Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
BERLIN—It looks like the NHL is going for reinforcements in its European invasion.
With four teams in Europe to kick off the 2008-09 regular season this week it’s possible that number could double next fall, the head of the National Hockey League’s Players’ Association, Paul Kelly, said Sunday.
The number of teams taking part in what is now a two-year tradition of starting the regular season in Europe will grow next fall to six teams presumably in three cities and maybe as many as eight teams, Kelly said before the Tampa Bay Lightning faced off against Berlin in an exhibition game Sunday.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Any attempt by the NHL to pull out of the Olympics after the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games will face a stiff fight from the NHL Players’ Association.
Paul Kelly, executive director of the NHLPA, said Thursday that “NHL management does not have the right to make unilateral statements that we will not participate in the Olympics again. Players have strong views about the issue.”
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The latest pension court battle between the NHL and its players may look minor compared with the previous one, when the owners were caught with their hands in the till, but it will be a watershed moment for union boss Paul Kelly.
It is not important that he wins the fight, only that he is willing to wage it. By doing so, he should satisfy a small but influential group of his members who remain suspicious of anything that smacks of a cozy relationship with the NHL.
My view is that it is difficult for some of those teams, particularly in the American sunbelt, where they don’t have the establishment of hockey at a youth level. I grew up in Boston and there were youth hockey leagues everywhere. Every town had two or three rinks in it, and the game was and is part of our upbringing there.
But if you’re in Phoenix or you’re in Florida, it’s really tough for those teams to put people in the seats and sell the game. We understand that and maybe the revenue-sharing system is part of the answer. But our view is that if teams in any region suffer (financial) losses three or four years in a row, then stop complaining about it in a (business) system you created and imposed here, and start asking the question whether you’re in the right place.
-Paul Kelly in a continued interview with Adam Proteau of the Hockey News.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
If it decides to terminate the deal, the NHLPA must notify the league of that intention by May 18, 2009. According to Kelly, he plans to wrap up his 30-team tour by late November and then promptly hand over the voting results to the board for review in December. On or about Jan. 1, some 4 1/2 months prior to the deadline, the NHLPA plans to inform the league whether it will opt out.
“We’ll notify the league as soon as possible,” said Kelly. “We don’t want to drag this out.”
Unlike the contentious days leading up to the 2004 lockout, and the many months of vitriol and rancor that followed, union members have voiced little opposition to the salary cap system in place now for three seasons.
read on and some NHL bits too…
“The Russians have not been part of it for a number of years, and at this point, my sense is that they probably will recluse themselves from any transfer agreement that might be signed in the near term,” Kelly told The Hockey News in an interview that will appear in an upcoming magazine edition.
“On the other hand, I do think there is a strong interest on the part of most of the other federations – certainly, the Finns, the Swedes, the Czechs, the Slovaks, the Germans, the Canadians, the U.S. – to sign off on a new agreement.”
more from Paul Kelly from an article by Adam Proteau of the Hockey News
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
No one, least of all Glen Sather, knows what the Rangers would do if Mats Sundin unexpectedly declares his interest in playing this season on Broadway rather than in Vancouver, where the Canucks have a two-year, $20M offer on the table; or in Toronto, where the Maple Leafs unfathomably have a one-year, $7M offer out; or in Montreal, where the Canadiens have been holding a uniform for No. 13 since February.
It would be as difficult to reject Sundin as it would be to conjure the strategy to fit him under the team cap, and no, there is not a shred of truth to reports of the Blueshirts working on a massive salary-dump in order to clear space for him.
more NHL topics, from ‘Boots” to Radulov….
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
● Peace between the NHL and the new Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is possible but a high NHL team official tells us that it requires an understanding of the thought process in Moscow. “The Russians are not simple,” the man tells us. “They do things differently and can make life complicated.” In candid conversations between NHL bigs and their Russian counterparts, the latter were told straight out: “We can work together and respect each other’s contracts and, down the road, we could possibly have a joint union of leagues. Or, we can go to war!”
● Speaking of war, if there’s to be major NHL-NHLPA friction it will not be caused by union boss Paul Kelly. But those who’ve watched his belligerent style believe that Glenn Healy will be the prime anti-league spokesman within the Association.
Craig Custance of the Sporting News Today (daily online newspaper with free subscription) conducted an interview with NHLPA Executve Director Paul Kelly. Topics discussed are European expansion, the CBA, ESPN and the Winter Classic.
Hopefully this link will take you there, if not, registration is painless and you get a daily email notification when the paper is available to view.
Update 5:36pm ET: Bonus material at Custance’s Sporting News blog—
[But] we covered a lot of ground that wasn’t printed. Some will be in an upcoming story I’m working on. But here are two bonus questions with Kelly that I couldn’t squeeze in the SNT Q and A:
Q: What’s the biggest issue in getting a transfer agreement with European federations?
A: It’s an economic issue first and foremost ...
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
The NHL hasn’t given up hope of mending the fences with Russia’s Continental Hockey League (KHL) and other foreign hockey federations.
Paul Kelly, the executive director for the NHLPA, told Sporting News on Wednesday that the league will proceed with September’s planned meeting that includes the NHLPA, International Ice Hockey Federation, KHL and all major hockey federations. It will take place during the first week of September in New York in hopes of settling the transfer agreement controversy.
“In Zurich we agreed to get together to have a dialogue about these issues,” Kelly said. “Unfortunately, the ongoing issues with the NHL and KHL have put a damper on the spirit of cooperation.”
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.
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