A mere coincidence NHLPA?: A ‘Penny’ for your thoughts

Many thanks to Wade T. for lining up a lawyer and PR man for our first fan legal step – to sue the NHL for fan abandonment. Way to go Wade! Awesome work!!

For the bullet summary, please go here. To contact your MP regarding the Veto issue, please go here.


The players are going into negotiations with the league when? 2011?

Have the players in the NHLPA seen enough 'league and owner shenanigans'?

Have the players in the NHLPA seen enough 'league and owner shenanigans'?

OK, so you fire Kelly now?

Time to get it together and get it organized?

Ok, maybe.

Or, could there be more going on here?

Bettman and Kelly shoulder to shoulder is not the 'message' that the players now want to send

Bettman and Kelly shoulder to shoulder is not the 'message' that the players now want to send






Is it me, or is it possible the exposing of the NHL and the owners in the shady court case in Phoenix, and yada yada is more than a mere coincidence in the timing of Kelly getting the boot  now, rather than later?

The knowledgeable at the Make it Seven Rant Rountable including the tireless Patrick Romanoski, Gregory Gallante, Jay Martin, Gene Alleveto, Philip Mastronardi, Bryan Kirkham, and many others have hinted on more that one occasion that the NHLPA should be a little bit more than a little disturbed at how bad a desert situation we have here.

And is it a coincidence Healy turfs out too, with thinking like this:

The reality is, Healy all but confirmed what the Glendale City Manager said 2 days ago when he claimed that the NHL is running the team. I don’t care what anyone affiliated with the team has to say. Healy told Landry and Stellick to call Bettman’s own radio show and ask him if the league likes paying the bills for a franchise. The best, of course is the new line du jour for Healy, “our job, the job of the PA is to put the best product on the ice. We have no say in where teams play or any of that.” So remember folks, the next time there is a horseshit game, it’s the PA’s fault.

The sunbelt strategy of the league being rocked and questioned, amid the impossible to ignore losses, and projected worse coming losses has no doubt angered many players.

Some have criticized the NHLPA for it’s loss of stability, and the ironic, close to unanimous vote to oust Kelly. Ironic in the sense that ‘unanimous votes’ seem to be the norm, whether it’s getting rid of the players’ head, or keeping out a previously approved owner. Similarity 101. You don’t need a course to see there are strong messages that interplay in the drama that is today’s more transparent NHL.

Is the vote by the players a reflection of poor perceived performance, or a quest for the non-friendly message?

Would it have really mattered who helmed the players association as long as they had some experience with the owners and the league? I would say, likely not.

It is my belief the changing of the guard was the first of many messages the NHLPA is going to direct at the leadership and direction of NHL, to ship up, or we are finally going to flex our collective muscles.

The fact that Paul Kelly and Glenn Healy were going to rename a trophy for the most outstanding player to the Ted Lindsay award is inconsequential to the real issues at hand.

(Ted) Lindsay, however, has made it clear he’s not onside with the firing of Kelly, and in the bitter climate of distrust being established by the current regime led by interim executive director Ian Penny, those not seen to be hardliners are doomed to be ostracized.

Those viewed as ‘fence-sitters’ in today’s world needing clear direction are going to see pavement pretty fast. We are getting tired of government and leaders that can’t seem to give clear thoughts and ideas, let alone direction.

The NHLPA might as well stand up and say, ‘thanks for the thoughts, but we have bigger fish to fry, and the fact that you are looking at how to rename a trophy may be a reflection of just how out of touch we as a union are to the ludicrous state of the NHL, the issues, and how it affects our paycheques’.

And the fact that Kelly established a notable benefit fund matched by the NHL for the players is ‘nice’, but it doesn’t replace a whole lot of potential bacon the realignment and addition that say, more Canadian teams could produce.

Susan Foster, the widow of former NHL star and union firebrand Carl Brewer, said yesterday Kelly organized a major increase in the benefits directed towards many retired players by getting the NHLPA to contribute an extra $1 million towards the benefit packages of those players, and then getting the league to match that figure.

For many ex-players, instead of getting $750 for every year of service in a lump sum payment once a year, they have started receiving $690 for every season played, but twice a year.

Sorry, but what are we talking a few thousand dollars a year? If profits increase, I’m sure the current players could align a much better benefit offer for the retired members, assuring themselves a better retirement deal as well. The paycheques in Ted Lindsay’s day were no where near what they are now, and the retiree benefits should be increased accordingly. A few thousand dollars in the era of multi millions sounds more like an insult than a boon.

As for the NHL….

That 20 minutes that Gary Bettman was late on to find a new owner may be the most important lesson of the NHL’s life.

The 20 minutes that opened the door to exposure of significant magnitude and direction. The 20 minutes that has now set the stage of many hours, days, months, and years of change.

2011 is a long way off to worry about who is the head of the NHLPA. But, to do it now, is more of a message to the flailing league that the players are getting serious, and it is time to start to take their large stake into consideration.

Who will lead the NHLPA into some pretty tough issues to come with a league gone south? Certainly not anyone who has any loyalty to Gary Bettman, that’s a certainty. The NHLPA wants to make that perfectly clear at a less that coincidental time.

The turning point in the thinking of the players is no doubt pivotal in the Phoenix Coyotes case right now.

So far, the players have been quiet.

But they have seen the desert disaster first hand being played out. They have seen the NHL grovel. They have seen the NHL in less than ethical maneuvers that must strike a cord.

If the NHL is ready to mess with an owner and a proposed owner, how low will they go in negotations with us? If I were  a player, with shrinking profits and higher escrow salary charges to bail out the fledging teams, I would be embittered at this point.

Is it also a coincidence that one of the best players to ever have played the game may have endorsed Jim Balsillie as being a good owner? That would be Bobby Orr:

Bobby Orr was and is the legend, with 'integrity on and off the ice'

Bobby Orr was and is the legend, with 'integrity on and off the ice'

On the controversial dog-fight between the NHL and Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie, who is trying to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and bring them to Canada, Orr suggested Balsillie would “make a good owner.”

The dynamics of the league has changed.

Plastic ice at the Caesar’s Palace is a metaphor of the integrity of a league gone south. South in geography. South in thinking. South in ethics and integrity.

You must excuse the young players of today, if they want to ensure their voices are now clearly heard.

‘Enough is enough NHL.

‘We are sending a message. You’d better start to  listen’.

The timing of this move is far from coincidence. I don’t really think we need a penny for the players’ thoughts on this one. The NHLPA is not   about to be 20 minutes late like Gary was.


One response to “A mere coincidence NHLPA?: A ‘Penny’ for your thoughts

  1. Pingback: Are we onto ‘Something’? Time for the ‘Real Truth’! « Make It Eight, eh? Hockey again for Winnipeg!

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