While it hasn’t been confirmed just yet, it sounds like the rumors are finally true: former MLB players association head Donald Fehr reportedly accepted the post as the head of the NHLPA. Some might cue “Taps” for the 2012-13 season upon hearing the news.
Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal broke this news.
Former MLBPA Executive Director Don Fehr has agreed to accept the job of NHLPA executive director, according to multiple sources. Attempts to confirm this with Fehr or with the NHLPA were not immediately successful. Sources said other candidates have been informed they are no longer in the running for the top job. The search committee’s decision to recommend Fehr would still have to be confirmed by the entire board of player reps, sources said.
OK, so it’s not necessarily a done deal, but it might not be much more than a formality. (Although considering how erratic the NHLPA can be, that assumption might be a little bit dangerous.)
A “unified front” might be a good thing for the wallets of owners or players, but it’s not always the greatest thing for hockey fans. It’s hasty to assume that Fehr will automatically bring about a work stoppage, yet he was in charge of the MLBPA during the strike that briefly endangered baseball’s place in the hearts of many Americans. Considering the fact that the NHL is still recovering from the 2004-05 lockout, this could be quite the harbinger of doom.
Who knows if 2012 will bring about the kind of doom the Mayans predicted, but if Fehr = another lockout, then hockey fans might want to stock up on water and canned food.
While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.
Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–Loui Eriksson
Matt Beleskey–David Krejci–David Pastrnak
Jimmy Hayes–Ryan Spooner–Brett Connolly
Chris Kelly–Joonas Kemppainen–Zac Rinaldo
The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.
So, where is Krejci’s game now?
Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.
So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?
On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.
So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?
“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks