Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP via TSN,
The head of the NHL Players’ Association believes it’s time to consider a rule mandating helmet use during fights, and to examine the role of one-dimensional enforcers in the game.
While a “clear majority” of players want fighting to remain a part of hockey, Paul Kelly feels his constituency is open to new restrictions on how the gloves are dropped.
“A couple that we’ve talked about that ought to be looked at anyway is, do you consider a rule whereby players need to keep a helmet on during the course of a fight, and perhaps require officials to step in if a helmet comes off during a fight,” Kelly told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s Conn Smythe Celebrities Dinner and Auction….
Kelly, however, didn’t stop there.
Acknowledging the role fighting has in policing the tenor of play on the ice, he added that so-called “staged fights” between two players with skill sets limited to chucking knuckles may no longer have a place on the ice.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Last summer, at union meetings in Chicago, Lindros arrived with a laundry list of complaints, including some directly aimed at Kelly. In the end, the rest of the key union executives backed Kelly and gave Lindros a rap across the knuckles.
That destroyed the relationship between the two men, and it was hardly a shock when Lindros departed yesterday, although nobody’s saying whether this was a resignation or a firing.
So the latest round of NHLPA bloodletting has again become public.
More specifically, a union that has in the past had difficultly dealing with dissension and disagreement in its ranks has again dealt harshly with an individual viewed as a troublemaker.
The NHLPA ombudsman Eric Lindros has resigned from his post, Sportsnet has learned.
Lindros was hired by the Players’ Association back in November of 2007. The newly created position was added under the ratified NHLPA constitution and allowed Lindros to resolve any complaints by members and/or staff of the NHLPA while reporting directly to the executive board.
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
...despite the ‘all’s well’ speeches from both management and the player’s union, the undercurrent is one of great unhappiness with what’s gone down so far.
Sources told Sportsnet.ca that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s decision to suspend Detroit Red Wings Nik Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk for bowing out of the festivities was viewed as a challenge to NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly. Conversely Kelly’s decision to use the gathering to announce that the players had voted not to reopen the contract and his thoughts on international play was a partial affront to the Commissioner as it came on his showcase turf.
According to one source the player’s union felt Bettman’s suspension was a part of a hastily devised policy that came without input from the PA and that it was arbitrary aas well as being patently unfair. They also felt Bettman’s statement on the players’ decision to extend the collective bargaining agreement was structured to read that he was pleased that the players were on board with the program as crafted by him in the wake of the lockout and that that was a subtle jab to let Kelly know who’s running the show here.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Zach Parise is 24 years old, one of the brightest young stars in the NHL and a pro athlete pulling down millions of dollars in annual pay.
Yet as of yesterday, Parise seemed unaware he was already out almost $170,000 in salary for this season, with another $310,000 or more still to lose.
The New Jersey Devils forward, a participant in tomorrow’s NHL All-Star Game, is one of hundreds of NHL players who are about to be struck by the bombshell that the deteriorating North American economy is about to take enormous bites out of their paycheques.
According to the projections of NHL Players’ Association boss Paul Kelly, his members will collectively return about $217 million back to the league this season as NHL revenues plummet.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Friday’s announcement that the National Hockey League’s players would extend the collective-bargaining agreement at least through the fall of 2011 may be seen by some as a kind of achievement, an end piece.
It’s not. It is a beginning.
And unless both the NHL and its players use the intervening time to continue to work at deficiencies in the current agreement and ensure labor peace well beyond the life of the CBA, then the announcement will be pointless.
“While the NHLPA’s membership has issues with the current Agreement, the players and their Executive Board decided that due to the current economic conditions as well as the players’ focus on continuing to help grow this game and expose our great athletes to many more fans, now is not the appropriate time to enter complex labour negotiations.”——NHLPA Executive Director, Paul Kelly
TORONTO/MONTREAL (January 23, 2009) – The Executive Board of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced today that the NHLPA has declined to exercise its option to terminate the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) following the 2008-09 season. The current CBA between the NHLPA and the National Hockey League will remain in effect for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
How is it the NHLPA, under its newest executive director, Paul Kelly, is expected to announce Friday its membership has declined to reopen its collective agreement with the league, as is its right, and will play on under the current contract until 2011?
That deal, cut under duress, cut after their union was effectively broken, is working just fine for the players, thanks. They’ll say all the right things about not wanting a labour disruption during these trying economic times, but the bottom line is they continue to earn loads of dough in a vigorous market for talent, while league owners are faced with several teams now teetering on the brink of insolvency….
If anything, those clubs are in worse shape now than they were before the lockout, their decline accelerated by the credit crunch and ensuing recession, coupled with shaky ownership.
If they’re still in business come 2011 — and who would like to bet their life on that right now? — the next labour war won’t cure what’s wrong with them, either.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
We fully understand why most hockey fans’ eyes glaze over whenever we update them on labor issues in the NHL. But this little bit of news, we believe, will grab some attention.
We’ve been told the NHL Players’ Association will hold a conference call with the players’ executive board (30 player reps) on Thursday night in which the group will ultimately decided whether or not to opt out of the current collective-bargaining agreement. (The players’ union, as per terms of the CBA, has the right to opt out after the fourth season of the deal, which is this season).
If the answer is yes to opt out, who knows if there’ll be hockey next season. If the answer is no, then it’s at least two more years with the current CBA and labor peace.
continued with more hockey topics… If you watched the Hot Stove on HNIC last night, you heard most of the additional topics…
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
The players, said union boss Paul Kelly, remain eager to work with league officials on adding penalties for those who target opponents’ heads with checks. “The trick is to do that without reducing the amount of contact that is part of what makes this such a great sport,” he said.
The five players on the Competition Committee: Jason Spezza, Mathieu Schneider, Brian Campbell, Jeff Halpern, and Ryan Miller. To sum up their dislikes: 1. whistles (needless stops in play) and 2. defensive, trapping hockey. Sounds like a group that gets it.
more hockey notes…
Paul Kelly talked with Ron MacLean last night on numerous topics. Watch the ten minute interview below…
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