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Have players trusted the NHLPA/agents too much in the past?

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Old
12-09-2012, 07:52 PM
  #1
Big Phil
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Have players trusted the NHLPA/agents too much in the past?

I don't want to hijack this into a current lockout thread. The players are idiots, the owners are idiots and they are all their own worst enemy. Enough said. But I would rather talk about times when you think the NHLPA hoodwinked some players or even someone's agent misled them in a way that crippled their career.

Alan Eagleson with the NHLPA - He was a crook, and that's as polite as I'll be.

Eagleson with Bobby Orr - In 1976 when Orr was a free agent he obviously wanted to stay with Boston. Eagleson didn't tell Orr the sweet deal the Bruins were offering (I don't know the numbers exactly but it involved part ownership I believe) and Orr signed with Chicago without even knowing that the Bruins wanted him. Eagleson knew this deal wouldn't benefit HIM, so he lied to Orr. Way, way too much trust in your agent in this situation.

Bob Goodenow - Need I say more?

David Frost - Thankfully Sheldon Keefe is now old enough to know the detrimental way Frost killed his career. He is now coach of the OHL's Greyhounds and is only 32 years old. He was a fine talent but Frost had a hand in ruining his career. He represented Ryan Barnes, Keefe and Mike Jefferson (Danton eventually) on one team and they were so loathed because of Frost that all three were traded to Barrie, just like that. Danton tried to kill Frost and to this day still is brainwashed into thinking he wasn't targetting Frost. Keefe finally saw the light, Danton still hasn't. None had much of a life in the NHL.

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12-09-2012, 08:41 PM
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Hardyvan123
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Wow very interesting post, not sure what to make of it though to the current situation.

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12-09-2012, 08:47 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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and those are just the high profile ones we know about.

i also think of all the stupid holdouts we've seen over the years. sure, if you're joe sakic you'll make that money back and much more. but a guy like petr nedved, you just threw away two million dollars to slowly make it back over the next two or three years. in the end, you've broken even and lost a year of development. but a lot of these guys are 22 year old kids, what do they know other than what their agents tell them?

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12-09-2012, 08:54 PM
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Benefit

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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Wow very interesting post, not sure what to make of it though to the current situation.
Basic point as it pertains to the present is whether the agent/negotiator looking after the benefit of those they represent or are they looking out for their own benefit.

As things stand I doubt that Gary Bettman or Donald Fehr have anything but their own benefit in mind.

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12-09-2012, 09:04 PM
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As Bettman pointed out during his epic press conference this past week, they have gone through 4 executive directors over the past 8 years. On top of that, they have had a number of other members of their board leave, either by force or voluntarily due to butting heads. Guys like Trent Klatt, Steve Larmer and Trevor Linden stepped down or were forced out.

A lot of people in power or people of influence have ulterior motives. With that said, I do believe Fehr is trying his hardest to get the best deal possible for the players. That's what he was hired to do and he's good at that.

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12-09-2012, 10:41 PM
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The history indicates that unions were required in sports so that the playing field became more level and the players got their piece of the pie. Men like Marvin Miller and Donald Fehr were integral to the pieces of the baseball pie being divided up somewhat fairly. From what I understand of the current lockout is that the owners, at one point, were willing to offer a 50/50 deal. Fehr and the NHLPA rejected the offer based on concerns that it only appeared 50/50, but in reality was an underhanded maneuver by the owners. Obviously trust is still a major issue. However, none of the current players have to work construction jobs in the off season, pay medical or dental bills for themselves or their families and many won't have to worry about a paltry pension. A some point, you would think the players would realize that they are losing valuable time in their careers and not making a dime while waiting for the perfect deal to arrive at their doorstep. I wonder about how much they get caught up in Fehr's "shoulds" and end up forgetting that time is of the essence. Sometimes you just gotta say 'good enough'.

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12-09-2012, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy Stardust View Post
As Bettman pointed out during his epic press conference this past week, they have gone through 4 executive directors over the past 8 years. On top of that, they have had a number of other members of their board leave, either by force or voluntarily due to butting heads. Guys like Trent Klatt, Steve Larmer and Trevor Linden stepped down or were forced out.
Don't forget Mike Gartner as well who was a prominent figure in the NHLPA for years. When good, reputable guys like this are no longer part of the equation it makes you wonder. And let's face it, aside from a guy like Paul Kelly who seemed to have the game of hockey on a pedestal and actually appeared to care about the future of the game, can we name one NHLPA leader that wasn't a rascal?

Eagleson - No need to explain
Goodenow - terrible negotiator from day one
Saskin - reminded me of someone who got into a movie theatre through the back door without anyone even knowing
Fehr - No need to explain

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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
and those are just the high profile ones we know about.

i also think of all the stupid holdouts we've seen over the years. sure, if you're joe sakic you'll make that money back and much more. but a guy like petr nedved, you just threw away two million dollars to slowly make it back over the next two or three years. in the end, you've broken even and lost a year of development. but a lot of these guys are 22 year old kids, what do they know other than what their agents tell them?
Well and that's the thing, why do you put all this trust in one person? It is your agent and all, but if you are about to leave a team you love and have roots don't you think it is important to ensure that YOU hear what the GM is offering? If Bobby Orr and Harry Sinden were in the same room together Orr retires a Bruin, plain and simple. I also can't imagine Ryan Smyth and Kevin Lowe being unable to negotiate a reported $100,000 difference to stay in Edmonton. Both those players left town when the truth is they'd have been better served just walking into the GM's office and saying: "Look I want to hear it from YOU that this is the offer."

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12-09-2012, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
But I would rather talk about times when you think the NHLPA hoodwinked some players or even someone's agent misled them in a way that crippled their career.
Well, the most recent case involves Chris Philips of Ottawa & Dany Heatley, who combined are suing their former agent/advisor, one Stacey McAlpine & his family for somewhere north of $10M for failed real estate investments, misrepresentation & fraud. There are all kinds of horror stories going back through the generations, into the late 60's & early 70's when the WHA gravy train arrived, players realizing previously unheard of, almost unimaginable salaries & performance bonuses of one kind or another. In order to become an agent today of course, represent a player in negotiations, you have to be a member of the NHL Player Agents Association, a governing body that conducts background checks & monitors the memberships activities. Still, your going to get bad apples in every bunch, a lot of money involved, people are gonna do nasty things.

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12-10-2012, 03:23 PM
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I think hockey players in particular, in comparison to other sports, leave themselves far more vulnerable to being taken advantage of. This is due to the players not taking an interest in union activities and issues. This could be in part the fault of the PA, under Goodenow they didn't exactly gardner a reputation for openess and transparency. I get the impression that Fehr's a complete 180 from Goodenow in that regard so players may be more informed and less prone to being hoodwinked than before.

I think something else that happens, especially when agents latch onto teenagers, is they leech off the player and his family, creating false expectations and exploiting that to further their own bank accounts and reputations. Kids and their families, especially those dreaming of being the next Gretzky or Roy, are easy to exploit and manipulate.

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12-10-2012, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Well, the most recent case involves Chris Philips of Ottawa & Dany Heatley, who combined are suing their former agent/advisor, one Stacey McAlpine & his family for somewhere north of $10M for failed real estate investments, misrepresentation & fraud. There are all kinds of horror stories going back through the generations, into the late 60's & early 70's when the WHA gravy train arrived, players realizing previously unheard of, almost unimaginable salaries & performance bonuses of one kind or another. In order to become an agent today of course, represent a player in negotiations, you have to be a member of the NHL Player Agents Association, a governing body that conducts background checks & monitors the memberships activities. Still, your going to get bad apples in every bunch, a lot of money involved, people are gonna do nasty things.
modano and fedorov too, right? (not mcalpine specifically, but bad investments that they blamed on their agents)


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Well and that's the thing, why do you put all this trust in one person? It is your agent and all, but if you are about to leave a team you love and have roots don't you think it is important to ensure that YOU hear what the GM is offering? If Bobby Orr and Harry Sinden were in the same room together Orr retires a Bruin, plain and simple. I also can't imagine Ryan Smyth and Kevin Lowe being unable to negotiate a reported $100,000 difference to stay in Edmonton. Both those players left town when the truth is they'd have been better served just walking into the GM's office and saying: "Look I want to hear it from YOU that this is the offer."
actually, what i was hinting at is that a lot of the holdout fiascos of really young players that in the end did more harm than good is a lot like players losing parts of or entire seasons due to the lockout. i.e., even if the end deal is more favorable, in the long run didn't you lose money by losing an entire year of your very finite career?

though i guess at least the PA can always tell themselves that they made a sacrifice for the good of future players. what can nedved say?

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12-10-2012, 04:55 PM
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Ironically, frost and goodenow were very close. One of the reasons Frost remained a certified agent as long as he did.

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12-10-2012, 05:26 PM
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Agents can definitely be disruptive to negotiation processes. They will do everything in their power to convince players that the best union deal is the one that nets the agents the best commission. Irrelevant to whether or not it is the best deal for the players.

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Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
The history indicates that unions were required in sports so that the playing field became more level and the players got their piece of the pie. Men like Marvin Miller and Donald Fehr were integral to the pieces of the baseball pie being divided up somewhat fairly. From what I understand of the current lockout is that the owners, at one point, were willing to offer a 50/50 deal. Fehr and the NHLPA rejected the offer based on concerns that it only appeared 50/50, but in reality was an underhanded maneuver by the owners. Obviously trust is still a major issue. However, none of the current players have to work construction jobs in the off season, pay medical or dental bills for themselves or their families and many won't have to worry about a paltry pension. A some point, you would think the players would realize that they are losing valuable time in their careers and not making a dime while waiting for the perfect deal to arrive at their doorstep. I wonder about how much they get caught up in Fehr's "shoulds" and end up forgetting that time is of the essence. Sometimes you just gotta say 'good enough'.
Shouldn't the owners be the one's saying "good enough" they aren't the revenue generating party.

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12-10-2012, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
actually, what i was hinting at is that a lot of the holdout fiascos of really young players that in the end did more harm than good is a lot like players losing parts of or entire seasons due to the lockout. i.e., even if the end deal is more favorable, in the long run didn't you lose money by losing an entire year of your very finite career?

though i guess at least the PA can always tell themselves that they made a sacrifice for the good of future players. what can nedved say?
Yeah, that's kind of the thing here. You never will get that season in your prime again. I think many of us can agree that 25 is a prime year in the NHL for most. Crosby will never get that season back. He will forever lose that one prime season in which he could have won a Cup. So in reality, I don't think the PA is even "sacrificing" much. I think these guys really believe they are Ted Lindsay. Now THAT was a sacrifice! Bobby Hull going to the WHA, THAT was a sacrifice! The NHLPA or a player missing a full season just so that a star player can make $9 million instead of $8 million.........................hmmm.

And another thing, the owners can't help themselves. They will start overpaying the Parises and Suters of the NHL as soon as the game gets back on its feet. Any rollback the players take will be better and then some.

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12-10-2012, 06:48 PM
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Yeah, that's kind of the thing here. You never will get that season in your prime again. I think many of us can agree that 25 is a prime year in the NHL for most. Crosby will never get that season back. He will forever lose that one prime season in which he could have won a Cup. So in reality, I don't think the PA is even "sacrificing" much. I think these guys really believe they are Ted Lindsay. Now THAT was a sacrifice! Bobby Hull going to the WHA, THAT was a sacrifice! The NHLPA or a player missing a full season just so that a star player can make $9 million instead of $8 million.........................hmmm.
Well put. That is exactly what I was trying to say.


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12-11-2012, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
The history indicates that unions were required in sports so that the playing field became more level and the players got their piece of the pie. Men like Marvin Miller and Donald Fehr were integral to the pieces of the baseball pie being divided up somewhat fairly. From what I understand of the current lockout is that the owners, at one point, were willing to offer a 50/50 deal. Fehr and the NHLPA rejected the offer based on concerns that it only appeared 50/50, but in reality was an underhanded maneuver by the owners. Obviously trust is still a major issue. However, none of the current players have to work construction jobs in the off season, pay medical or dental bills for themselves or their families and many won't have to worry about a paltry pension. A some point, you would think the players would realize that they are losing valuable time in their careers and not making a dime while waiting for the perfect deal to arrive at their doorstep. I wonder about how much they get caught up in Fehr's "shoulds" and end up forgetting that time is of the essence. Sometimes you just gotta say 'good enough'.
If you are a $2 million a year guy, at the moment you have lost a million dollars. Maybe a little bit more. But the effects of this new CBA could potentially have an impact on several million dollars of future earnings. If the new CBA guts the middle class, then you have truly struck for nothing.

It's something Fehr does well, compare it to the NBA where the stars pretty much threw the bench guys and 10 ppg guards overboard. That's never happened in MLB and it hasn't happened in the NHL either.

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12-11-2012, 01:07 PM
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Before there was a PA and before savvy agents were the rule, the players got hoodwinked and taken advantage of by the team owners. In those days it wasn't uncommon for former NHL players to fade into obscurity *and* poverty.

I think the general issue is that a lot of players are vulnerable to being exploited in general, whether it's by team owners or by manipulative advisors and agents. Not all players have the level of education or interest in economic/business matters to be truly in the loop with regards to their contracts etc. This has obviously improved through the years, but today a lot of players still live in sort of a bubble and come to rely on others to "take care" of stuff from a young age.

I would still bet the majority of players are more than happy to have access to agents and contract lawyers rather than simply letting team bosses dictate their contracts.

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12-11-2012, 08:17 PM
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Basic point as it pertains to the present is whether the agent/negotiator looking after the benefit of those they represent or are they looking out for their own benefit.

As things stand I doubt that Gary Bettman or Donald Fehr have anything but their own benefit in mind.
Well we know how the players fared before they had agents and a union right?

As to the 2nd part, at least Fehr has been hired by the players and has their interests at heart. There is no backdoor Eagle crap going on with him.

IMO, the commisoner of the NHL should not be representing the owners at the table, how can he seriously say that he represnts all of the interests in hgckey, he clearly can't

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12-12-2012, 12:14 AM
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IMO, the commisoner of the NHL should not be representing the owners at the table, how can he seriously say that he represnts all of the interests in hgckey, he clearly can't
He doesn't. The Commissioner represents the owners, always has, always will, he's the owners version of Fehr.

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12-12-2012, 11:07 AM
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i was amazed after reading "Searching for Bobby Orr", i was really amazed how much of a scum bag Alan Eagleson was. i think players really are too trusting of their agents sometimes. maybe Eric Lindros got it right, who else can you really trust but mom and dad

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12-12-2012, 09:39 PM
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He doesn't. The Commissioner represents the owners, always has, always will, he's the owners version of Fehr.
I know that he represents the owners but in a perfect world that would be Gary's job and a guy like Wayne Gretzky would would be Commish and act in the best interests of hockey, not exclusively for one interest group over another.

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12-12-2012, 10:02 PM
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i was amazed after reading "Searching for Bobby Orr", i was really amazed how much of a scum bag Alan Eagleson was. i think players really are too trusting of their agents sometimes. maybe Eric Lindros got it right, who else can you really trust but mom and dad
That book doesnt even cover a tenth of Eaglesons chicanery and frankly downright malevolence in corrupting the Players Association, putting us on the path were on right now in many respects. If you really wanna get an eyefull, start by reading Net Worth by Cruise & Griffiths, followed by the Power of Two with Carl Brewer & Susan Foster, Russ Conways book Game Misconduct, along with several others of course, but those 3 should get the blood boiling sufficiently enough for starters. Echo's to this very day Im afraid.

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I know that he represents the owners but in a perfect world that would be Gary's job and a guy like Wayne Gretzky would would be Commish and act in the best interests of hockey, not exclusively for one interest group over another.
Yes. Like an Ombudsmen's Office of sorts. I believe theres a thread on that either here on the HOH or over on the BOH Board. Someone like a Ken Dryden, Gretzky or whomever perhaps, though Id like to see someone a lot more savvy & streetsmart, someone combative who'll go after the NHL or PA with equal ferocity should either step out of line. A guy like Gretzky or a Dryden strike me as being far too easily co-opted. Non-alcoholic. Toothless. Erudite. Above the fray.... you want more Hv?

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12-12-2012, 10:13 PM
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I know that he represents the owners but in a perfect world that would be Gary's job and a guy like Wayne Gretzky would would be Commish and act in the best interests of hockey, not exclusively for one interest group over another.
Agree 100%.

The commish should serve a mediator-type role between the BOG and the NHLPA.

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12-12-2012, 11:39 PM
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Yes. Like an Ombudsmen's Office of sorts. I believe theres a thread on that either here on the HOH or over on the BOH Board. Someone like a Ken Dryden, Gretzky or whomever perhaps, though Id like to see someone a lot more savvy & streetsmart, someone combative who'll go after the NHL or PA with equal ferocity should either step out of line. A guy like Gretzky or a Dryden strike me as being far too easily co-opted. Non-alcoholic. Toothless. Erudite. Above the fray.... you want more Hv?
Those are good names and I'd have no issue with them at all. Do people really think hockey would lose its revenue if Gretzky was running it? I doubt it, his name along would spread interest.

I also have thrown in the names of Mike Gartner (NHLPA boss, potentially) who I think did a good job with the NHLPA when he was there. Not to mention Ron Francis and Bob Gainey seem to be guys that would thrive doing either side of the job. You get the feeling they'd stick up the for integrity of the game a lot more. I thought Paul Kelly would have done that as well, but the players fired him. Now they have Fehr who seems to have a one track mind much like Goodenow did in 2004. If it tastes like chicken...............

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12-13-2012, 12:36 AM
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Those are good names and I'd have no issue with them at all.... Not to mention Ron Francis and Bob Gainey....
Thats an excellent suggestion in Bob Gainey, and I believe it was MayorBee who on the thread discussing such an office suggested Paul Kelly, which is also an interesting possibility... and no, I wasnt suggesting that Gretzky wouldnt draw in sponsors or whatever, no, what Im saying is I dont believe he has by vocation or aptitude the requisite skillsets to act as an Ombudsman, though he may have learned much after his experiences in Phoenix, getting stiffed by the NHL & Moyes to the tune of about $7M. Its possible that after such a disappointment, disillusionment really, that he'd be more open to actually vocalizing his opinions, sticking up publicly for one side or the other in any given dispute instead of being a puppet, under the thumb of the league itself, always minding his 'P's & Q's as he did as a player.

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12-13-2012, 12:51 AM
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Thats an excellent suggestion in Bob Gainey, and I believe it was MayorBee who on the thread discussing such an office suggested Paul Kelly, which is also an interesting possibility... and no, I wasnt suggesting that Gretzky wouldnt draw in sponsors or whatever, no, what Im saying is I dont believe he has by vocation or aptitude the requisite skillsets to act as an Ombudsman, though he may have learned much after his experiences in Phoenix, getting stiffed by the NHL & Moyes to the tune of about $7M. Its possible that after such a disappointment, disillusionment really, that he'd be more open to actually vocalizing his opinions, sticking up publicly for one side or the other in any given dispute instead of being a puppet, under the thumb of the league itself, always minding his 'P's & Q's as he did as a player.
I wouldn't mind Paul Kelly as commish either. The NHLPA blew it when they let him go. The guy had season tickets to the Bruins. He was a fan. I know that isn't everything but it shows he at least has emotional ties to a game he loves. He was smart too, very smart I thought. I picked Gretzky as well but I am not sure how much it matters that he never finished high school (I honestly don't know if he ever completed it later in life). It doesn't mean he hasn't gained a ton of knowledge since then even from a business standpoint but you do want someone who is impeccable with numbers.

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