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NHLPA Files Grievance Against Caps (Updated)

The NHLPA has filed a grievance against the Capitals because the team has denied players' association representatives access to the dressing room areas at Verizon Center, which the PA claims is against league policy.

Prior to the game on Oct. 13 in Washington, Joe Reekie, a former Capital who now works for the PA as a divisional representative, was denied access to the dressing room area, according to sources. PA general counsel Ian Penny also was in attendance and was originally denied access to the event floor, but was later escorted to the dressing room area to meet with a member of the Vancouver Canucks, but only after Commissioner Gary Bettman set up the meeting with the player, according to sources. Bettman was at Verizon Center for other reasons.

The PA claims that Reekie and Penny should have been granted access to the dressing room according to the league's media guidelines, which read, in part, "No one other than NHL, NHLPA or team representatives or properly accredited members of the Media shall be allowed in dressing rooms during Media access periods."

I'm told by sources that the PA has had few, if any, similar issues with other teams. But having covered the Capitals for a number of years now, I know full well that General Manager George McPhee does not permit player agents or PA reps to conduct business on the event floor or in the dressing room areas. He feels, I'm told, that agents and PA reps have ample opportunity to conduct their business with players outside of the building.

I asked the Capitals about this, and they referred all inquires to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly.

Daly told me that he believes the PA is misinterpreting the media availability guidelines and that McPhee and the Capitals have the right to determine who is granted access to the dressing rooms on game days.

"Nothing in the CBA compels greater access than the Caps are providing currently," Daly said moments ago.

Penny said in a statement: "The NHLPA confirms that it has filed a grievance regarding the Washington Capitals recent denial of event level and dressing room access to NHLPA staff. The Club's actions violate the negotiated media access policy, which is an extension of the CBA and is binding on all NHL Clubs."

The grievance will be heard by arbitrator Richard Bloch in the near future, I'm told. If the Bloch rules in favor of the PA, the worst that can happen to the Capitals is that they will have to revise their access guidelines.

Ealier this year, the Capitals declined to provide Reekie, who used to do postgame analysis for Comcast Sportnet, with a media credential because of his position with the PA.

The grievance was reported today by TSN.ca and the Toronto Star.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 20, 2008; 7:11 PM ET
 
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Comments

I guess Reekie won't be eager to attend any alumni games any time soon.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 20, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

GMGM is just trying to flex his muscles. Really nothing to worry about.

Posted by: goskinsgo | November 20, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

wow. GMGM just continues to increase is "hugability" quotient. i suppose i dont disagree with having agents and player reps around in the locker room. however, i have seen reekie on tv before, its doubtful he would have anything to say which could be of any use to anyone.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 20, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

The fact that nobody besides "NHL, NHLPA or team representatives or properly accredited members of the Media" is allowed does not mean that all of those members are required to be allowed, its just limiting anyone else. Unless there are other parts of the agreement not posted I don't see how the caps have done anything wrong.

Posted by: finnmeg | November 20, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

i should have said i dont disagree with barring agents and player reps...double negative anyone.

in a related story, caps announcer joe benninati was banned from space mountain at disney land due to not meeting minimum height requirements.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 20, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Typical silly grievance. What on earth were they (NHLPA) going to discuss before a game anyway.

Posted by: UllyFrustratedCapsFan | November 20, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

goskinsgo:
I read it in the actual rag - I subscribe to the magazine. I will see if I can find it online ...

Posted by: Boo- | November 20, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Somehow, somewhere...this is Theodore's fault.

Posted by: Section117 | November 20, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

goskinsgo:
I found the article online by logging in to The Hockey News with my subscription account info. However, I can't cut and paste the text (it is locked down). But (ironically enough) I can email it. So if you want to post your email address I can send it to you (or, if you have anyone's email address here, several people know how to contact me). BTW, it is a Joe Starkey article - cover title is, "Ovechkin vs. Malkin - the NHL's Craziest Feud"; the actual article title is, "MVP Venom".

Posted by: Boo- | November 20, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

finnmeg has it right - just because those named are the only ones allowed does not compel GMGM to provide them access.

Posted by: Section303 | November 20, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Seems more geared to keeping random schmucks from asking the players stupid questions when the players are made available to the media.

I don't remember seeing Ovie or Backstrom asking anyone for their credentials before answering questions...

Posted by: austinsteve | November 20, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

...not that the media has ever asked our players a stupid or lazy question

Posted by: austinsteve | November 20, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh good LORD. What a crock!

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

The only true winners here are the lawyers invovled. What a stupid, petty waste of money this is.

Posted by: sargeantmofo | November 20, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

New thread, boys and girls!

Posted by: Boo- | November 20, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

GM jerking the Union around. Real disappointing. Don't tell me he's lost in some anti-union ideology. You're a class act GM. Get with it and act like a professional! You have a contract! Honor it!

Posted by: large23220 | November 20, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

finnmeg beat me to it.

"No one other than NHL, NHLPA or team representatives or properly accredited members of the Media shall be allowed in dressing rooms during Media access periods"...Does not mean any of these people should be able to come or go as they please...

Posted by: Hatfield223 | November 21, 2008 2:54 AM | Report abuse

I agree with GMGM on this, there is a time and a place for everything. Next thing the PA will want to go down in between periods and have a "discussion" with a player.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | November 21, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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