Monday, October 29, 2007

Linden still backs Saskin

"I still think he was the right guy for the job. Unfortunately, when confidential, leaked information [about union business] started showing up in The Toronto Star and all this stuff was being leaked through the media, in an effort to figure out where and why that was happening, Ted made a mistake in judgement. I'm disappointed that happened.

"It's easy to pile on and everything else. [But] sometimes when you're in certain situations, you make poor judgements. Everyone is guilty of making judgements that aren't right."
I don't think we're going to be seeing Linden at any NHLPA meetings any time soon.

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At 1:52 a.m., October 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still think there is a ton of stuff about the strike that in particular touches on the actions of Linden, that hasn't been touched by the media or the PA. They've been satisfied with Saskin's scalp, but Linden was there every day and when the knife was plunged into Goodenow's back, Trevor had the top grip.

At 2:19 a.m., October 29, 2007, Blogger George said...

I'm lost as to how accusations that were proven correct are "conspiracy theories." Linden isn't going to change his tune--I'm sure he's very proud of the CBA he and Saskin negotiated with Bill Daly and the NHL, and I'm not surprised that he sees what he did, which included agreeing to a linked cap on behalf of 700 players who may or may not have been keen on playing under such a system, removing Bob Goodenow in a coup, and spending two years attempting to brand Klatt, Roloson, and Chelios as what he still sees them as--conspiracy theorists.

At 2:58 a.m., October 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What else could Linden do? He needed to get back to work occasionally taking up valuable icetime on the Canucks. The only thing that surprised me about the lockout is that more useless old players didn't rush to sell out the kids like they usually do in unions.

At 6:20 a.m., October 29, 2007, Blogger danielao said...

Saskin probably would have been the guy if they had made the proceedings to pick a new PA leader a little more open.

At 1:32 p.m., October 29, 2007, Anonymous Gerald said...

I'm lost as to how accusations that were proven correct are "conspiracy theories."

Exactly what do you "think" has been "proven correct", George?

The allegations against Don Meehan (which are what Linden is referring to in the article)? Those allegations landed Mr. Chelios a nice little Notice of Libel and, failing an abject apology, a lawsuit from Meehan.

No one should forget that Saskin was NOT removed for the allegations of violation of the constitution.

I have always been struck by how much that entire debacle resembled what happened when you were a kid and fighting your brother or sister, and they kept poking you and poking you, and finally you poked them back, and then they would yell to mom or dad "Waaah, he's poking meeeeee!" and you would get in deep ****.

At 1:35 p.m., October 29, 2007, Anonymous Frank said...

For all you guys who think Linden betrayed the NHLPA, please tell me what you think the alternatives were?

Stay out for another year, hoping the owners would collapse and give up their demand for a cap?

Give your heads a shake. Bob Goodenow clearly misread the strength of the owners. Rather than being a good "General" and retreat to fight another day - he wanted to keep fighting to the death - mainly because of his own ego.

Linden - AND THE EXECTUTIVE COMMITTEE - had the good sense to realize that they had to settle for the best deal they could and keep the NHLPA alive to fight another day.

If the lockout had gone into a second yerar, the NHL was going to set up a league sponsored CBA and players association and invite players to leave the NHLPA and play under the new structure. Most players would have left the NHLPA and the players would have gone back 50 years in terms of their bargaining rights.

Only two provinces prohibit replacement workers (BC and Quebec) and I know for a fact that Vancouver was looking to temporarily relocate to Seattle if required. They were also talking to the BC Government about passing a minor change to the legislation to exempt the NHL - using the temporary relocation as leverage.

The one who was most disappointed about Linden's move was Bettman, because it mean't he could no longer destroy the NHLPA.

So if you want to criticize Linden - tell me what the alternatives were - otherwise you have no credibility.

At 2:59 p.m., October 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank speaketh the truth.

Chelios, Klatt and the other hardliners can hate on Linden all they like, but the reality is that suing for peace was the only plausible option left for the 'PA. Sure, Linden and Saskin threw Goodenow under the bus, but they did it with the tacit approval of the membership, and they did it for the good of the union. People forget that during the lockout, Saskin and Linden were just as militant as the rest. The difference is they were rational people who knew when it was time to simply cut a deal and move on, whereas Goodenow was prepared to drive the whole thing over the cliff to feed his own ego.

Goodenow based his entire bargaining strategy on the notion that the owners would never dare cancel the entire season. Once they did, Goodenow had no Plan B, and no leverage. Where was the outcry from players in July of '05 when the 'PA surrendered? There was none, because almost every player realized that it had to be done.

You see this in political parties all the time. The person who confronts an unpopular leader is usually a pariah afterwards, even if almost everyone is quietly grateful that someone finally had the guts to do it.

At 7:17 p.m., October 29, 2007, Anonymous stephen said...

It does seem sometimes Chelios is trying to prove that Linden went against Goodenows position, fired him, and accepted a cap. Yes Linden betrayed the PA’s no cap position, but he likely had little choice, and it may have been the tough thing that had to be done. There must have been a lot of pressure on Linden to go against the PA voted on and agreed on process, and accept the cap. Saskin must have been tasked with exploring that opportunity.

I remember Goodenow saying this lockout was going to take 2 years before the owners came to their senses. That this was a sacrifice that had to be made to prevent a cap. A cap all sports unions fight. And Goodneow went from team to team to relay this message. Shanahan even said we’ll sit out 3 years if we have to. Perhaps behind the scenes, they were really hoping for history to repeat. And for last minute negotiations to settle everything in time, as it goes with most of the salary negotiations they are familiar with.

The PA sure made an impressive effort at reconciliation I thought, with an unheard of offer for a 24% pay cut. This must have made impasse a harder argument to make when the union says they will roll back their salaries to where management wants, all they have to do is not spend more than they can afford going forward.

Linden must have done what he thought was best for the players, not the PA. In perhaps the only way Goodenow left for him to do it. Unexpectedly, Goodenow apparently claimed he was very proud of them for getting the best deal they could. There were a few surprised members of the PA I remember who after saying they wouldn’t accept a cap, found out they were. It must have been crisis management mode for Linden, just wanting to get it over with, getting everyone to vote even though most arent sure what they are voting for. Just hire the obvious guy Saskin, and get everyone out of their hair and go home for some peace.

Are there some lessons to be learned? For sure. Did Linden do good and make mistakes benevolent as they probably were? For sure. But he is no lawyer. Who was his counsel ensuring the end game was proper and beyond reproach? Do they have to be much more educated and united next time they are faced with tough times? For sure.


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