Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Battles at the negotiating table may be better than on the ice!

Donald Fehr has assembled some more of his team over at the NHLPA and if the Tuesday morning roster moves are any indication, there's probably an order for Extra Strength Tylenol being placed at the NHL head office this morning.

Among those called to serve on behalf of the players, Fehr announced a familiar name to work with him in the NHLPA bunker, as Richard Rodier gets the tap on the shoulder to join up with the players in their quest for a more prominent role in the affairs of the NHL.

A name that will bring back some memories for the owners, none of them enjoyable we're sure, having battled Mr. Rodier in his previous role as the voice of Jim Balsillie, the would be owner of an NHL franchise thus far shut out by the members of the Loyal Order of the Dinosaurs.

Rodier was the protagonist lawyer who frequently outlined the counter moves by the NHL to keep the Blackberry mogul from gaining custody of team after team, in the process tweaking the NHL in the nose for its apparent displeasure at the idea of Balsillie moving any of their struggling franchises to Hamilton and perhaps a chance at financial solvency.

During the course of the process of "due diligence" and such, Rodier would set in motion talking points that seemed to set on fire the hair  of Gary Bettman and any number of NHL owners.

As events moved forward during those sessions on behalf of Mr. Balsillie, the lawyer proved to be a lightning rod that seemed to herd together the Commissioner and some of his more mercurial of owners, as they fought what at times seems to have been a blood feud to keep Balsillie and his money at bay.

The entry of Mr. Rodier to the negotiating process should make for a very interesting bit of theatre when the league and the players get around to that next collective agreement bargaining.

Maybe HBO has the genesis of their next Inside the NHL feature, never mind the Caps and the Pens and the action on the ice.

The real action, it seems will take place in the boardroom, no doubt featuring language that might make a Bruce Boudreau blush!

Globe and Mail-- Former Balsillie point man joins NHLPA
CBC Sports-- Fehr gives NHLPA staff new look
Hamilton Spectator-- New NHLPA hire has been thorn in Bettman's side
ESPN-- Donald Fehr announces additions to staff

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