NHLPA questions league’s motives

The labour battle between the NHL and the players’ association continued on Tuesday with the NHLPA questioning the league’s motives after news surfaced that team owners and general managers were given a 48-hour window last week to speak with players about the NHL’s latest contract offer.

 “Most owners are not allowed to attend bargaining meetings,” Steve Fehr, the NHLPA’s special counsel, told The Canadian Press. “No owners are allowed to speak to the media about the bargaining. It is interesting that they are secretly unleashed to talk to the players about the meetings the players can attend, but the owners cannot.”

Since the lockout started on Sept. 15, the NHL had forbidden contact between team officials and the locked-out players. The Canadian Press reported it was unclear how many players were contacted last week.

You can read more by clicking here.

Meanwhile, the Canadiens’ Tomas Plekanec, who has eight goals and 16 points in 12 games with HC Kladno in the Czech Republic, doesn’t believe the lockout will wipe out the entire NHL season and he will be back in Montreal.

“Obviously you read some news in Canada and the States, and you hear people say ‘Oh we’re going to lose the season,’ but I don’t believe that,” Plekanec told The Canadian Press. “I can’t believe that we would lose all season. I’m sure that they will find a solution and we will start to play pretty soon.”

You can read more about Plekanec by clicking here.

The man who made a YouTube video titled NHL Lockout Kills Dreams, which was posted on HIO on the weekend (you can see it again below), is John Dick of Leduc Alta. His dad is dying of throat cancer and he wants the lockout to end so he can watch games with his ailing father.

“How do I feel about the situation in the NHL?” Dick asks in the video. “I hope that the doctors and nurses that keep my dad alive get a raise and that you guys get your asses back on the ice before it’s too late. Remember what we play this game for.”

You can read more about Dick and his father by clicking here. You can see five of the best YouTube videos posted by frustrated hockey fans by clicking here.

The Last Gladiators, a movie about NHL enforcers, had its Montreal premiere on Monday night at the Starcité Cinema and opens in theatres across Canada on Friday.

While the film includes interviews with several retired NHL players, including Marty McSorley, Tony Twist and the late Bob Probert, its main focus is former Canadiens enforcer Chris Nilan, focusing on his NHL career, his descent into addiction after he retired and his subsequent recovery.

Nilan was also one of the fighters Arpon Basu focused on in his book NHL Enforcers: The Rough and Tough Guys of Hockey.

Wrote Basu: “If a Hollywood scriptwriter sat down and tried to depict the life of an NHL enforcer, he’d be hard pressed to come up with a story as compelling as that of former Montreal Canadiens tough guy Chris ‘Knuckles’ Nilan.

“Any stereotype about NHL fighters that fans believe to be true actually is in Nilan’s case; the rough neighbourhood growing up, the street fights every weekend, that me-against-the-world attitude, the fearlessness in fighting anyone and everyone to prove himself and, finally, that ticket to the big leagues that no one believed he would get.”

You can read more about Nilan by clicking here.

The Gazette’s Brenda Branswell will have a feature story on Nilan and the new movie in Thursday’s Hockey Inside/Out section of the paper and on HIO. Dave Stubbs will have a feature on former Boston Bruin Derek Sanderson, who was in town this week promoting a new book about his life and his own recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.

(Photo by Chris Young/The Canadian Press)


  1. Psycho29 says:

    Don’t know if it’s old news or if it was reported elsewhere here but McGuire said on TSN-990 that Volchenkov broke his foot or ankle and Tuuka Rask tore his groin playing in Europe?

    Also heard Ray Ferraro earlier. I don’t always agree with him, but he said that both sides should be ashamed of themselves in this lockout…

  2. Luke says:

    Waaaaait a second:

    The article says the:
    Owners/GMs were allowed to speak to players for 48hours.

    and this:
    team employees were told they could answer questions about the offer from players

    and this:
    It was unclear how many players were contacted.

    So, It doesn’t say that the owners were suddenly making calls to all of their players and chatting them up. To me, it actually seems to imply the opposite. That players may be contacting the teams directly and the league decided that they’d let the Owners/GMs actually discuss the offer with them.

    They provided some standardized answers for what seem to be FAQs (either are already, or expceted to be).

    I dunno… something seems a little odd here.

    • commandant says:

      Either way it shouldn’t be done, and certainly not in a league wide directive to management without running it by Fehr, and the execs of the PA.

      Its just not proper conduct.

      All my clients know not to talk to the other side about our legal issues and to direct them that if they have inquiries to have their counsel come to me with them… which is what the rules state.

      The NHL was doing this since the lockout began.

      Then issued a directive that changed things for 24 hours.

      Its fishy.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

      • Luke says:

        Yup. I agree with you about not doing an end-around your negotiators/counsel.

        I was just pondering the situation after reading the story and something just didn’t sit right. I think it was the line about the “FAQ” responses. It makes little sense to call the players and say ‘any questions?’ and have responses ready. It makes more sense to have answers ready because you’ve already been fielding calls. With the release of the new proposal, you’d expect an increase in calls if you had already been getting some without a proposal in place.

        If you think about it, in this situation, Bettman has removed himself as a buffer between the players and owners as well. He doesn’t seem like a guy who’d give up that kind of control. So why would Bettman suddenly allow his owners and players direct access to each other (albeit for a limited time)?

        There is something more going on here. It is definitely Fishy.

      • Ron says:

        I think all would agree that it is an unethical way of operating at this point of negotiations but do you not think that the NHL executive and the many lawyers they have working for them has not thought this through before hand. Is it not possible that although unethical it is not illegal until actually acted out. Maybe just a ploy.

      • Dust says:

        So if the players have been contacting the owners and gms regarding the lockout isn’t that wrong too?

        • commandant says:

          The key difference is the “in writing” memo from NHL management directing the GMs to do this.

          In organizations this size, you can’t control everyone, so if one rogue GM goes out and does something, or a few players start making these calls thats one thing. These guys are doing it on your own. I’m not responsible for everything a client does when I advised him against doing something.

          However if I directed him and advised him to take certain actions… thats where the problem lies.

          The NHL had clear memos to their GMs for 5 weeks of the lockout not to talk to players, media, anyone about the situation.

          Then for 48 hours they sent out another memo lifting the restrictions and telling them they can talk to the players.

          Go Habs Go!
          Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  3. HabinBurlington says:

    L, nice work on the Bob Dylan song below. Good stuff.

  4. shiram says:

    another reason to want the lockout to end soon, to see the Bruins screwed in nets.
    Roman Jedlicka Roman Jedlicka ‏@jedli

    @GlobeKPD Tuukka Rask is injured. He was in goal only for 1st period w/ clean sheet and then stayed on bench. He has some groin injury.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Yah that is not good news for Bruins, bad knee last year wasn’t it, or was it groin then too. Maybe they are going to have to beg Mr. Thomas to have a change of heart, maybe they can get Obama to call him.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of players and fans.


  5. commandant says:

    Collberg is playing a big role on his new Allvenskan team, lots of ice time, and already has a goal in the first period of his first game.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  6. AceMagnum says:

    I said, I don’t care anymore!!



  7. mrhabby says:

    On another note. I went to Tampa Fla and caught the Bucs vs the Saints on Sunday with wife and son. What a great event and a very good game. Have to love the NFL they put on a great show. Sunny and hot, cold beer and lots of sites. No one is talking hockey down there.

  8. commandant says:

    Our resident Russian Max, looks at the NHL lockout’s effect on KHL attendance and quality of play.


    The question must be asked… is the NHL underestimating their biggest competitor for high quality talent? Do financial restrictions on player salary, term, ELCs, and other issues lead to even more poaching by the KHL.

    Will it ever be as big as the NHL? Probably not and even if it is, not for a long time.

    Could it become a league that regularly poaches top talent, even more than they do now? Absolutely, especially if the ELC rules change.

    A two year ELC makes a young player RFA and able to use the KHL to create a bidding war when hge is really young. A five year ELC? More and more draftees won’t leave Europe.

    The NHL’s approach seems to ignore the reality.

    The KHL is starting to expand across Europe and that is their goal. If they do so, it won’t just be Russians that leave the NHL/never come over. It could spread to Swedes, Finns, Czechs, Slovaks being poached too.

    Sure maybe not superstars, but the 2nd and third liners where the KHL can compete money wise vs a salary capped NHL.

    It could reduce talent in the NHL, similar to the WHA years if the NHL doesn’t handle this properly.

    Remember the KHL didnt exist last lockout.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • pottymonster says:

      meh, i’m not sure how much effect the KHL will actually have. i suspect it would be minimal.

      the NHL brand image is still very strong in europe. regardless of the lockout, it should remain that way. continue playing occasional exhibition games there and the brand will grow. tv deals will also ensure this, even if games are aired at awkward times for them.

      unless the KHL spends huge amounts of money to build new state of the art arenas, the best players still won’t want to be there. reading the article from the star down below pretty much says it all. it’s still amateur hour over there. if they ever clean up that act, then maybe things will change. but until then, if you’re a player and you have the chance to play in front of 20000 people in a new arena in new york or toronto or montreal or any sunny place in the states, vs playing in a 6000 seat, 40 year old arena in siberia, well i think you’ll see what people choose. sure, there’ll be players who stay behind to earn their money in the KHL, but they’ll be russians who are used to it. i doubt you’ll see the finns, swedes, or slovakians get into that.

      • commandant says:

        As I said, the KHL is looking at expanding into Slovakia, Finland, sweden, Germany, Italy, etc….

        The more the league expands its presence in Europe, the more dangerous they become.

        Ignoring them entirely and handing them the good fortune of a lockout and increasing their revenues, talent and attendance, is probably not a good long term move by the NHL.

        Go Habs Go!
        Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

        • pottymonster says:

          but they’ll still need infrastructure. 6000, 7000, seat arenas won’t cut it. they’ll never break even paying the kind of salaries it takes to attract big talent. like the star article says, they’re being bailed out by Gazprom now, but what happens if the oil market changes?

          you also have to remember that ice hockey in europe is still only the 4th or 5th most popular sport. you have football, rugby, field hockey, crickett, skiing, and probably other sports that i dont even know about. in countries like france, germany, spain, italy… ice hockey hardly even exists. just being part of a bigger league isnt suddenly going to make the best players want to play in front of uninterested fans in munich.

          • commandant says:

            I’m not saying they are going to take all the big talent, or even have teams that are equivalent to NHL teams.

            Could they cherry pick guys though… have one or two guys with a big salary similar to a “designated player” in the MLS?

            Could they some talented second and third liners?

            They already are, and this could make it worse.

            Go Habs Go!
            Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

      • pottymonster says:

        with all that said, i think the best scenario would be a russian league, a european league, and the NHL. they could all get together and form a champions league sort of deal where maybe the conference winners from each league all get together and play a short tournament over the course of a few weeks in september or june… but maybe thats just the inner football hooligan in me hoping for the impossible. it definitely wont happen as long as bettman and fehr are in charge.

  9. commandant says:

    From a legal perspective this is HIGHLY unethical and could be grounds for an unfair labour practice claim.

    Having management contact individual players and bypass the Union Representatives to discuss specifics of negotiations is a major No-No in labour law (or in most forms of law).

    If someone is represented by counsel, negotiations on labour should only occur with that counsel having full knowledge of what is going on. Doing an end around and not informing Fehr and the other execs of the PA is a major issue.

    The NHLPA is pissed at this and rightly so. Its completely unethical conduct and goes against the rules of professional conduct for nearly every Bar Association in North America.

    Lawyers like Bettman and Daly should know better.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • Timo says:

      You used “lawyers” and “ethical conduct” here… How does that make any sense? 🙂

      • commandant says:

        There are certain ethical “RULES” that even lawyers have to obey or you get unfair labour practice claims, and complaints to the bar association that could lead to censure, disbarment or other discipline.

        In law, Ethics and Professional Conduct can at times be more than just an idealistic concept, but one which you can be punished for not following as well (depending on the nature of the breach of course).

        Go Habs Go!
        Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • The Gonk says:

      Are you a lawyer?

      • commandant says:

        In my day job, yes.

        Go Habs Go!
        Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

        • Ron says:

          Has it been proven that some teams actually contacted players or that the NHL let some sort of a directive get out letting the NLHPA think that was going to happen ?

          • commandant says:


            “For 48 hours last week, the National Hockey League allowed its owners and general managers to answer questions directly from their players regarding the NHL’s latest CBA proposal.

            But the NHL Players’ Association was not informed about the window of opportunity.

            NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun on ESPN.com that the league sent out a legal memo to its clubs that outlined the specifics of what could be discussed.

            The union was not pleased that they were excluded from the news.”

            Seems pretty clear from the article… of course the article is not evidence in a court of law, but if the article is accurate this is a big issue.

            Now if we get a deal soon, the NHLPA might choose not to pursue the issue, and call it water under the bridge… but if the lockout drags on, its own more piece of ammunition, and something they may wish to have litigated or arbitrated by a labour board.

            Go Habs Go!
            Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

          • Ron says:

            I read the same shit you wrote. What I asked was did anyone actually know owners contacted players or is it another of the NHL’s game of word etc.

          • commandant says:

            I’m assuming that the PA heard about it after one of the players told the leadership that a GM or Owner contacted him.

            While we don’t yet have proof that the direction was acted upon, there is an awful lot to suggest it has been when the story breaks so quickly and the NHL heads are not denying it.

            Go Habs Go!
            Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

        • Timo says:

          Good to know 🙂 Didn’t mean to insult you above.

          • commandant says:

            I’ve heard them all.

            I wasn’t insulted, just clarifying things as many people think breaches of ethics are things that are “wrong” but you can’t be held legally responsible for.

            Thats not true when it comes to professional conduct.

            Go Habs Go!
            Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • frontenac1 says:

      They do know better but don’t give a sh*t. Would you really expect any better from those two?

  10. ed lopaz says:

    is it true that Donald Fehr has been hired simply to conduct these specific negotiations and he is leaving this position immediately after?

    • Kooch7800 says:

      I would agree he was hired specifically for this CBA negotiation but not sure he is leaving right after. Wouldn’t surprise me

      • Timo says:

        Donald is and will be looking after himself so I am sure some cushy permanent position is available for him within NHLPA. On the other hand, if there is no hockey for a year and players get it through their thick skulls that they have no leverage, they will sack Fehr like they did Kelly.

        For now, I find comfort in the thought that these entitled cry babies are not getting paid (well, most of them don’t) to push a piece of rubber with a stick.

  11. Cal says:

    I guess those of us thinking the morons may be doing some telephone call negotiating, think again. Fehr is a gargantuan a-hole. Negotiate, moron, or the NHL will happily lose a season just to spite your face. Every day Fehr demonstrates exactly what I thought the day the players hired him; nothing but bs and labour stoppages, all the while whining about the owners.

  12. L Elle says:

    Once upon a time you dressed so fine
    You threw the fans a dime in your prime, didn’t you ?
    People’d call, say, “Beware Gary, you’re bound to fall”
    You thought they were all kiddin’ you
    You used to laugh about
    Everybody that was hangin’ out
    Now you don’t talk so loud
    Now you don’t seem so proud
    About having to be scrounging for your next deal

    How does it feel
    How does it feel

    To be without a dome
    Like a complete unknown
    Like a rolling stone ?

    You’ve gone to the finest school all right, Mr. Lonely
    But you know you only used to get juiced in it
    And nobody has ever taught you how to play hockey on the street
    And now you find out you’re gonna have to get used to it
    You said you’d never compromise
    With the fans and CBA, but now you realize
    He’s not selling any alibis
    As you stare into the vacuum of this fans’ eyes
    And say do you want to make a deal?

    How does it feel
    How does it feel
    To be on your own
    With no direction home
    Like a complete unknown
    Like a rolling stone ?
    You never turned around to see the frowns on the fans and crowds
    When they all come down and did tricks for you
    You never understood that it ain’t no good
    You shouldn’t let the owners get your kicks for you
    You used to ride on the chrome horse with your friend Wang
    Who carried on his shoulder a dysfunctional gang
    Ain’t it hard when you discover that
    He really wasn’t where it’s at
    After he took from you everything he could steal.

    How does it feel
    How does it feel
    To be on your own
    With no direction home
    Like a complete unknown
    Like a rolling stone ?

    Leonsis on the steeple and all the pretty people
    They’re drinkin’, thinkin’ that they got it made
    Exchanging precious players
    But you’d better take your Stanley Cup ring, you’d better pawn it babe
    You used to be so amused
    At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
    Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse
    When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
    You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.


  13. HardHabits says:

    That video is very sad. Not sad that the old man is dying but sad that it is being used to milk sympathy. Guess what? Everybody dies. To use his death as a means of guilting the NHL and NHLPA to make a deal is beyond shameless. Disgusting.

    • shiram says:

      Oh good, the soup was about to form that weird skin thing it does when the pot is not stirred often enough.

      • HardHabits says:

        I am not stirring up the pot. That video is exploitative and its maker should be ashamed.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          What was it a week ago or less, where you spoke about how this lockout is preventing you doing what you do best, rile people up? Come on HH.

          • Cal says:

            And that’s the main reason I no longer engage with HardHabits. It’s a waste of effort and time.

          • HardHabits says:

            That was a joke. But in this case I am just stating my views on this. I don’t like that video and I still hold true to my POV that it is shameless and exploitative.

            Any death in the family is a tragedy as it means the loss of a loved one. I wholeheartedly sympathize with the son. In no way however should such an event be used in the manner it is being used. It’s manipulative. I can’t believe that nobody else sees this.

            If it was about the health care system, insurance or medicare failing his father then I’d see the connection. Connecting this tragedy to the player strike/lock out is plain and simple misplaced and exploitative of the tragedy. I am very much aghast that so many people blindly accept that there isn’t anything wrong with it and worse jump on board to further vilify the league while watching the video.

        • shiram says:

          It says the son made the video, who are you to tell him what to do with the last moments with his dad?

    • Mattyleg says:

      I find this comment inflammatory!

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • Chuck says:

        I find this reply entertaining!

        Being a Hab fan is like buying real estate: only over the long-haul will you appreciate the true value of your investment.

    • habsgirl74 says:

      I think you missed the total point he was making in the video. Whats disgusting is both sides not caring anymore about the fans and why they played hockey in the first place…..no heart

    • Dr.Rex says:

      I would spit in your face if I ever met you. Fool!

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      I’d have to disagree with you on that one HH. I like people who are blunt but that comment is pretty bad my friend.

      • HardHabits says:

        I completely disagree. I am not stirring the pot here. I watched that video a few times and it is beyond sad. Using his father’s tragedy to try and suggest that the players and league are in some way at fault for having a strike/lock out.

        Shameless and exploitative.

        I sympathize with the terminally ill patient and the son but have no respect for the attempt to use the tragedy as a means of tugging on heart strings to suggest the league or the players should come to come to a deal any quicker than already is happening.

        This is serious and I am not joking either. That video is in very poor taste. Maybe take a step back and see this objectively.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Ahhh classic HH.

    • Bripro says:

      How can you say that?
      Do you know his motives for putting it together, then across cyberspace?
      Maybe he did it as a last ditch effort at stabilizing his dad’s illness.
      Maybe he did it because he feels the pain that his father is going through.
      Maybe he did it to make amends for something in their lives.
      You don’t know his motives.
      Have you lost a parent? Well, I’ve lost both and I can tell you that I would do ANYTHING to have them sit in front of me right now.
      What an asinine thing to say!!!
      I know you like to peeve people off, but that was just a stupid comment!

      “I’m here to tell you: Gary Bettman hasn’t felt this alive since he killed Harry Potter’s parents.”

      • HardHabits says:

        Take of the blinders Bripro. In what way am I being insensitive? I completely sympathize with the fact that a son is dealing with the upcoming and eventual death of a loved one. What I disagree with is his use of the tragedy to try and suggest that the league should get back to the table and strike a deal because of it.

        After this exchange I seriously question the intellectual integrity of this entire comment section.

        • Bripro says:

          So let me get this straight, most who’ve replied to your comment have taken offence to it.
          But we should all be put into question?
          Like I said, his reasons for doing it were his own, and not for another to judge.
          I don’t see how our sympathizing with his efforts puts our “intellectual integrity” into question.
          Until you’re on the verge of losing someone close to you, empathy might not be your strong suit.
          And I say this with my metaphorical blinders on.

          “I’m here to tell you: Gary Bettman hasn’t felt this alive since he killed Harry Potter’s parents.”

          • HardHabits says:

            You’re missing the point. My objection is his using his personal tragedy to somehow guilt the players or the league into getting a deal done quicker. It is shameless and I am still amazed that nobody else sees it.

  14. slamtherimtim says:

    stop bringing up the past and start talking about the future , the NHLPA keeps looking dumber and dumber , they should just table another offer instead of complaining


  15. shiram says:

    Plekanec with a very reasonable view of the lockout, I’m glad he’s not one to spout out non-sense like Kostitsyn, Kovalchuk or Ovechkin.
    That said, Pleky is not playing in top league so his points total might be somewhat misleading.

  16. Muckbringer says:

    Does anyone know if Gally is playing with Sarnia? Hes on the roster but not the stats sheet. Im going to hopefully watch him play at the powerade center in brampton sunday.

    • Luke says:

      Yep. He’s been playing. I haven’t heard about him being injured (and I’m sure someone would have mentioned it here, especially during the Gally/Grigs discussion).

      15pts in 12 games, leads the team, in scoring.

      If you are going to the official OHL site for the stats, it seems to default to the 11-12 season, not the current 12-13 season.

      • Dr.Rex says:

        Gally/Grigs discussion? IF we wanted a Grigs then we coulda just brought back A Kost.

        • Luke says:

          I think Grigs is going to end up a pretty sharp player. Watching him play just reminds me of Malkin… big, rangy guy, slick skill set. I think Buffalo got a pair of good ones in this draft. Too bad.

          That said, I like Gally. He looks to be more complete, but not in the Habs typical 18g 34a ‘more complete’… more like a Red Wings 35g 45a ‘more complete’. It’ll be nice to have one of those to cheer for.

          My biggest hope is that the Leafs fans have 15 years of complaining about how they needed a big stud centre and they passed on Grigs and took medicore, disinterested and soft Dman Rielly instead.

    • DLHABSNUT65 says:

      If you look at the top 20 scorers in the OHL, you’ll find Galy at #19! 15 points in 12 gp! Decent on a team that’s not so decent!!

    • shiram says:

      Luke’s got it right, just wanted to add that you can check on http://www.eliteprospects.com/ for this kind of information, it’s a great site for all things hockey but especially for us trying to follow players in European or smaller NA leagues.

      • Muckbringer says:

        Awsome! Thanks guys!
        Cant wait! most expensive ticket is under $20 and im gonna try to get him to sign something, maybe a habs jersey. Everyone in the GTA should think about going.

        Conan: Almost 20 years of pitiless cumber! No rest, no sleep like other men. And yet the spring wind blows, Subotai. Have you ever felt such a wind?
        Subotai: They blow where I live too. In the north of every man’s heart.
        Conan: It’s never too late, Subotai.
        Subotai: No. It would only lead me back here another day. In even worse company.
        Conan: For us, there is no spring. Just the wind that smells fresh before the storm.

  17. Kfourn says:

    First time being first

    Well, he’s kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace “accidentally” with “repeatedly” and replace “dog” with “son.”

    “It’s sad when our rookies have no NHL experience before they jump up to the NHL.” – nunacanadien

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