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Paul Kelly fallout: ex-Islander Patrick Flatley resigns from NHLPA

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Update: We're NHLPA-heavy here today, but do check out Doug's hilarious FanPost about what a more adversarial turn in NHLPA direction could mean for the fans who pay union salaries.

NHLPA Assistant Director of player affairs Pat Flatley resigned, and said he did so minutes after Kelly was dismissed.

Another source inside yesterday's meeting described it as a "crucifixion."

>>Darren Dreger, TSN

Patrick Flatley was lured away from a job with the NHL just under a year ago, chosen to be "Glenn Healy's right-hand man" as assistant director of player affairs.

I must admit, while I have no insider knowledge of the NHLPA's incestuous drama -- and I'm jumping the gun by already concluding the union has made a mistake -- I felt an instant sense of fan pride when I read that the former Islander Flatley resigned shortly after Kelly's firing. Apparently fellow ex-Islander Healy is also "pro-Kelly," though I've seen no reports about his status (and, truth be told, you could imagine some trying to persuade Flatley to change his mind).

So, why the admittedly misplaced fan pride? Because this simply smells foul; if Flatley agrees, good on him for opting out of this mess. Two years ago, the NHLPA finally did a thorough search and hired a qualified labor man as their head, one who balanced league "partnership" with tough talk -- I'll call that realist pragmatism -- and now they've fired him before the next CBA has even come to the horizon. That former union ombudsman Eric Lindros -- who has rarely touched hockey and left it better off, in my view -- appears to (still) be at the center of this strikes me as reflective of a union that's in over its head.

But barring further information, and my rush to judgment aside, I'd say at least this much is true of the NHLPA, from Matt of Birdwatchers Anonymous:

it seems to me that they have a flaw in their hiring process and in the expectations of their members. ... Personally, it seemed to me that Kelly was doing his job and I'm not sure I really understand why he was let go. I think they would be wise to do a full job search again and hire a competent labor attorney rather than just hire someone they are familiar with, but early rumblings are they will pick someone who sits on their advisory board.

Great.