The Fall Of Paul Kelly- A Look From Around The League

Haven’t had to do this in a long time, so, without further ado, around the league we go with all Paul Kelly, all the time:

“But hockey is not what the NHLPA is about. The NHLPA is about – and we’re basing this on the history here – greed, paranoia, occasionally criminal malfeasance, reflexive combativeness, and, most of all, power. Other sports unions may have similar pressures, but none eats itself quite like these guys. And when the union cashiered Paul Kelly in the early hours of Monday morning at an uncharacteristically trendy Chicago hotel, the snake swallowed just a little more of its tail.”

Bruce Arthur with another great opinion piece on this story. It really is hard to believe what the PA has done to it’s own reputation. Unless the whole story comes out, the NHLP is going to be looking dumb, dumb dumb.

“Kelly, however, appears to have been canned for the unforgivable sin of not treating the NHL like a blood enemy on issues trivial and serious. The 30-player executive board, who made the final call, issued a statement on the matter. Here is what seem like the most relevant passage. “While it is unfortunate things didn’t work out with Paul Kelly, we made an informed decision, it is the right decision and we know what we did what was best for our Association,” read the statement. “We are potentially only two seasons away from the expiration of the [collective bargaining agreement] 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.”

Now, Mr. Arthur, you work for the National Post, one of the only papers that is well intune with what goes on in this city, how can you be surprised by this tactic. There are only 2 people in the world who would recommend this type of response. One, was on both radio stations this afternoon and he single handedly ruined the Canadian auto sector and the second is the mayor of Toronto. Improve your member’s rights????? Is this the same group that keeps saying it’s not such a bad deal??? Not only that, you have the commissioner on record every 5 minutes telling everyone how great business is and that no teams are in trouble!! What more do you want??? You want to fight the owners, play back Gary Bettman’s interviews and radio shows for the last 12 months…

“Look, being head of the NHLPA is about protecting the interests of the members. There’s nothing that says you have to care about the fans, or the league, or the game. Fine. But not only did Kelly appear to be interested in fighting for causes that players cared about – participation in the Olympics and revenue generation, among others – the former U.S. prosecutor was a reasonable man, on the right side of issue after issue. Just listen to his take on the league’s television deal with NBC and Versus, the former Outdoor Life Network that cannot be seen in about 40-million U.S. households. “We have to push our two partners to do a better job of covering our sport, or we have to go in a different direction when that contract comes to an end,” Kelly told the Sports Lawyers Association on May 16. “[Versus] is not ESPN. It doesn’t have a sports highlight show. It doesn’t have a lot of properties people want to tune in to, unless you are a hunter or a fisherman, or you like turtle wrestling.”

EXACTLY- hell I thought he was too harsh, too litigious!!!

“Why doesn’t this happen in other sports unions? Billy Hunter has helmed the NBA Players’ Association since 1996; Gene Upshaw was in charge of the NFLPA from 1983 until his death late last summer; and in baseball, where the MLBPA is by far the most successful sports union in history, there have been a grand total of two executive directors since 1966: Marvin Miller, and Donald Fehr.And then there are these guys, too often blinded by the hothouse madness that this game sometimes engenders in this country. When Paul Kelly took this job, he told the Canadian Press, “I really do believe that it’s a new day. I want it to be a positive relationship between the NHL Players’ Association and the league. I think we owe it to the fans to put that lockout, work stoppage, and all of those issues behind us.” Paul Kelly could have been good for hockey. But what is good for hockey is not necessarily what is good for the NHLPA. It could be, but it isn’t.”

These guys just can’t get out of their own way. Some how, some way the truth will come out as to who is behind this. This is about 1 thing and only 1 thing, EGO. Behind this mess is 1 person with a big ego. Bet on it.

Kelly McParland also of the National Post offers this one liner:

“This is hard to admit, but the NHLPA almost makes Gary Bettman look reasonable in comparison. How does this league manage to prosper when both sides of the labour-management divide as such dolts?”

Exactly!! How the hell is this possible. If I am a reasonable player I am pissed. Really pissed. I would love to know if I can stop paying union dues!

Damien chips in with an excellent blog too:

“So Paul Kelly has followed Ted Saskin and Bob Goodenow out the door, and the release from the NHLPA this morning regarding Kelly’s departure was downright hilarious in its unwillingness to provide the hockey world with any specific information on why Kelly has been ousted. This morning’s release said the executive committee “voted overwhelmingly” to dump Kelly, the man who put Eagleson in jail, and said it followed an “in depth analysis of the NHLPA’s operations.”Everyone is reading something into this, that it’s the result of the unseen hand of Goodenow, or the departed former ombudsman Eric Lindros, or hardliners like Chris Chelios and Dwayne Roloson, the people who got rid of Saskin after he was found to be spying on association e-mails. Must be a nice office to work in, huh? So comforting to always know the guy who’s working in the office beside you may be secretly plotting against you. Goodenow and Saskin had a parting of the ways, and Kelly and Lindros were at each other’s throats for months. Now it’s lawyer Ian Penney and ombudsman Buzz Hargrove that may have led the charge against Kelly, men who were supposedly under his charge at the union.”

We all have heard about cancerous work environments, does anyone else wonder if the NHLPA is where the label was invented??? Seriously, how, besides with loads of cash will they get anyone to work there????

“Meanwhile, most players simply want nothing to do with the union, not surprisingly given the way the organization collapsed during the 2004-05 lockout. The players now know that when push comes to shove there will be those among them that will jump ship and seek to cut their own deal, that the Europeans in the group will simply pack up and head home to play if there’s another work stoppage, all of which adds to the internal distrust that has come to be the main feature of this dysfunctional organization. The NHL general ignores the thoughts of the union because it can, because the union is too busy fighting itself to mount an effective opposition to policies and programs of the league with which it might disagree. Players are now coughing up more than 20 per cent of each and every paycheque to an escrow fund that few understand. The league has ignored the NHLPA on topics like franchise relocation and television, and now will once again have little or no idea who they should be dealing with at the union.”

It’s a total embarrassment. Did anyone else know that not one but two Maple Leafs were apparently part of the group in on the firing????

“Talk that a more hard-line approach is required by the union is nearly laughable now that the league knows that it can break this weak-willed bunch just as easily in 2012 as it did in 2005. There is no rival league and there is no other meaningful employment option for hockey players who draw hundreds of thousands of dollars in paycheques.Maybe Kelly wasn’t hardline enough for some. But he was practical and reasonable. His biggest error may have been a naive belief he could trust those with whom he was working. The knives at the NHLPA, it seems, are never actually put away.”

What more do the players want? Is it a perfect contract??? No. Is it the slaughter that we have been lead to believe??? No. All contracts are give and take, they don’t need a warrior to go in fight every time. They had that in the Goodenow and well, we know how that worked out….

From Eric Duhatschek:

“But on Sunday night/Monday morning when the NHLPA’s executive board dismissed Paul Kelly as executive director, it is hard to see the move as anything except a palace coup – a grab for power, fought between two factions within the organization that had been an odds since this past February, or where Eric Lindros resigned as ombudsman, reportedly because there weren’t enough contentious issues to arbitrate. In one corner of this fight, you’ll find Lindros – who currently has no official standing in the organization – plus his replacement as “interim ombudsman”, Buzz Hargrove, along with Halifax labour lawyer Ron Pink, and lawyer Ian Penny, a holdover from the Goodenow era who’d received a lucrative multi-year contract extension from the NHLPA executive board during last June’s meetings in Las Vegas. In the other corner, there was Kelly, Glenn Healy, the director of player affairs and Patrick Flatley, assistant director of player affairs. With Kelly out and Flatley reportedly having resigned on the heels of the Kelly firing, it is hard to imagine Healy staying on beyond the day – or week. ”

How does Lindros wield so much power???? I mean does he threaten these guys? What is it about him???

“Unless the executive board can cite some, as yet-to-be-publicized grievance against him, you’d have to suggest Kelly accomplished a fair bit in 22 months on the job.

About the only hope now is that the executive board does the right thing and conducts a full and independent search for a replacement – and doesn’t simply turn to the rabble-rousing crew that showed Kelly the door.

If the NHLPA were a hockey team, you’d have to conclude there is only one possible course of action now – introduce a scorched-earth policy. Burn it to the ground, start from scratch, boot everybody out the door, and then rebuild the organization one staff member at a time. Given its history and this latest round of infighting, it seems to be the only way they’re going to get it right. ”

How can you have any faith in a group that, in history has proven to always get it wrong????

Bruce Dowbiggin:

“Can you be fired for being too media friendly? If you’re deposed NHL Players’ Association executive director Paul Kelly, talking openly with the press cost you plenty. In the considered opinion of NHLPA ombudsman Buzz Hargrove (pray tell, how did Buzz Hargrove get into hockey?), Kelly’s willingness to talk to the media before vetting every single gerund and participle with the union’s executive committee was proof positive of his failings as a leader. That was part of the message in a carefully scripted critique of Kelly delivered to the NHLPA executive board Sunday evening in Chicago.

Hargrove’s poison pill (on behalf on unnamed complainants) was subtle in its verbiage. The long-time leader of the Canadian Auto Workers, who somehow succeeded NHLPA ombudsman from Eric Lindros, couched the accusations against Kelly in the cloak of process and constitutional dereliction. It was a more calculating strategy than Lindros’ self-pitying resignation letter that excoriated Kelly for not heeding his counsel on the multiple daily visits he made to the executive’s office.

But it was effective. The taint of “media suck” resonates with hockey players. Bred to stoic silence, most NHL players– especially Canadian players– view the press about as fondly a man views his annual prostate exam. Giving up too much of yourself in public shows hubris, a lack of team spirit and vanity unbecoming a “real” man. ”

If that is really the reason, I want to be there when the wrongful termination papers are filed.

“But to those mounting a palace coup – and who once coveted Kelly’s position themselves – Kelly’s candour demanded his removal, at considerable cost, in favour of… hmm. It’ll come to us. Yet who could possibly want the untenable executive director’s position after this?

Who could balance its contradictory demands? Some day, they will produce a business book on 10 easy steps to shooting yourself in the foot. And the NHLPA will conveniently supply all 10 of the steps.”

I don’t say this often, but Bruce is on to something here. It’s as if the NHLPA followed the Maple Leafs mismanagement playbook of years past.

Kevin Allen:

“My greatest concern about the NHLPA Executive Board’s decision to fire Paul Kelly is that the current détente between the league and players could give way to the renewal of the Cold War.
Certainly all is not rosy between the league and its players and there is going to be saber-rattling from both sides as we head toward the end of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011 or 2012, depending upon whether the NHLPA exercises its last option to extend.
But in terms of managerial style, Kelly seemed like a moderate, particularly in comparison to Bob Goodenow who always acted as if he wanted to fight every battle with nuclear weapons.
As I’ve said many times, the heavy-handed Goodenow was the perfect choice when he took over the NHLPA years ago because players were significantly underpaid when he came aboard. He fought the good fight to change that, but he could never seem to stop fighting.
Kelly is a more likable guy, and a more skilled politician. Although it’s impossible for players to win the PR battle in labor battles because fans can’t relate to $2 million salaries, Kelly has a gentlemanly demeanor that plays well on television. When you review reader comments about his firing, it’s clear fans like him. His popularity might have served the NHLPA well in the next CBA battle.
The media definitely liked him, and perhaps his close relationship with the media didn’t sit well with players.”

I think Allen is right. I get the sense that Kelly was as close to a likable union leader as we could have seen. Part of labor negotiations is the pr battle and it looks like Kelly was laying the ground to win that, or at least not lose it as badly as Goodenow. That he was articulate, respectful and thoughtful shouldn’t have cost him his job. Who were the dunces who thought this was problematic???

“My read on Kelly was that he was person whose opinions often passed the “reasonable” test. He seemed to embrace common sense diplomacy. My belief was that when it was time to battle, Kelly could be a bulldog and when it was time for peace he could be a statesman.”

Isn’t that what the union should have wanted?? What more do you want??? Is the problem that he was becoming more of the story than the players??? if so, what a sad state of affairs.

Russ Conway is an expert on these matters having covered them for years, NESN covers the Bruins:

“This is a very sad day for hockey,” Hall of Fame hockey scribe and former Lawrence Eagle Tribune NHL and Bruins beat writer Russ Conway told NESN.com on Monday. “Unfortunately, the union continues to drink the Kool-Aid.”Conway — who was responsible for bringing former NHLPA head Alan Eagleson to justice with his best-selling book, Game Misconduct: Alan Eagleson and the Corruption of Hockey — knows the NHLPA inside out, and he is right on the money. Many players claim they are not kept in the loop with regard to what goes on with NHLPA matters — some even acknowledge they really don’t care to know but just want to play hockey. That’s all fine and refreshing to hear to an extent, except when something like this latest NHLPA debacle occurs”

By all accounts many members of the PA aren’t happy about this. Most just want to play hockey. Can you blame them???

“According to sources, part of this group’s desire to get rid of Kelly also stemmed from Kelly ordering an internal audit (by a top former FBI forensic accountant) of the players’ association’s expenses during the previous three years before he took over. That audit was still ongoing prior to Kelly’s dismissal. Sources claim that through the audit, Kelly discovered that then-interim leaders Penny and Lindros were spending millions of dollars of the union’s money. Lindros ended up resigning, but word is, that move fueled this attack on Kelly, and Lindros was very much involved. Kelly also beat out Pink for the executive director job, and the belief is that Pink is still sour over that.”

And there we may have the smoking gun….If this is true, then the players are dumber than I ever thought possible, just ask the good folks at E-health Ontario or the OLG!! If Kelly was looking into their spending and was gonged for doing so……………………

“Unfortunately, as Conway pointed out, the 30 player reps that voted Kelly out Monday didn’t realize or appreciate what they had in Kelly. A hard-liner will now take over, and the cold war between the NHL and the NHLPA will resume. When the current collective bargaining agreement expires on Sept. 15, 2011, fans may be in for some more wrangling between the union and the NHL.”

Seems to be a common theme no, Armageddon is coming, makes you feel all warm and fuzzy no?

The winner on the day has to be Ken Campbell of the Hockey News:

“In firing Kelly, the players made it abundantly clear they are not pleased with the current direction of their association’s affairs. There are allegations Kelly was too media friendly, a little too cozy with those who occupy the upper reaches of the NHL and the fact that he didn’t connect as well with the players as they hoped he would. It’s funny, really. Remember the good old days when integrity and competence carried a certain amount of weight? Kelly, a former federal prosecutor, has those two qualities in abundance. Obviously, the players don’t put a whole lot of stock into those virtues these days.”

Seriously, I mean who the hell do these guys think they are kidding??? The only knock on the guy that I am aware of is that he has been friends with Bill Watters for 25 years!

“The thing you need to know about NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, assuming he’s still holding down the post in 2012, is that he not only does well in confrontation, he likes it the way Tie Domi used to like getting into fights. Bettman thrives on confrontation and will do anything he can to come out on top when he feels his authority is being undermined. Ask Bob Goodenow if Bettman likes confrontation. Ask Jim Balsillie the same question. In fact, I would argue that if Bettman were not up to his hips in turbulence over the situation with the Phoenix Coyotes, he’d probably be doing a little jig right now over what’s going on with the NHLPA these days.”

I am not suggesting that this is anything like September 11 or the war in Iraq, however does anyone recall “W” instilling fears during the campaign about national security, saying that American wouldn’t be safe under John Kerry?? What did Lindros say, that the PA would get killed in the next round of negotations if Kelly were at the helm???? Was the rallying cry, we need a Bettman buster? As much as I don’t like Bettman’s public persona, how can you not respect the guy. I just don’t get the tactic the PA has taken and why they have put faith in Lindros.

“What makes this all so confusing is that the players seem to want it both ways. Those who wanted to return to playing hockey went behind Goodenow’s back four years ago and negotiated a deal that got them on the ice and making big money. Many of those same players are now carping about having to put a good portion of their salaries into escrow in case revenues don’t grow along with expenses. The same players who needed someone to get them a deal were more than happy to throw Goodenow under the bus, but it seems now they want those very qualities in their new leader.”

And this is surprising why???? Seriously, this is the way this union has acted since the beginning of it’s existence.

More from Campbell:

“Paul Kelly lost his job early Monday morning for reasons that are so preposterous it risks making the NHL Players’ Association the laughingstock of the sports world. The executive director of the NHLPA was on the job and had yet to negotiate a single collective bargaining agreement for his constituents, yet was fired because he hadn’t turned every single issue with the league into a turf war. He didn’t steal millions of dollars and get convicted of his crimes the way Alan Eagleson did. He didn’t get the job under false pretenses and spy on members’ emails the way Ted Saskin did. No, the reason why Kelly was fired is that he’s not Bob Goodenow, the guy the players dumped when they found he was taking too hard a line against their employers and wouldn’t deliver them what he thought was a namby-pamby CBA during the lockout.”

it’s really laughable, the more I read it the more I want to laugh.

“If the players think the payout they had to make to Saskin was a lot of money, they’ll be staggered by the amount they’ll have to give Kelly to go away. And that’s because Kelly might have one of the all-time cases for wrongful dismissal. The uprising against Kelly was led by former ombudsman Eric Lindros, advisory board head Ron Pink and interim ombudsman Buzz Hargrove, along with some others within the current ranks of the NHLPA. So think about it. The ringleaders in Kelly’s dismissal are a former player who has run up against the establishment at every turn and resigned from the PA because he couldn’t work with Kelly (Lindros); the man who didn’t get the job when the PA decided Kelly would be a better choice (Pink); and one of the most confrontational labor leaders of our generation (Hargrove).”

What I don’t get is how these guys have any clout or respect with their peers. Why or how does anyone listen to them? Please tell me it’s apathy. No one wants to deal with this crap so they let the power hungry idiots do it and then they all wake up and say what the hell have we done? How long before the executive committee all quit???

“They represent the old guard of the association whose philosophy was to oppose the league on every single issue and make a confrontation out of everything possible. All of which is fine, if that’s the way the union wants to do business it certainly has the right to conduct itself in that manner. But the question is, if that’s what it wanted, why was Goodenow shown the door in the first place and why was he replaced by Kelly, who had made it clear from the start that he was going to conduct the association’s business in a less confrontational way? Goodenow was deemed to be expendable when the players looked at the possibility of missing two years of paychecks and promptly soiled their pants. One season had already been wasted and even though Goodenow told players long before the lockout to prepare to sit out for as long as two seasons, when push came to shove, the players opted to get back to playing hockey and making money.”

You can’t really be looking for a real reason behind this can you??? It is the sway of power from ego to ego. Nothing more, nothing less.

Scott Burnside:

“Imagine a group of cavemen sitting around a campfire roasting a mastodon. Now, imagine some of those Neanderthals leaping up and grunting, “Fire bad … cooked meat bad,” before dousing the flames and leading the rest into a dark, damp cave. Now you have a sense of the shocking developments within the NHL Players’ Association in the past 24 hours. Less than two years into Paul Kelly’s role as NHLPA executive director, a small but determined group of lawyers and former players toppled him from his post and once again left the players’ union lacking in credibility and facing an uncertain future.”

No, really, is there a better metaphor than that???

“The actual reasons for Kelly’s firing remain vague and Hargrove admitted there was no one specific reason for the dismissal. It is believed Kelly’s transgressions include his treatment of staff members in Toronto, his perceived closeness to the media and a lack of fractiousness when it came to dealing with the NHL and its owners. One former NHLPA executive member said if it’s true one of the reasons Kelly was overthrown was the fact he wasn’t confrontational enough with NHL executives, it’s a bad sign for future negotiations. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” he said. He said it’s important for the league and players to have a close relationship given the nature of the current collective bargaining agreement, which sees the league and players share in hockey-related revenues. He warned that without such a relationship, there is a potential to return to the “tragic” days of the past when there were frequent labor interruptions.”

It’s the NHLPA….what do you expect???? What is apparent is that a ton of player, agents and ex-union leaders are yapping:

“Another former NHLPA executive member was livid, saying the timing of this leadership change was “terrible.”

“We need to get behind Paul Kelly and let him do his job,” he said.

If those behind the movement really cared about the future of the union “they’d let this pass.” Further, he added, “if Eric Lindros really cared about the union, he’d let this go and get himself another job.”

One area that also infuriated this former union executive member was the interviewing of office staff to see how Kelly treated them.

“Who cares,” he said. “Do you think the president of Johnson & Johnson walks around worrying about hurt feelings?”

Many players, agents and former players contacted by ESPN.com expressed concern about changing leadership with a new collective bargaining agreement looming within the next couple of years.

One top player told ESPN.com that by the time the search committee gets around to finding a new executive director and gets up to speed, “he won’t have time to get his pencil sharpened before we’re in another lockout.”

“It’s the culture of paranoia,” added a former player and former NHLPA executive committee member. “And what sign does this send to the league? Where’s the stability at the union? It’s a year or two away from needing to negotiate a new CBA.”

It’s laughable. I have said that already right???

Pierre LeBrun:

“”Until we’re able to inform all the players on exactly what happened, we’re really not going to be too specific,” Horcoff, hopping on a plane, told ESPN.com. “There’s some information and some news that came our way that forced the hands of the executive board to go in a different direction.” Something they heard Sunday night prompted them to act because, from the conversations I had with some of those player reps before Sunday, they didn’t go into that meeting thinking they were going to fire Kelly. “I changed my mind after what I heard,” one player rep who requested anonymity told us Monday. But whether it was the report from interim NHLPA ombudsman Buzz Hargrove or the separate findings from player reps Matt Stajan, Mike Komisarek, Brad Boyes and Andrew Ference (who, along with an HR consultant, interviewed union office staff), the 30 reps heard enough to fire Kelly. It’s as stunning as it sounds. For my money, Kelly was someone I grew to respect in the past 21 months and his firing is big loss for the union. He was a big-picture guy with the conciliatory skills to make things happen with the league.”

Unitl the PA tells their story, assuming there is one, they will, as they always have, lose the PR war. Too many good people in hockey are backing Kelly here. It’s not one or two, it’s all of them.

“To me, what’s troubling is that a decision with such huge ramifications took place in two days with such a small group,” said one veteran player agent, requesting anonymity. “How can that small group make such a big decision? That’s the concern, regardless of whether you’re an advocate of Kelly or not.” Said another agent: “I’m dumbfounded by the immediacy of this decision. You’d think this should be deliberated for more than 10 hours. I would have thought something as significant as this would have involved more discussion among more players. I just think the general union populace should have had more of a say in this.”One very high-profile player, we can tell you, was livid Monday that he wasn’t apprised of any of this before it was too late. Hargrove, who told ESPN.com on Monday that he has no interest in replacing Kelly and told the executive board as much, said the player reps were told they could wait until they saw their teammates before making a final decision. “That was one of the options that the board members had,” Hargrove said. “They were very familiar with that option. But given the circumstances, given the findings that were presented to them, given the debate, they took a decision. It’s a decision they will feel very comfortable justifying with their fellow players once they see them in training camp.”

I think those who lead this thing know what would have happened if they waited, it would have turned into a public circus. Not only that all the agents would have rallied their clients and this mess would have turned into a massive fishbowl. It is, however remarkable that this was handled as quietly and as quickly as it was.

“In the end, however, maybe it’s a little rich for the rank-and-file players to complain. Fact is, most of the time, they care little about the ongoings of the NHLPA and many don’t even bother attending meetings (such as the players who went to the NHL awards event in Las Vegas in June but didn’t bother sticking around for the players meetings).

“Any player who was in attendance at the Vegas meetings would have known Paul Kelly’s leadership was being reviewed,” said one NHLPA staff source. But perhaps the shock firing of their leader will be a valuable wake-up call for all those apathetic players.”I hope there will be more of an awareness from the rest of the membership because of this,” one player agent said. “That’s the lesson to be learned.”

A buddy of mine never votes in the Toronto mayor election. He was irate during the garbage strike, calling me daily asking me how the hell this was happening. Every morning I told him the same thing, “go in to your bathroom and look in the mirror” The players who are likely doing the complaining are most likely the guys who didn’t want to be reps, who couldn’t be bothered to go to Las Vegas. You get what you pay for, the old addage goes, and it’s usually true. You can’t bitch and complain after the fact if you were too lazy to be involved during the fact. The only way this get cleaned up is if enough of the right guys start paying attention. History tells us that’s not likely.

My last word goes to the guy who owned this story. Darren Dreger broke the story that something maybe up and appeared to be the only guy in Chicago covering it live. From all us who love the game and admire those who cover it, we thank you Darren:

“He was invited in at least three times, the last being just after 3:30am eastern.

At this point Kelly was given news of his demise.

He bolted from the boardroom visibly upset, he refused to comment and simply retreated to where Healy, Flatley and others were waiting before quickly leaving the area all together.

There was a brief gathering of the divisional players reps with interim ombudsman Buzz Hargrove, general counsel Ian Penny and advisory board head, Ron Pink mulling about before the entire group retired after an incredibly long day.

At times, it was fascinating to watch.

Sources say there were moments of heated debate in the meeting, especially early into the discussions when Kelly and Healy passionately argued their case.

Hargrove was clearly a key player in this power shift and he was called in and out of the main board discussion on a number of occasions, the first including a presentation detailing some of Kelly’s alleged flaws.”

I am not sure a better script for this could have been written. It sounds like the Keystone Cops all over again.

Well, tomorrow should be another interesting day. Hope this wasn’t too long to read and you enjoyed it.

TSM

@yyzsportsmedia

Arthur is here
McParland is here
Damien is here
Eric Duhatschek is here
Dowbiggin is here
Allen is here
NESN/Conway is here
Campbell is here
Campbell is here too
Burnside is here
LeBrun is here
Dreger is here

As of this writing, Cnnsi, The Toronto Sun, the Boston Globe, and NYpost and more didn’t have stories up, please post links and quotes below..

Here is more from Damien Cox:

“Those who successfully plotted against him breached constitutional procedures, fudged internal reviews and used a variety of dirty tricks worthy of Watergate to finally triumph at 3:30 a.m. yesterday.

What self-respecting organization fires a key executive at 3:30 in the morning?

If there’s a single smart player on the executive committee, they’ve already figured out they’ve made an awful mistake by being convinced to axe a good man, thereby putting their futures in the hands of Machiavellian suits they wouldn’t trust as teammates.

Maybe that’s why more than 50 players spent yesterday lobbying Kelly’s right-hand man, the widely respected Glenn Healy, to stay on after his colleague Pat Flatley quit in the wake of Kelly’s ouster.

Healy’s the lone progressive left. Otherwise, the hardline labour mentality that led the lemmings over the cliff in 2004-05 is now on the verge of taking over again. All you had to hear was an old union guy like Buzz Hargrove – supposedly the NHLPA’s independent ombudsman, charged with bringing player complaints forward – detailing union business in various radio interviews yesterday to understand the old guard is back in charge again.”

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