Photo: NY Daily News
Editor’s Note: We’re pleased to welcome Ian Dudgeon to the MLHS blogging team. Ian was one of the co-founders of McKeen’s Hockey.com. He’s been busy at work assembling a database of profiles on Leafs prospects for MLHS, which you’ll be able to enjoy before long. He’s also going to be chiming in with a blog here and there.
Everyone please calm down and resume taking your medication. I have some extra Valium if you need some. There is no imminent NHL lockout. You will not be forced to watch basketball in October or November, or whenever they start playing that alleged sport. I think we will have hockey when we are supposed to and the threat of a lockout or strike is being artificially inflated by sports media who love, live for and need controversy.
The NHL tabled a proposal to the NHLPA this weekend and the collective reaction was as if everyoneâ€™s favourite commish, Gary â€œThe Countâ€ Bettman took the Stanley cup and used it to prop up his car while he rotated the tires. From fans and media alike, it was one of the craziest overreactions I have heard since.. well since the Leafs last made a move. But really, I should stop being surprised at how sports media react to things and how fans take their cues from them. The little picture numbers seemed scary but stepping back and seeing the bigger landscape, the NHLâ€™s proposal was really not that concerning.
AfterÂ months of political manoeuvring and speculation… and pending ratification, Donald Fehr appears primed to formally take office as the Executive Director of the NHLPA with the Ilya Kovalchuk saga providing an appropriate backdrop. Despite having earlier dismissed himself as a candidate for the role, the former MLBPA hardliner is now expected to spearhead the players union through the next series of collective bargaining negotiations in 2012.
Either a spectre to be feared, or a challenge to be relished for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, one wonders if the league office wishes it had treated the ailing NHLPA with kid gloves following the late, late night coup that saw former figurehead Paul Kelly overthrown in August 2009.
Now that the NHL has won the arbitration award based on “salary cap circumvention” with the Kovalchuk situation, they are ready to tackle the rest of the league. A year (and perhaps in a few occasions more than a year) ago, specific contracts were approved by the league and now the league has decided to reevaluate those contracts to determine if they too circumvent the salary cap.
If leaked reports are to be believed the NHLPA is preparing to file a grievance pertaining to the NHLâ€™s rejection of the unprecedented 17 year, $102 million contract filed last week by the New Jersey Devils for Russian forward Ilya Kovalchuk. The report suggests that even if the Devils and Kovalchuk can agree on a restructured deal, the NHLPA may still decide to file a grievance in a preventative effort for future contracts.
The latter part is particularly significant for those who have been viewing the leagues rejection of the initial contract as an act of political posturing in the face of the PAâ€™s on-going power struggle and an attempt at drawing a line in the sand.
Former NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly finally broke his silence yesterday following his firing early Monday morning. In a vicious 24 hours that also witnessed Glenn Healy’s resignation, Kelly was forced to defend himself against allegations he misused his office having reputedly been caught reading a confidential transcript from a players meeting.
For his part, Kelly admitted reading the document to the Executive Board meeting that preceded his departure, saying he felt â€œduty boundâ€ after union members, concerned that the NHLPA constitution was being violated, actively sought his participation.
NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly was on HockeyCentral At Noon today, and among other topics he briefly discussed the possibility of a second NHL team coming to Toronto.
When asked why Toronto has not been seriously considered to date as a home for another franchise, despite the enormous fan base and subsequent opportunity to succeed financially, Kelly suggested that MLSE was not the source of resistance.