NEW YORK -- Let the healing begin.
That seems to be message following the decision by NHL players to put executive director Ted Saskin and senior director Ken Kim on a paid leave of absence during a conference call late Sunday night.
For Senators Daniel Alfredsson and Wade Redden, both members of the interim NHLPA executive committee, the move is viewed as the first step to unifying an association that has been divided over the way Saskin was hired and recent allegations their private e-mails had been monitored.
"It was a pretty easy decision to make with what's happened," Alfredsson said of Saskin's leave of absence while an internal review is conducted.
UNION'S BEEN DIVIDED
"It's been a tough time for everybody, but maybe now we can start moving forward righting the ship and get stronger from it.
"It's not something we want to push under the rug. We want to do this right and hopefully we can do this now."
The union has been divided since the end of the lockout in the summer of 2005 when Saskin was appointed as Bob Goodenow's successor as executive director.
A faction of players, led by Trent Klatt and joined by Chris Chelios, did not feel the association's own rules were followed in Saskin's hiring. Since then, there have accusations Saskin's regime had been monitoring the e-mails of dissident members of the association.
Redden said he thinks Sunday night's conference call could be the first step to repairing the rifts within the PA.
"I think at the start of the year there were some guys feeling one way about it and some guys feeling another. I think now the resolve of everyone is to get it behind us and be a union and be as one again," said Redden. "There's lots of things that have come to our attention that people didn't know about and we've been waiting for all the information to get put on the table so we can make a decision and everyone can know what's going on."
"As a union we came to that conclusion (to give Saskin a leave of absence) and made some decisions that we're going to move forward and that was the first step, I guess.
"Everyone, I think, is pretty unified. That's the most important thing, that we're all on the same page. There's been good dialogue, I think a lot of constructive decisions. At least everyone is communicating and getting things talked about and that's the best way to get through this."
Redden, Alfredsson and the rest of the interim executive are now looking for outside counsel to guide them forward.