An apparently small group of NHL players has convinced Ted Saskin to let the executive board vote again on his job as NHL Players' Association executive director.
In a surprise announcement early this morning, Saskin decided it was the best decision in order to end the criticism that he should resign.
However, this time it will be by secret ballot.
"After good dialogue with members of the executive board, I decided that it was in the best interests of the membership to conduct a secret ballot vote amongst our player representatives and executive officers so that there are absolutely no questions regarding my election as executive director and general counsel," Saskin said in a statement this morning at 12:30 a.m.
Ballots were to be sent to player reps across the league today and the vote is expected to be completed by the end of the week. Saskin is expected to once again have his deal approved.
Saskin was adamant early last night that he would not step down as NHLPA boss.
"Absolutely not," he said. "We have a lot of work to do and we are going to do it."
Saskin said it wasn't practical to have 700 players being able to vote.
"I know there is a vocal minority who have raised some issues with the way the executive board has made some decisions. But it has been gratifying to hear all of the support I have had."
Few seem to think Saskin, who was elevated to the position when Bob Goodenow resigned in late July, would not do a commendable job as head of the NHLPA. But some, including Maple Leafs forward Tie Domi, Detroit Red Wings defenceman Chris Chelios and newly retired Trent Klatt are unhappy with the manner in which Saskin received his promotion from senior director.
Domi, who would like to see NHLPA president Trevor Linden replaced, yesterday didn't demand that Saskin resign but left little to the imagination.
"My opinion is that a whole new (executive) committee has to be selected," Domi said. "(One) that hires a professional search team (to find a replacement for Goodenow) and go from there. And Ted can put his name in the hat. This is not about Ted Saskin. It is about doing things properly and 700 guys being happy at the end of the day."
Chelios concurred with Domi, telling The Fan 590 radio station "the process is the biggest stickler. Bob was hired from a search committee. That was not done (with Saskin)."
Numerous others, from Joe Sakic to Jarome Iginla to agent Don Meehan, told the Canadian Press yesterday they're in full support of Saskin.
The NHLPA executive committee and team player reps held a five-hour conference call on Aug. 31, when the final vote was 31-6 in support of Saskin's deal. Union bylaws state the vote is to be held by secret ballot, not on an open vote on a conference call.
"Everything has to be out in the open now and we have to get this solved," Domi said.