Friday, December 02, 2005

Day of the Dissidents

NHLPA head Ted Saskin is under attack again, as a band of dissident players seek out player agents to meet and discuss the many issues that have percolated since Saskin took charge of the association.

Led by Trent Klatt, the dissident faction issued a call for agents to meet informally with their chosen legal representative Bob Lanza. The meeting has been scheduled for December 12th, one day before the agents are to meet with Saskin. For good measure the dissidents would then meet with the agents formally on the day of the Saskin meeting, giving the player agents some food for thought just before the official NHLPA conclave commences.

TSN has published two memos from Klatt outlining the dissident's concerns and issuing the call for a meeting with the agents to address the issues which threaten to rupture the Players association.

Earlier in mid November, former Chicago Black Hawk player Steve Larmer resigned his position as head of player relations with the NHLPA, in protest over issues surrounding the Saskin hiring. In his resignation letter, Larmer scathingly suggested that the NHLPA was traveling down the same path as the Alan Eagleson era, a dark, dark era for many an NHL player.

In a New York office, Gary Bettman must sit back and wonder what great fortune he has stumbled across. Not since his arrival from the land of basketball, has Bettman been stronger, nor the players weaker. Something that seems to be sticking in the craw of many of the dissidents, who not only feel that they gave up too much at the negotiating table, but were dealt with duplicity by their own representatives.

That has set the tone for the nasty brawl that has broken out between some players, agents and NHLPA officials. It's even an issue that has become the fodder for many a blog site. As this month of December gets under way, once again there seems to be more action off the ice than on it!

One wonders if these may be the Ides of December, for emperor Saskin?

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