a matter of protocol.
You know, talked to Sidney Crosby.
“I have not talked to him directly in the last several weeks,” confirmed Don Fehr.
Peculiar that — with Crosby’s standing as the game’s most important player, with Fehr new to his politically complex job as executive director of the NHL Players’ Association, and with the hockey landscape seemingly littered with zombie-like, concussed players like Crosby unable to deal with bright lights or even turn the wheels of an exercise bike — Fehr wouldn’t have been in closer contact with the sidelined Pittsburgh Penguins star.
Then again, maybe this is the slow but steady, turtle-beats-the-hare approach to governing. That may also explain why he’s only attended, by his count, “four or five” games since taking over the job on Dec. 18, a job for which he is reportedly being paid $3.5 million per year — “a little high,” says he.
Player safety has always been, and continues to be, a great concern to the Players’ Association. In that regard, issues involving the boards and glass in NHL arenas have been a longstanding focus for the players. The serious nature of the injury suffered by Max Pacioretty in Montreal this week reinforces the importance of maximizing the safety in this area and highlights the need to look further into the matter. We will be inspecting the rink in Montreal, and elsewhere, to make sure the appropriate padding is in place. We will continue to gather feedback from the membership, to ensure the safest possible work environment for our players.”
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
The lack of respect is most apparent among certain “marginal players,” lesser skilled players who ride a bubble between staying barely afloat in the NHL and dropping back down to the minor leagues.
One player agent says it is understandable why some of those with less talent will do whatever it takes to play at the higher level.
“Players in the minors are making $50,000, $60,000,” he says. “If they can go up and staying up requires that they hurt guys, they’re going to do it.”
Why wouldn’t they? A marginal player on a two-way contract stands to increase his base pay by tenfold if he can escape the buses of the American Hockey League for the charter flights of the NHL.
If that player can come up and stick, it gets even better. The average salary for NHL players is more than $2-million (all currency U.S.) a year.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
...Slap Shots has been told the NHLPA, at least as the union has been represented on the competition committee, has consistently argued against punishments that fit the crime of head-targeting.
Indeed, we were told by a well-placed source the PA only signed off on Rule 48 last summer on the condition that VP Colin Campbell not impose what the players referred to as “super suspensions,” for those guilty of coming laterally to apply blindside hits to the head.
Which is why suspensions, even for repeat offenders, are generally fewer than five games.
Under those circumstances, even acknowledging the amount of space and the tens of thousands of words we have devoted to excoriating Campbell, commissioner Gary Bettman and the league for not applying harsh suspensions to headhunters, the athletes are now marked as co-conspirators in the league’s laissez-faire attitude to the felonious among them.
The NHLPA is sponsoring the MVP Challenge. Good luck!
thanks to a KK member for the pointer
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com