Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,
What comes as a shock to long-time observers, however, is that now the NHL Players’ Association wants to get involved, and not necessarily to fight off the suspensions that were handed down by Colin Campbell, the NHL’s Director of Hockey Operations, as well as the perceived threat of additional suspensions that were hinted at by Commissioner Gary Bettman and his deputy, Bill Daly.
Paul Kelly, who barely has found a chair that fits him as the NHLPA’s new executive director said recently that he’s “concerned” about the number of suspensions the Flyers have been given since the start of the season and that not only should the league take a tougher stance, but that his organization should “have a voice in the process.”
Given that he’s not dead, it would be wrong to say that former NHLPA boss Bob Goodenow is spinning in his grave over that one, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Kelly’s statement made his head turn. Criticism of Goodenow within and outside the PA often centered on how he handled on-ice or player-on-player violence. The perception (Goodenow argued it was unfair) was that the PA was quick to come to the defense of any perpetrator, but did next to nothing to protect the health, safety and long-term welfare of the player who was unduly or unfairly assaulted.
from In the Room at the Washington Times,
Kelly and Lindros talked about all sorts of issues with the game, and since the story was more of a feature on the two of them trying to help the NHLPA regroup, there was not room for their views on a lot of important topics. So here is some what we talked about. It is a lot to digest, but there is some pretty good stuff in here.
ON THE CURRENT STATE OF THE GAME
KELLY: We like the game played at a high rate of speed. We like to see good, close games whether they are 2-1, 3-2 or 8-7. I don’t know that the volume of goals is really the issue. We want to see good, clean, competitive, fast play.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Judging by a conversation late last week with new executive director Paul Kelly, it seems the PA finally has realized the obvious. Kelly, who met Thursday with the NHL’s Board of Governors in Pebble Beach, Calif., wants the union to be far more engaged in the supplemental disciplinary process. In his estimation, after meeting in recent weeks with the rank and file of 11 of the league’s 30 teams, the players feel the need to increase the on-ice respect factor and do what they can to decrease, ideally eliminate, “head shots.”
“There is a feeling among the players,” said Kelly, “there has been a greater number of these this year than in the past - and no one has an explanation for it. Some of these are hits by guys who are considered third- or fourth-liners, and perhaps they are sent out by a coach to play a certain style, or maybe they are trying to win a job, or keep a job, and maybe they feel they have to ratchet up the aggressiveness….”
more and numerous NHL bits…
“I told them expressly, it is my view that any labour interruption in this sport would be devastating,” Kelly said, “and that the public, particularly in the United States, would turn away in disgust. And that we owe it to the game and to the fans to work through issues and to avoid any discussions of lockouts and strikes. I sensed a positive agreement from the owners to that comment.”
read more from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail, including the league may look at an 84 game season. The players will approve it as long as the exhibition season is shortened.
added 7:50am, from Terry Frei at All Things Avs,
...but when word arrived tonight of the NHL Board of Governors’ decision on a scheduling format for next season, I thought it was a joke. The much-reviled format is only being tweaked in what is essentially a return to the pre-lockout format, not overhauled. What the league needed to do first and foremost — send every team to every arena every season — is not part of the plan. The league is telling the fans they are No. 1 — but with the wrong finger.
Everything else being equal, this is going to cost the Avalanche and other Western Conference franchises even more season ticket accounts.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Now a month on the job, the former Boston trial lawyer and assistant U.S. attorney has formed a general impression on how his command will work.
“There are business issues, maybe on television, marketing or promotional issues where I might lay alternatives and make recommendations, and hope they have significant faith and trust in my judgment to support me,” Kelly said. “But on game issues, players are in a far better position than I am. It’s incumbent upon me to get a sense of the majority.”
The NHL Players’ Association and Stu Grimson, a former player who was legal counsel with the NHLPA, have parted ways.
It is not clear whether Grimson was fired or resigned, but he is no longer working with the Association.
from the NHLPA,
The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Executive Board today announced the appointment of Eric Lindros to the newly created Ombudsman position and the promotion of Associate Counsel Ian Penny to the role of General Counsel.
As Ombudsman, a new position created under the recently ratified NHLPA Constitution, Lindros will serve as a non-voting member of the Executive Board and will supervise and coordinate the activities of the Divisional Player Representative program.Lindros will also receive and resolve any complaints by members and/or staff of the Association.He will report directly to the Executive Board.
from Stan Fischler at MSG Network, (Paul) Kelly wants to canvass his constituency to get an overall feel for the membership’s thinking. One thing he emphasized to us is his desire to see more widespread TV coverage in the U.S.
He didn’t mention ESPN by name, but rather by implication that a renewed marriage between the biggest sports network and Bettman, Inc. would be highly desirable. It’s tough to argue that point!
more from The Maven…
From the NHLPA,
The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) today announced that the members of the NHLPA have ratified a new constitution by way of secret ballot. The announcement marks the end of a thorough review process that began in March of 2006….
Among the significant changes,the new constitution eliminates the Executive Committee, which was comprised of the President and Vice-President positions, leaving the 30 Club Player Representatives to serve as equal voting members of the Executive Board. Also, the positions of Executive Director and General Counsel, which have traditionally been held by the same person, will now be divided between two individuals.
From Damien Cox’s The Spin,
The early guess is that Paul Kelly is about honesty, not about change. Indeed, the new NHL Players Association boss probably just needs not to open other people’s emails and he’ll do fine.
A progressive thinker, however, he apparently is not.
In fact, with respect to the game itself, it turns out Kelly is a bit of closet Neanderthal, something he revealed Saturday night in an intriguing interview with Ron MacLean on Hockey Night in Canada.
Kelly said that not only does he believe fighting is part of hockey, he strongly believes in the necessity of enforcers to “self-police” the game.
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