Wednesday, September 14, 2005

 

Close The Doors and Figure this Out

I am just about at my wits end about this. This Saskin situation is still all over the map, and the time has come, for the better of hockey, to close the doors on it. I am begging the PA the take this back into the house and work it out. It is the last thing that the sport needs right now. I talked to a highly respected reporter friend last night who shared my sentiment exactly. "I won't write about it, " he said, "I hear all the stories, but I won't write about it."

I will write about today. One last time before the new website opens tomorrow at 3pm. Because the idea of hockeybuzz.com is to create a place where the sport will be allowed to grow by leaps and bounds through people who love the sport. I spent a year of my life writing positive stuff in hockey's darkest hour, trying to keep the sport alive through the surgery. It thrills me to see the sport is alive now. Someone at the NHL office told me yesterday that they anticipate a full sellout on opening night. Considering what has happened that is an amazing testament to hockey fans and just how good this sport is.

This Saskin thing is a pissing match now..no one wins a pissing match. It is easy to find plenty of fault with both sides.

The PA is at fault for ignoring several procedures, and doing so in a way that left them vunerable to the remnants of Bob Goodenow's supporters. Now, it is not only Goodenow's goons that think something wrong has been done. It is several of hockey's respected people who are worried that procedure needs to be followed. However, the fact that procedures weren't followed is nothing new to the PA at all. This organization never follows procedure on anything it does. It is one of the reasons that a season could be lost without the players having any say whatsoever. It is why players would call me to find out what was going on in the lockout for crying out loud! That is why people are looking to procedures now. In procedures comes some sort of stability. In the past they wouldn't have mattered.

What Ted should do, and I hate using the word should, is call a task force together to write a new constitution for the PA. One that assures the players will be communicated to and allowed to control their fate more. That would calm many people moving forward. It would be a constitution that everyone would be forced to follow. The one written now was written by Eagleson when there were twelve teams. It is moot in many ways. Especially when it comes to marketing.

See this the thing. What the PA has done is wrong, but most people are willing to forgive based on the past and the fact that Ted is the guy. However, they are more concerned this continues a pattern that will keep them in the dark. A new constitution would soothe those fears.

The other issue I have with the PA right now is that the player reps are in disarray. Prior to this secret ballot it would have been better to hold secret ballots to elect new player reps. Right now so many guys are on new teams. Mark Recchi is the rep for the Penguins for example. Robert Esche quit the Flyers post. The anti-Saskin folks are going around telling player reps that if they vote on Ted they may be liable themselves in a criminal case. That is ridiculous according to a lawyer I spoke to last night, who said, "It sounds like they are afraid this vote will clear Ted."

And this segways into the problems i have with the other side. Taking this dispute public may help get your case some attention, but it stabs hockey in the back over and over again. If you have a case, hire a lawyer, like you did, and deal with it internally and through the courts. What lawyer is advising you to release internal emails to a reporter? I agree that there are things that need to be looked at, and you may be right about many of them, but to use a sport that has been beaten up as your cover is the most horrible offense that has happened here. Afraid of the escrow? Airing your laundry in public could scare away sponsors that are already iffy about hockey's stability.


Finally, and absolutely most importantly, these fans deserve better. These people are being forgotten here. They open their sports sections to read about new line combinations not this. Hockey is a release from the everyday. We all go to work, and hear gossip, and people get fired, etc. When we come home we turn on hockey and don't want to talk business. We have talked about your business for over a year now. Deal with it yourself and let us watch the games.



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