Monday, August 31, 2009

Solidarity Forev, er, a little while...

"It was a question of Paul Kelly being around [22] months and still not being able to build the trust and confidence in the office or with the executive, and that he was the guy to continue on in this role"-- NHLPA ombudsman (temporary) Buzz Hargrove offering up a thought on why Paul Kelly, former Executive Director of the NHLPA is unemployed today

If the NHLPA were a company, you might be advised to think twice before you sent them a resume.

For the second time in a few short years and the third time in the last four, the NHLPA is seeking out a new director for its collective.

In a palace coup of surprising swiftness, Paul Kelly the highly touted replacement for Ted Saskin, he the recipient of the title after disechantment with Bob Goodenow's efforts, was unceremoniously discharged from his duties this weekend.

Buzz Hargrove, the long time organizer and leader of the Canadian Auto Workers appears to be in the centre of the controversy as is Eric Lindros, the former thorn in the side to NHL General Managers has apparently reprised that role in the drag em in, bare knuckle politics of union leadership.

Hargrove who most recently replaced Lindros as the association's ombudsman, appears to have been the conduit of discontent between some factions of the association (ie: those who lost out to Kelly in the last coup) and the membership as a whole, which took the most unusual step of replacing their director just as the association prepares to enter into a pivotal year of negotiations with the NHL leading up to talks on a new CBA for 2011.

Chris Chelios, never one to shy away from a discussion, offered up some cryptic thoughts about Kelly's peformance in office, "We are potentially only two seasons away from the expiration of the CBA and we feel now is the best time to make a move to ensure that we have optimal leadership in place to improve and protect our members' rights in the collective bargaining agreement," .
Words that seem a far cry from his thoughts back when Mr. Kelly was hired, an event which found Chelios rather impressed with, "His resume is beyond impressive and he is passionate about protecting our best interests. We are excited about what awaits us going forward.”

It would appear that things certainly can change in less than two years!

With Kelly getting cashiered as Sunday night merged into Monday morning, reports have it that another member of the executive Pat Flatley quit, many wonder if Glen Healey may not be quick to join the exodus, considering his past words of support of Kelly's leadership over the last year and a half.

Considering the sideshow impression that many are left with when it comes to the NHL ownership and management participants, having the player's association exhibit the same kind of eat the young mentality of their partners/opponents does provide for no shortage of entertainment.

Though it makes you wonder if anyone associated with the NHL these days, management or labour, really has a clue as to what they are doing.

Globe and Mail-- NHLPA takes another shot at own foot
Globe and Mail-- Kelly departure a palace coup
Globe and Mail-- Kelly dismissal shrouded in mystery
National Post-- Kelly a victim of NHLPA power grab
National Post-- Paul Kelly out as NHLPA's executive director
National Post-- Buzz Hargrove, making friends wherever he goes
Toronto Star-- NHL players fire union chief
Toronto Star-- Still Falling apart
Canwest News-- Internal issues prompted NHLPA to fire Kelly
Toronto Sun-- Union in limbo with Kelly axing
Toronto Sun-- Key figures feel ripples of NHLPA move
CBC Sports-- Penny replaces Kelly as NHLPA boss

Monday, August 24, 2009

Team Canada camp out

The calendar may say August, but for 46 prospective Olympians it may as well be a frosty night in February.

Team Canada opened up its orientation camp on Monday, a chance for the invited to get their first look at the four day adventure that could result in a place on Canada's Olympic Hockey team come next years Olympic games in Vancouver.

The 46 were almost on the ice as soon as they had finished their introductions at the rink, such was the pace that Head Coach Mike Babcock introduced to the four day sessions.

Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman and his management group will be watching with interest to see how the 46 mesh together, trying to divine which members will have the most impact for a February roster position, of the 46 gathered in Calgary on Monday some twenty of them will find disappointment in the end, as Yzerman puts together the combination of 23 that he feels will best deliver Gold to Canada at GM Place.

It's an interesting mix of veterans and rising stars, scoring specialists and hard nosed pluggers that made the invitation list, some there to provide the competitive spirit and game face atmosphere, others hoping that somehow they provide a spark that catches the eyes of Yzerman et al and make for that surprise announcement that may make hockey history.

It being hockey and Olympic hockey at that, the simple process of an opening skate seems to have been covered as if it were game seven of the Stanley Cup final.

Some of the reviews, previews and prognostications as to who will survive this stay on the Babcock Ice flow can be found below.

Aug 24-- Globe and Mail-- Day One: Opportunity for all!
Aug 24-- Globe and Mail-- Team Canada: Who's on the bubble?
Aug 24-- Globe and Mail-- King knows all about home-ice pressure on hockey team
Aug 24-- Globe and Mail-- Lucic a longshot for Olympic team at Canada's camp
Aug 24-- Globe and Mail-- Not just hockey, it's the newest episode of the national drama
Aug 24-- Globe and Mail-- Canada's hockey stars start arriving in Calgary
Aug 22-- Globe and Mail-- Team Canada covers its assets
Aug 21-- Globe and Mail-- High Expectations: There is hockey and there is everything else
Aug 24-- National Post-- Olympic hopefuls take to the ice
Aug 24-- National Post-- Ward knows he’s in tough to make Canadian roster
Aug 24-- National Post-- Let debate begin over 2010 squad
Aug 24-- National Post-- Disappointing playoff exit motivation for Luongo
Aug 24-- National Post-- Smyth feels fortunate to get Olympic camp invite
Aug 24-- National Post-- Calgarians greet Heatley at airport
Aug 23-- National Post-- Olympic camp marks new start for Phaneuf
Aug 20-- National Post-- Iginla for captain, and that's no joke
Aug 24-- Toronto Star-- Team Canada's Cam Ward injured
Aug 24-- Toronto Star-- Let the analysis begin
Aug 23-- Toronto Star-- Olympic hockey camp opens with visions of gold
Aug 25-- Sun Newspapers-- Sid set to lead the gold rush
Aug 25-- Sun Newspapers-- Goalies share pipe dreams
Aug 25-- Sun Newspapers-- Morrow's tomorrow finally arrives after injury
Aug 25-- Sun Newspapers-- Sharks snipers won't lose sleep over having letters stripped
Aug 22-- Sun Newspapers-- All-star cast battles for Team Canada spots
Aug 25-- CBC Sports-- Sore back keeps Ward out 1st practice
Aug 25-- CBC Sports-- Breaking down Canada's Olympic camp invitees
Aug 24-- CBC Sports-- Big Canuck hockey camps: a history
Aug 24-- CBC Sports-- No shortage of storylines for Olympic orientation camp
Aug 21-- CBC Sports-- Nicholson: camp crucial to Olympic success
Aug 24-- TSN-- Iginla, Crosby, Nash work together at camp
Aug 24-- TSN/CTV-- Team Canada/Hockey website
Aug 24-- Sportsnet-- Spector: Productivity over loyalty
Aug 23-- Sportsnet-- The C-hoice is clear

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nova Scotia salutes one of its favourite sons, Sidney Crosby, O. N. S.

"I'm proud to say I'm from here and Cole Harbour, so it means a lot to be recognized like this"-- Sidney Crosby, on the occassion of the awarding of the Order of Nova Scotia...

He's been named an outstanding player, most valuable player, leading scorer and now can add Member of the Order to his resume.

Sidney Crosby, former resident of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia was honoured by the home province on Tuesday as he received his Order of Nova Scotia medal, finally able to mesh his schedule with that of official Nova Scotia.

Crosby received his honours in a special ceremony at Nova Scotia's Government House, as he accepted the medal of honour from Lieut.-Gov. Mayann Francis, as his family looked on, accompanied by a number of Nova Scotia politicians and a large crowd of Government House and Nova Scotia legislative workers, many of whom recorded the event on their personal cameras.

He now becomes the youngest resident ever in Nova Scotia to so be honoured by the province, a natural one imagines, considering he was also the youngest captain ever named to an NHL team.
The honour caps a pretty special few weeks for Crosby back in his home province, he recently brought the Stanley Cup to Cole Harbour, where crowds over 10,000 strong gathered to offer their congratulations and share in the moment, not to mention gaze at the Holy Grail of Canadian sport.

Halifax Chronicle Herald-- Sidney Crosby receives Order of Nova Scotia
CBC Sports-- Crosby receives Order of Nova Scotia
Globe and Mail-- Crosby and Stanley wow hometown
Halifax News Net-- Sidney Crosby presented with the Order of Nova Scotia
Photo above from the Halifax News Net website

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Good enough for Forbes, not so for the NHL!

If Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, or any other worker drone in the NHL office phones up on a cold call seeking to advise you on your Mutual Fund, it may be wise to just hang up.

As the Jim Balsillie/Gary Bettman et al feud prepares for its next round of court room drama, Tuesday brought an interesting review from the Financial bible known as Forbes, which identified RIM as one of the top performers in the current economic climate.

The review from Forbes is interesting in that the man behind the RIM phenomenen is of course Jim Balsillie, the current scourge of the NHL and a man which all of its member executives considers to be of poor character.

Clearly, the brains behind the NHL have some inside information eh, what with their pronouncement of Balsillies' unworthiness, while having selected past participants to the lodge who have found themselves on the wrong side of the penal system in recent years.

While the NHL's chosen ones were busy lining up criminal lawyers, Balsillie over at RIM headquarters was just lining up contract after contract, invention after invention, leading his company to a top ten finish in the rankings of Forbes, one of two Canadian companies to so be honoured.

Yet despite his corporate savvy, the success of his business plans and the spectacular growth and platform that his main industry provides, the NHL in their long term vision feel he's just not the kind of guy that they want to associate with.

Compared to his efforts in the business world, many of his would be partners, based on some of their recent league decisions, are hardly the timbre of corporate credibility.

Should they have to rub elbows with someone who clearly has found the path to success, one wonders what would be left of their incredible egos and lack of vision.

Over achievers it would appear have no place at the NHL roundtable...

Forbes-- A Brief History Of The BlackBerry

If they play as sharp as they look, Team Canada could be unbeatable

Hockey Canada released their fashion line for 2010, a sharp new look for Canada's three competing hockey squads at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

The home side will feature a uniform featuring a crest that depicts much of what the nation is all about, from eagles to Thunderbirds, to Maple Leafs and Fleur de Lys, the fabric of the nation is pulled together in the fabric of the red and white uniforms. (Click on the Logo above for close up of the uniform crest)
The uniform revealing brings to an end a rather contentious period of time for Hockey Canada which was forced to relinquish its traditional logo of the stylized Canadian Hockey player, owing to Olympic revisions to their uniform rules.
The resulting change is one that will more than likely meet with much approval from all sides.

The uniform was created by Vancouver based designer Debra Sparrow of the Musqueam First Nation and brings in a well balance mixture of First Nation designs intertwined with the traditional aspects of Canadian hockey uniforms of the past.

The highlight of the uniform features a vivid Red Maple Leaf with smaller Maple Leaf designs imprinted on the main logo, each depicting a gold medal victory as well as other designs. The official and replica versions will be manufactured by Nike.

The uniform will feature both a red and a white version, both of which are available for those Team Canada supporters that want to get ahead of the crowd when it comes to their fashion sense for 2010...
National Post-- An inspirational effort

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Headlines of August 2009

Tracking the daily headlines for the month of August.

August 31-- NHLPA takes another shot at own foot
August 30-- Next fight could be between NHL and Leafs
August 29-- Quebec government backs Habs sale
August 28-- Kelly on NHLPA hotseat
August 27-- Coyotes heading down same road as Expos
August 26-- NHL's fingerprints all over its damaged credibility
August 25-- Reinsdorf drops bid, NHL picks it up
August 24-- Opportunity for all
August 23-- Coyotes GM puts ownership issues aside
August 22-- Summer's end at rink
August 21-- Heatley, Clouston should talk it out, psychologist says
August 20-- Yzerman defends Heatley invite to camp
August 19-- Coyotes judge faces blizzard of filings as deadline looms
August 18-- Bertuzzi signs with Red Wings
August 17-- Hockey Canada unveils Olympic jerseys
August 16-- Messier to return to Rangers as assistant
August 15-- Kane just another victim of hockey's 'dirty little secret'
August 14-- Canadian Olympic jerseys to be unveiled Monday
August 13-- Fleury says he's sober and ready to play
August 12-- NHL teams starting to show restraint
August 11-- Reinsdorf, creditors reach deal to buy Coyotes
August 10-- Leafs trade Pogge to Ducks
August 9-- Hawks' Kane in hot water
August 8-- Hockey fright in Canada for the NHL
August 7-- Top NHL prospect Taylor Hall takes another crack at Canada's junior team
August 6-- Roenick makes it official
August 5-- Judge rules Balsillie will be permitted to bid at Coyotes auction
August 4-- Roenick expected to announce retirement
August 3-- Reading between the lines
August 2-- Should the NHL go back to Quebec City?
August 1-- Heatley saga takes new twist