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Shanahan organizes 'state-of-hockey' meeting


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#1 Rock

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 08:39 PM

Winging it
Shanahan organizes 'state-of-hockey' meeting

http://slam.canoe.ca.../768506-cp.html
By PIERRE LEBRUN



TORONTO (CP) - Brendan Shanahan knows the NHL lockout will end one day. And when it does, the Detroit Red Wings star hopes fans will come back to a better game.

That's why he's organized a two-day hockey summit beginning here Tuesday with some of the game's biggest movers and shakers. "I just thought it would be interesting to sit in a room together and discuss the game of hockey - just the game of hockey," Shanahan said over the phone Monday. "I felt that when we do come back (from the lockout), we really need to get our focus back on the game of hockey.

"Regardless of what side you're on (in the labour talks), nobody is bigger than the game of hockey and I just wanted to put the focus back on the game."

He hopes to come up with ideas on how to open up the game, increase offence - in short, improve the entertainment.

Shanahan, one of the best power forwards of his generation, is even footing the bill for his guests at the posh Four Seasons hotel in downtown Toronto.


"This was my idea and my responsibility. I'll gladly take that on," said Shanahan, who earned $6.5-million US last season.

The 35-year-old caught many by surprise with this meeting. He really hasn't been that vocal over the years about these kinds of issues, certainly not noticeable compared to the likes of Jeremy Roenick or Brett Hull.

But Shanahan felt the time was right to do something to help the game.

And he made sure he went through the proper channels before booking his hockey summit, speaking with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHL director of operations Colin Campbell, NHL Players' Association executive director Bob Goodenow and NHLPA president Trevor Linden before finalizing plans for his state-of-the-game meeting.

"Once I was comfortable that this was not going to interfere with the CBA process, I went forward," Shanahan said before boarding a flight in Boston to Toronto.

And by talking with Bettman and Campbell, Shanahan wanted to make it clear he wasn't trying to pooh-pooh the league's owns efforts in improving the game.

"I'm not trying to step on anybody's toes - I'm trying to add to the process," said Shanahan. "And I just wanted to explain that to them.

"My intention here is not to one-up or sidestep anybody."

Still this is Shanahan's show, not the union's. No one from the NHLPA or NHL hierarchy will be present.

Shanahan would not disclose the list of guests at his two-day meeting, only to say that it's a cross-section of the industry, including players, coaches, GMs, referees and television executives.

Montreal Canadiens GM Bob Gainey will definitely be there, the NHL club confirmed Monday, while Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella and veteran referee Bill McCreary are among those expected at the meeting. Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman turned down an invitation.

San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson was also invited but was likely to skip the meeting.

"I support what they are doing and I have talked to Brendan about it but at this point, I'm not sure if I can attend due to a prior commitment," Wilson said Monday night.

With the NHLPA and NHL resuming labour talks at the NHL's Toronto offices Thursday, it was important for Shanahan to re-assure everyone that the CBA was not on the table for his summit. This is about ways to make the on-ice product better.

And once he's done, he's got an appointment to keep.

"I've already been invited by Bob Goodenow and by Gary Bettman to meet with them after my meeting, to discuss some of the thoughts," Shanahan said. "But I didn't create this meeting because I thought we would fix the NHL in two days with our small group. The greatest success that can come out of this meeting, because I have realistic expectations, is that I think we'll come up with some good ideas that will tweak the interest of the NHL and the union and really the best thing that can come out of this is that this continues with other players, other coaches, other general managers.

"I hope this is just the very first (meeting) in a long line. Let's continue to do this on a continual basis."

One could easily understand if Campbell got his nose out of joint over this. After all, the league's hockey operations department has put in countless hours over the last few years in coming up with the new rules that were introduced in Henderson, Nev., last February, some of them in use this season in the AHL.

There was also a blue-ribbon panel of hockey experts, the likes of Bowman, Gainey, Mario Lemieux, Martin Brodeur, Kevin Lowe, Jacques Martin and Gary Roberts, invited by the league to New York last July 22 to discuss the new rules and other issues.

The new rules changes were put on hold by the labour conflict.

But Shanahan's phone call to Campbell may have diffused any ill-feelings created by the Detroit star's initiative.

"It's admirable and I wish them luck," Campbell said Monday.

"No one's afraid or put out by the fact that another group will be asking questions. That's good for hockey," he added.

Said Shanahan: "There's no need for people to feel threatened by this meeting."

Campbell offered Shanahan some advice.

"He asked me about running a meeting like this," said Campbell. "He told me some of the topics they might be discussing and what my thoughts were on it. I told him these meetings weren't easy to run and that a lot of research needed to be done."

With coaches, players, GMs and referees waiting out the lockout, Shanahan had no shortage of people with time on their hands.

"I wish I could have invited hundreds of people but for the sake of just getting something done, on just my little idea, the small scale of me, my fax machine and my computer, I kept the number down to 20," Shanahan said.
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#2 Jerrydevil

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 10:31 AM

Oh, come off it, Shanahan.

I don't care how he spins this, it's stupid to have a rules powwow when the season is almost lost. What a waste of time. It's his money, though. He's probably more interested in making himself look good than really helping the game anyway.
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#3 Pepperkorn

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 01:04 PM

I was thinking about this...

This kind of thinking is the same thing that lured him from the Devils.

See I've always sort of struggled with why I just can't stand the guy and kind of grudgingly wrote if off as homerdom. Shanny is hard working and loves hockey - I don't think he's really all that greedy either -- and yet he just doesn't belong on the Devils...and I just don't like him.

and I think I put my finger on why...
He just can't play the hand he's dealt. My guess is that it's never HIS fault anything is going badly -- it's his circumstances... he's probably always saying "If only... this or that" you know? Shanny doesn't sincerely rise to any REAL challenge -- the stars must be in perfect alignment for him to achieve. And if they aren't then it's not his fault -- it's always something else. Yeah I guess he feels a little personal responsibility - but see this stupid meeting -- it's wheel spinning. I mean just because he and a bunch of his cronies decide how the league should be doesn't make it right, you know? no matter where he's brought the cronies in from -- how diverse he thinks he's being -- anyone who will partake in this meeting on anything more than a lark has got a bad outlook right from the get go -- it's destined to fail even if the enact every freaking idea they come up with. I'm not saying a meeting like this is destined to fail -- if Martin Brodeur had a party and they all brainstormed for fun then I could see something coming out of it to be frank. Because it's done RIGHT. It wouldn

Edited by Pepperkorn, 07 December 2004 - 01:09 PM.

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#4 SueNJ97

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 02:10 PM

PK, maybe the former Mrs. Craig Janney got tired of having Shanny at home all the time.
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#5 Pepperkorn

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 02:40 PM

Hey -- he had permission.

"Hey Craig -- are you gonna eat that?" that's all think when I think about that whole scene... :rolleyes:
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#6 Pepperkorn

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 02:44 PM

a quick digression -- did you see this?

Wives and girlfriends lock-out NHL players

As if Donna wasn't enough -- now he's got another wife in Hunterdon?? :P
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#7 SueNJ97

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 02:55 PM

"Hey Craig -- are you gonna eat that?" 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Literally and figuratively, PK strikes again.

:doh1: :doh1: :doh1:
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#8 SueNJ97

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 02:56 PM

a quick digression -- did you see this?

Wives and girlfriends lock-out NHL players

As if Donna wasn't enough -- now he's got another wife in Hunterdon??  :P

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well, now that we know he's a BIGAMIST... :evil:

Just kidding, PK...it was pretty funny, though. Maybe THAT'S why the NHLPA is coming in with an offer.
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Now that we are going to have a season, I can post these...
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#9 Derek21

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 05:19 PM

How can anyone bash the guy for caring about his sport :rolleyes:? I think it's commendable what Shanahan is doing.
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#10 Pepperkorn

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 05:47 PM

:doh1: I

Edited by Pepperkorn, 07 December 2004 - 05:48 PM.

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#11 Derek21

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 06:34 PM

PK, would you feel the same way if it were Stevens?

I believe the players know what's best to fix the game because they play it and have seen the changes. And I also believe they wouldn't approve of an artificial shootout to decide playoff spots.

As far as whether Shanny's team won, I don't think that matters here. It's more about improving the quality of the game.

He didn't have to call a meeting. But he took all the measures and made phone calls to many different people and tried to garner interest. So, this wasn't just the Brendan Shanahan Show. It's an opportunity to look at ways to improve the game.

And when it comes down to it, that's MORE IMPORTANT than a new labor agreement. That's my number one criteria before the NHL even thinks about returning.
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"The greatest trick Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

 

Hasan, Brian and I blog at New York Puck. Devils, Islanders, Rangers and Sabres.


#12 AddictedToHockey

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 08:55 PM

I commend Shanahan for doing this -- the game of hockey is indeed in deep trouble, with declining TV ratings in most of the U.S., safety netting that obscures high-priced seats, and the labor stoppage. I think it's time someone stepped up to the plate and tried to do something about these problems -- perhaps this is at least a start!
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#13 Pepperkorn

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 09:51 AM

Derek -- Stevens wouldn't have a high profile hockey summit.

I'm not saying Shanahan is grand standing either. Shanahan has a nice mix of guys -- and this is better than the unpublicized non-productive bitch sessions I'm sure have been going on. It's perfectly lovely but nontheless it annoys me.

You know and I confess I have a worker bee mindset in many ways. As a player, I'm there to play not say HOW the game is to be played. I wouldn't think it really my place to initiate changes to the game. That's not my job. NOT that he's even doing that... Surface - this is a sweet meeting of wise hockey minds...that doesn't change the fact it annoys me -- you can be flabbergasted that I disagreeing with you on it -- fine so I'm an a$$hole. :noclue:
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#14 Jerrydevil

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 11:07 AM

Screw Shanahan. That was a PR ploy through and through.

GRANDSTANDING.

I hope his guests enjoyed the smoked salmon and champagne at the Four Seasons.
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#15 Derek21

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 05:53 PM

Screw Shanahan. That was a PR ploy through and through.

GRANDSTANDING.

I hope his guests enjoyed the smoked salmon and champagne at the Four Seasons.



Why can't a player care about improving the sport? I think Shanahan's intentions are genuine and a novel idea.


PK, you're not an ass. You're one of my favorite posters. We just have different stances on this issue.
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"The greatest trick Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

 

Hasan, Brian and I blog at New York Puck. Devils, Islanders, Rangers and Sabres.


#16 Jerrydevil

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 11:33 PM

Derek, it's possible he's genuine. I just don't believe it. I don't believe much that players or owners say.

If there was a fire in my office building, I hope a an NHL star or owner wasn't telling me about it. I'd stay at my desk. LOL!
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#17 Derek21

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 11:48 PM

I understand how you feel Jerry. This is an extremely difficult time for the fans because we're left out in the cold.

I have to believe there's some people out there that have their hearts in the right place. I pray that Bettman doesn't just outright reject the proposal tomorrow and sees some things in there that could be worked out.
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"The greatest trick Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

 

Hasan, Brian and I blog at New York Puck. Devils, Islanders, Rangers and Sabres.





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