Archive for July, 2005

Yzerman to Meet With Wings Monday

The Red Wings will meet with Captain Steve Yzerman on Monday, where the sides will discuss the one-year offer that would bring him back for a 22nd season with the team. Initially, the sides planned on meeting this weekend, but reportedly had trouble getting in touch.

Yzerman will become an Unrestricted Free Agent at noon on Monday, but he has said he will either play for the Wings or retire. The discussion on Monday will likely include what role the Wings intend Yzerman to have, and whether it would be better for both sides to put him into a front office position with the team. Yzerman has always desired to make a transition into team management. Also, there is concern about Yzerman’s health. Can his knees take another season, especially with a year of not playing hockey, and how will his eye injury and any lingering symptoms affect his play? Such will be the concerns discussed tomorrow. Stayed tuned for an update tomorrow.

UPDATE 8/1 8:43pm

TSN now says sides will meet sometime this week.

The Draft Wrench for European Prospects

Under the terms of the new CBA, NHL teams will no longer own rights to European prospects indefinitely. While GM Ken Holland used to “tuck them away and watch them” in Europe, the new rule only gives teams rights to Europeans for two years. This was already the rule for North American players in the juniors. Says Holland:

“I think it’s the same old ‘take the best player available.’ We’ve got probably four or five players that can slip through to us. All different positions. We feel we’re going to walk away with two very good prospects. We’re going into a new world.”

All this is true, but it means the Wings will have to rush overseas talent into the system, or lose them altogether. Guys like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg would have to cut their European development down by a year, and you can forget about ever bringing an Igor Grigorenko over. We drafted Grigorenko in 2001, but a summer of 2003 car accident kept him from joining the team that Fall. Under the new CBA, the Wings’ four (coming onto five) years of waiting for Grigorenko to develop/rehabilitate would be gone. We likely would have given up on him the summer of his car crash, since that two-year mark would mean the loss of his rights. And with liberalized free agency, why would you stick with a 23 year old prospect anyways? The main question though is, will we see any of the Wings’ 2005 draft picks in action? And under the terms of the new CBA, the answer is that it’s less likely we will.

As for college players, maybe more start leaving early as teams lose rights to their European prospects. Oh, by the way, here’s the University of Michigan draft picks:

Round 1, 3rd overall – Jack Johnson, Carolina
Round 1, 25th overall – Andrew Cogliano, Edmonton
Round 3, 63rd overall – Jason Bailey, Anahiem
Round 3, 88th overall – TJ Hensick, Colorado

Jack Johnson will probably bolt after a season in the maize and blue, and there’s a risk the others might follow his lead (though not leaving quite as soon).

Notes

I feel so bad for Barry Smith. He’s been waiting for his chance to become an NHL head coach, but now that the Wings have chosen Babcock and cut Smith lose, it looks like it’s too late for this year. Smith is talking with the Panthers about an assistant coaching spot, but the need for head coaches has run dry:

“I would like to hook up with another team. The problem is, it’s a bit late. I bypassed a couple of jobs that were available.”

If Smith is unable to find a coaching position, he says he will stay in the Detroit area and continue running clinics (how pathetic is that!). It is also possible that he joins the Wings as a scout. No word yet whether Dave Lewis or Joey Kocur have accepted their reduced roles on the team.

Welcome back to Jason Kirk of Predators’ Den! I’ve been checking back periodically for the past month, so I’m glad you’re back in the Den. I guess we’ll be seeing a lot of your team this season, much to our chagrin. I hope you’re right about the Predators being good this season, but it’s still a great potential for boring games when there are 32 against Chicago, Columbus, St Louis, and Nashville. I like how the Bleacher Guy put it on his latest podcast: it’s kind of like Russian Roulette getting home after work, turning on the TV, and finding out that “damn, it’s another game against the Predators.” No offense, but Wings fans want to play teams like Colorado, Dallas, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Boston, and Philly. Not the darn Preds.

NHL Draft 2005

When: 12 pm today
Where: Westin Hotel, Ottawa
TV: TSN, RDS, NHL.com

The format has been shortened from nine to seven rounds. After Sidney Crosby gets picked by the Penguins at #1, it will be interesting how Jack Johnson, Benoit Pouliot, Bobby Ryan, and Gilbert Brule round out the next picks. Much has been said that these players are so even in skill, and that it really depends on if the team is looking for a defenseman, winger, or center. This is why the Mighty Ducks were shopping around their #2 pick. Also, this draft class has been characterized as top heavy, with much of the skill in the first ten picks, then dropping off significantly after that. So expect the last-second trading of picks, and maybe the Wings will try to move into the top ten.

The Red Wings will have the following draft picks, and I’ll update the picks as they come in:

Round 1, 19th overall – Jakub Kindl, D
Round 2, 42nd overall – Justin Abdelkader, LW
Round 3, 80th overall – Christofer Lofberg, C
Round 4, 103rd overall – Mattias Ritola, C/W
Round 5, 132nd overall – Darren Helm, C/LW
Round 5, 137th overall – Johan Ryno, W
Round 5, 151st overall – Jeff May, D
Round 6, 175th overall – Juho Mielonen, D
Round 7, 214th overall – Bretton Stamler, D

FIRST-ROUND ORDER

1. Pittsburgh – Sidney Crosby, C
2. Anaheim – Bobby Ryan, RW
3. Carolina – Jack Johnson, D
4. Minnesota – Benoit Pouliot, LW
5. Montreal – Carey Price, G
6. Columbus – Gilbert Brule, C
7. Chicago – Jack Skille, LW
8. San Jose (from Atlanta for 12th, 49th, 207th) – Devin Setoguchi, RW
9. Ottawa – Brian Lee, D
10. Vancouver – Luc Bourdon, D
11. Los Angeles – Anze Kopitar, C
12. N.Y. Rangers (from Atlanta for 16th, 41st, originally San Jose’s pick) – Marc Staal, D
13. Buffalo – Marek Zagrapan, C
14. Washington – Sasha Pokulok, D
15. N.Y. Islanders – Ryan O’Marra, C
16. Atlanta (from N.Y. Rangers) – Alex Bourret, RW
17. Phoenix – Martin Hanzal, C
18. Nashville – Ryan Parent, D
19. Detroit – Jakub Kindl, D
ISS on Kindl:

“Kindl’s adaptation to the North American game has been slower then expected. Although the overall skill set is good, ISS is starting to have trouble keeping him in its Top 10. His inconsistency is a concern and we are bothered by the fact that he picks his spots in terms of physical play. When he decides to turn it up, he is definitely a force, but these instances are becoming more sporadic. His dismissal from the Czech National Junior Team also raises some questions. Although we feel he will become a good NHL defenseman, his consistency will have to improve. Kindl has all of the tools that leave scouts excited.”

Hockey’s Future on Kindl:

“Kindl has all the tools needed to be a professional player. He has good size, skates well and can handle the puck. The rougher North American game has been an adjustment for him, but he can take and give a hit and has dropped the gloves and has shown that he can throw a pretty decent left. Defensively the more aggressive forechecking schemes used by OHL teams seemed to baffle him at times but he had adjusted to that over the course of the season. His positioning when away from the puck does sometimes lapse. Offensively, Kindl will need another year to show what he can do; power play time was rare on a Ranger team that often used four forwards on the power play. The smaller rinks and the red line pass were areas that he needed time to adjust to as well.”

20. Florida (from Philadelphia for 29th and 2nd rounder in 2006) – Kenndal McArdle, LW
21. Toronto – Tuukka Rask, G
22. Boston – Matt Lashoff, D
23. New Jersey – Niklas Bergfors, RW
24. St. Louis – TJ Oshie, C
25. Edmonton – Andrew Cogliano, C
26. Calgary – Matthew Pelech, D
27. Washington (from Colorado for 47th and 52nd) – Joe Finley, D
28. Dallas – Matt Niskanen, D
29. Philadelphia – Steve Downie, RW
30. Tampa Bay – Vladimir Mihalik, D

Trade: Jeff O’Neil, Carolina, to Toronto for conditional pick in 2006 Draft

Check back for updates

Reactions to new scheduling format

With the introduction of a new scheduling format, fellow hockey bloggers and news organizations are voicing their strong opinions regarding the matter. I want to first present many of the opinions out there before presenting my own.

Before getting to the opinions, let me cover some of the basic highlights of the 2005-2006 season regarding the Detroit Red Wings schedule. The season opener is against the St. Louis Blues at home on October 5. Every team will be playing that day to start off the regular season with a bang. In total, the Wings will play seven home and home series. Each team plays their division opponents a total of eight times. In the Wings’ case, they will see Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville, and Columbus at home and then away four times a season.

They will also play all of their Western Conference opponents outside of the division (10 other teams). Against their Eastern Conference foes, the Wings only get to play a total of 10 games. Five Eastern Conference teams from one division will host the Wings. This season the Southeast Division, consisting of Tampa Bay, Florida, Washington, Atlanta, and Carolina, will all be visited by the Wings. Detroit hosts another five teams in the Eastern Conference. The Atlantic Division, composed of the Devils, Flyers, Rangers, Islanders, and Penguins, will visit Hockeytown. On December 12, Detroit will see Pittsburgh with their newly acquired phenom, Sidney Crosby.

For the traditional New Year’s Eve game, Joe Louis arena will feature Columbus v. Wings. On February 1, during Super Bowl week, the St. Louis Blues will visit Detroit. In the last week of October, the Wings play away in Columbus for two consecutive games then go on to play Chicago for three straight games.

While Hockeytown fans are pleased with the return of hockey, many aren’t overjoyed with the new schedule.

“It’s an absolute joke,” said David Miller, a 25-year season-ticket holder from West Bloomfield. “It used to be that there were games you wouldn’t give up your tickets for, regular-season games you looked forward to. That isn’t the case anymore.”

Missing from this season’s schedule are fellow Original Six teams, Boston, Montreal, and Toronto. Instead, focus will be placed on divisional rivalries. Even Red Wings general manager, Ken Holland, acknowledges the increase of games against divisional foes. “There are some quirks in the schedule, where the league is trying to emphasize the divisional rivalries,” Holland said.

Original Six teams have been rivals for ages and always marking special and competitive games. However, the new scheduling changes will only allow the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, and New York Rangers to visit Joe Louis only once every three years. The Wings host the Rangers on January 14. In an exhibition game on September 30, Toronto will make a brief appearance in Hockeytown. Unlike other leagues, the NHL stands apart with the history of the game and its Original Six teams. Many fans view this new scheduling format as ridicule to the sport and its history.

Rick Schulte of Wyandotte: “You can’t forget the history of the game, but with this schedule, the league is turning its back on that history.”

Jennifer Starchenko of Woodhaven: “You’re taking away from the tradition of the game. Those rivalries are a big part of the NHL.”

Laura Agemak of Flat Rock: “Detroit is part of the Original Six. The hard-core hockey fans are going to be upset with this. They’ll miss those teams.”

Holland understands the fans’ frustration, but understands the NHL’s attempt to foster stronger divisional rivalries.

”I can go both ways,” he said. “On the one hand, not to play Toronto, Montreal and Boston, I can understand (fans’ frustration). You need rivalries and those are, and were, great rivalries. But we’re going to have to build other rivalries. The feeling around the league is when you start seeing teams more and more, you can build rivalries…I’d love to see more Montreal, more Boston and more Toronto. But there are some teams in the East that we don’t have any relationship with. Could they have handpicked certain teams? Maybe that’s something I can bring up at a general managers meeting down the road.”

The Detroit News conducted an online poll asking readers the following: “No Toronto, no Montreal, no Boston for the Red Wings this season. But plenty of Columbus and Nashville. Is an NHL schedule that emphasizes intradivision play good for the game?” 90.06% of those who responded believed that it was not good for the game while 9.94% believed that intradivisional rivalries would help the game. Fans were also given the option to leave comments regarding the poll and their individual opinions. Here are some of the comments left:

GhostofProbert from Toledo, OH – “In a way, this is a totally rational move by the NHL, in that it essentially pits Original Six teams with huge drawing power (Detroit, Toronto) against smaller market teams, the very teams that need that boost to revitalize their fan base. Having said that, as both a fan and student of the game, this strategy totally ignores the history of the game. There should always be a special category of match-ups, in my opinion, the “Original Six” match-ups. This category of games should be ranked very highly in any optimization model (which is the technique used to devise the schedule) with the goal of maximizing these matchups (with other constraints). Unfortunately, hockey fans such as Detroit fans (of which I am obviously a member) are the least of the NHL’s worries…we are so loyal and Detroit such a strong market that, paradoxically, our wishes are ignored. I’m sure people in Toronto and Montreal are feeling the same pinch.

T Unit from Sterling Heights, MI – “This is an outrageous demand that you put upon us as Detroit Red Wings fans. Gary Bettman and the NHL have already alienated so many fans with their stupidity in the last year, it is sad that we must go through yet another hardship. First we have to wait a year to see “professional hockey,” although it was entertaining to watch the mechanics play on UPN in place of the Wings. Then we have to ship out fan-favorite players because we’re not allowed to pay so much for them anymore under this new salary cap. Finally we have to play this annoyance of 24 games against St. Louis, Columbus, and Nashville. I’m not sure what the NHL is trying to do, but if they wanted the Red Wings to not be as dominant under this cap, it seems they might have made the wrong move. ‘Red-Wing-Proofing’ the NHL seems improbable when you give them 24 wins for free.”

Phil at The NHL is Back voiced his concerns, “Hey, at least you aren’t a Hawks or a Wings fan. They play each other back to back to back. That’s right. Three games in a row versus the same team.”

Brett at Red Line Sports believes that the 2005-2006 schedule really stinks.

This is how the NHL pays back the seventeen fans it has left? With all of the NHL’s jabbering about fixing the game and making it more fan friendly, which one would reasonably think should include marketing the snot out of it, the best the NHL think-tanks can come up with is this flaming dung-muffin.

While Brett believes that emphasizing inter-conference especially intradivisional play will help build rivalries and limit travel costs/time, he is especially concerned with the inability to play most of the opposite conference. Forty percent of the schedule is spent playing within one’s division. You don’t need to play a grand total of eight games a season to develop a rivalry.

Some may say that the added divisional emphasis is long overdue. But, keep in mind that it comes with a price tag. A steep one. There will be no visits to Canuck-ville (or many Western teams) from the likes of Mario Lemieux, Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and the defeding Cup Champs, Dan Heatley & Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, Alexander Ovechkin, and more importantly, the NHL’s new poster child, Sidney Crosby.

As a fan of hockey in general, I’m a little ticked off. As a fan of the Canucks, I’m downright choked.

A reader of Brett’s blog with the username Rethinking the NHL voiced his own thoughts:

They should consider making each team play 4 games against each divisional rival (16 games), 2 games against each team in the other conference (30 games), and 3 or 4 games against nondivisional foes within the conference (32 games). All in all, a nice 78-game schedule where every team hosts each of the other teams at least once and NO team plays more than two home games against the same team. Also, they should return to the win-loss-tie format that they never should have messed with in the first place (2 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, zilch for a loss).

Hockey Country, an Ottawa Senator blog, talked about how the new format affected the Sens:

With the new schedule set-up and a greater emphasis placed on inter-divisional play (which for the Sens means facing the Leafs and Habs eight times), we will unfortunately see less of the Western Conference clubs. In fact, the Sens don’t play a Western Conference team until December when the Kings come to town on the 2nd. Under the new-set up, every year, a team only plays teams from one division of the other conference. For the Sens, it’s the Pacific, which means the grueling West Coast road trips are still on tap (something I’m sure most Eastern teams are glad to be seeing less of).

Eric at Off Wing Opinion has similar concerns to many fans and in a recent entry, his thoughts were covered in sarcasm:

In Denver, this means two more games with Vancouver. On Long Island, that means two more games with the hated Rangers.

Here in Washington, it means six more games with Carolina, Atlanta and Florida. I’ve died and gone to heaven!

David Singer at The Ice Block strongly opposes Eric and others with the same opinions. He believes that Wings fans and other Original Six team fans should stop complaining.

The NHL can do no right according to some.

You want more passion in your games? Have some rivalries says the NHL, and out come the whiners. “We don’t get to see every ‘Original Six’ team every year!”

Huh?! So? Who cares – the Wings played the Canadiens once in the 2003-04 season. Memorable it wasn’t – but hey – the jerseys were old school and we wouldn’t want to miss that! Complaining that the Habs-Wings game is being replaced by a divisional game against the Predators or Blue Jackets is just asinine. The Predators and Wings are developing a nice rivalry, one that probably would have blossomed well if there was a season last year (as they played a six-game playoff series against each other during the 2003-04 playoffs). The Blue Jackets are another new team, yes, but you’re also talking about adding games against the Blues and Blackhawks – and remember, rivalries will only grow with the increase in number of games played.

The reality is the Wings will play the Habs, but instead of once per season, it’s twice in one season every three years. The reduction is one game per three seasons. Wow, break out the Kleenex, I can only imagine the intense game that we’ll all miss.

But David seems to be in the minority, Boltsmag doesn’t even want to think about all the games Tampa Bay plays against their divisional foes: “I get sick looking at how many times the Lightning play the Panthers or Hurricanes or Thrashers (sidenote – any other Tampa Bay resident mistaking THrashers for Threshers lately?). The Panthers and Bolts play a home-and-home series on the 7th and 8th of October and 2 games within a week in April.”

Melissa, who just started a blog covering Colorado for Most Valuable Network, believes that this format will make certain teams (like Tampa, Detroit, or even San Jose) easy conference titles while weakening other teams’ chances.

She points out that in the Central Division, Detroit brought in a divisional, conference, and league title with 109 points. St. Louis and Nashville nearly missed the cut with 91 points. Other division teams, Chicago and Columbus, weren’t even close. Respectively, they had 59 and 62 points placing Chicago second to last in the entire league. Melissa is worried about her team, Colorado. The Avs took fourth overall in their conference with 100 points placing only second in their division. The Canucks were up by one point and the Flames finished behind the Avs with 94 points (3 more than Nashville and St. Louis). While Minnesota and Edmonton did not make the playoffs, they at least were up on the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets by over 20 points.

By adding two more games against each divisional opponent, her worries only compound. Melissa can only hope that with the new salary cap teams like Chicago and Columbus will now be placed on a more equal competitive level with Detroit. This makes Colorado in a similar boat with Detroit instead of last season’s disparity. “That way, if the Avalanche are facing relatively equal and tough opponents, at least their non-divisional opponents will also have to work harder to earn their points.” Another chance to even out the field will be the new points format. Without ties, stronger teams in weak divisions won’t gain as many points. At least hopefully for her team.

She also noted a similar or even worse difference in the Eastern Conference between the Northeast and Southeast divisions.

The Northeast Division is probably the most competitive division in the entire league: 4 out of the 5 teams made it into the playoffs, and of the 4 teams, 3 teams had over 100 points. Furthermore, the only team that didn’t make the playoffs, Buffalo, was only 6 points behind the last 3 playoff teams, and ranked second among non-playoff teams, eighteenth in the league overall. Meanwhile, the Southeast Division was probably the least competitive in the NHL. Tampa was the only team in the division to earn a playoff berth; the other 4 teams, Atlanta, Carolina, Florida and Washington weren’t even close, together averaging a mere 72 points total.

In my mind, everyone brings up very valid points. As a hockey fan, I really don’t want to play any team eight times a season much less Columbus. While our rivalry with Nashville was already building in the 2003-2004 season, I don’t want to watch back-to-back games against the Blue Jackets. And the fact that I can’t watch my beloved team face off with historically strong Original Six rivals is really disappointing. I realize that even before the lockout the Wings didn’t yearly play Toronto or Montreal, but I had hoped that with the new CBA a change would happen.

My favorite aspect of the game is the rivalry. I remember last Christmas watching the infamous Wings game against Colorado with “The Turtle.” My Dad and I started off watching the game at a party. Within ten minutes, the room filled with cousins and uncles surrounding the big screen cheering on Darren McCarty, Brendan Shanahan, and more. I especially took great delight in watching Roy take a beating. While I realize that the Wings will play Colorado four times this season, they’ll be losing competitive rivalry games against the Rangers, Bruins, Canadiens, and Maple Leafs.

Trouble Signing Zetterberg and Datsyuk

GM Ken Holland gave a general outline of who he’s looking for in the free agent market:

“In addition to trying to bring some of our guys back, we need another goalie and probably a defenseman or two. I’m going to talk to some general managers about some trades because in this system, you’re really going to make more moves in the summer because it will be difficult during the season to make trades for players with similar salaries.”

And then there’s word from Holland that talks with Datsyuk are basically going nowhere:

“I’ve talked to his agent and we’re still a long, long way apart. He has a chance to play in Russia, but I can’t overpay him no matter how good he is. I want to get it done with him, but it doesn’t make sense to throw your cap out of whack to do it.”

My guess is that the Wings aren’t comfortable with Datsyuk making more than $1.5-2 million, and he’s asking for $3 million or more. He has a significant offer from Moscow Dynamo in hand, and I’m sure it’s much better than the $1 million tax-free Bykov pulled in. Any tax-free offer in Russia for $1.5-2 million would kill the Wings’ chances of bringing Pavel back. Expect the worst.

And while reports in the Free Press and Detroit News have suggested things were going ok with talks with Zetterberg, not exactly so. According to Swedish newspaper AftonBladet, Zetterberg is also demanding a significant raise. Visit LetsGoWings for a translation. Says Gunnar Svensson, Zetterberg’s agent:

“We’ll need more than a 10% raise. We don’t intend to comment further on any contract figures during the negotiations. He’s a vital part of the future of this team.”

The 10% raise refers to the required qualifying offer, which would be $710,600 after rollback. In the AftonBladet article, the rumored amount Zetterberg is seeking is $2.6 million. While this number is high, I figured in Henrik getting a significant raise in my payroll analysis. I pegged Zata at $1.75 million, so hopefully Holland is willing to give him a raise but not more than that.

In other Wings news, Jim Nill announced today that the Wings have signed Ryan Oulahen and Kyle Quincey to three-year, entry-level contracts. I don’t really follow prospects other than when I read about them from training camp reports, so I’ll reserve till then to comment. Red Wings Central is always the best place for year-round prospects coverage.

New Assistant Coaches: Paul MacLean and Todd McLellan

Paul MacLean

GM Ken Holland announced that Paul MacLean and Todd McLellan will join the Red Wings coaching staff as assistant coaches. The coaching staff of Babcock, 42, MacLean, 47, and McLellan, 37, is young relative to what we’re used to.

Introduced a few weeks back on this site, albeit briefly, Paul MacLean played for the Wings during the 1988-89 season. He was an assistant coach in Anaheim with Mike Babcock for two seasons (Lorne Henning was the other assistant coach), and led the Quad City Mallards of the UHL to the 2001 Colonial Cup Championship. He was on a line with Steve Yzerman and Gerard Gallant – a line that holds the record for most goals/points by a line. For trivia, here’s his 1978 draft profile (along with a young picture of him).

Says Babcock:

“Paul brings a great deal of experience as player and coach. The success we’ve had in the past and the relationship we have will help us do great things in Detroit. He’s a former Red Wing and will be a great addition to our staff.”

I’m totally fine with Babcock bringing along one of his assistants from Anaheim. MacLean was a power play specialist during his NHL career, and the Wings have had their share of power play droughts, so hopefully he brings an edge in that category. Another plus about MacLean is that he played with Yzerman in the late 80’s, so signing MacLean could, to some extent, be an effort by the Wings to entice the Captain to continue playing.

As for Todd McLellan, he was the head coach of the Houston Aeros of the AHL, affiliate to the Minnesota Wild. McLellan has never missed the playoffs in all of his professional coaching, and led the Aeros to the 2003 Calder Cup Championship. He has been successful at coaching at all levels of minor league play, from the IHL to AHL to WHL, enjoying coach of the year and all star game honors. A sharp contract to the success of his NHL career, which lasted a mere 5 games during the 1987-88 season with the Islanders.

Todd McLellan

Bob Goodenow Resigns


Bob Goodenow will step down as NHLPA Executive Director and General Counsel, after discussions with members of the Executive Committee about the organization’s future.

Says Goodenow:

“With the conclusion of the negotiations and the ratification of the new agreement, the parties concur that this is an appropriate action for the future. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve the Players over the past 15 years and to have had the support of a tremendous staff at the NHLPA. I wish the Players every success under the new CBA.”

The NHLPA named Ted Saskin, previously its Senior Director of Business Affairs and Licensing, to succeed Goodenow.

Says Ted Saskin:

“I have enjoyed working closely with Bob for the Players over the last 15 years. I know how dedicated Bob has been to the Players. I plan to continue to serve them by building on the strong base that Bob created at the NHLPA.”

Says Trevor Linden, NHLPA president:

“Every NHL Player has benefited enormously from Bob’s leadership and dedication. He has been a tireless advocate for the Players and he dramatically improved the Players’ situation in every respect. Bob built the NHLPA into a first class organization and we are all very grateful to him. Ted has worked closely with Bob every step of the way and has done an excellent job for the Players in our recently concluded CBA negotiations. We have every confidence that he will be able to lead our Association well in the years to come.”

While not something being speculated on lately, this comes as pretty expected. Almost 80% of the NHLPA broke rank with Goodenow’s hardline stance in the CBA vote when Goodenow refused to personally endorse it. He obviously isn’t a good representative of the players at that point, and I’m sure they asked him to resign before formally firing him.

Now I know everyone’s going to say “one down, one to go” in reference to calling for Gary Bettman to resign as well, but I just don’t see that happening. He just won a landslide victory for the owners, and from that he enjoys overwhelming support from the Board of Governors.