We’ve just rolled out our second Watergate headline in a week, why is that classic case of a crime, and the cover-up that brought down the president, so on our minds? There are two crimes here. The first is the criminal acts Brad Aldrich committed, and the second is the not technically illegal way the Chicago team dealt with all of that at the time. The cover-up that has been exposed began in earnest in 2020 when Kyle Beach launched his lawsuit.
Gary Bettman and Bill Daly met with the press yesterday and said the following things about who knew what, when they knew it, and why the league has made the choices they have made:
Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says Blackhawks first contacted NHL last December concerning possible civil litigation. Team told the league it had "no merit." Daly says league learned of specific allegations after suit filed in May.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) November 1, 2021
Why did Joel Quenneville coach last Wednesday: wanted to make sure that no one, including Coach Quenneville, could say that I had prejudged him. Bettman recognizes there is disagreement on this.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) November 1, 2021
Later: "Kevin was such a minor player in all of this. When they were doing the investigation, the only person who placed Kevin in the room for the meeting was Kevin.”— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) November 1, 2021
Elliotte Friedman, an analyst with Hockey Night In Canada, said Cheveldayoff will also face questions about the discrepancy between a statement he made earlier this year and what the report stated about the delay in action over the allegations against Aldrich.
In July, Cheveldayoff said in a statement he had “no knowledge of any allegations involving Mr. Aldrich until asked if I was aware of anything just prior to the conclusion of his employment with the Chicago Blackhawks.”
The report makes that period of time three weeks — during which time Aldrich is alleged to have made another unwanted advance.
“There was a statement that came out a while ago that was a denial. And now the name is there, right? So you have to explain it,” Friedman said. “This isn’t going to go away until we have some answers.” Source
#NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the league will engage an outside firm to audit the practices put in place and ensure that they are effective and appropriate.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) November 1, 2021
This is news to me & not true. I am Akim’s rep & NHL has not been in touch with us for over a year. Also, investigation was into broader issues of racism Akim experienced entire career in NHL & not limited to Peters. Witnesses we told them about haven’t been contacted. https://t.co/GeE2P614oj— Ben Meiselas (@meiselasb) November 1, 2021
It's really difficult to empower individuals and preach the importance of individual agency if someone abdicating their obligation to report avoids accountability based on the fact that he manages the salary cap and this is deemed outside of "the scope of his authority"— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) November 1, 2021
It’s hard not to feel like Cheveldayoff is benefitting by having crafted a technically true, but misleading story about the “when he knew it” portion of this problem. Meanwhile the fallout continues as the NHLPA head Donald Fehr proposed an investigation into their failures during a meeting of the Executive Board (32 player representatives) last night:
TORONTO (November 1, 2021) On the NHLPA’s Executive Board call today, Don Fehr recommended that an independent investigation be commenced by outside legal counsel in order to review the NHLPA’s response to the Kyle Beach matter. The Executive Board is currently voting on this matter.
I'm told there were about 80 players on NHLPA call. Players asked questions.— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) November 1, 2021
Don Fehr recommended hiring outside legal counsel for review of NHLPA's handling of Kyle Beach & find out what happened. Exec board will vote on that (likely tmrw, as some guys had to leave for games)
It’s very heartening to see that 50 or so players who didn’t have to join this call chose to, but not everyone thinks an investigation is necessary:
Clearly, there should be some form of punishment for Dr. Brian Shaw, the NHLPA's therapist, for failure to report.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) November 2, 2021
But Fehr has told players, staff and the #Blackhawks investigation he has no recollection.
Is he supposed to suddenly remember now?
Investigations are good, and discovering the systemic problems that lead to a culture of silence and cover-up is necessary, but this all feels very like Fehr delaying things hoping the players have some new issue to care about that will deflect attention away from things that happened on his watch.
The NHL needs to rebuild a lot of trust with the players, the fans and the general public, and it’s hard to see how all these carefully crafted statements of technicalities are helping with that.
In particular the investigation into Bill Peters which is magically done, finished silently in a closed room it would seem, covers a period of time on the Rockford IceHogs, AHL affiliate of Chicago, in the 2009-2010 season. Who would consider that unrelated to the organizational failures surrounding Aldrich? Akim Aliu was a teammate of Kyle Beach in Rockford.
This story feels dramatically unresolved, and nothing the NHL is doing, even their laudable efforts, is putting someone who has no control over a player’s future in the position of taking their reports of improper conduct. Until that happens, this all seems like a setup for the big scandal of 2030 where everyone says, oh, well, that was a decade ago, and we’ve changed.
To come: the postponed media availability of Cheveldayoff, and the result of the NHLPA vote.
Canadiens have assigned Cole Caufield to the Laval Rocket and recalled Michael Pezzetta, in addition to placing Mathieu Perreault on the injured reserve list.#GoHabsGo https://t.co/5uKscCiBB7— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) November 1, 2021
Pezzetta is rhe Greek word for towel. Just throwing that out there. https://t.co/pAhHtMLXp4— Gus Katsaros (@KatsHockey) November 1, 2021
Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be forwards:
Seven years, $9.5M AAV for Adam Fox— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) November 1, 2021
And there’s a game today! Vegas is in town, and hopefully by late afternoon, we’ll have the list of the players left standing on that team. William Karlsson is now on the injured list, however.
Check this out if you haven’t:
Topi Niemelä is having a breakout offensive year and we need to talk about it - Pension Plan Puppets
Niemelä is scoring at a rate no U20 defensmen in the Liiga has before, but what does that mean?
And try to have a good Tuesday, everyone.