Now that the wheels are in motion for changes at the NHLPA, Calgary Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr has a request: Put the pieces back in place properly.
Regehr, the Flames rep, doesn't believe the NHLPA needs to be gutted but does want more time and care used when taking the next step surrounding executive director Ted Saskin.
"The important thing is we as players are trying to sort through it all, get all the facts we can and act accordingly from there," Regehr said yesterday. "That's something that maybe hadn't been done in the past. Maybe there were some things done too quickly or without all the players' knowledge, and maybe that's what's got us in this trouble."
Saskin has been under siege since taking over as head of the union in July 2005, targeted by a faction led by Chris Chelios that didn't believe proper protocol was followed when Saskin was hired. An internal investigation, under Toronto lawyer Sheila Block, is not yet complete.
However, Saskin and senior director Ken Kim were accused of intercepting and reading players' e-mails.
On Sunday, the 30 players reps and interim executive committee held a conference call and decided to suspend Saskin and Kim with pay.
Saskin has denied reading e-mails but Regehr said he was told the embattled Saskin admitted to NHLPA outside counsel Stu Grimson and director of hockey affairs Mike Gartner he had.
"Probably the most important thing, as player reps, is we were all told the facts of what happened," Regehr said. "We got the facts last night and decided to make those two decisions. The players aren't happy, that's for sure. You think you have some privacy and you really don't."
Whether Saskin and Kim are fired or resign remains to be seen.
"I think it's gonna take a while for this to run its course," Regehr said. "As for this e-mail situation we're dealing with, it's not like it's gonna be done in a week."
Regehr wouldn't divulge whether he was a voice calling for Saskin's dismissal.
He planned to discuss the matter with teammates over the next couple of days.
Craig Conroy was disheartened about the affair, which has become yet another black cloud over the association.
"With the investigation and now this, it's embarrassing for us. We want to put this behind us," said Conroy. "This is a distraction. We want to be known as a strong union that will help grow the game. We want to get fans back in the buildings and having fun."