Monday, March 12, 2007

On the shelf and maybe out the door!

The saga of Ted Saskin’s rocky stewardship of the NHL Players Association took another dramatic turn on Sunday night. The 30 team representatives held a much anticipated conference call regarding some disturbing incidents involving the leadership and its members over the last few months

The ninety minute call between the team reps and the union’s executive board resulted in a decision to place Saskin and senior executive Ken Kim on a leave of absence.

The controversial leadership issue reached a boiling point this past week over disclosures of league executives reading players e mail, allegedly to monitor those critical of the leadership of the union.

While Saskin and Kim are on leave of absences, the union is planning to contact legal counsel to examine their options. They would like a better understanding as to whether they can fire Saskin, without having to pay out the remainder of the 8 million dollar contract that he operates under.

It will be up to the lawyers to look through every clause and peer into each paragraph in quest of a successful exit out of an ugly situation. While they do what ever it is that lawyers do, there will be two people nominated to watch over the office until things are finally put to rest.

NHLPA associate counsel Stu Grimson and counsel Ian Penny will be tasked with running the operation on the day to day basis. We assume they will give a wide berth to the email program.

Of course Grimson is a familiar name for hockey fans, having been a player of the more physical nature during his playing days. Perhaps if he’d been tasked with patrolling the office with as much gusto as he did the ice, then things wouldn’t have reached the sad point that they are at today.

There are a good number of articles on the net about the issue. Some of the best are provided below.

Globe and Mail- Alan MakiSaskin placed on paid leave
Globe and Mail-David Shoalts-NHLPA probe must go beyond Saskin era
Detroit Free Press-Helen St. James-Saskin situation creates more questions
The National Post-Michael Traikos-Saskin's troubles fracturing one-time 'model union'
Slam Sports-David W. Unkle-Shake up at Player's Association
Toronto Star-Rick Westhead-Firing Saskin could be costly

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