The jockeying for position is beginning. The NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NHLPA expires about 10 months from now and it appears that the player’s union will not be the walkover it was during the lost season of ‘04-’05. Warning shots are being fired from both sides already. Quiet ones, like the NHLPA auditing some of the books of teams, or owners being quoted on background that the players will have their salaries rolled back.
There is another skirmish going on regarding the money being paid to the NHL from the city of Glendale to prevent the Coyotes from moving. Is that considered “hockey revenue?” $25 million ain’t chump change and it is driving a bit of a fight.
The shot fired in Larry Brooks’ “Slap Shots” blog yesterday on nypost.com was an interesting one. The Nashville Predators was one of two teams mentioned for supposedly not declaring hockey-related revenue. When I first read that piece, my first thought was… “Oh crap…” Then I decided to do a little digging…
I do know that an audit did take place about two weeks ago. I know that members of the NHLPA were in Nashville for it. What wasn’t mentioned by Mr. Brooks in his post… is that Richard “Just Chill” Rodier is part of this process. I mean after all… he IS
“Economic Consultant” to the NHLPA.
Yup… the same guy who was Jim Balsillie’s mouthpiece as the RIM Chairman was attempting to pull a “Baltimore Colts” on the Preds. The same guy that was sowing seeds of discontent with Metro Nashville government two full years before the 2007 attempted purchase of the Nashville franchise. The same guy that attempted the same kinds of things in Pittsburgh, and Phoenix. Now Mr. Rodier is “lawyer and economic consultant” to the NHLPA. Consider that Rodier’s underhanded activities came to light in the whole sordid “try to buy the Penguins, ummm… Predators… errrr… Coyotes and move ‘em to Hamilton” ordeal. Including inappropriate contact with members of Nashville’s Sports Authority and City Council that many involved firmly believe was an attempt to destabilize the franchise.
It is not too far of a leap to imagine he may not have the best of intentions in his new role and I am not the only one to find it very interesting that Nashville was one of the franchises mentioned in this carefully placed story.
At this point Mr. Rodier could tell me the sun was coming up tomorrow and I would have a wait and see attitude about it. I am holding out a stronger opinion on this whole thing until I know more about the size and scope of the so-called undeclared hockey-revenue. For once, the media is actually doing the same as none of the traditional hockey media have picked up on this story… yet.
As hockey fans, we hope and pray that cooler heads will prevail and that we don’t see the kind of brinksmanship that lost a season. I do think that the two sides need to proceed with common knowledge and taking a look at the books is a good thing for the NHLPA to do… but as someone who watched what happened when this particular player was pulling strings and playing back channel politics, I am very wary about this situation…
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On the next SlapShot Radio
Wednesday’s show is taking shape. We are on the road at Blackstone Restaurant. We’ll be talking to Howard Berger to help break down the Toronto game, we also have a few other special guests lined up. 6pm Wednesday on 102.5 the Game.
The podcast for Wednesday night’s show is posted… We had a very special interview with hockey fan and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Alice Cooper! We discussed the bad situation in Columbus with Aaron Portzline from the Columbus Dispatch and previewed Nashville's 1,000th game with The Voice of the Montreal Canadiens, John Bartlett
That’s all on this week’s podcast of SlapShot Radio.
More past episodes are also posted on the SlapShot Radio website.
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