Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The NHLPA needs to adopt a constitution that empowers its executive director. The NHLPA needs to hire an executive director the membership trusts to use that power honorably in dealing with the NHL, the players and their agents.
The NHLPA needs a leader who will do the job and not simply want to have the job. The NHLPA needs a leader immune to second-guessing from the gallery. The NHLPA needs a leader whose presence and prestige will unify the membership for the next round of CBA negotiations.
It is time.
It is time for Donald Fehr.
from Jeff Z. Klein and Stu Hackel of Slapshot at the NY Times,
Many players and agents want (Donald) Fehr to become the union’s executive director.
Aaron Voros, the Rangers’ player representative, said last week that it would be a “no brainer” to have Fehr heading the union.
Pat Brisson, who represents Sidney Crosby and several other stars, said: “Someone like him, with all his experience, brings in a breath of fresh air. When you have a chance to spend time with him, you feel privileged.”
The union and Fehr have come a long way since November. He was newly retired from a 26-year tenure as leader of the Major League Baseball Players Association, the strongest union in sports, and the only one in North America to successfully resist a salary cap.
from the NHLPA,
The Sheraton Centre in downtown Toronto served as the backdrop for the National Hockey League Players’ Association’s annual Certified Player-Agent meetings on Thursday, with more than 140 agents in attendance.
The NHLPA conducted their meeting with senior staff and advisors offering updates and information to the player-agents on a wide range of topics. The itinerary included presentations on HRR & escrow, CBA timelines and legal developments, as well as on the performance bonus cushion. The NHLPA’s medical consultant, Dr. John Rizos, spoke about current issues, while the business department gave an update of their recent affairs.
from the CP at NHL.com,
Donald Fehr didn’t come out and say he was interested in taking the vacant executive director’s position with the NHL Players’ Association, but it’s clear a growing number of people within the game would like to see it happen.
The long-time head of the baseball players’ union spoke for a couple hours at the NHL’s annual agents meeting Thursday and won over a number of guys in the room.
“You don’t run an association like the Major League Baseball Players’ Association as long as he has without being substantive, powerful, politically correct, reasoned and very intelligent,” said Pat Morris of Newport Sports. “He displayed all elements today.”
Toronto (March 25, 2010): Statement from NHLPA Executive Board regarding the League’s blindside hits to the head proposal: “We fully support our Competition Committee Members’ endorsement of the League’s proposal to implement supplemental discipline this season for blindside hits to the head.
Our agreement applies to the remainder of the 2009-10 NHL Regular Season, as well as the 2010 Playoffs. This temporary implementation will ensure that the joint NHLPA/NHL Competition Committee will have time to develop and consider a proper and full-time rule, one that includes an on-ice penalty component, this summer. We are encouraged by the League’s recent willingness to explore on-ice rule changes as a means of reducing Player injuries and have no doubt that by working together, a safer working environment can be established for all NHLPA Members.”
The National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association are continuing to negotiate on the details surrounding an implementation of a rule to prohibit blind-side hits to the head. It was thought at one point that an agreement and implementation might have taken place in time for Wednesday’s games, but that is no longer the case.
Sources tell TSN there will be no decision on Wednesday night. The players have asked the NHL for time to get approval from their Executive Board. The league has given the NHLPA until Thursday to get that approval.
The NHLPA released a statement early Wednesday evening, saying “We have deliberated and endorsed to the NHLPA Executive Board the League’s proposal to implement supplemental discipline this season for blindside hits to the head. Our Executive Board will vote on this recommendation and we will respond back to the League with a decision in the next 24-48 hours.”
If (Donald) Fehr assumes a significant leadership role within the NHLPA, the union will immediately regain some of the creditability it has lost in recent years. The NHLPA will also be in a stronger bargaining position with NHL leadership if Fehr is at the helm.
Jeff Levine of the Biz of Hockey. More on Fehr…
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Stop and think about the potential consequences the next time you’re tempted to use your elbow to drive the head of an unsuspecting opponent into the glass.
Stop and think what you’re doing before you shove a vulnerable opponent into the boards, causing a collision the human body wasn’t designed to withstand.
Don’t stop being physical. No one wants that.
Just stop the vicious hits to the heads of players who don’t have the puck. Stop the blindside hits.
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
...And so the five player representatives on the committee – Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators, Jeff Halpern of the L.A. Kings, Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, Brian Campbell of the Chicago Blackhawks and Mathieu Schneider of the Phoenix Coyotes – are making a counter-proposal to the rule change put forward by the league last week.
“We’ve talked about some things, but we need to bounce it off the league. Whatever we do this year is only going to be a band-aid, we’ve been trying for two years to get something in and the league has said there’s already the rules in place that protect head shots and now they want to make a change,” Spezza said after a team skate at the Bell Centre. “But we have to be careful though, there’s what, 10 games left in the season, you don’t want to make a change and put the refs in a bad position.”
Spezza added that the short-term fix the players are advocating is “very similar” to the language in the league’s proposed rule, but that there is no question that it is only a short-term fix.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
...The guiltiest people here are the players themselves, a small but growing number of athletes, Cooke the prime example, who show little or no regard for the pain they inflict, the careers they interrupt or spoil, the quality of life they potentially impair.
This is a game that, for many reasons — including the rule book, the equipment, the coaching, and the overall conditioning and mind-set of the players — is fast becoming a mutant and dangerous form of the sport.
Hockey, the NHL in particular, has always had its warts, mostly attributable to its permissive stand on fighting, a vast amount of it cleaned up via the rule book over the last 20 years. The warts now are worse, far more dangerous. The players clearly need help to understand that and find ways to dial down the volume on an ever-more-violent game, one infinitely more dangerous and less entertaining, less artful, than even the bucket-of-blood days of the Original Six.
more and additional hocke notes…
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