Sunday, November 28, 2010

A New Way.

With the whole Colin Campbell debate still raging about supplemental discipline and the implied conflict of interest, it makes me believe that the things I said 5 years ago remain my opinion today and in fact lead me to believe that it is more important than ever. Colin Campbell is a solid hockey man in an impossible situation. In the position he is in right now as it relates to supplemental discipline, it is not and can never be pure. There is simply too much input, too much politicking, too much coercion from too many different sources involved in almost every case.

When a case is reviewed there are league pressures, marketing pressures, seat sale pressures, team pressures, opposing team pressures, player pressures and everyone at every level has the ability to call Colin and talk to him. They all have their case to make and it is impossible for any human to field all those pressure tactics and consistently come out with the proper ruling and precedent based decision.

So, as I have said before, like arbitration a third party should be the one deciding supplemental discipline in the NHL. That person would be sent all the relevant video evidence along with written perspectives from the two teams involved. No one from the league, the NHLPA or the teams would be allowed to have any contact with the adjudicator unless he or she requests direct contact for the purposes of clarification. Decisions would be based on the exact interpretations of the rule book and precedent.

This would take politics out of the process and remove any hint of bias. One of the important byproducts would also be the NHL being forced to make its rule book and the often talked about but never seen, "situation book" more clear with fewer things open to interpretation. One of the biggest problems in the NHL is that almost every rule and every call are open to interpretation which leads to every call being debated. That continually undermines the NHL's ability to have fans, media, players, coaches and managers believe that the rules of the game are called with consistency.

The NHL employs the best officials in the hockey world yet almost everyone agrees that the biggest problem with the game is officiating. No one seems to know what a foul is on a night to night basis. The ambiguity of the rule book and its application is a huge part of that and the NHL would do itself a favor by dealing with that.

See you at the rink.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sobering perspective

I have to admit that right now talking about the Power Play or which team is the best one in the East or the lack of trades in the NHL all seems pretty trivial right now. The suicide death of Luke and Stephanie Richardson's youngest daughter Daron has put so many things into a different perspective for all of us who are around Luke, this team and this league.

Maybe because all of us who live in this NHL life have an unsaid arrogance that this type of horrific tragedy doesn't happen in our world. Clearly it does.

This tragic loss of this young life is no different than any other. It is the same grief and sorrow that comes with any teen suicide, but this is different because its public. Working in the NHL means that you must forfeit some of your privacy and anonymity. The Richardson's know that and have been remarkably public about the details of their daughters death. If I were in their shoes I doubt I could be that strong and I admire their grace during what is the very worst time in all of their lives.

What has come of this so far is remarkable though. Out of such a brutally heart wrenching situation is some good that benefits all of us who have children. First was the organ donation and second the conversations. There are parents all over the city, the region and the league who are having conversations with their children about suicide. Conversations about depression and dark thoughts. Conversations about making sure there are open lines of communication with their children. Conversations about what to do if you ever feel like you have no options and the world is not worth living in.

There is nothing that can ever erase the pain the Richardson family is going through and even with that, by being so public about their situation they have given all of us a gift. The gift is a sobering perspective on teen suicide which may help prevent one or two or five or ten other ones.

There is nothing any of us can say to the Richardson's to ease their pain. Sadly it is theirs to carry for the rest of their lives. But we can say thank you for finding the very little that is good from this and sharing that sliver of good with the rest of us, to help the rest of us foresee and avoid the horror you are now going through.

God be with you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I am still alive and blogging

Yesterday I was driving my daughter to school. Kenny Walls the producer of the morning show called and asked if I was listening to the show. I had my 10 year old daughter in the car, so no I wasn't listening. Love the show but never have it on when the kids are in the car. I don't even want to begin trying to explain the Turkey Skin Luggage song to my kids.

Kenny wanted to know if I was listening as JR slagged me on the air about never writing in my blog. I went on the air with the boys ready with my excuses. Unfortunately I didn't have any good ones. I still don't. Just stopped at the end of last season and never really started again at the start of this season.

generally I write my stuff in a separate file and then after I tweak it I copy and paste it to the blog. I have a new laptop with Microsoft Office 10 and I have not yet learned all the nuances of this great software. For some reason it allows me to copy but will not paste to the blog. So the 3 or 4 pieces that I have written, I have not posted because I am simply too lazy to re-write them from scratch.

I wish I had some better excuses but I don't.
I am simply the laziest blogger out there and now being shamed into changing my ways.

I promise to write something sometime about something somebody might care about.

See you at the rink.