NHLPA could use a man like Donald Fehr

Fehr.jpgIt’s amazing to me how the NHLPA is coming under an incredible amount of fire the past few days after the news broke that Donald Fehr is being courted as the next executive director. Instantly, everyone’s thoughts turned to the MLB player’s strike in 1994; now that Fehr could become the leader of the NHLPA, of course this means a player’s strike in 2012 is inevitable, right?

Not a chance.

In fact, I’d argue that a person with Fehr’s experience and background is exactly what the NHLPA needs. Some say his lack of a hockey background is hurtful to the NHL and the player’s association, but there are times when an outsider’s view and a brand new voice can help more than someone who’s been in with the same crowd year after year.

It’s not like things can get any worse. The NHLPA is a laughing stock right now, with a mess of a command structure after the majority of senior personnel lost the past year’s turnover. The PA tried to strong arm the NHL when the league wanted to institute and rule change and the NHL basically swatted them aside and said, “We’ll do it anyway because we can! We just asked you to be nice.”

The NHL came out of it looking like they just wanted to help the players, while the NHLPA appeared to be just a group of petulant players who couldn’t make their minds up about a rule change they always wanted anyways. Apparently the NHLPA is supposed to immediately acquiesce to any and all rule changes made by the league.

The NHLPA needs strong leadership, and there’s no doubt that Fehr would provide the strong hand the players and agents have been looking for. After a presentation to the NHLPA yesterday by Fehr on a new constitution, it became obvious that he is the man everyone wants for the job. From David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail:

“After hearing [Fehr’s] presentation, let’s just say there is no one
else who can hold his jockstrap if he decides to do it,” said one agent,
who did not want to be named.

This isn’t some power move by the NHLPA to hire a guy who will ensure a strike takes place down the line. In fact, Fehr is perhaps the best person possible to ensure that doesn’t happen, at least from the player’s standpoint.

Let the calls for doom and gloom continue, but you can’t fault the PA for acting to try and rectify an insanely messy situation. The league cannot

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    Video: Parise becomes third Minnesota-born NHL player to score 300 goals

    DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 08:  Zach Parise #11 of the Minnesota Wild celebrates his goal against the Colorado Avalanche as the Avalanche held a 3-1 lead in the second period at Pepsi Center on October 8, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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    Zach Parise on Sunday scored his 300th career NHL goal, a milestone that puts him in rare company.

    Parise got the Wild on the board early in the second period versus the New York Islanders, becoming only the third Minnesota-born player to reach 300 career NHL goals.

    As per the Wild, Parise joins Dave Christian, who scored 340 goals and 773 points in 1,009 career games, and defenseman Phil Housley, who scored 338 goals and 1,232 points in 1,495 games.

    Parise added goal No. 301 of his career later in the second period.

    Spoiler alert: Oilers shut out Jets to win the Heritage Classic

    WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - OCTOBER 23:  Darnell Nurse #25 of the Edmonton Oilers beats Connor Hellebuyck #37 of the Winnipeg Jets during the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic hockey game on October 23, 2016 at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)
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    There was no miracle comeback this time for the Winnipeg Jets. No heroics from highly touted rookie Patrik Laine.

    Puck drop at the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field was delayed due to glare from the sun. When the game did begin, the Jets couldn’t get anything going, falling behind in the second period against the visiting Edmonton Oilers.

    The Oilers leave Winnipeg with a 3-0 victory.

    It started with Mark Letestu opening the scoring with a short-handed goal after a mistake from Dustin Byfuglien at the Edmonton blue line.

    The Oilers continued to ruin the party with a goal from Darnell Nurse — in the box when Letestu scored — just 1:46 later. And Zack Kassian made it that much more difficult for the Jets to come back with another second-period goal for Edmonton. Three goals in just about eight minutes and it was game over.

    The Jets’ record falls to 2-3 — a slow start that puts them at the bottom of a very difficult Central Division.

    And their schedule likely won’t do them any favors, either, with home-and-home sets against Dallas and Washington, not to mention some back-to-back games on the road.

    Meanwhile, the Oilers have had a completely different start to their season.

    A week ago, head coach Todd McLellan blistered his team for a brutal performance on home ice against the Buffalo Sabres. Goalie Cam Talbot wasn’t good at all, allowing a goal from center ice.

    A distant memory, it seems. Talbot stopped all 31 shots he faced for the shut out Sunday.

    The message from that effort versus Buffalo — the lone blemish on Edmonton’s schedule so far — seems to have been received from the Oilers.

    They went on to beat Carolina and St. Louis, and then they took control of Sunday’s contest in the middle period and didn’t give Winnipeg anything from there.

    Wait, what? Letestu’s short-handed goal opens the scoring in Heritage Classic

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 03: Mark Letestu #55 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 3, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Oilers shutout the Flyers 4-0.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    With a power play in the second period, the Winnipeg Jets had a good opportunity to take the lead on home ice in the Heritage Classic.

    But instead, it was the Edmonton Oilers cashing in.

    Mark Letestu opened the scoring with a short-handed goal, beating Connor Hellebuyck on the glove side on a breakaway after Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien whiffed on the puck at the blue line.

    Letestu took advntage. That’s his second goal of the season, both coming on the penalty kill.

    The Oilers were able to further silence the crowd in Winnipeg, as Darnell Nurse, right out of the penalty box, buried a Connor McDavid pass just 1:46 after Letestu’s goal.

    Bylsma: ‘We need to get more’ out of Reinhart

    EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 16:  Sam Reinhart #23 of the Buffalo Sabres warms up before the game against the Edmonton Oilers on October 16, 2016 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
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    Sam Reinhart has two assists through four games this season, and Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has made a move with the hope of getting the 20-year-old forward going offensively.

    As per John Vogl of the Buffalo News on Sunday, Reinhart has been moved to the middle between Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons, while Matt Moulson was moved to the top line with Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo.

    Reinhart, a 23-goal scorer from last season, had two assists through the first two games, but has been kept off the score sheet in Buffalo’s last two contests.

    Outside of that six-goal outburst versus Edmonton last weekend, scoring has been an issue for the Sabres early in the season. So adjustments to the forward combinations is to be expected.

    “Sam needs to get a little bit more feet moving, a little bit more speed to his game,” said Bylsma, as per the Buffalo News.

    “He’s made some great plays for us early on – power play and five-on-five for the Okposo goal – but we need to get more out of Sam, moving his feet more, playing a little bit faster, a little bit quicker and providing a little bit more offense for our team.”

    The Sabres, without two key forwards in Jack Eichel and Evander Kane with long-term injuries, which would help explain the team’s early offensive issues, conclude a four-game road trip Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

    The Sabres also called up forward Hudson Fasching and defenseman Casey Nelson from Rochester in the AHL.