Trending Topics is a column that looks at the week in hockey according to Twitter. If you don't know about Twitter, get with the times old man.
Just in case you were wondering, the NHLPA is pretty much a total gong show at this point.
OK, so that's not news. It's been an unmitigated disaster on a number of levels for a couple years now. Bob Goodenow retired in disgrace after the owners basically solely dictated the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, Ted Saskin was going through player emails, and now, a multi-million dollar, player-funded NHLPA investigation into why Paul Kelly got bounced from his job has just wrapped up.
Semi-occasional Twitter user/Hall of Fame Boston Globe hockey writer Kevin Paul Dupont tossed up his first Tweet since March to say, "Players get results of investigation into events that led to dismissal of PA's Paul Kelly. Finding: Kelly shamefully railroaded."
Translation: The players literally paid millions of dollars to find out what we already knew or could have guessed within five seconds of hearing the story. Damian Cox of the Toronto Star added who was to blame for Kelly getting run out of the organization.
"Players who led charge against Kelly - Ference, Stajan, etc. - should be booted out of the union," he Tweeted. "They cost the NHLPA millions for no reason."
That'd be Andrew Ference(notes) and Matt Stajan(notes), obviously, and the "etc." refers to Dan Hamhuis(notes), who apparently wrote a scream of an anti-Kelly letter to the PA (you can find an excerpt here).
Really, the whole thing is a disaster. The NHLPA is on its second interim directors since Kelly got the ol' heave-ho less than a year ago, and the first one didn't last very long because these guys don't know what they want. Do they want someone that's going to stand up to the owners? Yes. But stand up to them to the point that they would also break the leash that Eric Lindros' runnin' buddies would love to keep him on? Well let's rein things in a bit.
An old NESN.com article says Kelly got muscled out of his job because he had the temerity to order a forensic audit of the union's work over the last three years.
Kelly was also guilty of not wanting to go through another work stoppage, which could be on the horizon if some of the more ruthless players who think — kind of rightly — that the PA took a beating during the lockout.And so now the union sees last best hope as... Donald Fehr.
Dan Kamal, the radio guy for the Thrashers, says, "IMO, hockey has the kind of momentum it had in '94. The sport went on strike after that year. Now there's Donald Fehr talk. You nervous?"
If you're not, you should be. Donald Fehr was the head of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1986 until last year. Maybe you remember what happened to baseball in 1994 and '95.
No? Player strike, that's what. Got the World Series canceled and everything.
Why did they strike? Owners were pushing a salary cap because baseball wasn't doing well, particularly in the smaller markets that couldn't compete with the salaries big clubs regularly paid out. Fehr didn't like that so much.
I think that might sound familiar to you guys.
So if Fehr gets appointed as the PA's next executive director (and he probably will any day now since he helped it rewrite its brand spankin' new constitution), hockey fans are going to want to savor this 2010-11 season as much as they can.
Owners will have the confidence in attempting to stare down any player threats by their jaunty 'W' in 2005. Players will have the backing by a guy that beat the hell out of the ownership in the last work stoppage he oversaw — in which he just happened to make the MLBPA the most absurdly powerful in professional sports.
And we're going to have the NHL's second work stoppage in six years.
And anyway, I don't know why players don't think this CBA is working for them. Ference, Stajan and Hamhuis all got nice big paychecks, so I don't know what they have to bitch about.
But man, if you needed any proof that NHL players are doing just fine for themselves under the current CBA, this Mikko Koivu contract sure is it.
I think Koivu's a hell of a hockey player and all, but $6.75 million against the cap for seven years? A bit much, don't you think?
I know Chuck Fletcher was all about the intangibles, but everything's tangible in a post-Moneyball world. The good folks at Behind the Net have a way to quantify everything a hockey player does on the ice — i.e. the only place things matter — and that shows that calling Koivu one of the 25 best players in hockey is more than a little off base.
Going by GVT, Koivu was 24th among skaters alone. Add in goalies (not always the best idea since goaltender GVT works so differently) and he's 35th. Split the difference and yeah, Koivu probably is one of the 30 best players in the NHL. Maybe.
So why is his new cap hit, which doesn't kick in until next year — just in time for that strike! — 21st in the league right now? Sure, 71 points is a lot, especially on the Wild, but statistically Alex freaking Burrows was a better player than this guy last year.
Said Koivu of the signing: "I do believe we're build a winning organization. I'm such a lucky guy."
Yeah no kidding.
Another NHLer on Twitter
Seems like we get a new one of these on Twitter every week and a half, and this time around it's Mike Komisarek(notes) (@mkomisarek). He's been Tweeting since June but really stepped up his game the last two days. I'm sure he'll have a million hilarious Phil Kessel(notes) stories once the season starts.
He's also trying to raise money to fight pancreatic cancer, so why not help him out with that?
Another NHLer on Twitter bites the dust
Where have you gone, Sean Avery(notes)? Your Twitter account once reminded us all that we, too, could love Jónsi and go to that hipster sports bar you owned in New York, as well as provided us minute-by-minute accounts of Aaron Voros'(notes) every move.
But with Voros off to Anaheim, it leaves poor Sean all alone in a city of millions.
Greg's post Thursday about the New York Islanders cupcakes sparked a bit of a to-do on Twitter. The jokes obviously came rollin' in, and made it an odd trending topic for a bit of the late morning.
Some of the better ones:
@blogesalming: "The Eklund Cupcake: Convinces you you're eating a cupcake and turns out to be urinal cake"
@DownGoesBrown: "The LA Kings cupcake: Fans love it, but don't understand how the icing works."
@psykovike: "Calgary Flames Cupcake... The 'baker' doesn't give a damn if you like it or not... What do you know about cupcakes..."
And the winner...
@dear_gravity: "The Phil Kessel cupcake: has one nut inside."
If you've got something for Trending Topics, holla at Lambert on Twitter or via email. He'll even credit you so you get a thousand followers in one day and you'll become the most popular person on the Internet! You can also visit his blog if you're so inclined.
- Paul Kelly
- Donald Fehr