Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Melissa of the Las Vegas Sun,
While the Palms is setting the stage and rolling out the red carpet for Thursday’s NHL Awards, Caesars Palace is rolling out the rink.
The casino has created a skating rink in advance of the annual awards, which are visiting Vegas for the first time this year.
The league has committed to handing out hockey’s highest honors here in Las Vegas for the next three years. What’s more, the NHL Players Association is also holding their annual meetings here this week.
In response, the city and some of its major casino operators are rolling out the welcome mat for the league’s players, managers and fans.
At Caesars Palace, however, the so-called welcome mat is actually a giant skating rink.
OK, technically it’s a synthetic ice surface built with sheets of special plastic, but it skates the same as the real stuff and won’t melt under the desert sun.
Temperatures are, after all, expected to hit the mid-80s today.
Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin will lace ‘em up and go for a skate tonight as part of the demonstration outside the casino’s main entrance.
Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler will also take part.
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
NHL Players Association head Paul Kelly says the fight to eliminate blows to the head isn’t over, just because NHL general managers expressed “no appetite” to change the rules when they met Tuesday prior to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.
“I respect the general managers’ views, but that’s not the end of the dialogue,” Kelly told reporters. “This issue will come up again in the competition committee meeting.
“The rule that our players have proposed … No. 1, it has to be a player who’s in a vulnerable position. No. 2, in the judgment of the official, the attacking player has to target the head of that vulnerable player, and No. 3, he has to make contact with that head with any part of his body, including the shoulder. So there’s elements of intent, targeting and vulnerability.
from Steve Milton of the Hamilton Spectator,
The leader of the National Hockey League Players’ Association may not overtly support a league franchise in Hamilton, but he’s very blunt about what should happen to the one in Phoenix.
“From a players’ perspective, it’s time to pull the plug,” NHLPA executive-director Paul Kelly told The Spectator last night.
Kelly says that NHL owners should not only be doubting that the Coyotes should remain in Phoenix, but that those doubts should have arisen long before now.
Earlier in the day, speaking on Toronto radio station The Fan, Kelly wondered: “How much money must (a franchise) lose before someone says “perhaps they ought not to be there?”
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org