Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kelly will be joining Leafs Lunch on am640 today around 12:40pm ET. Listen here...
“I want to take some time to let my emotions settle before I talk about this. Quite frankly, I’m still stunned and saddened at what has happened. I need a little time to figure out exactly what I want to say to the players and to the public.”
-Paul Kelly. More from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail.
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
On the day after Paul Kelly’s firing as the NHLPA executive director, Chris Chelios is in explaining mode. He was skating today in Detroit, trying to stay in shape as he waits for a contract offer (he’s ruled KHL out and confirmed talks with Nashville). But I imagine most of the calls he’ll get today will be about Kelly’s firing. Even as I type this, Chelios is on his cell in the hallway. He could be ordering a pizza, but I’m guessing Kelly’s firing will dominate most of his discussions.
I asked him what the response has been from his fellow NHLPA members as he explains the thought process behind Kelly’s firing.
“A lot of guys obviously don’t know what happened, couldn’t see it coming,” said Chelios, an NHLPA executive board member. “Half the board couldn’t see this coming until we got to the meetings. At the end of the day, once everybody is filled in on what happened, they’re going to understand and we’re going to move on.”
added 1:00pm, from the CP via TSN,
In an interview with The Canadian Press on Tuesday, Damphousse said Paul Kelly, who was fired by the association’s executive board Monday, was victim of “a kind of paranoia in the group.
“For the new guy coming in, the players need to let him work. There was maybe too much leeway before and now it’s like the guy is in handcuffs. He’s got to be able to work with confidence.”
from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,
Or, more precisely, Kelly got fired because somebody convinced the 30-player executive committee that he hadn’t done enough in less than two years on the job and therefore couldn’t be trusted to lead the next collective bargaining battle.
Those who successfully plotted against him breached constitutional procedures, fudged internal reviews and used a variety of dirty tricks worthy of Watergate to finally triumph at 3:30 a.m. yesterday.
What self-respecting organization fires a key executive at 3:30 in the morning?
If there’s a single smart player on the executive committee, they’ve already figured out they’ve made an awful mistake by being convinced to axe a good man, thereby putting their futures in the hands of Machiavellian suits they wouldn’t trust as teammates.
Maybe that’s why more than 50 players spent yesterday lobbying Kelly’s right-hand man, the widely respected Glenn Healy, to stay on after his colleague Pat Flatley quit in the wake of Kelly’s ouster.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
The fact of the matter is, not one single thing will change on the ice as a result of Kelly’s ouster, nor will anything be different between the whistles when the new man (or woman) takes over. For the next three seasons, fans won’t have to worry much about how dysfunctional and predatory the NHLPA’s head office has become. For all most fans care, the union can go on devouring its own and the game won’t be any different.
But there are a number of reasons why, as a hockey fan, you should be concerned about the putsch a small, but vocal and radical group of players pulled off in Chicago in the wee hours of Monday morning.
In firing Kelly, the players made it abundantly clear they are not pleased with the current direction of their association’s affairs. There are allegations Kelly was too media friendly, a little too cozy with those who occupy the upper reaches of the NHL and the fact that he didn’t connect as well with the players as they hoped he would.
In case you missed it, Ian Penny has been named Interim Executive Director of the NHLPA.
added 7:50pm, from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
One top player told ESPN.com that by the time the search committee gets around to finding a new executive director and gets up to speed, “he won’t have time to get his pencil sharpened before we’re in another lockout.”
“It’s the culture of paranoia,” added a former player and former NHLPA executive committee member. “And what sign does this send to the league? Where’s the stability at the union? It’s a year or two away from needing to negotiate a new CBA.”
added 1:25pm, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
If the NHLPA were a hockey team, you’d have to conclude there is only one possible course of action now – introduce a scorched-earth policy. Burn it to the ground, start from scratch, boot everybody out the door, and then rebuild the organization one staff member at a time. Given its history and this latest round of infighting, it seems to be the only way they’re going to get it right.
TORONTO/CHICAGO (August 31, 2009) – The Executive Board of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced today that it has voted overwhelmingly to relieve Paul Kelly of his duties as Executive Director, effective immediately.
The NHLPA Executive Board, consisting of one Player Representative from each of the 30 NHL teams, made the announcement at their annual meetings in Chicago, Illinois. This decision by the Executive Board follows an in-depth analysis of the NHLPA’s operations.
Statement from the NHLPA Executive Board:
“Following the Executive Board’s review of the overall operation of the NHLPA, it was decided that Paul Kelly should no longer continue to serve as Executive Director. We appreciate Mr. Kelly’s service to our Association.”
The Executive Board will immediately begin putting together a search committee that will identify and interview potential candidates for the vacant Executive Director’s position.
added 9:57am, from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
NHLPA staff members Glenn Healy, the director of player affairs, Pat Flatley, the assistant director of player affairs and Penny attended the proceedings. A source stated that both Healy and Flately were pro-Kelly, while Penny wanted to see a change at the top.
There was a report Monday morning that Flatley resigned his post after the Kelly announcement.
There also have been charges made from the pro-Kelly camp that Lindros continued to play a behind-the-scenes role in the attempted coup.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Paul Kelly has been fired as executive director of the National Hockey League players association.
The decision was made by the NHLPA’s executive board, made up of 30 NHL player representatives following several hours of meetings in Chicago.
Kelly spent much of Sunday night waiting in a corridor outside the boardroom while the executive board deliberated, twice inviting interim ombudsman, Buzz Hargrove in to the discussions before a final vote and decision was made.
Kelly was invited back into the board meeting along with general counsel Ian Penny where he learned his fate.
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
There are suggestions that Kelly is in trouble for not taking a hard enough line (suggesting in one interview, for instance, that his job in the next contract negotiation was to avoid a lockout rather than to secure the best possible deal for the players). But many people inside and outside the NHLPA’s membership are pointing fingers directly at Lindros (and his parents) now, suggesting that he is the driving force behind what appears to be a budding insurrection.
Hockey fans can be forgiven for not caring about any of that. Battles among millionaires don’t exactly tug at the heartstrings, especially at a time of real economic woes for real people.
But that said, anyone who is interested in a resolution of the Phoenix debacle that would result in a seventh NHL franchise in Canada, or who would like the pros to continue playing in the Olympic Games after 2010, has a vested interest in who is leading the PA.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly, who has been on the job less than two years, is facing intense scrutiny according to union sources and his status may be challenged when the Players’ Association’s 30-member executive committee convenes Sunday and Monday in Chicago at a regularly scheduled meeting.
Sources tell TSN that NHLPA interim ombudsman, Buzz Hargrove, is expected to make a presentation to the committee identifying concerns within the association about Kelly’s leadership. No details have emerged about the nature of the concerns.
Sources say it’s possible the executive committee could vote to have Kelly removed and, in accordance with the NHLPA constitution, could do so without consent from the full membership of NHL players.
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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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