Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The day after news broke that Donald Fehr was poised to become the new executive director of the NHL players association, just about all the message boards agreed: Armageddon is just around the corner.
Fehr oversaw major league baseball’s players association for 26 years, a period of time characterized by a major steroid scandal and a series of contentious negotiations with the owners over the collective bargaining agreement.
If Fehr brings his confrontational style to the NHLPA, could another work stoppage be on the horizon, just five years after the NHL lost the 2004-05 season as a result of a labor dispute?
According to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.
from Jeff Marek of CBC,
And once again, the pendulum has swung back from the middle ground of a Paul Kelly (whose philosophies nestled nicely between the “take-no-prisoners” attitude of Bob Goodenow to the “take-whatever-you-need” vibe of Ted Saskin) to more of a hardliner in Fehr.
It should come to nobody’s surprise that both Fehr and Goodenow have a relationship that stretches back many years and are both cut from the same “scrap over every issue” cloth.
The timing is interesting, on the heels of a major Players’ Association loss at the gavel of arbitrator Richard Bloch, who ruled Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year contract with the New Jersey Devils a circumvention of the salary cap and the further disclosure that the NHL is investing other deals of a similar variety.
Many within the PA feel this was the league flexing its muscles at a time when the players were without any sort of leadership to mount any substantial challenge.
Make no mistake, these are fights that Fehr craves and thrives on.
Featuring Daniel Alfredsson, Ken Holland and Jamie Langenbrunner.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Yes, Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch had to wait in line outside GM Place at the Vancouver Olympics.
And the NHL couldn’t get its own network accredited to cover the games.
And the league couldn’t use any highlights from the Games on its website even though its own players were playing in the tournament.
And NHL GMs have had trouble gaining access and information about their players during the Olympics.
And the 2014 Sochi Games may not be on in prime time.
There are challenges to playing in the Olympics. Many, perhaps. But what a shining chance for the NHL to preserve something great and unique; what a shining chance to pay back the players and fans and the league itself by not giving in to the impulse to walk away from the Olympics because it’s inconvenient.
via Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal (goes to main page),
Former MLBPA Executive Director Don Fehr has agreed to accept the job of NHLPA executive director, according to multiple sources.
Attempts to confirm this with Fehr or with the NHLPA were not immediately successful.
Sources said other candidates have been informed they are no longer in the running for the top job. The search committee’s decision to recommend Fehr would still have to be confirmed by the entire board of player reps, sources said.
You can also follow Liz on Twitter.
added 8:29pm, via Nick Kypreos tweet,
Confirmed Fehr accepted PA Exec Dir job on interim basis. Source says this will be a short term solution for PA that will get them to 2012
What was once one of the best-run players associations in sport headed up by Goodenow and others who had nothing but the best interests of their constituents at heart has fallen into a group of confused, leaderless wildebeests waiting to be slaughtered at the next CBA watering hole.
-Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province at Canada.com where you can read more.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Maybe morale was as low when Alan Eagleson was representing the players in a felonious manner. Maybe it was this bad when the players regretfully recognized that Bob Goodenow had been right when he told them they would have to be willing to stay out into a second full season in order to withstand the NHL’s demand for an imposition of a hard cap. Maybe it was this bad when Ted Saskin violated the union’s trust, and maybe it was this bad last year when Paul Kelly was thrown out the door at 3 a.m.
But according to a variety of individuals familiar with the current state of NHLPA affairs, morale within the union and among the players never has been worse than it is now.
The search for an executive director essentially has hit a wall. The fact of the matter is that the five-player search committee that has been in operation for eight months simply has been unable to attract the caliber of candidates for the job that the union expected.
from Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,
If I were a member of the search committee charged with finding an executive director for the National Hockey League Players Association, I would be afraid to open my e-mail in-box. Hockey players are blunt and the words attached to messages from, say, Marc Savard, Roberto Luongo, Chris Pronger, Marian Hossa and others are likely to read something like this:
Hey (name here),
You lazy SOB, get your good-for-nothing self off the golf course and your head out of your arse. (Name of NHL Commissioner, lawyer, administrator or arbitrator here) just got the okay to put his hand in my pocket and “review” my already reviewed and signed contract, and you’re letting them get away with it?
Bad enough you Bozos were asleep at the switch and let Richard Bloch back in as an arbitrator, but then you go and lose what should have been an open and shut case regarding the cash in Kovy Kovalchuk’s change cup, and now we’re all subject to an “investigation” of deals that have been signed, sealed and approved by the league itself. This would never have happened if you guys hadn’t sacked Bob Goodenow, let alone stopped listening to him.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
There is a feeling out there, however, that the NHLPA should have been far more picky in choosing an arbitrator for an issue as eventful as this one.
This is a big loss for the PA and one that could lead to further losses if the league challenges a 12-year Luongo deal that pays out 94 per cent of its worth in the first eight years.
Or a seven-year, $34.45 million Pronger deal that takes him to age 42 and pays out 97 per cent of its salary after year 5.
Or Savard’s seven-year, $28.05 million deal, which pays just $525,000 in the final two seasons.
But the Kovalchuk camp was in a hurry and the league was pushing for Bloch.
We never cared much for Bob Goodenow, but he wouldn’t have allowed anyone favoured by the league to preside over something as important as this.
For the good of everyone – teams, agents, players and fans – the cap rules must be clarified in the next CBA. In the meantime, we’re all left guessing…
-Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo Sports. More on the Kovalchuk arbitration decision.
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.
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