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BOG Meeting Update

he National Hockey League’s Board of Governors will meet Friday to vote on the ratification of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and to consider rule changes for implementation. The meeting will be conducted at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, 53rd Street and Seventh Avenue. The meeting will begin at 1 p.m., ET Media work room facilities will be available in The Riverside Suite on the Third Floor. Following the Board of Governors session, beginning at approximately 3 p.m., ET, Commissioner Bettman will conduct a news conference in The Riverside Ballroom, also on the Third Floor. Should the Collective Bargaining Agreement be ratified, a Draft Drawing will be conducted to determine the Order of Selection for the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. The Draft Drawing will be televised by TSN in Canada and by various outlets in the U.S., beginning at approximately 4 p.m., ET.

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Contract for Rookies Could Grow

via Sportsnet,

If Alexander Ovechkin decides to play in the NHL next season, he could still make mega-bucks, writes the National Post. An agent told the Post that the NHL's soon-to-be-ratified CBA will cap entry-level salaries at US$850,000, but will allow players to earn another US$850,000 in performance bonuses and up to US$4-million more if he finishes in the top 10 in goals, assists, points, or wins a major award, such as the Calder Trophy. Goalies would receive similar bonuses. "The entry-level system is not bad at all," a top agent told the Post. "It could be very lucrative. It's based on merit. If you perform well, you will make a lot of money."

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Comcast in Philly Covering the NHL Draft Show

From Phil, a reader of Kukla's Korner. Comcast in Philly will be covering th NHL lottery selection show beginning at 4pm on Friday, July 22nd. They will also be covering the NHL Draft on July 30th from noon-3pm.

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First Test of the CBA

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

By advancing to the Stanley Cup final in their most recent season, the Flames stirred hope among their fans. Their leader in what became a thrilling post-season -- and might have become a Stanley Cup season had an apparent Game 6 goal been allowed to stand -- was their captain, Jarome Iginla. Without Iginla, any hope the Flames might have for another run at the Cup is tenuous as best. But under the terms of the new CBA, Iginla has to play only one more season before becoming an unconditional free agent. At the moment, he's a conditional free agent, not under contract to the Flames, but unlikely to go anywhere else. So the Flames, whose CEO, Harley Hotchkiss, is the chairman of the National Hockey League board of governors, and was one of the key architects of the strategy that shut down hockey for a full season, now face a dilemma. They have with the onerous task of trying to make the newly crafted CBA do what Hotchkiss insisted it would do -- level the playing field for the small-market teams. The Flames must first of all decide whether Iginla is in their long-range plans. If he isn't, then they simply go through the motions, pay him the least they can get away with in the upcoming season, and let him go to the team of his choice in the following year.

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NHLPA Confident of Vote

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Senators centre Mike Fisher will get his first look at the NHL's new collective bargaining agreement today at the Toronto Westin Hotel. And it won't change his vote one bit. The reality is the nuts and bolts of the deal are irrelevant to Fisher and virtually every other player who watched a season go down the tubes because of the lockout. "You can't say it 100% until you get a look at it, but I've pretty much decided which way I'm going to vote. I want to get back to playing hockey. I've had enough of this crap. It's time to start playing hockey again," Fisher told the Sun yesterday from Peterborough.

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Scotty Talks Hockey and Golf from Scotland

from the Denver Post,

In a foreign country, nothing startles a tourist like bumping into a friend from back home. It messes with the sense of time and place. "Hey, what are you doing here?" the voice whispered behind my right ear, as I stood at the fourth tee box watching Jack Nicklaus at the British Open. This being Scotland, where serious walks and golf are national pastimes, it might figure a lad named Scotty would be out strolling 18 holes on a summer afternoon. But not this particular Scotty, who had my shoulder in a vise grip. What in the world was he doing here? "How did you get out on the course?" hockey legend Scotty Bowman asked by way of saying hello. "Are you friends with Jack?" "No," I replied, about to confirm what Bowman must have suspected through years of our testy exchanges under playoff duress. "I don't know Jack." The greatest NHL coach who ever lived laughed. Not at me. With me. I think. He wore a baseball cap from the All-Star Game in Detroit. "Shows you how crazy I am," said Bowman, who is 71 but gladly acting half his age. "I came here straight from a baseball game."

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Bonuses Restricted

from the Toronto Globe and Mail,

Under the league's new collective agreement, bonuses will be severely restricted and not just to entry-level players such as Sidney Crosby, the star of this month's lottery draft. According to several NHL team officials who are still sifting through the new agreement, players will no longer receive team bonuses, money that used to be paid out if a team recorded a specific number of wins or made the playoffs. Individual performance bonuses will be paid to players who have existing contracts (minus the 24-per-cent rollback) but players negotiating new deals will be subjected to limitations. For example, if a player leads the league in scoring or is voted the top goaltender, he will receive a bonus payment from the NHL. The standardized bonus money would not count against the individual team's cap of $39-million (all figures U.S.) but would instead count against the league-wide cap that guarantees 54 per cent of all revenue to the players.

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Rules Discussion Ongoing

Some of the more interesting rules that are being discussed per the Toronto Globe and Mail,

Instigator: The instigator rule will remain, meaning a player deemed to have started a fight is tossed from the game. But if the infraction occurs in the last five minutes of a game, the player also receives a one-game suspension and his head coach is fined $10,000 (all figures U.S.). If the team pays the fine, the club is fined $100,000. Diving: The league will warn a player for the first incident. There will be a $1,000 fine for a second incident, $2,000 for a third, and a one-game suspension for a fourth. In the playoffs, a third- and fourth-time offender will be fined $5,000, but if one these multiple offenders is nailed two or more times, it's a one-game suspension. Complaints: Players, coaches and general managers are subject to fines of as much as $100,000 for derogatory comments about the officiating. Playoffs: The postseason could be expanded to 20 clubs from 16, with the third- and fourth-place teams in each of the six divisions competing in a best-of-three, play-in round. Officiating: Officials will be geographically located to work in divisions and work in two-referee teams as well as meet with team captains and coaches before each game.

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Players Still Unhappy

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Members of the NHL Players' Association will gather at a Toronto hotel today to learn about the collective bargaining agreement the group's executives have negotiated with the league. They'll be briefed on the finer points of the salary cap and free agency, learn the details of qualifying offers and entry-level contracts. And when they're not listening, some of the players figure to have a few words for NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow. They'll be looking to let him, and the rest of the NHLPA hierarchy, know what they think of the proposed CBA. Which, in a lot of cases, isn't much. At least a few NHLPA members, angry that their leaders abandoned their core belief that a salary cap and linkage between revenues and payrolls were unacceptable under any circumstances, are expected to vent during the meeting.

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Key Dates

* July 23: Buyout period begins; also begins the period to negotiate with 2003 draft picks and teams' own free agents. * July 28: 5 p.m. EDT deadline for signing 2003 draft picks (otherwise they re-enter 2005 draft); deadline for exercising club/player options for 2005-06 season. * July 29: 5 p.m. EDT deadline for player buyouts. * July 30: NHL entry draft in Ottawa. Modified version with only top prospects invited and cut down from nine to seven rounds. * July 31: 5 p.m. EDT deadline to extend qualifying offers to clubs' own free agents. Qualifying offers are needed to retain rights of restricted free agents. * Aug. 1: Official free-agent signing season begins. * Aug. 10: Players notify teams whether they've elected salary arbitration. * Aug. 11: Clubs notify players whether they've elected to bring them to salary arbitration. * Aug. 12: NHL and NHLPA schedule arbitration cases. * Aug. 15: Qualifying offers expire automatically. * Aug. 22-Sept. 1: Salary arbitration hearings.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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