Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Seriously, even one of the best advertisements the NHL has had going for it since the lockout—the Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin rivalry—has been tainted by the introduction of jingoism into the mix by outside forces who have sought to superimpose a Cold War environment into the equation, as if this were 1972 with cheers greeting Bobby Clarke for slashing Valeri Kharlamov across the ankle.
The Blackhawks and Sharks seem to have peaked months ago. The Coyotes are an interesting little success story as wards of the state. The Lightning were sold again. Pierre McGuire still is talking, and there are five teams in the East—count them, five out of 15—who have scored more goals than they have allowed.
It’s parity as parody, and everyone most certainly does not have a chance to win despite the Sixth Avenue politicians’ promises coming out of the lockout of two chickens in every pot. In the last four years before the imposition of the imposition of the hard cap, 14 different teams played in the conference finals. In the four years since the lockout, 10 different teams made it that far.
more plus the NHLPA may be getting closer to Donald Fehr as executive director…
from Lester Munson of ESPN,
In the four years since the 2005-06 National Hockey League season was lost to a lockout over an inability to come to a collective bargaining agreement, NHL players have:
• fired the executive director who led them during the lockout.
• hired two new executive directors.
• and fired both of them.
So maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that the players are attempting to draft a new constitution for their union and search for yet another new executive director while they simultaneously try to figure out how their organization has been unraveling. And over all of that, the next CBA negotiation looms. The current six-year deal runs out after next season unless the players extend it to a seventh year, which is their option. (Given the state of the union, that’s a likely scenario.)
Christine Simpson is your host.
from John Shannon of Sportsnet,
• Ever since the work stoppage, the average NHL club’s front office structure has begun to slowly mirror the corporate world. There are, now more than ever, presidents of hockey and of business and coaches have become middle managers. And like the corporate world, middle managers are often the scapegoat when a company fails. The Ken Hitchcock firing is another example of the middle manager being fired. It’s never senior managements’ problem or the workers’ problem, its always the middle managers’ problem. My expectation is that Hitchcock will be near the top of the list to coach Canada at the World Championships, but if and only if, Canada wins gold.
• The NHLPA search continues. They are still looking for that one person to right the ship and probably re-write their constitution. To me, it looks more and more like Donald Fehr, the former leader of the Baseball union, is going to be in that leadership mix. Heck, it wouldn’t surprise me if he became the Executive Director himself.
from Tony Blais of the Edmonton Sun,
An Edmonton sports merchandise company is suing the National Hockey League Players’ Association for $1 million, alleging the organization interfered with a deal to sell special player jerseys at the 2008 all-star game.
In a statement of claim filed in Edmonton’s Court of Queen’s Bench on Jan. 20, Next Wave Sports Inc. alleges the conduct of the NHLPA was in “callous disregard” of its rights and legitimate business interests and says the company is entitled to an award for punitive damages…
Next Wave alleges it contacted the Atlanta Thrashers hockey club in January 2008 and asked for the opportunity to market the product by displaying and selling a jersey featuring Thrashers star player Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Edmonton company alleges the Thrashers and the NHL gave it authorization to display and sell the JAC product featuring Kovalchuk during the NHL all-star-game weekend in Atlanta on Jan. 26 and Jan. 27, 2008.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The NHLPA has reached a tentative settlement with Paul Kelly in which the union will pay its former executive director $1.5M plus $200,000 in attorneys’ fees, The Post has learned.
The agreement reached by attorneys for both parties, and outlined on an NHLPA conference call yesterday, is subject to ratification by a majority vote of the 30 player reps. The vote, which will be conducted by email over the next 72 hours, is expected to gain unanimous approval.
from the Toronto Sun,
Television viewers are about to be taken on tour with NHL Players’ Association.
A one-hour documentary will air today (CBC, 1 p.m. ET) that chronicles the whirlwind 10 countries in 10 days tour a group of former NHLers went on last month. Rob Zamuner and P.J. Stock travelled more than 19,000 kilometres to hand out 360 sets of hockey equipment to kids on behalf of the NHLPA’s Goals & Dreams fund.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Nice to see that one of the NHL’s rising young stars, the Anaheim Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf, agreed to join the search committee for the union’s next executive director. In recent years, they have mostly ceded that role to their more experienced colleagues. The next step will be to involve one of the Russian elites in the process – someone such as the Atlanta Thrashers’ Ilya Kovalchuk, a smart young athlete with a good-enough command of the English language to take on that responsibility. And it wouldn’t hurt to see Sidney Crosby volunteer for a position either, especially if the next incarnation of the union wants to be taken seriously by commissioner Gary Bettman and his ownership gang …
more hockey talk from Eric…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Does anyone believe the NHLPA would stand for the lenient sentences leveled by the league against headhunting concussion-inducing miscreants if a player whose career was destroyed by a series of brain injuries was there to present a case for victims’ rights and safety in the workplace on a daily basis?
Instead there is silence, the silence of the lambs of the NHLPA.
There is no other issue at the moment for the union other than this one. Why can’t advisor Donald Fehr actually advise the players on the critical nature of safety in the workplace? Or maybe the former executive director of the MLBPA thinks the long-terms effects of concussions are as benign as the long-terms effects of taking steroids.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
If I’m an NHL player, I’m not counting on getting any escrow payments back this season. In fact, the way things are looking, they might even need to sock away some more for when the nasty escrow man comes calling after this season.
When the NHL set this year’s escrow payments at 18 percent, it must have been looking at its own dismal attendance figures. Last year, players paid 12.9 percent of their salaries in escrow, which meant they gave more than $207 million back to their employers.
But if bums in the seats are any indication, things aren’t about to get better anytime soon, either for the league or the players. That’s because attendance, which is by far the league’s most prominent cash cow, is trending downward in almost every way imaginable.
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.
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