Lesson escapes NHLPA

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 2:14 PM ET

After everything they've been through over the last year, some NHL players wanted to make sure they weren't getting strong-armed into doing something stupid.

So they called NHLPA president Trevor Linden on using improper procedure to hire Ted Saskin as the union's new executive director.

Who can blame them?

A few frustrated players wanted to make sure they were not getting stuck with an executive director who was serving up the same kool-aid as Bob Goodenow, the man they just fired after getting demolished in the lockout of 2004-'05. After all, wasn't Saskin Goodenow's right-hand man. Wasn't he likely to have been stirring in the sugar while Goodenow mixed powder, water and the power to believe in the impossible?

So a small group of players forced the union to conduct its business properly, to take a second vote, by secret ballot.

"Boo hoo," cried Linden and Joe Sakic and Ed Jovanovski and Jarome Iginla.

"We want to get on with hockey, they protested. Who needs this garbage?"

In the end, Saskin did the right thing and called for the second vote, but not before many players protested publicly.

You would think players in the same union that gave us Alan Eagleson and "No-Salary-Cap-Bob" would have learned by now to be meticulous in their selection of people to manage their affairs.

But then again, judging from their actions of the last year, perhaps they just don't know any better.

OTTAWA FLAW: There's something wrong with this picture. The Ottawa Renegades are averaging under 19,000 fans for their games this year. Even with beads and boobs in the stands, they are the only team to have a crowd under 20,000 this year, and they've had four of them. They are looking at bringing in former NFL quarterbacks Jesse Palmer and Tim Couch (what, was Vince Ferragamo busy?), and already re-introduced human circus acts Bernie and Lonie Glieberman to the CFL. The Ottawa franchise is fast resuming its position as the punchline to a nasty joke. Meanwhile, in Quebec City, the Laval Rouge et Or of the CIS drew 19,200 fans for a game last weekend. The CFL should be looking at expansion there if it's not already. Halifax did a good job in the pre-season Atlantic Bowl and the CFL is looking there for expansion. The folks of Ottawa better realize the CFL doesn't need that city as much as it used to.

HARD NEWS: Tough week for NHL legends. When Scott Stevens, Al MacInnis and Mark Messier all retired, the NHL lost the hardest hitter, hardest shooter and hardest hard-ass of a generation ... As much as many Winnipeggers hated Messier and the Oilers during the NHL days, you have to admit, few players have ever seemed to love the game as much as the Moose ... Stories are suggesting the average NHL payroll this season will be $35 million. That's about $4 million more than the owners hoped for. And the only reason it's not higher is that GMs want to keep some cap room for trading purposes ... A centre-field fight broke out between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles before a game last week and we were wondering when Darryl (Beef) Wolski got involved in the NFL ... Read this week that an Australian Rules Football player was going to get his finger amputated because it was hurting him and preventing him from becoming a better player. Good thing he doesn't have a headache.


Videos

Photos