Kukla's Korner Hockey
“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
TORONTO, ON (January 24, 2011) – National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Executive Director, Don Fehr, announced additions today to the NHLPA staff. Colin A. Campbell joins as Director of Corporate Sponsorships, and Robert DeGregory and Maria Dennis both join the NHLPA as Associate Counsel. In addition, the NHLPA has retained Richard Rodier as a lawyer and economic consultant.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
J.P. Barry of CAA Sports, who represents the Sedin twins, Daniel Alfredsson and others, firmly believes that the NHL needs to go one step further and ban all blows to the head.
“I am supportive of a football-type rule,” said Barry, who noted that it shouldn’t be up to hockey operations to decide if a hit was intentional or not because “it’s impossible to get it right. The football rule eliminates any uncertainty. It sends a message to the players – that you just can’t hit anybody in the head anymore.”
Other prominent agents, such as Don Meehan, Don Baizley and Kurt Overhardt, also said it is time to push for a change. Meehan and Overhardt said any lobbying by the agents is best done through the NHL Players’ Association and its new executive director, Don Fehr.
“Protecting players’ ability to play is as important as any [bargaining] issue,” Overhardt said.
There is a sense of unhappiness around the players’ union with the way the NHL hands out supplementary discipline such as suspensions for head shots. Those close to the union feel this could become part of the negotiations for a new collective agreement next year.
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