Players are a divided lot

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

Ted Saskin's reign as the head of the National Hockey League Players' Association is already in some jeopardy.

A conference call among NHLPA players the other day ended up in near disarray and name calling when the buyout of Bob Goodenow and the elevation of Saskin was explained to members who were not consulted on either decision.

Many player representatives -- and even some members of the NHLPA executive -- were upset to be left out of the process in paying Goodenow to go away and in promoting Saskin. In fact, some have characterized the tone of the conference call as downright angry.

The union that Saskin inherits from Goodenow is more divided now than it ever was at any time during the NHL lockout. Saskin's first order of business may be in establishing peace within his organization and confirming his appointment.

THIS AND THAT

More reaction to the hockey departure of Goodenow: One down, one to go. Your move, Gary Bettman ... So there was player rep Shane Doan on ESPN radio late the other night, explaining why he's not crazy about shootouts. Doan didn't like the idea of one team getting two points for the win while the shootout loser got none. Ah, Shane, maybe you should start reading the handouts. The shootout loser gets awarded a single point ... At least four teams other than the Maple Leafs have interest in Gary Roberts: Look for Anaheim, Florida, Ottawa and Carolina to take a run at Roberts if he doesn't re-sign in Toronto. One thing that might keep Roberts here. He and Jeff O'Neill are good friends ... What do the Montreal Canadiens know about Jose Theodore that the rest of us don't know other than his pending free agency? Why then use the No. 5 pick on a goalie yesterday? ... Does the new access-friendly NHL mean there will actually be players in the Leafs dressing room available after home games? Or will the hiding continue?

HEAR AND THERE

Weirdest part about the new NHL schedule: Loads of back-to-back games in the same city between the same teams ... Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Rob Babcock, please inform the authorities? Like, is he signing anyone this off-season?... Question to ponder about: If either Babcock or John Ferguson were hired tomorrow, would either of them be hired as general managers elsewhere. And what does that say about Richard Peddie and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.? ... Another day, another Orlando Hudson highlight. This is Toronto's most entertaining athlete ... Under the department of really terrible to watch: 1. Arena football; 2. Horse racing with the sound off; 3. Charity all-star basketball games ... The Pittsburgh Penguins future is just like an old movie. It's all about hope and Crosby ... Doesn't Miami Dolphins' rookie Manuel Wright know: There is no crying in football ... Las Vegas has listed the Detroit Red Wings, without a goalie, as 7-1 favourites to win the Stanley Cup, followed by the Ottawa Senators, with a goalie who hasn't played in two seasons, at 8-1.

SCENE AND HEARD

The exclusion of Chris Chelios, Brett Hull, John Leclair, Brian Leetch and Jeremy Roenick from the U.S. Olympic hockey roster can mean only one thing: Furniture in the Athlete's Village is not at risk ... Does this mean anything? Vince Carter held his charity golf tournament recently at the site of an LPGA tournament ... An unnamed Red Sox player is fed up with Manny Ramirez, just not fed up enough to allow his name to be published. Said the player about (I want out) Manny: "You guys never hold him accountable. I've never seen a guy get such a free pass. You all think it's a joke, 'Manny being Manny.' What is 'Manny being Manny?' Him disrespecting the game." ... Life is a whole lot more fun when Don Matthews isn't winning ... Just a thought but Robert Baker looks like he's tough enough to play linebacker when he's not catching passes for the Argos ... It isn't often that quarterbacks get better with age when the age is over 40 but Damon Allen does.

AND ANOTHER THING

The same Aaron Small who won two games this week with the New York Yankees was once a Jays prospect, and pitched an inning or two for them back in 1994 ... Word around is that Alexei Kovalev will be heading back to Pittsburgh to play for the Penguins. Imagine a power play with Kovalev, Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby ... Stop the presses: The Leafs actually sent out a press release this week to announce they will be holding training camp, get this, in the city of Toronto ... Truth is, I have more interest in Bob Nevin than Phil Nevin ... The most underrated aspect of this big league season: Joe Torre's calm. It's kept the Yankees from collapse ... This week on ESPN:The Alka-Seltzer U.S. Open of Competitive Eating. Honest ... You've got to love Ricky Williams. Why? Why I don't know. When Ricky was asked this week why he was returning to the Miami Dolphins, he answered: "Why? Why? I don't know." ... And hey whatever became of Dave Chyzowski?


Videos

Photos