Kukla's Korner Hockey
E.J. Hradek of ESPN The Magazine passed this to me tonight and asked if I could post…
After speaking with NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly and Lightning center/competition committee member Jeff Halpern, I expect the competition committee to green light the league’s plan for a second outdoor game – the back-end of a New Year’s Day 2010 Winter Classic doubleheader – hosted by the Flames (likely against the Leafs) at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium as ESPN The Magazine reported last Thursday.
Both Kelly and Halpern felt the league’s outdoor plan, which was discussed in both smaller and full group discussions at the NHLPA meetings last weekend in Las Vegas, was favored by an enthusiastic majority of the players. “I don’t think there’d be an issue with it from the players’ side,” said Halpern, who’ll participate in the competition committee meeting on Thursday morning in Montreal. “There was a lot of positive feedback. I think it’s a good idea.”
from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,
Ownership updates were the theme of the day at the Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday.
Commissioner Gary Bettman updated the board on a number of franchise situations during a session of five-plus hours. Another briefing came from Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillette, who is in discussions to sell the team to three members of the Molson family. Bettman said the talks are in the preliminary stages, but said he was excited to see a well-known family involved with the sale.
continue for more topics discussed…
from Anna Mehler Paperny and David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL has been underfunding its players’ pension plans by millions of dollars, shortchanging widows over a number of decades, an Ontario Superior Court judge has found.
The decision means the league will have to top up its pension fund by as much as $30-million and may have to make retroactive payments to the widows of deceased players.
The suit, brought forward last year by the NHL Players’ Association, charged that errors in the calculation of pensions for players who died before 1986 meant their widows received as little as 10 per cent of the funds entitled to them.
Both Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside have been filing numerous stories out of Las Vegas the last few days.
I wonder if they can figure out a way to stay there while covering the NHL Entry Draft in Montreal?
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
It is rare for a professional sports league to have the opportunity to get out in front of scandal, to be able to insulate itself against the most damaging kinds of publicity and blows to its integrity.
Yet, that is exactly the enviable position in which the NHL and its players find themselves.
Now all the players have to do is to have the courage to ante up and embrace not just a more stringent drug testing policy, but also the most comprehensive in pro sports.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The event, tentatively slated for McMahon Stadium in Calgary for Jan. 1 after the Winter Classic game set for Boston’s Fenway Park, must be approved by the seven of 10 voting members of the competition committee.
Asked if he would instruct the five players who sit on the committee to vote against a second outdoor game, Kelly said he didn’t think that would be necessary.
“I don’t think I have to do that. I will tell you that last year when the competition committee met this issue came up and all five players and, in fact, all voting members of both sides of the fence did not support a second Winter Classic game,” Kelly said.
more on why a second game is being discussed…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
In what can only be viewed as an attempt to keep labour unrest from heightening, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the annual summer players meetings, which wrapped up Saturday.
Bettman covered a broad range of topics, including the future of the Coyotes in Phoenix which remains one of the hottest topics in the industry.
“I explained exactly what happened and how we look at franchise issues and how this club wound up where it is and the fact we don’t believe it should be in bankruptcy and the fact having rules and enforcing our rules and procedures is vitally important,” said Bettman, who characterized his address as “a good, open candid dialogue.”
added 7:54pm, from the CP via Sportsnet,
Everyone seemed satisfied after Bettman’s first-ever visit to these meetings.
“It was a big move on his part to come in here,” said Detroit Red Wings defenceman Chris Chelios, often a critic of the commissioner. “It was a respectful meeting. We weren’t going to do anything that was unprofessional. It took a lot for him to go out of his way and address the players.
“I just wish we had 700 guys in here to listen to him.”
added 9:35pm, from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
“I didn’t keep count, but I would say that he probably faced in excess of 25 or 30 questions on a range of topics,” said NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly. “They were quite articulate. The guys did a good job.”
Basement flooding at 12:30am is not good, may as well do some posting while drying out some large towels…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The stability and financial future of the Phoenix Coyotes was one of several topics discussed by members of the National Hockey League Players’ Association at its annual summer meetings for North American players, held here Friday, and according to Glenn Healy, the NHLPA’s director of player affairs, there is frustration that they have no say in the matter.
“You need to have leverage and rights before you can take a position,” Healy said. “We have no ability to dictate anything.
“We were told in September that the team was okay. We were told in February that the team was okay. In fact, at that point, [the NHL] had already infused tens of millions of dollars into the team. Any media outlet that wrote that the team was in trouble was ridiculed.
“So from that standpoint, we basically had the burlap bag over our heads with regards to the Phoenix situation, which is disappointing because we consider ourselves major stakeholders in the game, and it affects not only our 23 players there, but a whole bunch of players who used to play there as well.”
from Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
It appears the “staged fights” rule recommended by the NHL’s 30 GMs will not see the light of day.
The players discussed it at their meeting here this week and they recommended to their members on the competition committee to vote against it. The committee needs seven of 10 votes to pass a new rule and they won’t get it if all five players vote no next Thursday when the group meets in Montreal.
The union brought in a number of tough guys Wednesday and they shared their universal thumbs down on the “staged fights” rule proposition.
continued plus some goaltender equipment & Pronger talk too…
from the CP via TSN,
Gary Bettman is about to get a rare audience with the NHL Players’ Association. He better come ready for some tough questions.
The NHL commissioner will speak to players during their annual North American meetings on Saturday morning, marking the first time in his 16 years on the job that it has happened.
The players are looking forward to it.
“I think he’ll probably come in and talk to us for 10 minutes and then I’m hoping he does open the floor up for questions,” Calgary Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr said Friday.
“Because I think as players we have some really good questions for him.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
While there have been preliminary discussions about the possibility of an outdoor game, January 1 in Calgary between the NHL and Calgary officials, the National Hockey League Players Association says it’s unaware of the planned doubleheader.
‘‘This is all news to me. We are breaking news, this is an insider moment that Calgary is potentially going to get an outdoor game and this is the first I’ve heard of it,’’ Glenn Healy, the NHLPA’s director of player affairs told TSN.
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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