While a lot of the players in the NHL are gearing up for the free agency madness that awaits the league on Thursday, all of the players are still looking for someone who can help lead their union. One name that’s been tossed around a lot lately is former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Union Donald Fehr. Anyone who followed baseball at all during the mid-90s knows Fehr’s name all too well as he was one of the main figures when the World Series was canceled in 1994 due to a labor dispute.
With that kind of track record, fans have every reason to worry, especially when the NHLPA is completely devoid of leadership and the players will be seeking to get a big victory over the owners when it’s time to re-negotiate the collective bargaining agreement in 2012. The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell discusses why it could be Fehr that sees the NHL players through that process.
Fehr has been instrumental in almost all aspects of the NHLPA’s affairs the past couple of months. Not only is he leading the rewrite of the union’s constitution and heading up the search committee for a new executive director – can anyone say conflict of interest? – but he has spent the past several months impressing the daylights out of everyone connected with the union.
The NHLPA is in desperate need of a guiding hand to help make their union stronger, especially after they fired Paul Kelly from the executive director position last year and has seen an incredible amount of tumult and in-fighting over the years. One set of names that Campbell mentions for potential future executive directors are Chris Chelios and Mathieu Schneider. Players leading the players with a strong hand would be seemingly unprecedented as they’ve been more apt to take each other down than build each other up.
If it’s Donald Fehr they decide to tap as an interim executive director, at least to see them through the next collective bargaining agreement, it might be wise for fans to really sit back and enjoy the next two seasons of the NHL because the future could turn out to be dreary with the owners looking for even better cost certainty and the players looking to not “lose” to the owners again.
After the Boston Bruins squandered a 3-0 lead against the Detroit Red Wings and ultimately lost 6-5 via a shootout, plenty of fans and commenters had enough. Many called for Claude Julien’s head.
They might not be alone.
During the latest edition of TSN’s Insider Trading on Thursday, Bob McKenzie didn’t say that Julien was definitely going to be fired, but he said there’s a “credible threat” to the long-standing Bruins bench boss’ job security.
The phrase “impending doom” came up, too.
So … yeah, it sure sounds like Julien is on thin ice.
McKenzie indicates that Julien should be behind the bench on Friday and could improve his situation if he reels off some wins. That’s where things get extra interesting.
The Bruins play three of their next four games and seven of their next nine contests at home. Most of those games are against playoff-caliber teams, however, so it wouldn’t necessarily be “easy.” Still, the opportunities are there for the Bruins to solidify their spot in the East playoff picture.
Still, it sure sounds like the margin of error is pretty small for Julien, just as it might be for Boston in this playoff race.
Want more coaching hot seat talk from McKenzie? He also discussed Paul Maurice’s situation with the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday:
New York Islanders fans probably needed a moment like this, even ones who are more than happy that Jack Capuano was let go.
It’s no surprise that John Tavares provided such a moment.
Watch in the video above as he makes an obscene move against Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg, and then finishes with some really nifty timing. Wow.
Tavares now has 17 goals this season, reinforcing the thought that the team’s struggles aren’t on him.
Now catch up on all of the drama surrounding the team:
Bob McKenzie updates on the fuzzy future for the Isles
Liam McHugh grills Garth Snow on a variety of burning questions
It’s been a tough season for both Anthony Duclair and the Arizona Coyotes. Even so, it’s still startling to see that he was demoted to the AHL on Thursday.
GM John Chayka explained the team’s logic for the demotion:
“Anthony is a good young player,” said Chayka. “Unfortunately, he has struggled this season. We felt this was a good time to send him to Tucson to work on a few things and hopefully regain his scoring touch. We hope to have him rejoin our team soon.”
Duclair’s been the subject of more than a few trade rumors, but this is probably the low point of a rough 2016-17 season for the 21-year-old.
It’s worth taking a second to consider the very different luck Duclair’s experienced in his breakout season last year vs. this one.
His shooting percentage was 19 in 2015-16, helping him score 20 goals on just 105 shots. By comparison, he’s only converted on 5.2 percent of his shots this year, nabbing three on 58.
In other words, Duclair’s work is probably somewhere between those extremes … but he’s also at that age where a player can make big leaps forward. So, it’s understandable that the Coyotes want to try to repair their prospect’s confidence, and it’s also reasonable that other teams might believe that they can get more out of him.
A trip to the AHL really might be good for his confidence but … still, wow.
Roman Josi told Swiss Hockey News.ch that he suffered a concussion from that Anton Blidh hit you can see in the video above, according to a translation passed along by the Tennessean.
So, that’s the bad news for the Nashville Predators. The good is that he also told that outlet that he might be able to return for the Preds sometime next week.
Josi, 26, has dealt with concussion issues before, making this report a concern for the long-term. Still, the possibility of a return so soon is definitely a positive.
Here’s what the next week and change looks like for Nashville:
Tonight: at Flames
Friday: at Oilers
Sunday: at Wild
Tuesday, Jan. 24: vs. Sabres
Thursday: vs. Blue Jackets
The Predators aren’t out of the West picture altogether, but they need to make the most of their opportunities. Much like the Bolts with Victor Hedman, Nashville’s hanging in there OK without one of their key guys, but every point counts. Getting Josi back would be huge.