blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: Glenn Healy Interview - 2009 NHLPA Meetings

Monday, June 29, 2009

Glenn Healy Interview - 2009 NHLPA Meetings

Last week we met with NHLPA Director of Player Affairs Glenn Healy at the Players' Meetings in Las Vegas to discuss the CBA, Olympic participation, and regular season length. These are his stories.

Q: Are the players concerned about rising escrow payments?
A: Ask anyone out there if they want to give 18% of their paycheck back. They would probably say a resounding no. They're not happy about that in any way. It’s the league’s responsibility to grow the game. Our responsibility is the 60 minutes you play and we’ve done a pretty darn good job with that.

Q: How do you balance the desire to grow against finding sustainable markets to host teams?
A: We have no say in that. We don't get a vote. It's not worth even thinking about.

Q: Who are some of the stronger active player voices in the NHLPA?
A: We broke into four small groups today. Manny Malhotra and Robyn Regehr were big voices in my group.

Q: Do subgroups of players ever bind together to persuade the NHLPA to table issues specific to their needs?
A: I think we kind of get the idea of what a team is about. Mark Messier talked today about being part of that Players' Association team. I don’t think that’s an issue. I think our guys understand what a team is. They do it every day all year long. They get it.

Q: Has a player ever sent a lawyer to a NHLPA meeting on their behalf or has a group of players ever hired a lawyer to voice an opinion?
A: I’ve never seen it happen in my 15 meetings.

Q: Has the NHLPA given thought to CBA extension in 2011?
A: Strategy is way underway. The horses are way out of the barn for 2011.

Q: Are the Olympics a priority going forward?
A: Ask Ovechkin what he thinks about Sochi, Russia. We almost had to put a seatbelt on him at the player meeting when he saw it was going to be a potential Olympics. To play an Olympics in your country when you're the most powerful and most important person in the hockey world? The players in a resounding way believe that in a worldwide growth aspect the Olympics are something that has great potential for us.

Q: What do players feel is the ideal length for the regular season?
A: Less practice. The seven days between games where the coach gets to pretend he's Attila the Hun, put a game in there. And taking away the pre-season would probably be a thing guys would look at. Why are we playing nine exhibition games? Teams are already picked in a cap world.

Many thanks to Glenn for speaking with us.