Shanahan Hired by NHL

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I think many of us saw this coming from a mile away when Shanahan’s retirement was announced by the NHL, rather than the NHLPA, as is usual.

Via TSN and Bob McKenzie’s Twitter:

Brendan Shanahan has found a job.

The recently retired NHL star will officially be hired by the NHL today.

Sources say the announcement is expected to come on NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s weekly radio show this afternoon.

Shanahan’s title will be Vice President, Hockey and Business Development. He is expected to work both with Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly in the NHL’s New York office, although he’s also likely to be involved with executive vice president Colie Campbell’s Toronto-based hockey operations department.

The Chief thinks Shanny’s sold out.  Petrella of The Production Line disagrees:

Brendan Shanahan immediately becomes the most clear-thinking employee of the National Hockey League, and we at TPL think he’s going to turn this damn thing around if it kills him. Gray skies are gonna clear up…put on a happy face!

Gotta go with Petrella on this one.  There is a very clear reason why Shanahan was not hired by the NHLPA and that’s because some players felt that he was too cozy with the league and the commish during the lockout and his “Shanahan Summit.”  But what that ignores is the fact that he brought the game back.  Period.

Shanahan is not afraid of change, clearly, and I believe that he has the interest of the game at heart, rather than the success of the actual league or the revenue or whatever else.  Back in 2006 he said to Michael Farber:

“You sit around with guys after a game, and you hear all these ideas how to make things better,” Shanahan says. “Then you wake up the next day, and it’s forgotten. I started thinking about [organizing a meeting] after the [November 2004] Hall of Fame induction of Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey and Larry Murphy. I read comments Coffey made [decrying] the state of the game. So I thought maybe we should all talk about it. I called one player and one agent and asked if a meeting like this could ever happen. They both told me no. So I went ahead and tried to do it.”

Those are words of a guy who cares about the state of the game, how it’s played, and how to make it better.  He’s not going to kowtow to Bettman.  He’s got enough influence to actually improve the game and the league, and I think he’ll get it done.  So congrats, Shanny.

–Edit, 3:45pm–

Just listened to about half of Shanahan’s interview on the NHL Hour with Bettman.  Shanny made a point that I intended to mention, which is that he played pre- and post-lockout.  He said, he knows what it’s like to play with the instigator rule and without it, for example.  He knows what works and what doesn’t, and what players like and don’t like because he was on the ice.  He also thinks that his new title, VP of Hockey and Business Development is “very sexy.”  Oh, Shanny.

Posted by EM   @   3 December 2009 2 comments
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Dec 3, 2009
9:38 pm
#1 joe :

Very good write up and great to hear the NHL getting someone that actually cares about the game! I’d like to hear what his first changes will be.

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