SUN Hockey Pool

Just drop the puck!

ERIC FRANCIS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

Who cares?

Who thinks hockey fans really give a damn?

Turns out the guy who was running the NHL Players' Association might have been a bit dodgy.

Word is he may have done a thing or two "on the down low," including the unauthorized monitoring of their e-mails.

Shocker.

An ongoing investigation may also determine he left the toilet seat up in the office loo.

You know, important stuff.

Sorry but we've seen hockey union scandals before.

Didn't care all that much back then either.

Around the time NHLPA director/crook Alan Eagleson went to jail, talk of underhandedness, be it real or not, became white noise to hockey lovers -- kinda like those sounds emanating from Bob Cole or Harry Neale as they try to provide intelligible 'colour' of a game.

You quickly tune it out.

And once the recent labour impasse had ended, most fans figured it would be at least 10 years before they ever found themselves talking or reading about things like the CBA, backroom infighting, the NHLPA or its boss.

Fans just want to watch and talk about the games on the ice, not the soap opera off it.

Even players with plenty at stake agree.

"I don't think the fans care at all -- it has no effect on them," said Tony Amonte, clearly agitated following a Sunday night conference call with player reps that determined Ted Saskin had done enough to warrant a paid leave of absence while his past dealings continue to be scrutinized.

"If he did it, go away. Have some class, resign and that's it. You know the difference between right and wrong -- you can teach a six-year-old kid that. It smells a lot like Enron for crying out loud. We've had enough shenanigans in the PA for years now. We don't need this crap."

At least his response was angry enough to raise interest.

The funny thing is, south of the border scribes are gnashing their teeth over the only hockey incident Americans are familiar with since the Todd Bertuzzi affair -- Chris Simon's artistic impression of Barry Bonds.

Now that's an issue fans can sink their teeth into, and will for the next few days.

(While we're on it, hats off to Colin Campbell -- the punishment finally fit the crime. Yes, 25 games is severe. But so is a Koho to the grill from a five-time offender who has shown flashes of such rage in the past.)

Still, some think it's prudent to give ink to the lawyers and such who provide fans with little more than heartache. Because of them, 30 team reps were on a conference call last night talking politics in the midst of a stellar playoff race they should be focused on.

"It's embarrassing -- we're almost a laughingstock," said Craig Conroy, who rushed out to lunch yesterday -- game day -- with Robyn Regehr to hear all about the call the defenceman was privy to as the Flames rep.

"The fans are probably wondering, 'what are these guys doing? They got killed in the lockout, now this ...' It's one thing after another. The NHLPA is supposed to work for us.

"And are they working for us? It's hard to tell what's going on right now."

Even harder to care.


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