The search for a partner
Tom Benjamin's got a nice post up today detailing just how difficult a task Paul Kelly's going to have as executive director of the NHLPA:
If Kelly is going to find some way to compromise, Gary Bettman (and the clowns who employ him) have to give him some room. I don't see any evidence the league is willing to do so. The question is not whether Kelly can find the middle ground between corruption and confrontation. The question is whether that ground actually exists.I don't think anyone on the ownership side can even come close to answering this one, given how divided that group has been of late.
It's in situations like this where the whole notion of the NHLPA being in partnership with the league is ridiculous. How do you partner with an entity as disparate and disunited as the board of governors? A revolving door group of billionaires, many of whom have no interest in hockey outside of as an investment, and who are generally led blindly by a few hardliners?
It's almost impossible. And the more you look at it, the more you can sympathize with Bob Goodenow, whose confrontational, pound-the-table style may have been the only way the players' interests were ever adequately represented.
Kelly's talked already about improving the effort to put players front and centre in marketing campaigns and the like, and that's a good thing. Because as it stands, their "partner" is off chasing Jerry Bruckheimer's loose change while hockey's revenue base sits at a standstill.