The NHLPA is meeting this weekend to discuss it’s leadership situation. No, this isn’t a misprint, the NHLPA is apparently and many accounts, once again talking about the role of their executive director. What exactly has gone on to bring the union to today isn’t exactly clear. It appears that Eric Lindros is involved, as is Buzz Hargrove. It appears that the union that appeared to be moving away from infighting and power vacuums hasn’t advanced at all. In fact, by the spread of rumours around the union, it appears that they haven’t learned a thing.
Interestingly enough, Brian Burke’s newest lieutenant may be the one most responsible for Kelly’s hire. It was Dave Poulin, insiders tell TSM that was able to use his influence to get the NHLPA to hire his search firm, Reilly Partners to perform the search for Ted Saskin’s replacement. Poulin, I am told, a former player, pulled out all the stops to ensure that his firm got the lucrative contract to find Paul Kelly. Nothing wrong with what Poulin did, it is, I am sure one of the reasons he was so successful in the search business. Having been a former hockey player, Poulin used that to help secure other searches in the marketplace. So as the NHLPA looked around the search business landscape, Poulin, the former player was able to convince the union that his firm would do the best job because he, the former player would be involved. Poulin understood what the job entailed, he knew what it meant to be a player and what the union had been through, wanted to avoid and what attributes the new leader should have.
So, as the union once again, undergoes an internal review/dispute one has to keep an eye on Poulin and his old firm. Yes at times someone can be guilty by association. Maybe Kelly hasn’t done anything wrong here and neither therefore did Riley Partners. However, if Kelly is booted, I can’t imagine it will look good on either Riley Partners nor Poulin. I can’t believe this will happen. It just seems to be beyond belief that the union is going through this again. It may be the one piece of good news that Bettman has had all summer. No matter how screwed up his league may be, the union could be more so…. Hard to believe…