TSN's Hockey Insiders discuss the timeline on Gary Bettman's planned meetings with Kevin Cheveldayoff and Joel Quenneville, what's next for USA Hockey with Stan Bowman stepping down, and much more.
Gino Reda: While the Blackhawks shook things up internally, the commissioner says he is now going to conduct personal meetings with Kevin Cheveldayoff and Joel Quenneville in the near future. Do we have a timeline for those meetings?
Chris Johnston: Well, beyond the near future we don’t. As of Tuesday night the NHL commissioner had not yet coordinated schedules to figure out the exact timing with the Winnipeg Jets on the West Coast, Kevin Cheveldayoff is with the team there and in Florida Joel Quenneville is at home with the Florida Panthers. Certainly this is something the commissioner will want to get to soon, because it’s my understanding that we won’t see any type of discipline or fallout when it comes to those two gentlemen until after those conversations have happened and the commissioner can get a better sense of their potential involvement or not in this situation.
Reda: Teams are trying to conduct business as usual through all of this, how concerned are the Jets given Kevin Cheveldayoff’s impending meeting with the commissioner?
Darren Dreger: There would be a level of concern, this is a serious matter, nobody in Winnipeg is trying to dodge [this]. I believe that commissioner Bettman has already reached out to ownership of the Winnipeg Jets and has likely had a conversation with general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff as well. Look, dissecting statements can be a real tricky business. But if you look at the statement that Kevin Cheveldayoff issued back in July, he made it abundantly clear that he knew nothing of the allegations until a meeting, and I believe that he stands firm in that position today. Now, also be mindful of the fact that Cheveldayoff was an assistant general manager for the Blackhawks, largely responsible for managing their cap situation back in 2010. So he had bosses above him and he likely believes at the time, or believes now, that the situation of those allegations were being handled appropriately by senior management.
Pierre LeBrun: In the meantime, the Florida Panthers aren’t going to comment any further at this point until after Joel Quenneville has met with commissioner Gary Bettman, and as Chris said, don’t know exactly when that meeting will happen except I was just told by a source “sooner rather than later.” In the meantime there is no reason to believe that he won’t be behind the bench Wednesday night, but I can’t tell you that 100 per cent. But clearly despite putting out a statement this past summer about this, Joel Quenneville will obviously have more questions to answer from media after his meeting with Bettman given how prevalent his presence is in the report.
Reda: Stan Bowman has now officially stepped down as general manager for USA Hockey for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games, what happens on that front now?
Johnston: Remains to be seen. USA Hockey officials were flying back to Colorado on Tuesday afternoon when the news came out. Stan Bowman, of course, stepped down a little while later. There is some belief within the industry that Bill Guerin, who has been his assistant general manager in the Olympic process, will step into the big chair. But no confirmation from USA Hockey on that, it would make sense of course, Guerin has been a part of this right from the beginning.
Reda: What about the Blackhawks front office, this was a big purge of their leadership team, where do they go from here?
Dreger: I’m sure the Wirtz family wants time to digest and let things settle down a little bit. They named Kyle Davidson the interim general manager. But you look at the transition phase of the Chicago Blackhawks and it reeks of needing experience and there are some experienced general managers, former general managers available. Jimmy Rutherford is well rested, he’d prefer to be the president of hockey operations, but would take a GM job for the right fit. Jeff Gorton, formerly of the New York Rangers, you’ve got Ray Shero as an experienced GM as well. Not to mention there will be a long list of guys who believe they should be on that list of candidates, but that will come in time.