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Dreger: Kelly, NHLPA battle could turn nasty

Darren Dreger
10/2/2009 4:48:19 PM
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Sunday's NHLPA conference call is expected to determine the status of Paul Kelly's contract and whether a legal battle will be waged between Kelly and his former employer.

If the executive board decides Kelly was fired with cause and elects not to honour the remainder of Kelly's agreement, the gloves will likely come off.

Sources say Kelly would swiftly launch a lawsuit challenging all aspects of his dismissal while trying to prove a conspiracy to undermine his leadership may have been in the planning for months.

This battle could truly turn nasty, with some close to Kelly insisting he will scorch the earth in a ferocious fight to repair his reputation and clear his name.

There's another possibility that's far-fetched and unlikely, but not out of the question entirely. If the players were to admit they made a major mistake and clean house, which would include Ian Penny's removal as interim Executive Director, there are some who believe Paul Kelly would consider returning to the players association, as would Glenn Healy, whose return to broadcasting would quickly end.

Healy resigned as director of player affairs for the NHLPA following Kelly's firing and the Chicago meetings, where Healy's ethics were also called into question.

It may be too soon for the players to consider this option, but based on an eroding trust in current union leadership and the union's future somewhat in question, at this stage anything is possible.

Darren Dreger

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