The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/02/11 at 07:08 AM ET
The Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis managed to score an interview with the NHLPA’s somewhat reclusive executive director, Donald Fehr, and Fehr suggested to Francis that the NHLPA plans on taking a larger role in terms of talking about ways to address the increasing number of concussions, rule-amending recommendations from this past March’s GM’s meetings included:
“It’s certainly possible you could have discussions on health and safety when CBA talks take place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have ongoing discussions,” said Fehr, who spends his weekdays at the NHLPA’s Toronto office before jetting back to New York City.“We’ve had ongoing discussions with the league on a lot of these issues, and what I’d like to have happen near the end of the season around the time the competition committee meets is have agreements on these type of issues. We share the same goal and want to make the game as safe as possible without changing it.”
That last part has to be music to the ears of all hockey fans. However, few doubt the players and owners are gearing up for another collision course in the summer of 2012 when the CBA expires. And with that in mind, everything the two sides do together will involve an insistence that when one side gives, there’ll have to be plenty of take elsewhere. For example, while it’s only natural the Players’ Association would bristle at the notion the league will hand out stiffer, costlier suspensions for blindside head-shots, it would be much more palatable if the teams and coaches were also punished.
“One of the issues Gary raised was looking into the possibility of taking action against clubs and personnel if there are continued violations — that’s certainly an issue I would urge them to follow through on,” said Fehr, the longtime head of baseball’s powerful union. “And, hopefully, we’ll have conversations on that, too.”
Continued with talks about the NHL’s current disciplinary structure and the new concussion protocols implemented by the league.
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