The Not-So-New Boss
The early guess is that Paul Kelly is about honesty, not about change.
Indeed, the new NHL Players Association boss probably just needs not to open other people's emails and he'll do fine.
A progressive thinker, however, he apparently is not.
In fact, with respect to the game itself, it turns out Kelly is a bit of closet Neanderthal, something he revealed Saturday night in an intriguing interview with Ron MacLean on Hockey Night in Canada.
Kelly said that not only does he believe fighting is part of hockey, he strongly believes in the necessity of enforcers to "self-police" the game.
So the new boy likes the goons. How refreshing. Lets make sure there's jobs on every team for people who can't actually play the game itself.
Kelly even invoked Marty McSorley's name as he explained himself, referring to his role as McSorley's lawyer after the big fella took his stick to Donald Brashear's melon a few years back.
Yes, by all means, with fighting already up more than 50 per cent over last year, the NHL needs more McSorleys. Here I was thinking more Crosbys would actually be helpful.
And this Kelly fellow is going to not only turn this messed up union around, he's going to help the NHL sell the sport?
This is a league that's been trying unsuccessfully to sell fighting on skates to the great unwashed for four decades, and the new NHLPA head is telling the world he believes the game can't do without cementheads.
So much for the breath of fresh air. Eddie Shore would be proud.
Quick aside here. Saturday night's HNIC broadcast also contained a priceless Coach's Corner moment when a Bruin and a Flyer were shown pounding each other's brains in as an example of something the fans just love.
In the background of the two pugilists, however, were about a dozen fans, one of whom was clapping and the rest of whom were sitting impassively, as engaged as if they were watching somebody execute a three-point turn.
Yeah, can't do without this stuff.
Back to Kelly. We'll see how he pans out. But changes in the league and the union now means four crucial roles - NHL commissioner, NHL deputy commissioner, chairman of the NHL board of governors and NHLPA executive director - are all held by Americans.
Last year, Calgary owner Harley Hotchkiss was still chairman of the board and Ted Saskin was running the union. Now, there's not a Canuck with a speck of real power to be seen.
Anybody still think Hamilton's getting a team anytime soon?