Report: Former NHLPA head Paul Kelly was "railroaded" out of office

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paulkelly.jpgWe’ve already covered quite a bit about the labor struggles going on amongst the owners and the players and about how all these actions will have an impact on how things play out when the Collective Bargaining Agreement runs out at the end of the 2011-2012 season. One disturbing part of all this is the internal strife going on amongst the players within the NHLPA. The NHL players have been courting former MLBPA head man Donald Fehr for some time to get him into position to deal with the owners during the next round of negotiations.

But just how did he get to be the prime candidate so fast, especially in the wake of Paul Kelly’s very public firing. Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe had one, brief statement on Twitter about what he thought happened.

Players get results of investigation into events that led to dismissal of PA ‘s Paul Kelly. Finding: Kelly shamefully railroaded.

Yikes. Craig Custance of The Sporting News looked into things a little bit more and tells us that Kelly may have indeed been given short shrift but we’ll be lucky if we ever get to actually find that out.

… An NHL source told Sporting News that details of the Kelly investigation remain sealed until there’s a new executive director. The new executive director will ultimately decide whether to make the full report available to the players. This week, the players heard a series of recommendations from the committee that did the lengthy investigation.

The decision to keep the results of the investigation into Kelly’s middle-of-the-night dismissal sealed might become questionable if Fehr gets the job, since some have accused Fehr of being behind Kelly’s dismissal.

While the players rally themselves around Fehr, should Fehr get appointed to the lead position, it might serve the players best to not release that information out of fear of having the players union splinter once getting their act seemingly together. That said, things behind the scenes with the players have always been a bit ugly, something to which Toronto Star writer Damien Cox was happy to share via Twitter.
Five hours after Paul Kelly was fired, Don Fehr was magically available for a conference call with the union reps.Almost like it was planned
Obviously, none of this reflects well upon the players if they just ran a guy like Paul Kelly out of a job, especially by guys who have since left the NHLPA themselves in Ian Penny and Eric Lindros. Then again, if those guys sacrificed their own jobs to get Donald Fehr into a position to unite the players union and the players get their way in CBA negotiations, will anyone in the union remember nor care about the how’s and why’s of Paul Kelly’s dismissal? Not a chance, especially for a union that’s lacked leadership for a long, long time.

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.