Friday, December 5, 2008

Who does the NHLPA protect?

Will there ever be a day when this association has 2 sides to it. The PA becoming 3D is simply too much to dream about.

This whole Sean Avery thing has me wondering again who the NHLPA represents. As a dues paying member Avery is entitled to the union’s support and legal representation. They can attack the NHL even if they look foolish defending someone whose actions are repeatedly indefensible. They are required to do it. But how hard to they have to fight? They didn’t fight that hard to help Alexi Yashin when he tried to get out of a signed contract. Again in that case they are required to represent him, but to what extent?

This case is not much different. Few if any players support their union’s use of time, funds and efforts to fight for the rights of a player who has no problem in denigrating the rights and reputation of other association members. Is the NHLPA going to file suit against Avery on behalf of Dion Phaneuf for the public remarks made by Avery? I don’t think so. Does Phaneuf not have rights to a defense even if he requires defending from another member of the union? Do you really think Glenn Healy and the NHLPA lawyers really want to try and find a way to make this sound different than what it is? I am sure they are embarrassed to even be there arguing the case.

The greatest risk to an NHL player’s career is not the actions of the big bad league or the owners. The greatest risk to a player’s career is the actions of another player. Accidents happen but clearly there are certain players who are extremely dangerous to the health of others on skates. The NHL has supplementary discipline to deal with those people but is that enough?

For the repeat offenders who have clearly not been convinced by supplementary discipline to change the way they play, why is there no player-based disciplinary board at the NHLPA to internally sanction players who other players believe put their careers at risk?

Why is it the NHLPA lawyers are at the ready to grieve a dispute over a cloudy waiver issue, but one player getting his 7th suspension for almost killing another is not even a conversation?

Players are now involved in equipment, the rules, off site games, promotions, outdoor games and a whole host of other things. But they still can’t seem to understand that self discipline of its own membership for their actions on the ice might be the greatest single service they can do to help prolong the career of every NHL player. Is that not the union’s primary job? To protect the career of each paying member with passionate advocacy?

I just can’t figure it out. That’s now #18,996,087,438,227,877 on my list of stuff I can’t figure out.

See you at the rink.


Anonymous said...

Maybe because, as virtually always, the union's primary job is the perpetuation of their own power? There will always be another guy from the AHL or overseas willing to step in if one guy's career is finished.

Colin said...

Good read.... Thanks Dean.. I really enjoy reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

I never understood why the nhlpa doesn't enforce mandatory visors. All junior players are used to them, so why not grandfather the rule? Protecting the health and safety of their members is THE primary purpose of a union. I guess when big money is involved, these things get thrown out the window.