SUN Hockey Pool

New ways to a better game?

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

Hockey players spend a lot of time sitting around talking about the game so Brendan Shanahan decided to take it one step further.

Shanahan will play host to about 20 NHL personalities, from management types to players to broadcasters to officials, at a Toronto hotel today and tomorrow so they can discuss their profession and perhaps come up with a few ways to make it better.

"A lot of us are just sitting at home and I thought this would be a good time to gather some people together," Shanahan said. "It's an opportunity to share information and I thought only good things would come out of it. Sharing ideas and gaining more trust in each other is good."

Shanahan, 35, is picking up expenses for those who will attend. While some have questioned the timing of Shanahan's meeting, given the resumption of talks between the NHL Players' Association and NHL on Thursday, Shanahan has the support of both sides. It seems both are as curious as Shanahan as to what comes out of the brainstorming.

"(NHLPA executive director) Bob Goodenow wants me to present some suggestions to him when this is done and (NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman has asked me to fly to New York to do the same thing," the Detroit Red Wings forward said. "I just want people to start talking about hockey again. We like to complain about hockey, and this shows that any individual can organize this kind of thing. You don't have to wait for someone to hold your hand and guide you to start talking.

"We're not doing anything to interfere with the CBA negotiations. The fact we are having a meeting is a success. When I originally had the idea a lot of people didn't think it could be pulled together."

Among those who are scheduled to be at the meeting are TV analysts John Davidson and Glenn Healy and Montreal Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey. Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin and Red Wings goalie Curtis Joseph also were asked to be part of the summit. Other names bandied about have been Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella and referee Bill McCreary.

Davidson, who was set to travel to Toronto this morning from his New York home, scoffed at some of the fuss that is being made over Shanahan's get-together.

"People who are whining about this should get over it," Davidson said. "This is nothing more than a think-tank. This is how you come up with ideas. You can't sit there and be stagnant. I commend Brendan for this. I don't understand the criticism."


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