Hockey Headlines

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


Because details of what is happening within the ranks of the NHLPA were still being dragged out last night, I didn't publish this article until Thursday morning. I wanted to try and dig as deep as I could regarding the facts in Eric Lindros' leaving the NHLPA, and what sounded like a catfight between him and NHLPA boss Paul Kelly. Eric Lindros held the position of NHLPA Ombudsman, but left the position on Tuesday with little or no reason given. However, thanks to some excellent work by a number of news sources, we may finally have answers as to why Lindros has fallen out of favour with the union he once was a part of. And all of it sounds like a power struggle between Lindros and Kelly.

First off, Lindros was a supporter of the Kelly appointment to the Executive Director position. Both men seemingly had a healthy respect for one another, and both spoke glowingly about the other. Lindros worked with the players regarding their concerns, and Kelly worked with the players to resolve any concerns brought to him by Lindros or the players themselves. It seemed like a good relationship built on mutual respect and teamwork.

However, Darren Dreger of TSN has suggested that September 7, 2008 is when this relationship ran cold. According to his report, Lindros asked Kelly to leave the room during a meeting so he could bring about concerns to the Executive Board of the NHLPA and a handful of players. Some of those concerns were about Paul Kelly.

While all the concerns were addressed and the players were satisfied, the questioning of one's boss is a no-no in the world of business. I can see the strain this would put on the relationship between the guy in charge of the 'PA and the man responsible for bringing up concerns to the boss. Kelly could have addressed some of the concerns privately between Lindros and himself before Lindros took it to a broad stage. As a fairly well-known adage states, "You don't cross the boss".

While Lindros was reportedly liked by the NHLPA staff, one source told TSN's Dreger that "[h]e was the wrong guy for the position". While I'm sure that Lindros has experience working within the union's ranks, I don't think he was close to being qualified as an ombudsman in any capacity. Lindros was a leader on the ice, but it appears he tried to overstep the Executive Director on this occasion, blindsiding him with concerns about him. If I were Kelly - a man well-respected in union situations - I'd probably be a little steamed as well.

Overall, this is a matter between the NHLPA and Eric Lindros, and both sides are holding their cards close to their chests. Because of it, there has been no messy allegations reported by anyone, but there has been speculation. If both sides parted on amicable terms, I'd say this is one of those things that should be left to lie quietly.

People only get hurt when the claws come out in a catfight.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Tony said...

I wonder if Lindros still feels guilty about ruining the Quebec Nordiques.

He could have been what Mario is for the Penguins...

Seems to me that Eric hasn't grown up much since then!