Dreger: Questions aplenty about Kelly's dismissal

Darren Dreger

8/31/2009 11:22:58 AM

The executive board and those involved in the decision to fire Paul Kelly as the NHLPA's executive director are expected to answer questions on Monday as day two of the Players Associations meetings are underway.

Why? Will be among the first questions asked as many around the hockey community come to grips with the news of Kelly's dismissal.

Whispers of unhappiness with Kelly's distance with some players was itemized as a concern going into Sunday's showdown, while a perception Kelly may have been too close to the NHL commissioners office was also offered by a source close to the battle as an issue as well.

But, there has to be more to it than that, and we will find out when the players and board members face the TSN camera this morning.

The board met on Sunday for over 10 hours in Chicago. Much of that time, Paul Kelly spent waiting with his supporters (Glenn Healy and Pat Flatley) in a hotel corridor.

He was invited in at least three times, the last being just after 3:30am eastern.

At this point Kelly was given news of his demise.

He bolted from the boardroom visibly upset, he refused to comment and simply retreated to where Healy, Flatley and others were waiting before quickly leaving the area all together.

There was a brief gathering of the divisional players reps with interim ombudsman Buzz Hargrove, general counsel Ian Penny and advisory board head, Ron Pink mulling about before the entire group retired after an incredibly long day.

At times, it was fascinating to watch.

Sources say there were moments of heated debate in the meeting, especially early into the discussions when Kelly and Healy passionately argued their case.

Hargrove was clearly a key player in this power shift and he was called in and out of the main board discussion on a number of occasions, the first including a presentation detailing some of Kelly's alleged flaws.

Will Hargrove assume a position of power?

Will Ron Pink be given a job he interviewed for but didn't get?

Will Ian Penny's name be raised as a possible replacement as the board now must determine who will be Paul Kelly's successor.

Some of these questions will be answered as the day unfolds, so stay tuned...