Nastiness, Citizenship and Absurdities
Three topics worth perusing this morning:
There is no sports organization I've ever been in contact with over the years that has the level of personal viciousness that currently exists in the NHL Players' Association. It goes both ways, too, between the camp that once supported deposed leader Paul Kelly and the old guard that appears to now be back in charge. Told that Vince Damphousse had suggested "paranoia" was behind Kelly's dismissal, one former player who served as a key union executive derided Damphousse as a guy who "took a $250,000 job with the union and did nothing."
Eric Lindros, meanwhile, has been tarred and feathered by the Kelly camp, with all kinds of personal accusations and smears. In this vicious circle of allegations and counter-allegations, it's difficult to see who actually might be telling the truth, and who is just following a personal or group agenda. Over the next few weeks, Kelly's enemies will start to leak out "details" of his firing, and will try to make it appear as though he was just like Ted Saskin, nosing around where he shouldn't have been nosing. Surrounded by enemies from the day he took the job, one wonders what Kelly was supposed to do to while simultaneously trying to learn the job, defend himself, ignore the constitutional breaches of others and advance some kind of progressive agenda.
Here's the most salient point. NHL players, above all, seek consensus, and don't like those who think differently. They want to be told what to do, and Alan Eagleson, Bob Goodenow and Saskin accommodated that need. Kelly didn't want to tell them what to do, so he was slammed as "soft" and ousted less than two years into the job.
Well thank goodness somebody came to their senses in Winnipeg and yanked the welcome mat out from under Pac-Man Jones. The office of commissioner Mark Cohon was silent on this one, but you have to hope maybe a phone call or two was made from Cohon to the Bombers at least asking the question, "Do you really want to do this?" Happily, its seems possible that Jones was having trouble crossing the border with his long laundry list of legal woes, which makes one somewhat hopeful that Canadian authorities are on the ball.
From a football point-of-view, it's seems pretty doubtful Jones could have been a difference maker in Manitoba. Nobody wants him in the NFL, a league that will ignore any indiscretion if a guy can play. Based on Jones' play in Dallas, his long layoffs have left him a below-average cover man, and its seems doubtful he could have stood up to the high-paced CFL pass-every-down game.
Of course, Jones didn't apparently even know where he was going to play, suggesting in some on-line communique that he was going to play in the "UFL" and then bolt back to the NFL in time for the playoffs, according to the Winnipeg Sun.
The notion proposed in a Phoenix bankruptcy court yesterday that the Phoenix Coyotes could pull up stakes partway through the season and move to Hamilton was the height of absurdity. This kind of nonsense doesn't help Jim Balsillie's bid, and neither did attacks on NHL owners like Eugene Melnyk. More and more, this fight seems to be bringing out the absolute worst on both sides, with both the NHL and Basillie staking out increasingly extreme points of view. Right now, its appears virtually certain the team will stay put for one more season, and it would do Balsillie well, if he has hopes of ever winning the support of other NHL owners, to start supporting their business and helping the franchise he wants to buy stop swirling down the toilet.
Aiding the death of the Coyotes may not necessarily be in the Balsillie's long-term interests.