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NHLPA expected to extend league's CBA

Major announcements are due from the NHL Players Association by the end of the month.<br />

The NHL Players Association intends to divulge before month’s end whether it will:

A) End its collective bargaining agreement with the NHL or extend it another two seasons.

B) Fire former superstar Eric Lindros as its ombudsman or retain him.

Hockey sources predicted in chats with Metro on Tuesday that the NHLPA will announce during festivities surrounding the All-Star Game in Montreal Jan. 25 that its player representatives are choosing to extend the agreement. The CBA that ended the 2004-05 NHL lockout gave the players the option to either terminate the existing agreement next September or extend it two more seasons. The sources said players are not interested in a major labour battle during these troubling economic times, and have already voted to extend the existing agreement and intend to enthusiastically announce their decision in Montreal.

At the same time, the sources said, the union might announce the firing of Lindros. They said his firing is possible because of a major division in the NHLPA over his contributions. Union executives won’t publicly discuss Lindros but some say privately he’s caused rifts and has improperly handled his job.

During the NHL lockout, sports networks picked up poker to fill air time and, years later, poker ratings remain high. But is poker a sport? I’m beginning to think so, and I’ll be profiling Canadian poker player Isabelle Mercier this week, but I’d like to know your thoughts. E-mail marty.york@metronews.ca to tell me if you consider poker a sport.

Incidentally, the most-searched word on the Internet in 2008? Poker.

• Mike Benevides stunned the Argonauts recently by rejecting their offer to become Toronto’s head coach, but his decision may well be a blessing for his predecessor with the B.C. Lions.

Dave Ritchie, who left B.C. before last season and was replaced as the team’s defensive co-ordinator by Benevides, has been contacted by the Argos and has emerged as one of the top two candidates for the job. The other is Bart Andrus, an assistant coach with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.

If Andrus is chosen, the Argos will try to recruit Ritchie as assistant head coach and defensive co-ordinator. Ritchie, 70, spent 25 years in Canada as a head and assistant coach and his knowledge of the league could help Andrus, who has no CFL experience.

Marty York is Metro's national sports columnist as well as an
instructor at the College of Sports Media in Toronto. He can be heard
regularly on Vancouver radio station CKNW with Sportstalk host Dan
Russell. Contact Marty at marty.york@metronews.ca

 
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