Monday, October 29, 2007

The New Boss

The NHLPA hired a new leader this week in Paul Kelly. His appointment has come with mixed reviews of course coming from opposite sides. The players feel they have the right guy, which makes sense, or why would have they hired him? On the other side of the fence some members of the NHL have said the NHLPA has found another Bob Goodenow. The thought of the players causing another labor issue at the end of the 08-09 season has even been brought up on some of the mainstream media's web sites. The players union can opt out of the CBA two years early if they wish. For now though Kelly is saying all the right things. He wants to have a positive relationship with the league. He wants to focus on the game, bring back old fans and develop new ones. He wants hockey to get more coverage in the United States. He wants to have a open and forthright relationship with Gary Bettman. Again, all the right things to say when talking to the media on your first day on the job.

But what does this all mean for the NHL?

In reading some of the players comments about Kelly being hired, it sure sounds to me that there are still some sour grapes from the last labor fight. After all Saskin got punted for being to "chummy" with the NHL. What's really disturbing is that this new CBA has put more money in players pockets then ever before because with the salary cap, came a salary floor. The players where also given shorter paths to Free Agency, which of course if your any good at this game, means more money. Yet that subtle feeling that the NHLPA isn't happy still simmers in the background.

I'll say it right now, if the NHLPA decides to bring down the current CBA and play hardball with the league anytime soon, it will destroy the NHL. Lets hope this Paul Kelly fellow is telling the truth when he says he wants to work with the NHL to make hockey better and that he will be able to make the players agree that needs to be the plan. After all they are supposed to be working for the same company.

Then again, this is just a damned opinion.

~ damned


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