Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: nhlpa
According to Yahoo Sports' Greg Wyshynski, the major stakeholders in the World Cup of Hockey--the NHL, the NHLPA and the IIHF--will be taking part in the decision-making processes regarding supplementary discipline, video replay and coaches' challenges, but to different extents. Supplementary disicipline is a tri-party issue:
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly tells Yahoo Sports that suspensions and fines in the World Cup of Hockey tournament will be determined by a three-person panel. The first person is a representative from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. The second is a representative from NHL’s Department of Hockey Operations. The third is a representative from the IIHF.
Those three are the judge and jury, but there will also be an NHLPA representative “in an observer’s role,” according to Daly.
Under IIHF rules, players that are suspended in one tournament can have those suspensions carry over to other tournaments. Please recalled the knee-on-knee hit from Swedish defenseman Alex Edler on Canada’s Eric Staal, which resulted in a four-game suspension that bridged between the 2013 IIHF world championships and the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Would suspensions in the World Cup of Hockey carry over to other international tournaments?
“Absent extraordinary circumstances, discipline would be for the tournament only with no carryover,” said Daly, who added that “in extraordinary circumstances, each organization can treat as it sees fit.”
Wyshynski continues, explaining that the NHL's situation room will handle video review, and that a combination of NHL and IIHF referees will deal with penalties and coaches' challenges.
Today's legal news comes from Reuters...
The NHL’s players union on Friday urged a U.S. court not to grant Commissioner Gary Bettman broad power to override arbitrators when deciding how severely to discipline players for improper on-ice conduct.
Citing a recent appeals court ruling against New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, the NHL Players’ Association said Bettman should not be allowed to restore a 20-game suspension of Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman for hitting a linesman, after an arbitrator cut the ban to 10 games.
The NHL had sued to revive the longer suspension on June 8, contending that the arbitrator reviewing the matter under the league’s collective agreement was not “neutral,” and ignored substantial evidence justifying the original ban.
But in a filing with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the NHLPA said Wideman’s 10-game ban should stand.
Citing the April 25 court ruling restoring Brady’s four-game suspension from the NFL for deflating footballs, the union said federal courts have only “narrowly circumscribed” authority to review labor arbitration decisions.
“A federal court may not require perfection in arbitration awards,” the union said. “The court must simply ensure that the arbitrator was even arguably construing or applying the contract and acting within the scope of his authority and did not ignore the plain language of the contract. There can be no credible dispute that this was the case here.”
And the Associated Press:
Among the New York Post's Larry Brooks' notes:
*So who in the world made the decision for the NHL Network to cut away from its cut-in to the Panthers-Canucks game on Monday just as the postgame hijinks at the Florida were getting interesting?
By the way, Jaromir Jagr nailed it when the Panthers were 8-8-3 on Nov. 20 and he said: “I thought we would have a better record, for sure.” Since then, the Puddy Tats (No offense, Denis, I’m having a peanut butter sandwich) have gone 18-5-3.
* Parity or parody? Through Thursday, 15 of the NHL’s 30 teams had won between 20 and 23 games, making each an honorary member of the NFC East.
*If the Canadian dollar continues its descent toward 60 cents on the U.S. buck, and thus increases the likelihood of escrow climbing over 20 percent next season, is anyone going to be surprised if the NHLPA does not exercise its 5 percent salary-cap bump, and could anyone really hold it against membership?
If teams are not planning on a decline in the 2016-17 cap — or at best, a flat $71.4 million — they would be making a significant mistake.
Brooks continues, discussing the Islanders' potential to become a playoff contender with the right moves, the John Scott deal, and, well, more Islanders stuff.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Steve Carp spoke with two intriguing people regarding the state of expansion in the NHL. One of them is Bill Foley, the man in charge of the Las Vegas expansion franchise-to-be, and the other is NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.
We haven't heard from Fehr regarding the intricacies of expansion as of yet, but from Fehr's point of view, expansion is a good thing...
"As a general rule the players are in favor of expansion because it creates additional revenue and additional jobs," Fehr said. "If you were to be in a situation where expansion had a detrimental effect on revenue and it was impacting salaries, then it wouldn't make sense."
But Fehr's not going to budge regarding players with no-move clauses being drafted by an expansion team:
Fehr said he doesn't believe the current agreement that allows players to have a no move clause in their contract would change were there to be expansion.
"If a player has a no move, then it's a no mover," he said. "I would anticipate it would be the same if there is an expansion draft."
Carp and Fehr continue, discussing the salary cap's implications upon expansion from a spending perspective:
From the New York Post's Larry Brooks:
The next battleground between the NHL and NHLPA — and perhaps the first significant confrontation between the league and union since Owners’ Lockout III was settled — can be expected to be fought over rules of an expansion draft that could be held in June 2017.
There likely are to be myriad issues, but specifically, the PA will insist players with no-move clauses be exempt from exposure to the draft, a source with knowledge of the union’s philosophy told Slap Shots.
The league has not declared its position on the matter, but it is important to note that Article 11.8 (c) of the CBA states: “A no-move clause may prevent the involuntary relocation of a Player whether by Trade, Loan or Waiver claim.”
According to an email correspondence from deputy commissioner Bill Daly, the concept of including expansion draft claim in the no-move clause “was never discussed” in either the 2004-05 or 2012-13 collective bargaining negotiations.
Asked if the NHL would register a contract in which exemption from expansion draft exposure was written into a no-move clause, Daly responded: “There is standard ‘no-move’ language that is contemplated by the CBA. We wouldn’t be inclined to permit a variation of that.”
Brooks continues, and Brooks duly notes that the expansion draft rules are CBA issues--and as such, must be negotiated through collective bargaining...
From TSN's Frank Seravalli:
With early revenue projections in place, the NHL and NHLPA set the escrow withholding rate for players at 16 per cent for the first quarter of the season on Thursday.
That means every player will have 16 per cent of earnings deducted from their paycheque and put aside until after all of this season’s hockey-related revenue is counted to ensure a perfect 50-50 revenue split with owners.
“Escrow” is the dirtiest word in hockey locker rooms.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said earlier this month the league is projected to pull in more than $4 billion in revenue, but he was not comfortable divulging a more specific estimate publicly.
Players will receive their first of 13 paycheques for the season on Oct. 15. They will also each pay $30 per day in NHLPA union dues, according to Gavin Management Group, for each day on an NHL roster - or $5,580 per full season with 186 working days.
Based on past returns, it is unlikely the players will receive that escrow money back in full. Since 2009-10, players have given a chunk of their escrow fund to the owners every season, resulting in what amounts to a pay cut.
From Forbes' Eric Macramalla:
It’s been about a month since the Los Angeles Kings terminated the contract of forward Richards in connection with Richards being taken into custody at the Canadian/U.S. border for the alleged unlawful possession of OxyContin pills. Richards had five years and $22 million remaining on his deal, which translates to a $5.75 million cap hit over each of the next five years.
Initially, the Kings had decided to buy out Richards. That would have resulted in a fluctuating cap hit until 2024-25, peaking in 2018 and 2019 at $4.2 million. However, by terminating his deal, the Kings would enjoy substantial cap relief as the team would only be on the hook for a cap recapture penalty of $1.32 million over each of the next five years. And of course, the team won’t have to pay Richards two-thirds of his salary, which amounts to $14.5 million.
The Kings will have a difficult time upholding the termination of Richards’ contract. Based upon the available information, the team may advance two arguments.
Terminated: Argument One
Beyond his possible border arrest, not much is known regarding the RCMP’s investigation into Richards. So at this point, the precise reasons for termination are not known. Further, whatever transpired at the border constitutes nothing more than allegations against Richards. However, let’s assume the Kings terminated the Richards contract after learning he was taken into custody in connection with the possession of OxyContin.
If that’s the case, expect the Kings to have a tough time upholding the termination of the Richards contract should the NHLPA file a grievance.
Why the uphill battle for the Kings? The reason is the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse And Behavioral Program Policy (or the Drug Policy).
Via Sportsnet, the NHLPA has announced a partnership with "See the Line," a concussion research institute at the University of Western Ontario, and here's the PA's press release regarding said partnership:
NHLPA gift to support concussion research announced at See the Line
By NHLPA Staff // August 12, 2015 // Giving Back, Media Releases
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - AUGUST 12, 2015, 6 P.M. EST
NHLPA gift to support concussion research announced at See the Line
Western University announced today that the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) is making a challenge gift of $500,000 to support concussion research at Western. The announcement was made at See the Line – an annual day-long event focused on concussion research and awareness held at Western University in London. It is presented in partnership by London Health Sciences Foundation, the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, and Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, as well as London’s hospitals, research institutes, and the faculties of Health Sciences and Engineering at Western.
From TSN's Frank Seravali:
One month after the Los Angeles Kings terminated the contract of forward Mike Richards, no charges have been laid and the NHL Players’ Association has yet to make a decision on whether to file a grievance on the matter.
Sgt. Bert Paquet, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba, said Thursday there is “still an active investigation” into Richards.
According to a Winnipeg Sun report from June 30, Richards is “under investigation for alleged possession of a restricted substance while attempting to cross the Canada-U.S. border." The Sun reported a man was “held in custody … for at least four hours after allegedly trying to import” prescription painkiller OxyContin on June 17.
The Kings placed Richards on unconditional waivers on June 28, then moved to terminate his contract on June 29, citing a “material breach.” They have yet to discuss the grounds for terminating his contract.
In the month since then, the NHLPA has continued to gather facts and information, but has yet to decide on filing a grievance. Richards and the NHLPA have 60 days to file a grievance contesting the termination, or until Aug. 29. Whether charges are laid could impact the NHLPA decision to move forward with a grievance.
“There is no guarantee charges will be laid,” Paquet, the RCMP spokesman, said. “There has been a lot of interest in this case. If charges were laid, we would likely announce the information publicly.”
And now, for something completely different:
Sportsnet's Tim and Sid spoke with NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr about expansion, the World Cup of Hockey and the nature of his job. You may not find this as fascinating as Interim KK Blogger George does (:waves:), but if you want to watch Fehr talk in a relaxed manner for 14 minutes...He sure as hell doesn't come off like Gary Bettman:
From the NHL and NHLPA:
NHL / NHLPA COMPETITION COMMITTEE STATEMENT
NEW YORK (June 4, 2015) -- Co-chairs of the NHL / NHLPA Competition Committee – Mathieu Schneider, National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Special Assistant to the Executive Director, and Colin Campbell, National Hockey League (NHL) Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations – issued the following statement on new rules recommendations after the Competition Committee met today in New York:
Expanded Video Review: Coach's Challenge - The Committee recommends that a Coach's Challenge be adopted for expanded video review for goals that may have resulted from (1) goaltender interference and (2) offside plays. The video review process and all decisions on goals where goaltender interference may have occurred will be the responsibility of the Referees at ice level, in consultation with the NHL’s Situation Room in Toronto; similarly, goals that may have resulted from an offside play will be reviewed and determined by the on-ice officials, in consultation with the NHL's Situation Room in Toronto. In order for a coach to make a challenge, the team must have its timeout available.
According to Friedman:
- The NHL's GM's will ensure that teams who have fired coaches or managers will not receive draft pick compensation--only coaches and front office executives who are under contract to an NHL team, not fired by an NHL team, will require compensation;
- Friedman believes that John Hynes, Ray Shero's AHL coach for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will probably be named the Devils' next coach, not Phil Housley;
- Friedman doesn't believe that the Rangers will allow the Maple Leafs to speak to New York Rangers assistant GM Jeff Gorton;
- He states that the Capitals and Braden Hotlby's representatives have begun to talk contract turkey;
- And the NHLPA's Competition Committee will review the NHL's GM's proposals for 4-on-4-to-3-on-3 OT, defensive centers placing their sticks on the ice first and the 5% growth factor in the salary cap will all be discussed, with a "trial period" for 3-on-3 OT and possibly lesser growth for the cap in the offing.
Instead of discussing all the "could'ves" and "nearly" trades that the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch discusses in his sunday column, this reminder of the state of the salary cap as it applied to the trade deadline might set more realistic expectations for fans who believe that no matter what happens to the "upper limit," we'll see another feeding frenzy in July:
Turns out this was the dollars and sense deadline.
"If you were going to take on money it may not have made sense," said a league executive Friday.
Amongst the deals that were made just before last Monday's NHL trade deadline, not many involved players with term which tells you teams are worried where the cap is going to go next year with the Canadian dollar taking a slide and concerns the NHLPA may not use its 5%-inflator.
"Lots of teams are wondering what's going to happen with the cap and they were scare off from doing anything," said another executive.
"That's why they were so careful with their moves."
That doesn't mean there was a shortage of talk. Teams still discuss moves like they're going to make them but when push comes to shove the general manager's found it difficult to get anything done.
Garrioch continues, and if the NHLPA does not use its 5% inflator clause because of escrow withholding concern, the cap might not go up from $68 million to anything more than $69 or $70 million this summer, yielding a cap crunch of a kind we haven't seen in a decade.
Elliotte Friedman and George Strombolopolous engaged in the usually Cox-and-Friedman-headlined Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada, and Friedman discussed:
Andrew "the Hamburglar" Hammond's future with the Senators, which won't involve contract talks just yet;
Topics regarding the GM's meetings on March 16th may include the Florida Panthers' starter-and-back-up-goalie-get-injured situation, expanding video review via giving officials a monitor in the penalty box to review goals that cannot be reviewed in Toronto;
And Friedman says that it's entirely possible that IOC president Thomas Bach and Bettman/Fehr will discuss NHL and NHLPA participation in the Olympics when the World Championships are held in Prague this May:
From NHL.com's Arpon Basu:
The NHL is close to hiring a new head of the Department of Player Safety, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday.
The NHL has been without a permanent lead disciplinarian since Brendan Shanahan left the League on April 11 to become president and alternate governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Stephane Quintal, who worked under Shanahan since November 2011, took over as head of player safety on an interim basis through the end of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We're getting to the short strokes of that process," Commissioner Bettman said, speaking at a media event outside Montreal. "We've interviewed a lot of candidates, including somebody that's been doing it on an interim basis, and we will be making a decision shortly. We wanted to finish the process; [NHL deputy commissioner] Bill Daly and I each managed to take a little time off in August, but certainly well in advance of the start of the season we'll have an announcement."
Bettman also tells Basu that he's working with the NHLPA to reestablish "more international play," i.e. a revival of the "World Cup of Hockey":
While the boss is away, the talking monkey will play...
There's been a significant amount of consternation from both hockey fans and general managers regarding Gary Bettman's weenie-ish remarks suggesting that the NHLPA needs to be consulted regarding the salary cap's upper limit and range--which may not be determined until Monday, all of one day before free agency begins--and now we're finding out thhe reason why Bettman said what he did: he's playing hardball with the PA regarding factoring in next year's Canadian TV revenue, to the point that he's offering a SUPER lowball "upper limit":
Earlier this morning, Pierre LeBrun, Darren Dreger and Elliotte Friedman explained the TV revenue-vs-escrow issue:
USA Today engaged in an intriguing exercise this morning, having Calgary Flames president Brian Burke pen a "guest column" in support of fighting, USA Hockey's Michael J. Stuart and the Mayo Clinic's David W. Dodick and Aynsley M. Smith pen a guest column aruging for the abolishment of fighting in hockey, and USA Today's Kevin Allen speaking with NBC Sports' Keith Jones, NHLPA special assistant to the executive director Mathieu Schneider and one former Red Wings scrapper Darren McCarty about the fact that fighting's dropped by about 20% this season:
"There are fewer heavyweights now and fewer guys willing to fight, and it just seems like fighting isn't used as a deterrent the same way it was in the past," retired NHL tough guy Darren McCarty said.
A rule was introduced this season mandating visor use for all new players entering the NHL. Plus, players receive an additional penalty if they take their helmets off to fight. That rule was designed to protect players' heads if they fell during a fight.
"It's more inconvenient now, and I wonder if that has had an effect on it," said former NHL player Keith Jones, now an NBC analyst. "Now a little more thought process has to go into it, rather than the quick reaction."
Updated with a "conflicting report" at 10:16 PM: Ouch, per TSN's Bob McKenzie:
The drop in the salary cap from $70.2 million to $64.3 million should ensure that the players get some of their money back--the New York Post's Larry Brooks reported that the players paid 16.26 percent of their 48-game-averaged salaries back to the league last year--but everybody knew going in that the reduction in the players' share (from 57-and-change percent to 50 percent of revenues) would be clawed out of the players' paychecks in escrow payments.
And while we're at it...
The CBC's Elliotte Friedman's graced our Monday evening with a "30 Thoughts" column. He begins with the P's and Q's of a shootout spin-o-rama (see: Mason Raymond) vs. ettiquette (If you "snow" a goalie, should that be a penalty? And the Globe and Mail offers a superb visual explanation of what constitutes an "illegal" shootout move), and he continues from there.
Among his thoughts:
1. Looked a little bit into Ken Holland's overtime suggestion: four minutes of four-on-four, followed by four minutes of three-on-three if still tied. Then a shootout if necessary. I love the idea, which was tried at the Traverse City rookie tournament the Red Wings host. One of the reasons against it is the league doesn't want longer games.
The town of High River, Alberta was devastated by the floods that raged through Southern Alberta earlier this summer, as were surrounding communities. As such, Calgary's 660 News's Megan Robinson reports that the NHLPA has decided to step up in a big way to help local kids play hockey:
They’ll be donating $50,000 worth of equipment to more than 300 kids who play in the Foothills Minor Hockey League.
Chairman of the NHLPA’s Goals and Dreams Fund, Devin Smith, says they want to make sure all the young players will be back on the ice for the launch of hockey season.
“We’re donating 300 bags, 300 helmets, 300 sticks, 300 pairs of gloves for all the kids and the NHL players are going to play in a ball hockey game,” says Smith.
He adds, some of the players, have been out of their homes since June’s flood.
The ball hockey game will be held in the Senator Riley gymnasium Tuesday afternoon and will be captained by Calgary Flames players Matt Stajan and TJ Galiardi.
Yesterday, Sportsnet reported that the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary will be ready for the upcoming NHL season despite having suffered massive flood damage.
From the NHLPA:
NHL players are “going green” in a big way, due in part to the success of the NHLPA Carbon Neutral Challenge program. Players are taking more action in their own lives to reduce their environmental footprint. With over 420 NHLPA members signing up for the second year of the program, the players continue to show leadership on the environment.
“I’m very proud that we’ve offset more than 4,200 tonnes of carbon emissions this season, which is like taking 840 cars off the road for a year,” said Andrew Ference, the Boston Bruins’ defenseman who initiated the NHLPA Carbon Neutral Challenge. “But best of all, I’m hearing of more and more players in the dressing rooms talking about ‘going green’.”
From Liz Mullen at Sports Business Journal:
Eric Lindros, in his letter resigning from his position as NHL Players’ Association ombudsman last week, revealed a rift within the union staff and a deep problem between himself and Executive Director Paul Kelly, and raised questions over whether staff members conspired to undermine him and the ombudsman’s office itself, both internally and publicly.
“The efforts of a few have made it impossible for me to effectively carry out the duties of ombudsman,” Lindros said in the three-page letter to the 30 player representatives who make up the NHLPA executive board, the governing body of the union. SportsBusiness Journal obtained a copy of the letter.
read on for a summary of the letter, outlining Lindros’s concerns with the ombudsman position at the NHLPA
From Damien Cox in The Spin:
If the NHL Players Association has its way, we may soon see the end of the NHL All-Star Game as an annual event.
The union, you see, has a grander plan, one in which an annual break in the NHL season would take place every February, and depending on the year it would be filled by the Olympics, a World Cup, an all-star game or perhaps a spectacular hockey convention.
“It would be a win for everybody,” said former NHL goaltender and broadcaster Glenn Healy, now the NHLPA’s director of player affairs. “We’ve got to sell the game.”
*hat-tip to SI’s Fan Nation
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.
From Michael Russo at the Star Tribune,
The six-year CBA, which runs until Sept. 15, 2011, gives the NHLPA the right to reopen the agreement and begin negotiations on a new one by May 15.
“I’m pretty careful not to give my opinion publicly out of respect for the players,” said NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly, who met with the Wild players last Tuesday in Dallas. “This is a very serious issue that we’re discussing on the fall tour.”
Every player in the NHL will receive, or has already filled out, a confidential questionnaire that will be put into a sealed envelope until all 30 teams have been surveyed. They’re being asked a yes-or-no question: “Should we terminate the CBA at the end of the current season?”
From Pierre LeBrun at ESPN,
It’s time to stop calling Paul Kelly the “new” leader of the players’ union. On Friday, he celebrated his one-year anniversary on the job as executive director of the NHL Players’ Association.
“Today is the big day,” Kelly told ESPN.com in an interview Friday.
Much has changed in his 365 days in office. The players’ union was a divided group when Kelly came on board, still reeling from its controversial decision to accept the sport’s first salary cap in order to end the NHL lockout three years ago.
continued… with a look back and looking ahead
The NHL Players’ Association hopes to see a pension dispute with the league solved in court.
The NHLPA announced Thursday that it had filed an application in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice regarding an interpretation of the league’s pension plan.
The issue relates to the calculation of the death benefit for players with NHL service prior to July 1, 1986. The NHLPA believes widows and other beneficiaries of players who passed away before taking their pension were paid less than is required by law.
The NHL disagrees.
From William Houston at the Globe & Mail,
Hockey analyst Glenn Healy is leaving TSN for a high ranking post with the National Hockey League Players’ Association, sources have confirmed.
Healy, who was active with the association as a player, is expected to be involved in a player liaison capacity.
The former NHL goalie has built a successful career in television, first with the CBC from 2001 to 2004 and, for the past four seasons, with TSN.
Update 2:36pm ET: TSN,
Glenn Healy has been named the new Director of Player Affairs for the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
Healy will fulfill a wide range of responsibilities for the Players’ Association. In his role, he will focus on player relations, coordinating his efforts with the NHLPA’s Ombudsman and Divisional Representatives, along with working closely with the NHL Alumni office.
From Bruce Dowbiggin at the Calgary Herald,
Paul Kelly, the Boston lawyer who’s now the executive director of the NHL Players Association, believes Canada should have at least one—and perhaps more—NHL franchises if the league relocates a team or expands.
“I think it would be a huge error not to relocate one of the existing franchises to Hamilton or Winnipeg,” Kelly told the Toronto Star when asked about where failing U.S. franchises might move.
Kelly then pointed out that it’s folly for the league to blackball RIM billionaire Jim Balsillie, who wants to bring another team to southern Ontario.
“He built his company from nothing into an $80-billion company. We would be foolhardy not to see his efforts happen.”
(Kelly subsequently told the Herald by e-mail that this is an issue he will be pursuing, and that getting teams to Canadian markets where they can be more profitable is in the NHLPA’s interest.)
from Dave Naylor of the Globe and Mail,
So when the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association drastically reformed their collective labour agreement in the summer of 2005, taking away the economic advantage clubs such as Detroit had enjoyed, it was fair to ponder what might become of the great Red Wings dynasty.
Well, with nearly three full seasons of postlockout hockey in the books, the answer to that question is clear. As they get set to open the Stanley Cup final at home tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Red Wings are trying to put the finishing touches not just on a stellar season, but also on the most successful start for any team in the NHL’s three-year-old postlockout era.
From the Canadian Press via TSN,
Some of the NHL’s most powerful agents got their first real glimpse of the new executive director of the NHL Players’ Association on Wednesday, and they liked what they saw.
Paul Kelly met with more than 100 player agents for the first time since he started on the job five months ago.
“You get a sense that he’s passionate and he’s got a vision,” said agent Pat Brisson of CAA Sports. “He wants to protect the players obviously but he wants to grow the game - which is fantastic.’
The NHLPA’s Paul Kelly will be Gary Bettman’s guest on the NHL Hour today.
The NHL Hour broadcasts live Thursdays from 4-5 pm ET on NHL Home Ice, (XM channel 204) and NHL.com. The show will re-run on XM Satellite Radio and NHL.com, with archived shows available for download via a podcast on NHL.com.
From Mark Spector at the National Post,
“I think someone can effectively represent the players of the NHL, and at the same time do it in a manner that is constructive, co-operative with the NHL, with the owners, and good for the game as a whole,” Kelly said in a one-on-one interview this week. “We should be able to solve complex problems without firing at each other; without not being able to be in the same room with each other; without the bitterness and emotion that existed the last time.
“Maybe I’m being naive,” he added. “But I will tell you, having spent a lot of years dealing with difficult legal issues - civil and criminal - and negotiating difficult legal problems with some of the finest lawyers in the world, I know it is possible to do this.”
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
A professional hockey player and environmentalist David Suzuki make for strange breakfast companions, but their unlikely encounter in Calgary last year is greening dressing rooms throughout the NHL.
Since their meeting last fall, Andrew Ference, a Boston Bruins defenceman, has become the point man for the National Hockey League Players’ Association on environmental issues. His goal is to slow climate change by changing the mindset of his fellow players.
Friday, Ference and Suzuki will unite for a news conference in Toronto to unveil a partnership between the NHLPA and the David Suzuki Foundation. The two are teaming up to help offset the greenhouse gas emissions produced by NHL players whose jobs require them to travel by planes, trains, buses and cars.
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.
“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 Darren Dreger of TSN,
NHL Players Association Executive Director Paul Kelly and his entourage have visited with seven of the league’s 30 teams on their fall tour.
Issues discussed include bigger nets, smaller goalie equipment and mandatory visors, to name a few. But the one topic that interests players most right now is removal of the instigator penalty.
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.
From Iain Macintyre at the Vancouver Sun,
Eleven years ago, when the Vancouver Canucks beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in overtime, Trevor Linden got into Chris Chelios’s face after the winning goal and the pair tussled.
Chelios threw the first punch and, after the players were separated, accused Linden of covering up and refusing to fight. And that was the high point of their relationship. It has devolved the last two years as Chelios leads his crusade for justice within a National Hockey League Players’ Association that Linden, as the union’s former president, led through a labour war that scuttled the 2004-05 season.
Sunday, Linden seemed ready for the fight.
“It’s easy to pile on,” Linden said before facing Chelios and the Detroit Red Wings Sunday night at GM Place. “I will say this: I’m extremely proud of the decisions the [NHLPA] executive committee made. I think we made, in very difficult times, good decisions for the players.”
from the Detroit Free Press,
“I’m very happy with our choice of Paul Kelly. I’m looking forward to working with him and having him represent us as a union. At least we have a leader now, and we’ll look for direction from him.”
Chelios said Kelly’s arrival was reminiscent of Goodenow taking over in 1992 for the disgraced Alan Eagleson.
“I look back,” Chelios said, “and it was the same thing when we hired Bob Goodenow — we’d gone through a lot in the Eagleson era, and then Bob was hired — pretty much same situation, basically. It’s history repeating itself. Look at what he did for us. Hopefully, Paul Kelly can follow that same path that we did with Bob.”
from Pierre LeBrun of the CP via the Globe and Mail,
Lindros said Wednesday he would welcome a chance to work for the union in whatever role. “I would look forward to something along those lines. This has been really interesting. I’ve learned a lot about the other side of things.”
more on the work Lindros has done with the NHLPA…
Update 11:15pm ET (by Alanah):
From Darren Dreger at TSN,
He hasn’t made it official yet, but Eric Lindros is calling it quits and – if all things work out for him, he’s headed toward a new career with the NHLPA.
Following Paul Kelly’s introduction as Executive Director of the Player’s Association, Eric Lindros stated bluntly his playing career is behind him - with too many health issues to entertain the notion of a return.
From the NHLPA,
The search process, conducted by a five-member committee of NHLPA members and the executive search firm Reilly Partners of Chicago, culminated with the introduction of Kelly at today’s media conference in Toronto.
“It is a distinct honour and privilege to be chosen by the players to serve as the Executive Director of their union,” said Kelly “I look forward to advocating tirelessly for the membership as we prepare to enter what I believe will be an exciting and prosperous new chapter for the NHLPA.
added 1:01pm, from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
Kelly’s to-do list must begin with making certain the players get what they are entitled to under the current CBA. He also needs to restructure the business end of NHLPA and its licensing arm (something that has fallen into the leadership abyss) and he needs to tell Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bil Daly where to stuff it when they try something wrong-headed, non-sensical or illegal.
On top, he needs to find a way to keep some 700 members interested enough in the process so that the league no longer views then as little more than mobile skate racks (mostly of the unheated variety). Do that and the union will be on track to handle the next negotiation with the kind of unity the management might respect.
From Medical News Today,
The National Football League, National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Player’s Association have agreed to sponsor an educational program on sports concussions developed by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the National Academy of Neuropsychology. Consisting of a series of educational DVDs, this program is targeted to amateur and professional players, parents, physicians and coaches, and will provide information on how to recognize concussive injuries, seek proper evaluation, and follow appropriate return to play guidelines.
*Related: the National Athletic Trainer’s Association has a list of 10 Tips to reduce the severity of sports-related concussions, plus a study titled “How Many Concussions is too Many?” [PDF]