Ference lauds "real leadership" in NHLPA


Ference lauds "real leadership" in NHLPA

With the new NHL CBA expected to pass with flying colors on Saturday morning after all of the votes are tabulated, a signed memorandum of understanding should be quick to follow. That will usher in the opening of NHL training camps all across North America to be followed by the beginning of the 2013 NHL regular season a week later.

Apologies have flooded in from NHL owners and players alike along with the rare personal message of regret from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, but there is much less regret coming from the players side of the aisle.

The NHL players were locked out from playing, after all, and received the best deal possible in January after listening to exactly what NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr predicted would happen. Thats why Bettman made several references to the strength of the union in announcing that the Board of Governors had passed a unanimous vote approving the CBA.

Without a strong union and involvement from the players youre not going to have guaranteed contracts, youre not going to have pensions and youre not going to have any of the benefits they currently have. Its essential for the players to have all those things, said Ference.

Ive been involved with the union for a number of years and every conference call seeing the ins and outs. Its one thing to give your opinions on calls and its something else to being there in the room when its being discussed.

Its perhaps a little extra justification for a guy like Ference, who was part of an influential group of NHLPA members that pushed Paul Kelly out of the door as Executive Director. The players basically begged Fehr to then come take over the players union as they sensed a battle would be on their hands, and Ference joined the player chorus shuddering at what might have happened over the last six months without their NHLPA leader.

I think there are a couple of writers here in Boston that were in love with our last director in Kelly and think that I am the devil, admitted Ference. But I think that is so far from the truth. We are in so far better a position now as a union. The strength Fehr, his brother and everybody from the lawyers to the economist, the unity and belief that all of the guys had in them was unbelievable.

It was really impressive to see the transformation all the way from the last lockout with different people taking over the helm and constantly being disappointed, and issues arising with each and every one of them. They were issues that really yanked the union apart. To finally have some stability and some real leadership in a guy that could come in and do a really time-crunched job of getting to know everybody and unifying everybody in a tough situation is awesome. Everybody in the locker room and everybody in the meetings will tell you the exact same thing.

What would happen if the old NHLPA leadership was still in charge?

Im sure wed already have been playing, said Ference. Im sure we wouldnt have missed as much hockey and Im sure the league would have been salivating about it. Thats the blunt answer, for sure.

Instead the players held for their best deal possible while still handing the owners many of the things they coveted in a new CBA, and they did it while still leaving room for a 48-game schedule that should win back those on-the-fence hockey fans.

That is also called the best possible resolution of the hot mess that the NHL CBA had devolved into.

Morning Skate: Chiarelli taking heat in Edmonton


Morning Skate: Chiarelli taking heat in Edmonton

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading after a rough weekend for the Justice League movie. 


*Radko Gudas was suspended for 10 games after slashing at the head of Mathieu Perreault, and it’s an appropriate sentence for a play that has no place in the NHL, and from a player that really deserves to get slapped around by the Department of Player Safety. Some like the Hockey News here believe it should have been a more severe suspension, but this is the right move with a player that’s headed toward a Raffi Torres sentence the next time he crosses over the line. Let’s hope the message finally gets through to a dirty player, but I’m not holding my breath given his past history.  


*Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is beginning to take some heat in Edmonton with a hockey team that’s performing way under expectations to this point. 


*All Alexander Radulov wanted was to feel like he was wanted, you guys. The Dallas Stars just so happened to say that to him in the form of money and contract years. 


* does a Calder Trophy voting poll with their own staff and it looks like Clayton Keller is strongly in the lead, and that Charlie McAvoy isn’t getting nearly the mount of consideration that he should be getting right now. This is the only rookie averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time per game, people…c’mon now. 


*It’s officially over for the Montreal Canadiens just a couple of months into the season, and it may be for GM Marc Bergevin as well. I’m not sure the Habs are dead and buried quite yet, but Carey Price as a question mark certainly doesn’t help matters. 


*Hall of Famers Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne were both honored in Anaheim this weekend after their Hockey Hall of Fame honors last weekend. 


*For something completely different: Here’s a petition for fans to get a home release of the Zack Snyder cut of the Justice League movie. These people thirsting for ponderous, bombastic drudgery in their comic book movies amazes me. While I feel for Snyder and his family given their tragedy over the last year, I think his movies are god-awful and can’t fathom why anybody would be pounding the table demanding to see a cut that left the DC and Warner Brothers execs running and screaming for Joss Whedon. 

Belichick remembers Glenn: 'A good person with good intentions'


Belichick remembers Glenn: 'A good person with good intentions'

Terry Glenn, the Patriots' top draft pick in 1996, died early Monday morning in a one-car accident in Irving, Texas. He was 43. 

Bill Belichick coached Glenn as an assistant with the Patriots during Glenn's rookie season. He was later Glenn's head coach in 2000 and 2001. Belichick traded Glenn to the Packers before the 2002 season after a tumultuous run in New England that involved legal trouble, injuries and clashes with the coaching staff.

During a conference call with reporters soon after the news of Glenn's death was published, Belichick remembered Glenn for his natural physical ability and "a good heart."

"I was pretty close with Terry," Belichick said, "and his rookie season was my first year here in '96, and so I had a lot of interaction with him and other people that were involved in his life and his upbringing separate from the Patriots. Terry's a very smart individual. Had a lot of, obviously, a lot of physical skill and talent. Could do a lot of things on the football field very naturally. And I think he was deep down inside a good person with good intentions and, you know, a good heart. Obviously it's very unfortunate. Very unfortunate passing. I mean, it's a sad day. Sad news."

According to reports, Glenn was with his fiancee at the time of the accident. She's being treated at a local hospital for unspecified injuries.