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Kelly Said NHL Should Look To
Canada In Case Of Relocation
FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT: The GLOBE & MAIL's Eric Duhatschek notes Kelly believes that the NHLPA "could look at ways of making fighting safer," which could include "ensuring players keep their helmets on during fights." Kelly yesterday said, "I don't believe fighting will be eliminated from the game, nor do I believe it should be eliminated from the game. But we have a responsibility as a players' association -- and all of us in hockey have a responsibility -- to take a good hard look at the issue in light of these recent tragedies." Kelly added, "Hypothetically, should we consider some kind of rule about helmets, that you need to keep them on during fights and do we instruct our officials that when a helmet comes off, that they should step in and stop the fight? That's one of the things we should look at." Kelly also believes that the "time has come to review the value of staged fights -- ones that do not arise in the heat of the moment but are set up in advance." Kelly: "My view has always been, if the fight arises out of the emotion and spontaneity of the game, if you're rising to the defence of a teammate or yourself as a result of a perceived dirty hit, then that's all a natural part of the game" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/5). Wild LW Derek Boogaard said stopping a fight when one player loses a helmet is "just common sense." But Wild GM Doug Risebrough conceded that fighting is a "necessary component of policing the NHL game and won't go away." Risebrough: "Let's face it, there's a lot of people who come to these games to see hockey and they don't mind watching a fight" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/5).
UNION JUNCTION: TSN.ca's Darren Dreger cited sources as saying that September 7th "marked the beginning of the end of Eric Lindros's time as the NHLPA's Ombudsman." Lindros, who resigned from his union position earlier this week, at an NHLPA meeting in Chicago in September allegedly asked Kelly to "leave the room so he could openly discuss his issues with [Kelly] with an audience of player representatives." Sources said that these issues "ranged from Kelly's perceived closeness to the NHL, to cosmetic concerns over which cities Kelly attended games." Kelly was "given an opportunity to respond to Lindros' complaints and the matter was quickly dismissed by the players." Some "believe Lindros was trying to undermine Kelly's authority in that meeting, while others suggest Lindros was doing his job as the NHLPA's watch dog." Lindros, when asked to comment, said, "This is an internal matter within the PA" (TSN.ca, 2/4). When asked about Lindros’ resignation, Kelly said, "We're in the business of looking forward rather than looking back. As far as we're concerned it's nothing that really requires any detailed comment" (CP, 2/4).
Ramirez Among More Than 90 Free Agents
Still Available, As Some Wonder About Collusion
CURIOUS CASE: In L.A., Bill Shaikin reported the MLBPA "isn't sure how the economic slump can fully account for so many players out of work so close to spring training," and for now the union is "neither alleging collusion nor ruling it out." MLBPA General Counsel Michael Weiner: "We are concerned with the number of unsigned players. We have concerns about other aspects of how the market is operated." Former MLBer and agent Dave Stewart: "I would think that the teams are watching one another. I'm not saying collusion is going on. It's just difficult to understand. ... I don't see any reason why guys like [P] Ben Sheets and [2B] Orlando Hudson would still be out there. They're quality players" (L.A. TIMES, 2/4). However, ESPN.com's Rob Neyer wrote under the header, "Collusion? Don't Believe The Talk." Neyer cites a number of offseason transactions, including A.J. Burnett's five-year, $82.5M deal with the Yankees, as evidence against collusion (ESPN.com, 2/4).
Wolff Says A's Ticket Sales
Are Down About 10% For '09 Season
New IndyCar Engines, Slated For '11 Season
Debut, May Not Break Until '12
Gadsden Putting Together Group To
Pursue CFL Expansion Franchise
WHAT CRISIS? ESPN SOCCERNET's Phil Holland cited Deloitte's Sports Business Group as indicating that spending by the 20 teams in the English Premier League (EPL) during the January transfer window "hit a new record high," as the group's early reports "suggest that the clubs parted with" US$233.9M in the window. Holland: "It is true that the Premier League remains recession proof at the moment because they know their main income, derived television rights sales, are guaranteed for this season and the next." But if bids for EPL TV rights from the '10-11 season through the '12-13 season "fail to match the [US$4B] the clubs receive a share of for the current three-year rights period perhaps overall transfer spending records will stop being broken" (ESPNSOCCERNET.com, 2/4).
VIKING'S QUEST: Vikings C Matt Birk said that he was "surprised but not deterred by the poor response from NFL players who were asked to donate part of their game checks" from the December 21 games to "assist former players who face severe health and financial hardships." In Minneapolis, Chip Scoggins noted "of the nearly 1,700 active players in the league, only about 20 donated to the cause, including" eight Vikings. Birk Tuesday acknowledged that he was "surprised that only about 1[%] of the active players donated, but he vowed to work harder to raise awareness for the cause." Birk: "It's not going to deter me from getting the message out there" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/4).
PEP RALLY: Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard reported PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem held an hour-long mandatory players’ meeting Tuesday night that was a “live version of (his) live video” he distributed to players in December. Hoggard: “He wanted players to be more engaging, more engaging to the fans, more engaging to the sponsors and to the media. It’s a contract year; he doesn’t want the players to get complacent. He knows how big this year is and he wants the economy to be front and center” (“Golf Central,” Golf Channel, 2/4).