Here’s Eric Duhatchek’s take on Brendan Shanahan the new league Vice President of hockey and business development:
What Brendan Shanahan will bring to the mix as the NHL’s new vice president of hockey and business development is a balanced voice, freshly removed from the playing arena, that can address some of the contentious issues floating around the game now – concussions, head shots, injuries of all sorts. Shanahan was both skilled (a 600-goal scorer) and tough (a 2,000-penalty minute man), the only player in history with a foot in both camps. As such, Shanahan should bring a measured response to change – protecting the physical play that makes hockey so appealing, but acting as an advocate for players where protection is needed. Example: Last year, the NHLPA – of which he was a member – voted overwhelmingly to support a rule limiting contact to the head. The league rebuffed the overture. Maybe, with Shanahan in the hen house, it’ll now get a second look.
I don’t buy it. His job is mostly on the business side despite the fact that he is not really qualified for the job. (Even if his new position was on the hockey side, I doubt if he would have the influence to moderate the league position on headshots. The NHLPA was rebuffed because the general managers are afraid ticket sales would be adversely affected if thunderous hits were discouraged. Period.)
“Just after Brendan retired did the league immediately decide they needed help on the business side? Come on. This is a thank you, I suppose, for what he did as a player and at the summit, but there are ten other guys out there that are looking for work and it is a little too suspicious. I hope he does well, this is not against Brendan Shanahan, but it leaves me scratching my head here. Why this position is being created for Brendan Shanahan when there are plenty of other [qualified] guys who can do the same thing? Does Brendan Shanahan have a business degree to help John Collins? That’s a pretty big position to be responsible for. And now he’s going with Bill Daly to negotiate a deal with the KHL? Boy that’s really… he’s a fast learner.” – Mike Milbury
I have not been kind to Mike Milbury on more than one occasion and I’d even concluded that he was a league mouthpiece. Obviously that is incorrect. On this issue Mad Mike is miles offside, but – I think – entirely correct. Shanahan is not remotely qualified for a position on the business side. Maybe he is smart enough, but what did he ever do to earn an apprenticeship at that level?
He isn’t being rewarded for his behaviour during the labour dispute, is he? How many other players had lunch with Gary Bettman during the lockout? It may reek of corruption, but hey, nobody can say that Gary doesn’t take care of his friends.