As has been leaked for several days now, US Secretary of Labor (man that was hard not to put the u in there) Marty Walsh will shortly resign from the Biden administration and become the head of the NHL Players Association.
Word came late on Tuesday that the hold up on the announcement wasn’t just the State of the Union address by the President, but also the fact that Walsh was the designated survivor for the night.
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, who is expected to leave the Cabinet soon, is the designated survivor tonight, the White House says.— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) February 8, 2023
Everything I know about the designated survivor, I learned watching Netflix and Kiefer Sutherland. Okay, I lasted half an episode, so CNN to the rescue:
According to the National Constitution Center, the tradition of a designated survivor during the State of the Union speech began in the 1950s as a result of fears of a nuclear attack during the Cold War. But the federal government did not publicly name the designated survivor until 1981, when President Ronald Reagan’s Education Secretary Terrel Bell assumed the designation for an address to a joint session of Congress.
What this means is that the official announcement of Walsh’s resignation and assumption of duties at the NHLPA will likely happen today or tomorrow.
Who is Walsh? He is a former labour lawyer and mayor of Boston, and he was and is a very big surprise as the the candidate of choice of the NHL players. The NHL players struck a search committee, headed by Kyle Okposo, who hired a head-hunting firm and brought candidates forward to replace Donald Fehr. The Executive Board, made up of the 32 player reps from all the teams voted on who to present to the membership, who then voted. This vote was said to have taken place over the All-Star Game weekend.
According the Elliotte Freidman and Jeff Marek on the 32 Thoughts podcast, this hasn’t been without controversy. They reported that two versions of an email went out to various people (some with big twitter follower numbers) casting aspersions on Walsh and trying to make something of the fairly benign fact he’d taken donations from the Jacobs family (owners of the Boston Bruins) when he was running for mayor of Boston. The first version of this email touted the better bona fides of Mike Gillis, a former player agent and NHL executive. The second version omitted his name, and no one should think Gillis was involved in this whisper campaign. It did seem to gain traction with the credulous, and is a measure of the damage Donald Trump and his willing accomplices did to American society that a member of the US government can be cast as unqualified to lead the smallest players union in the big four professional sports.
Walsh is a Boston Democrat, who ran for mayor, won, left for the Biden administration before seeking re-election there and is now leaving that job before Biden faces re-election. It’s an interesting trajectory where he leaves before anyone has much bad to say about him.
The really curious part of this choice on the part of the players is that Walsh doesn’t read as a conciliatory guy who you hire to maintain the status quo, and that was the overall expectation of what the players were after. It might well be that pundits underestimated the fervor with which the players want their rights to make their own medical decisions respected. The players also want to go to the Olympics and want control over monetizing their own images — all per reports over the last few years from those in a position to know.
I, as a pro-labour social democrat, am thrilled by this choice, and my desire is always to see labour flex their muscles.
In hockey terms, hiring Walsh is tantamount to getting that rarest of jewels at the deadline — a tough as nails hard body forechecker who also scores a lot of goals.
Speaking of the deadline, there’s some trade talk at MLHS:
New Leafs Notebook up - Wrote about why I think the Leafs interest in a defenseman is very much real and justified, and how their bottom six forwards stack up against Tampa and Boston. Plus Notes, Quotes, Tweets and 5 Things: https://t.co/198vGi7VBq— Anthony Petrielli (@APetrielli) February 7, 2023
And Chris Johnston has things to say about the Leafs I actually agree with:
Kim Pegula’s daughter discloses her mother’s health situation:
The Maple Leafs are doing the outdoor practice this coming weekend:
Look, I don’t like the Islanders fans either, but this is pretty cool:
I think they like Bo Horvat on Long Island pic.twitter.com/DgGunFxoTW— Randip Janda (@RandipJanda) February 8, 2023
I always like fans being fans.
And that’s it for today so far, have a good Wednesday and don’t take any more crap off of anyone than a hard-scrapping Boston Democrat like Walsh would.