Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
Of all the things new NHLPA head Donald Fehr said in both his introductory conference call and during his on-set interview with HNIC’s Ron MacLean, one thing stood out most for hockey fans: that negotiations on a new CBA probably won’t begin until the spring of 2012. (The CBA expires on Sept. 15 of that year)
I hope he’s either a) wrong, or b) lying. Either is acceptable in this case.
What the NHL needs over the next 21 months is actual leadership from Fehr and his ownership counterpart, commissioner Gary Bettman, because Playing Russian roulette with each other—and a deadline—wasn’t much of a rousing success for everyone in 2004-05.
HNIC Hotstove contributor, ESPN.com columnist and heavy metal karaoke enthusiast Pierre LeBrun quoted one executive as saying, “My owner told me in no uncertain terms that if certain things aren’t fixed, he’s out. He’ll sell the team.”
My response would be: How do you think a work stoppage is going to help your franchise value? Fans aren’t going to care about the rhetoric that’s going to come about how the economics are broken or how the owners are distorting the truth. Both sides will be equally despised.
continued plus 30 thoughts too…
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
It’s something a little bit harder to follow and a shade more substantial than usual today because hockey fans in Vancouver have the right to know where their money goes once it leaves their hands—and then gets wrenched out of the Aquilinis’ paws to help other teams try to beat the Canucks.
That’s right, we speak of revenue sharing here. And while fans know the rich Canadian clubs subsidize the lesser American teams, for the most part, we thought we would provide a little more detailed account of what happens.
At the end of the season the teams are ranked 1-30 in hockey-related revenue (HRR); Toronto is on top of course, with Montreal, Vancouver and the Rangers also in the top five. Surprise, Phoenix is at the bottom.
What’s included in HHR is an ongoing discussion between the NHL and the NHL Players Association, but if Ted Saskin did anything well in his brief tenure as NHLPA executive director, it was to get a lot of ancillary revenues included for the calculation of the salary cap when it came about.
Elliotte Friedman talks to a few folks about Donald Fehr, including 93 year old Marvin Miller.
Then Ron MacLean sits down with Fehr and numerous topics are touched upon.
from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,
It won’t take very long for Don Fehr to be misunderstood.
Hockey fans, you can bet, are already drawing a line between his official ascension on Saturday to the role of NHL Players Association boss and the next shutdown of their favourite sport, likely in the fall of 2012.
After all, this is the guy who organized all those nasty baseball strikes, right?
Well, the reality is Fehr is a more complicated than that. Pigeonholing him would be as large an error as underestimating him.
TORONTO, ON (December 18, 2010) – The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced today that the full membership of the NHLPA has voted overwhelmingly to appoint Don Fehr as the new NHLPA Executive Director, following the Executive Board’s endorsement.
Fehr, 62, is the former Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) where he worked for the players for 33 years, serving as Executive Director from 1983 until 2009.
“I am both humbled and honored by the expression of confidence that the players’ vote reflects,” said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. “I’m looking forward to working closely with the membership and the Executive Board.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The NHLPA has responded to VP Colin Campbell’s e-mail communications to former director of officiating Stephen Walkom—revealed early this week—by issuing a formal request for all information relating to the matter, Slap Shots has learned.
A well-placed source familiar with union activities has told us the Campbell e-mails have provoked numerous calls to the Players’ Association office from players seeking answers and expressing their concern over the issue, which has raised further questions about the league’s approach to officiating and supplementary discipline.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The long courtship of Donald Fehr by the NHL Players’ Association is coming to an end and the official announcement could come as early as Friday, according to an NHL source with close ties to the union….
Once Fehr takes office, his to-do list may not have a long number of tasks but each of them is time-consuming. Negotiations for a new collective agreement to replace the one that expires in 2012 is at the top of the list, followed by items like hiring a second-in-command who will be Fehr’s designated successor and revitalizing a membership beaten down by losing the lockout in 2005 and then getting slapped down on a regular basis by NHL owners and management.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Here, essentially, is the message presumptive NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr has been presenting to the players during the autumn tour preceding union balloting: “Hire me to lead or don’t hire me at all.”
This, according to sources, is the ultimate condition of employment for Fehr, who has been selling nothing more than himself and his collective bargaining accomplishments as leader of the MLBPA throughout this low-key campaign that was borne as much out of a draft as a burning desire to go to the table (or the mat) one more time on behalf of professional athletes.
The PA will not operate as a democracy in collective bargaining. It can’t. It must give its leader the same authority as the NHL has given Gary Bettman. If not, the league simply will wait for the players’ house to divide and fall, as it did the last time. If not, the players might as well give in now and save everyone the aggravation when the CBA expires before 2012-13.
That’s the meaning of the message Fehr has been delivering to the players, who, we’re told, have been nothing but receptive to it.
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
He could barely walk by the end. His ankles, knees and even shoulders ached so much from his hockey injuries that his friends had to help him in and out of vehicles. Then came the seizure that put him in the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre for three days.
That was enough for Walt Poddubny. He figured he had to do something. He was going to tell his story so that the NHL and its players would do more for those who helped the game grow and had stumbled on hard times.
Two months later, the former Toronto Maple Leafs forward and 40-goal scorer went to sleep in a bedroom in his sister’s home. He had split with his wife, couldn’t work because of the pain he endured and needed extensive surgeries. He closed the bedroom door and collapsed. He was likely dead before he hit the covers.
When 49-year-old Poddubny succumbed to a heart attack last year, his posthockey plight spoke of a man who had played hard and made good money for his time, but nowhere near what today’s NHL players receive. In that regard, he was hardly alone.
“He came and touched base with our whole team and kind of gave us the short-term plan for right now, for how the P.A. is going and how he sees himself taking over. That’s my third or fourth time talking to him, throughout the meetings and everything this summer. I’m real impressed. He has a pretty good presence about him, with his knowledge and experience, and I think that rubs off on the guys and makes the guys pretty excited about where this is going. I think everybody is real happy about him coming on board and helping us out.”
-Matt Greene, LA Kings union rep on Donald Fehr. Via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider.
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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.
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