Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
It's the one phrase that can send a chill down your spine on the sweatiest summer July day.
Rest easy, for now: the NHL and NHL Players' Association has guaranteed labour peace for each of the next five seasons, through the 2019-20 campaign.
While another hockey work stoppage may not be on the radar of most - the lost half-season of 2012-13 still all too fresh - a group of the league's highest-paid players are already gearing up for the possibility.
New York Rangers forward Derek Stepan became the latest player to negotiate protection in his contract in case of labour strife when he inked a six-year, $39 million deal on Monday.
Technically, the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement runs through Sept. 15, 2022 - or shortly before the opening of training camps for the 2022-23 season. But either the NHL or NHLPA can opt out of the agreement on Sept. 15, 2020.
That's why quite a few players, like Stepan, have negotiated hefty signing bonuses to be paid on July 1, 2020 - before any side could possibly opt out.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
The first group of 18 players who filed for salary arbitration is scheduled to appear in Toronto for hearings starting on Monday, July 20. Quite a few big names – lead by New York Rangers centre Derek Stepan and Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby – have exercised their right to participate in the process.
The Maple Leafs chose to take goaltender Jonathan Bernier to arbitration, a decision that will make the arbitrator's ruling in that case binding, no matter how big the award. Teams cannot walk away from awards to players they decided to take to arbitration; Edmonton is in the same position with defenceman Justin Schultz.
This year, for the first time ever, both sides will be armed with new data to support their cases. The player and the club may submit "enhanced stats" as evidence, since the NHL added the section to their website in February with the help of sponsor SAP.
Any statistic provided on NHL.com may be used as evidence, the NHLPA confirmed on Monday. Even though "enhanced stats" have been in existence for years, they were inadmissible because they were not statistics officially kept by the league.
Even though "enhanced stats" have been in existence for years, they were inadmissible because they were not statistics officially kept by the league.
TORONTO (July 5, 2015) – Twenty-three players have elected Salary Arbitration:
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Brandon Sun,
Players preferred all three-on-three, Schneider said, not only because it doesn't add more time to games but because they believe it will produce better hockey.
"What it really boiled down to was, players said, 'If we want to end games sooner going three-on-three, then having three-on-three for the longest period of time was the way to go about it,'" Schneider said in a sit-down interview last week in Las Vegas. "They think it's going to be exciting, wide-open hockey."
The AHL had incredible success cutting down on shootouts in its first season under the seven-minute overtime format split four-on-four and three-on-three. The key to it working in the NHL might be how three-on-three is coached.
"I hope three-on-three does what everyone thinks it's going to do," Schneider said. "I hope coaches don't start coaching it defensively because it could turn ugly quickly. My position always was: If Mike Babcock wants to get to the shootout, he's going to get to the shootout whether it's three-on-three or four-on-four."
Schneider is a supporter of the shootout and had to put his personal feelings aside when talking to players and attending the competition committee meeting in early June. Commissioner Gary Bettman at one point asked players which they'd prefer — the status quo of four-on-four overtime or three-on-three, and Schneider said a great majority wanted the latter.
The question of the AHL format or status quo was never brought up, Schneider said.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
As Alan Eagleson made his rounds at the morning skate at the United Center before Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final, some of the many former players on hand felt uneasy. Others were angry. One former player refused to shake Eagleson’s hand. Eagleson asked for a picture with another and he reluctantly agreed so as not to make a scene.
Twenty-three years after Eagleson stepped down as the executive player of the NHL Players’ Association he was instrumental in starting and 17 years after he was convicted of fraud in two countries and of embezzling funds in Canada, the 82-year-old Eagleson has resurfaced in the hockey world during the Stanley Cup final. Eagleson has been around the United Center during the playoffs. He is not a guest of the NHL and the Chicago Blackhawks media department said it was not certain whether he was a guest of the team. Eagleson is friends with longtime Blackhawks executive Bob Pulford, who was the first co-president of the NHLPA along with Bobby Baun and he had close ties with late Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz, whose family still owns the team. Eagleson managed to get into the building and that has rankled some of the many former players who are around right now.
“I don’t like it,” said former NHLer Barry Melrose, an analyst for NBC Sports. “He shouldn’t be allowed to be here. I can’t believe he’s here. I can’t believe the NHL lets him be here.”
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
The National Hockey League Players' Association is finalizing plans on a watershed program to help current players return to school and prepare them for a multitude of issues they will face in transitioning from playing careers to retirement.
The program was conceived several years ago and will be unveiled at a time when the union is facing criticism from both current and former players about whether more can be done to help players cope with the stress of leaving hockey.
In April - two months after former Chicago Blackhawk Steve Montador was found dead in his home at age 35 - his one-time teammate Daniel Carcillo said in an online video that the NHLPA hasn't done enough to help its members move on with life. NHLPA executive Mathieu Schneider said that criticism is deserved, adding that a new program may mark a turning point.
TSN has learned that for the past two years, Schneider and his colleagues have been quietly researching professional sports leagues around the world, consulting with sports industry executives as far away as in New Zealand about programs that help active professional athletes improve levels of education and prepare for post-playing careers.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
- The NHL Players’ Association will meet in New York City in the first week of June for its annual board meetings, and part of that will include formulating responses to the rule changes proposed by NHL general managers in March. The competition committee meeting between the two sides is tentatively scheduled for June 4th. At the top of the agenda will be using three-on-three in overtime next season.
The GMs threw out a couple of options, and the players have yet to formally respond. More and more, however, there seems to be a sentiment that there needs to be a trial period to evaluate this rule change. One option would be to try it out during the pre-season, then hold off on implementing it until the 2016-17 season if the results are favourable. The union sees the way in which shootouts have gradually lost popularity as a warning to just implementing three-on-three play without actually understanding the impact.
- The NHLPA is becoming increasingly concerned with the drop in scoring during the regular season and playoffs, which makes sense because lower statistics can impact bonuses, arbitration and contracts. Meanwhile, more and more you’re hearing out there that a growing number of coaches, players and executives believe that the move a decade ago to take out the red line for the purposes of two-line passes has proven to be a failure, producing a style of low-scoring hockey few contemplated.
more hockey topics...
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
While the decision on whether or not to trigger the annual 5 percent growth factor on the salary cap has often been treated like a foregone conclusion, it should not be this season.
The issue on the growth factor, commonly referred to as the "inflator" or "escalator," has become a hot topic of conversation amongst players with growing concerns about increasing escrow rates and the potential implications on revenue with the falling Canadian dollar.
Several sources told ESPN.com that there is a divide between two camps of players: those who are already under contract for next season and those who are pending unrestricted free agents. Those already set on their current deals may be against the idea of increasing the salary cap, deterred by the thought of another season of high escrow (the players were hit with 18 percent this season). Those players up for new deals, however, would ideally like more money in the pot. The current salary cap is at $69 million. At last week's General Managers meetings, the rough projection provided by commissioner Gary Bettman was $71.5 million -- assuming the inflator was triggered.
For players, there is a growing sense of skepticism about areas of potential revenue growth, such as television deals, outdoor games, etc., compounded with concerns about the devaluation of the Canadian dollar.
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Globe and Mail,
On the final day of the NHL general managers meeting, the Players’ Association got its first look at rule changes being proposed for next season, most notably adding some three-on-three play to overtime.
Players will have give their input on three-on-three, expanded video review and faceoff changes and must sign off before anything becomes official.
General managers were split on whether to go to the American Hockey League model of four-on-four for the first three minutes and then three-on-three from the next whistle to the end of a seven-minute overtime or to simply play three-on-three for the existing five-minute overtime.
One concern is that the extra two minutes a game, while likely to reduce shootouts, would put more of a strain on top players.
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.
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