Kukla's Korner Hockey
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?”
from Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal,
NHL Players’ Association Executive Director Paul Kelly is calling for league TV partners Versus and NBC to do more to promote the NHL and NHL players, citing players’ growing frustration over hockey coverage.
“We have to push our two partners to do a better job of covering our sport … or we have to go in a different direction when that contract comes to an end,” Kelly told the Sports Lawyers Association on May 16. Kelly has called in the past for the NHL to return to ESPN.
Kelly said the fact that people in the U.S. could not watch most of the Boston-Carolina playoff Game 7 earlier this month because Versus was airing Anaheim-Detroit Game 7 “is a source of great frustration” to NHL players as well as the union.
continued & thanks to SBJ for releasing the normally paid subscription link…
from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,
When the Red Wings, Canucks and Bruins swept first-round playoff series, their fans were presumably thrilled. Paul Kelly, the executive director of the NHL players’ union, was not.
“We were a little bit troubled to see three sweeps,” Kelly told the FAN 590 last week. “From our standpoint, from a business perspective ... we like to see six- and seven-game series.”
These ears, and call them overly sensitive, were troubled to hear one of the game’s most influential power brokers advertising his wish for longer post-season series. Yet there was Kelly in Washington last Monday, before Game 2 of the second-round beauty between the Capitals and Penguins, making no bones about his wish to see the Penguins tie the series 1-1, no matter what his cheerleading might suggest.
“If the suggestion is somehow you’re telling players to blow games to extend series, number one we would never say that, we’re not saying that, and even if we did say that, players would ignore us. I mean, these guys are out to win,” Kelly said the other day. “I’m stating the obvious, which is, when we have large-market clubs in the playoffs and we have six- and seven-game series, it generates more revenue for us and particularly in a year like this one, that’s a good thing. I don’t think there’s anything controversial about it.”
continued with a ‘conspirecy theory’...
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