Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.”
While supporting the possibility of Canadian expansion, Kelly said the NHLPA’s main goal is to ensure all the teams in the NHL are financially healthy. Kelly has ideas about what it will take to achieve that goal.
“It will ultimately come down to the revenue-sharing system we have in the game,” Kelly told the Team 1040. “I mean the haves - the big market teams - are doing very, very well financially, and they could probably do more in the way of revenue sharing to help out those teams that are in the bottom five or six on the list to help make them more stable financially….
from Paul Kelly, NHLPA Executive Director…
“Yesterday’s announcement by the IIHF that they have suspended certain Players from international competition has no basis in fact or law, and constitutes a violation of the rights of these Players. The affected Players are being unfairly singled out in a dispute between the NHL and the KHL over whether to respect each others’ contracts. The NHLPA’s strong objection to this unilateral action by the IIHF has been registered, and unless this action is reversed, the NHLPA will consider all legal options available.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
The Jonas Frogren contract imbroglio has the Toronto Maple Leafs in the peculiar position of aligning themselves with the NHL Players’ Association against the NHL.
While it could have far-reaching effects when it comes to signing older European players, the whole thing arose out of an honest mistake both sides made when they drafted the last collective bargaining agreement.
“Nobody should blame the Leafs for this. This is not their screw-up,” said a source close to the situation. “The screw-up was in the drafting of the CBA. But it’s not surprising that in a 500-page document, that two provisions would conflict each other.”
The IIHF, the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association met in Zurich on Thursday to discuss issues relating to player transfers and the international hockey agenda, including the Olympic Winter Games, the IIHF World Championships, the Victoria Cup and the World Cup of Hockey.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
If the NHLPA decides to reopen the CBA for tweaks, it must notify the league by May 18, 2009. The players may also extend the CBA through the 2011-12 season, which gives them options at both ends of the spectrum.
“It’s early in the process,” Kelly said. “We’re going to roll it out to all the teams in the fall tour. We’ll discuss if we’re going to reopen, what are some of the issues we’d like to revisit. On the flip side, we’ll provide a laundry list of things the owners might like to revisit.
“At this point, it’s too early. We’ll do it in a very thoughtful way and give people the opportunity to think about it.”
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for NHLers, who have an extremely limited window in which to capitalize on decades of hard work and dedication, defending themselves vigorously against some of the big-time money-grubbers who own teams.
However, when you bring aboard a guy like Healy, who still believes Goodenow’s every utterance should be carved on stone slabs and displayed at the Smithsonian Institution, you run the risk of setting up a needless showdown that could be more about massive egos clashing – which many now believe was at the root of the ’04-05 lockout – than the good of the game.
You can also listen to Healy talk about his new position with the NHLPA. He appeared on Fan590 in Toronto yesterday morning.
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
In a development overshadowed by European soccer and Blue Jays batting slumps, the NHL Players’ Association met this week for their annual meeting in Colorado Springs. A group of 80 veteran players spent the better part of three days at a resort in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains listening to the union’s various staffers explain the countless ways in which Bettman is full of it….
Bettman was the star of this show. NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly showed a May 30 Toronto Star article that explained how Canadian clubs account for 31 per cent of the league’s ticket receipts.
Then he showed an interview of Bettman by the CBC’s Ron MacLean during the Stanley Cup final. “In one instant, Bettman says he didn’t read the Star story, and in the next breath, he’s quoting directly from it,” says a player who was at the meeting. “It’s a joke.”
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