NHLPA officially endorses Donald Fehr as next head of the union, players vote to approve awaits

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for donald fehr.jpgThe possibility of having Donald Fehr take over as the leader of the NHL Players Association just got one step closer to happening today. The NHLPA announced that they’ve endorsed Fehr to the members of the union and now it’ll be put to a vote as to whether or not to approve and appoint him to the position. From the NHLPA release:

The recommendation to appoint Fehr as Executive Director will next be submitted to the full NHLPA membership for consideration, along with various amendments to the NHLPA Constitution that were approved by the Executive Board earlier this summer.  The Executive Director and Constitution membership votes are expected to conclude following individual team meetings that will take place during training camp and the first part of the regular season, and Fehr’s appointment will not become official until that time.  In the interim, Fehr will continue to assist the NHLPA as a consultant.

“The Search Committee is pleased that the Executive Board has endorsed our recommendation to select Don Fehr as our new Executive Director and we look forward to our fellow members voting on this important matter,” said Mathieu Schneider.

“I am gratified by the Executive Board’s vote, and I look forward to meeting all the Players at team meetings which begin later this month,” said Fehr.

The NHLPA’s executive board includes Mathieu Schneider, Brian Rolston, Ryan Getzlaf, Brian Rafalski, and Jamie Langenbrunner and they’re the guys that had to make the full-on endorsement of Fehr. How much pull each of those guys have in talking with their teammates and union cohorts remains to be seen and is what will make the final vote on this interesting.

A splintered, majority approval would be the sort of thing to show Fehr exactly what he’s dealing with whereas a unanimous-ish kind of vote would show the kind of strength and unity not seen before amongst the NHLPA members. Obviously for fans there’s a lot of ominous feelings about Fehr potentially becoming the NHLPA’s go-to guy. Fans are still smarting from the NHL lockout of 2004-2005 and bringing in the guy that helped Major League Baseball cancel the World Series in 1994 does nothing to ease those thoughts.

Of course, no one remembers immediately that Fehr helped the MLBPA and MLB piece together an agreement in 2002 that’s helped MLB and the players become financial behemoths in the sports world. If Fehr can step in and help reach an accord with the NHL on par with that agreement, both sides will be rushing to build a statue in honor of Fehr.

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    Suspension-worthy? Sharks’ Hertl ejected for boarding

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    Brad Marchand isn’t the only player who delivered a questionable hit on Tuesday, as Tomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks is also likely to draw the attention of the Department of Player Safety.

    Hertl received a game misconduct and major penalty for boarding Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, as you can see in the video above this post’s headline.

    For whatever it’s worth, Hertl, 24, hasn’t been suspended in the NHL. It seems like Kulikov suffered at least some ill effects from the hit.

    Some put at least a portion of blame on Kulikov for turning his back before the check.

    Is the major penalty sufficient or should Hertl sit for that hit?

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Should Brad Marchand be suspended for elbow on Marcus Johansson?

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    Much has been made of Brad Marchand cleaning up his act, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Boston Bruins forward has totally stopped blurring the line between “physical” and “illegal” play.

    Marchand was everywhere in the Bruins’ 3-2 win against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, and that was mostly in a good way, scoring a goal and an assist, easily leading all forwards with 20:06 time on ice.

    Devils fans were unhappy when Marchand wasn’t penalized for a highly questionable elbow on forward Marcus Johansson. You can watch the infraction in the video above this post. You can also see it in GIF form below.

    NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty reports that the Department of Player Safety is aware of the elbow, and supplemental discipline may come:

    Again, many recall other incidents with Marchand, so plenty were unhappy with the situation:

    What do you think? Is a suspension appropriate in this case?

    More on the Bruins:How will they cope without Charlie McAvoy?

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Canadiens end Avalanche winning streak at 10 games

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    If asked to guess, just about any honest hockey fan would expect the Colorado Avalanche to be surrounded by rebuild talk and the Montreal Canadiens to be reeling off winning streaks in 2017-18.

    Instead, the roles have been reversed; the Avs came into Tuesday with a 10-game winning streak, while Montreal is facing some serious soul-searching during a huge letdown of a season.

    They flipped the script again tonight, however, as the Canadiens ended the Avs’ run at 10 games by winning 4-2. Colorado’s 10-gamer is the longest winning streak in the NHL so far this season.

    The game followed the sort of script Habs management envisioned for 2017-18. Carey Price didn’t need to do a ton, amassing 20 saves. Jonathan Drouin played like the star they pictured, scoring a game-winning goal and collecting two assists. Offense came from four different goal-scorers, with Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, and Nicolas Deslauriers also chipping in.

    Montreal flexed its muscles with the Avalanche closing off a back-to-back set. The Habs generated a 40-22 shots on goal advantage, and even with that much puck control, also hammered Colorado with 43 hits.

    Even with this win, the Canadiens’ playoff hopes look pretty dim. Meanwhile, the Avalanche really cannot rest on their laurels even after that incredible run; despite piling up 10 consecutive wins, Colorado is just ranked fifth in the Central Division with a slim lead on the Minnesota Wild.

    Considering how dour things have been for Montreal, they’ll gladly take a night like this, even if they’ve been in shorter supply than they expected.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Flyers edge Red Wings, stay hot in 2018

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    At this rate, Travis Konecny might earn the nickname “OT.”

    For the second straight game, the young forward scored the OT-winner for the Philadelphia Flyers. In this case, it salvaged a 3-2 overtime win against the Red Wings in Detroit, pushing Philly’s winning streak to four games.

    Red Wings fan left the building booing, as Konency just barely avoided being offside on the decisive goal. Such a finish will probably sting a little extra for Tyler Bertuzzi, who was all over the place in the third period but couldn’t seal the Red Wings’ rally.

    Three of the Flyers’ four straight wins have come in overtime, so they’re gutting out some close wins lately.

    It’s a sweet deal for the Flyers, as they’ll end the night in the Metropolitan Division’s third spot, even if the New York Rangers win their game against the Anaheim Ducks.

    Such a rise isn’t just about this four-game winning streak.

    After ending 2017 on a down note (losing three of their last four games of the year), the Flyers are now 8-2-0 in 2018. Tuesday was promising for Philly even beyond its own work, as the Carolina Hurricanes (loss to Pittsburgh) and New Jersey Devils (fell to Bruins) both fell in regulation.

    Quite the turnaround for a team that once dropped 10 straight games and saw fans calling for head coach Dave Hakstol’s head, huh?

    A strong second period played a big role in Philly’s win. Detroit carried a 1-0 lead into the middle frame, but the Flyers scored twice to take a lead that would ultimately get them into overtime. They generated an 18-7 shots on goal advantage in the second period and a 31-21 edge overall.

    The Flyers continue to do enough of everything to win games, and such versatility might just earn them a playoff berth. For all we know, that might even end up battling for a round of home-ice advantage.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.