Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
In The department of player safety, the NHL Players’ Association has much to answer for, as does the NHL.
For last night at the Garden, when a Kimmo Timonen drive rocketed off Jakub Voracek’s blade up into the right eye of Marc Staal at 5:45 of the third period, it served as yet another reminder and another example of the insanity of not making visors a mandatory piece of equipment in the NHL.
This “personal choice” position on the issue staked out by the PA that is no more and no less a consensus of its rank and file is from another era.
Can there be anything more precious than one’s eyes; anything more critical to protect than one’s vision?
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
If the latest proposal for NHL realignment is shot down again by the players, the deal-breaker will be the playoff format.
“That’s the big thing, the evenness in making the playoffs,” New Jersey Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg said Monday. Hedberg, though, doesn’t like the word deal-breaker, adding he expects there will be more “tweaking” of the format before the NHL Players’ Association is asked to approve it....
“I’d like to hear some more arguments, for my personal view,” Toronto Maple Leafs player rep Dave Steckel said of the proposed playoff format....
But the players appear willing to put up with travel inequities as long as a wild-card system gives more teams at shot at the playoffs. And for good reason, Steckel says.
“From a player standpoint, some [new] contracts are earned in the playoffs,” he said. “A lot of guys would rather be in the playoffs working for their next contract,” rather than seeing one or two less regular-season road trips.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The plan was detailed in an NHL memo sent to all 30 clubs Tuesday, which a team source leaked to ESPN.com.
The new plan calls for divisional playoffs, not conference playoffs as the NHL currently has. The division winner with the most regular-season points will play the lowest-seeded wild-card team in the first round, with the other division winner playing the other wild-card team.
The plan still needs approval from the NHL Players' Association plus the NHL's Board of Governors. The NHLPA and NHL have been working on these changes for the past three weeks.
If approved by all parties, the plan would go into effect for next season.
The Eastern Conference would feature the Atlantic and Central divisions while the Western Conference would have the Mid-West and Pacific Divisions.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
"The last two weeks we’ve been in constant communication with the NHLPA on realignment issues," deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com Tuesday. "We’ve been exchanging information and we’re trying to get to a resolution as soon as possible."
Time is of the essence because the league’s schedule-maker needs to get going on next season’s matrix.
If all goes well between the NHLPA and NHL -- the two sides are slated to meet again next week -- the NHL could have a realignment framework for the 30 owners to vote on the week of Feb. 25. Similarly, the NHLPA would run the realignment plan past its executive board (30 player reps) for approval.
Several team executives and governors contacted by ESPN.com Tuesday were in the dark about what the league was determining for realignment. And just what exactly the league and union have been working on the last two weeks, neither NHL nor NHLPA officials would divulge Tuesday. But it’s believed the framework is a slight variation from the December 2011 realignment format. And when I say variation, I believe there are a couple of teams that have been switched around from the original December 2011 format.
from Fraser Blair of Offside: A Sports Law Blog,
One of the concepts that I wrote about in the first piece about the Tim Thomas trade was the salary cap’s Lower Level (the salary floor). Under the new CBA, the way teams will approach the Lower Level will be significantly different due to 2 changes in the operating structure of the payroll range system.
First, beginning in the 2014-2015 season the Upper and Lower Limits of the payroll range (the cap floor and the ceiling) will no longer be calculated using the current formula. The current formula adds or subtracts $8 million from the salary midpoint in order to determine the Lower and Upper Levels. The salary midpoint is determined by the following steps: (1) multiply hockey related revenue (HRR) by the player’s share; (2) subtract player benefits from (1); (3) divide the figure from (1) and (2) by the number of teams.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
“We are working on a realignment plan for next season,” Daly wrote, “but it has not been finalized or approved [by the Board of Governors] yet.”
PA Executive Director Don Fehr said by phone on Friday the union’s objections a year ago were based on the prospect of increased travel that would go into effect with the proposed realignment and the inequity of proposed playoff qualification.
“We expect to talk with the league on the subject this week,” Fehr told Slap Shots. “A year ago, when we raised the issue of increased travel for teams, the league did not have mock schedules for us to review that might have alleviated our concern.
“And we had an issue with the fact that teams would either have a mathematical advantage or disadvantage of qualifying for the playoffs depending upon whether they’d be in a seven-team or eight-team conference.”
Major League Baseball’s radical realignment that goes into effect this season — under which the Astros move from the NL Central to the AL West, thus creating two 15-team leagues (and three five-team divisions in each) and the need for inter-league play every day — was created largely because of the MLBPA’s concern over the imbalance of having a six teams in the NL Central and four in the AL West.
“We’re certainly prepared to work with the league on realignment,” Fehr said. “If they present the same type of four-conference structure but have the information for us to review regarding scheduling and travel, and have a different playoff format that can ameliorate our concerns in that area, we’ll take it from there.”
more plus a look at the Tim Thomas trade from the Islanders side...
The focus has to be to be on the game. It has to be back on the performances of the players. What I think needs to happen now is that people who are not playing hockey need to be out of the spotlight. And I intend to get out of the spotlight.
-Donald Fehr of the NHLPA when asked by Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal why he won't discuss the CBA or the negotiations. More from Fehr at SBJ via The Sporting News.
NEW YORK/TORONTO -- The National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association today signed a Memorandum of Understanding reflecting the terms of a new, 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement. Team training camps will open on Sunday, and a 720-game regular-season schedule (48 games per team) will begin on Saturday, January 19.
The wide-ranging Agreement includes an economic system under which Hockey Related Revenues (HRR) will be shared 50%-50% between Owners and the Players. The Agreement includes terms that limit the length of individual Player contracts to seven years (eight when a team is re-signing its own Player) and regulates the compensation structure, year-to-year variability and defining minimum value.
added 10:30pm, Two hours after the official signing of the MOU, trades, waivers, etc. can begin.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org