Kukla's Korner Hockey
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…
from Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal,
NHL Players’ Association Executive Director Paul Kelly acted to quell dissent within the union last week by publicly condemning recent press reports that criticized union ombudsman Eric Lindros and indicated Lindros would soon be fired.
But hockey sources question whether Kelly’s comments, which also expressed support for Lindros, will mend what has become a deepening rift within the union, at the same time NHL players are trying to decide whether to terminate the current collective-bargaining agreement.
As reported by SportsBusiness Journal in November, Kelly and Lindros, who were staunch and vocal supporters of each other when they were both hired in 2007, are increasingly at odds with each other, according to numerous sources.
continued and thanks to SBJ for releasing the normally paid subscription link to KK.
Also from Liz Mullen of SBJ,
The NHL Players’ Association board of player representatives will vote later this month on whether to end the collective-bargaining agreement this year or extend it another two years, and it is widely expected they’ll choose not to opt out.
Sources said an announcement of the players’ decision may be made the week of the NHL All-Star Game, set for Jan. 25 in Montreal. NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon said in an e-mail that players would vote on the issue in mid- to late January.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
On the night of June 9, 1972, heavy rainfall, and the failure of the nearby Canyon Creek Dam, unleashed a wall of water that wiped out all of the homes in the area. The flood left 238 people dead.
In the wake of that tragedy, the city decreed that virtually all commercial and residential development along the creek that winds through Rapid City would be turned over to green space.
Bob Fuchs, a local businessman and hockey dad, went down to the rink at 10 p.m. on cold winter nights and flooded the surface so kids could skate the next day. There was one corner of the rink that caught more sun than the rest, so they had to add extra water. If it was windy, the leaves played havoc with the surface. Occasionally, the water pump for the rink would deliver a small trout or two from the creek.
At best, it was bumpy, but it was ice. There was hockey in Rapid City.
From Mark Spector at Sportsnet.ca:
NHL players have been warned by their association that its escrow hold-back could be increased in the new year.
Currently, the NHL holds back 13.5 per cent of players’ paychecks. That money is available to the league at the end of the year in case NHL revenue projections are not met. The procedure was included as part of the most recent collective agreement so that players take home only their negotiated 56 per cent share of NHL revenues. Players have received back all of their escrow monies the past three seasons.
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