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Category: NHLPA

Salary Cap Talk

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

The expectation, affirmed in conversations within the past three days by essentially everyone on the NHL players’ side of the aisle, is that the union will decline to trigger the escalator for next season, thus creating a flat salary cap right around the current $73 million for 2017-18.

Well, not exactly. The NHLPA is not going to create the flat cap. The NHL will have done that by generating essentially no revenue growth over the past year. The players are picking their poison, choosing to go with a flat cap that restricts choices for free agents rather than creating a scenario under which escrow losses escalate.

We are told by individuals who traditionally have advocated pumping the maximum amount of dollars into the system that the infusion of dollars generated by the addition of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights has altered the equation for at least this time around.

Flatlining league revenue is one of the issues at the forefront of concern for a significant number of players and player agents that likely will lead to the installment of Chris Chelios, a hardliner from way back, as an ombudsman to the NHLPA as the union begins its preparation for the collective bargaining agreement negotiations that likely are on the 2019-20 horizon.

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Two Proposed Rule Recommendations

NASHVILLE (June 5, 2017) -- Co-chairs of the NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee – Mathieu Schneider, National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Special Assistant to the Executive Director, and Colin Campbell, National Hockey League (NHL) Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations – issued the following statement on new rules recommendations after the Competition Committee met yesterday in Nashville: 

Rule 87 Time-outs: The Committee recommends a change so that no time-out shall be granted following an icing for the team that committed the icing infraction. 

Rule 80.4: The Committee recommends a change so that when a team has a power-play and a player on the team at full strength causes a stoppage of play as the result of striking the puck with a high stick in the offensive zone, the resulting face-off shall be made in the neutral zone on the nearest face-off spot. This makes the rule consistent with the how the face-off is addressed when there is a stoppage under the same circumstances when both teams are at full strength. 

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Wrong Decision On Ryan Getzlaf

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

Hey, NHL. Rainbow tape isn’t enough.

Anyone can tape up a stick with pinks and reds and purples, use it at a skills competition, and then fall right back into our black-and-white hockey culture the next day. What’s hard is to look in the mirror and ask, “Why?”

Why have the other sports’ experienced players come out, but not the National Hockey League? Or Canadian Major Junior Hockey?

Why do the NHL, the NHL Players’ Association, the Anaheim Ducks and Ryan Getzlaf look at the “C” word spoken in the heat of the moment by Getzlaf in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final and not hear the word the way a gay man would hear that word?...

When terms hurt people, common decency dictates we stop using them.

And so it is time for the hockey world to examine the word Getztlaf used, one that has been accepted inside its dressing rooms for decades, and decide if it is acceptable anymore. It is a Top 10 swear word in the hockey vernacular. Maybe Top 5.

Getzlaf is a product of the Western Canadian hockey culture, as am I. He grew up in Regina and played his junior hockey in Calgary. I’m an Edmonton guy. We have both been desensitized to the word, the same way a doctor does not get squeamish at the sight of blood.

That is why the NHL, the Ducks, the NHLPA and Getzlaf all missed a golden opportunity this weekend to actually walk the gay rights walk. To not just tape a hockey stick for the LGBTQ community, but to identify and admit to a metaphor for homophobia that exists inside hockey’s DNA, and start down the path to removing it.

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  Tags: ryan+getzlaf

Your Ted Lindsay Award Finalists

TORONTO (May 2, 2017) – The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced today the three finalists for the 2016-17 Ted Lindsay Award: defenceman Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks, centre Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and centre Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers. The Ted Lindsay Award is presented annually “to the most outstanding player in the NHL,” as voted by fellow members of the NHLPA.

Crosby is vying for his fourth Award, while Burns and McDavid are each seeking to become the third consecutive first-time recipients of the Ted Lindsay Award (Carey Price, 2014-15; Patrick Kane, 2015-16).

The 2016-17 Ted Lindsay Award recipient will be announced Wednesday, June 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The three finalists received the most votes from their fellow players (listed below in alphabetical order):

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This Certainly Won’t Help The Relationship Between The NHL And The NHLPA

from Rick Westhead of TSN,

The National Hockey League says the NHL Players’ Association has repeatedly interfered with its attempts to introduce rules over the past 50 years to limit staged fighting, better safeguard players and bolster penalties for dangerous head hits.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly made the allegations in a sworn affidavit filed in U.S. federal court in Minneapolis late Thursday that relates to a lawsuit filed by former players suing the league over its handling of head injuries and concussions.

In the latest twist in the high-stakes concussion case, the NHL asked the court to not certify the case as a class-action suit. Daly’s affidavit was filed in connection with that request.

If Judge Susan R. Nelson certifies the case, it would mean more than 5,000 former players, and the families of some deceased players, would automatically become plaintiffs in the case, drastically driving up the potential liability for the league.

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Hockey Thoughts On The Day The NHL Playoffs Start

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- Let me declare a conflict of interest: I have a personal relationship with Darryl Sutter and do not like to criticize him. After a day of research, here is what I think went down. Following last season, his contract was up and there was some serious debate about keeping him. Sutter is intense and driven. He pushes hard. The players wanted a new voice and many in the organization (both above and below Lombardi on the food chain) felt similarly.

One source (who does not work for L.A., but has connections there) said at one point the decision was made not to bring him back, but Lombardi changed his mind, believing in the man who led them to two Cups. He made the call to keep Sutter. Kelly Hrudey has a great line about people who get criticized for being too loyal: “Boy, what a terrible thing to say about someone, that they are too loyal.”

Lombardi was on an island with this call and when it became apparent during the season it wasn’t going to work, it put Lombardi in a weaker spot, especially since Sutter received a three-year contract in the neighbourhood of $8 million. Luc Robitaille’s stature was growing and ownership decided it was his time. Robitaille and Blake are similar, two L.A. guys who wanted to stay there but the opportunities were staring to come elsewhere.

The new general manager, for example, could have gone to Toronto before Lou Lamoriello arrived.

- As the playoffs begin, one of the biggest questions is what will be the standard for goalie interference? When Patrice Bergeron’s April 1 goal against Florida was allowed to count with Brad Marchand in the crease, a couple of executives and coaches said, “This is not going to be good.”

Toronto fans didn’t like it when Tom Sestito knocked out Frederik Andersen from last weekend’s game, but no one had any problem when Brian Boyle, going for the puck, ran through James Reimer, sending him to the dressing room. It is so, so subjective and they are getting hurt.

- even years ago, an angry Glenn Healy left the NHLPA. It was a hard time for him, since he believed in the cause and thought he was doing important work. He said he’d never go back or pay attention to it again, but we knew better. He always kept an eye on it, always cared and remained frustrated whenever he thought the players were choosing the wrong path.

Since Bob Goodenow’s ouster in 2005, there has been near-constant turmoil in the organization and it’s possible we are going down that road again. Healy won’t discuss it, but word is the NHL Alumni Association would like to bring him aboard. The players should take a long look at bringing him back. If I know him (and I do) he wants to be part of the solution.

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Typical NHL

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

This is what the NHL and Gary Bettman do when they don’t get their way: They take their puck and go home. Or stay home. They refuse to play. They did it through Owners’ Lockouts I, II and III in 1994, 2004 and 2012 and they’re doing it again with the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The only thing surprising about this is that anyone, least of all the players, would be surprised by this.

When the NHL persecuted and prosecuted the Devils in the 2010 Ilya Kovalchuk collusion cases (yes, plural), the league’s attorneys successfully charged that the spirit of the collective bargaining agreement, rather than the letter of the law, had been violated. Now, though, the spirit of the CBA means little to these folks.

Because though Bettman succeeded in removing the commitment to play in the Olympics from the 2013 CBA after it had been included in the 2005 treaty that codified the hard cap, the league signed off on Article 24.5, which states:

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All Allan Walsh

from Craig Custance of ESPN,

The NHL announced this week that it won't send players to the 2018 Winter Olympics and the league is still dealing with a concussion lawsuit. On both fronts, Walsh isn't thrilled with the decision-making at the NHL's highest levels.

I chatted with him about these topics -- and a few others -- during a phone conversation on Tuesday. (Note: the text has been edited for length).

ESPN.com: Let's dive right into the Olympic debate. What kind of reaction did you get during conversations with your players?

Walsh: The players are disappointed ... we have a lot of clients who expected to be Olympic-bound. Those who were Olympic-bound are very disappointed. The general feeling among all players, whether they expected to play in the Olympics or not, is that the Olympics are good for hockey.

I don't agree with the narrative that the NHL gets nothing out of it. You have the unprecedented situation, never to be seen again probably in our lifetimes, where you have two Olympics within four years of each other in Asia, an area the NHL has targeted for future growth. To turn around now and say, "We're not going to South Korea because we don't get anything out of it," is so shortsighted. It's mind-boggling.

ESPN.com: The league argues that it hasn't found a metric that shows a quantifiable benefit from playing in the Olympics. Where do you see the benefit? Are there hard numbers you can track?

Walsh: Some of our greatest memories, going back the last five Olympics, have become ingrained inside hockey lore. Take the Czechs' dramatic win in Nagano. I happened to be back in Prague when the Czech team arrived and went and celebrated in Old Town Square, where a half a million people inside the Czech Republic were chanting and cheering. They said it was the largest crowd since the Velvet Revolution. That's not bad for hockey....

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Donald Fehr Yesterday And Without The NHL, Broadcasters Of The Olympics May Suffer

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

NHL Players’ Association executive director Donald Fehr told a Toronto radio station on Wednesday that his constituency had long memories, saying the Olympic dispute could colour negotiations when the two sides revisit the labour deal, known as the CBA, as early as 2019.

“If the notion is that players will just say, ‘oh well, the CBA didn’t provide for it’ or ‘we wish it were different’ – and we could just go on with life as usual or as if this hadn’t happened, I think that’s a very, very, very unlikely possibility,” Mr. Fehr told Sportsnet The Fan 590.

At the heart of the dispute is the NHL’s unwillingness to go to Pyeongchang for what are largely business reasons – a disruption to its schedule, the risk of injury to top players, an unattractive time zone and the inability to leverage broadcast and marketing opportunities that come from having the NHL at the Olympics.

The NHL players’ collective desire to representative their countries at the international competition, meanwhile, is more sentimental.

“Guys love representing their country on [the Olympic] stage and it is a bitter pill to swallow for sure,” the Toronto Maple Leafs’ U.S.-born forward James van Riemsdyk told reporters Tuesday. “As players, we have shown we want to be there and made that very clear, but this decision was made outside of us.”

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from Morgan Campbell of the Toronto Star,

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If NHL Players Still Plan On Playing In The Olympics

from Frank Seravalli of TSN,

The expectation is that the NHL will step in to stop all potential individual player participation in the 2018 Olympics.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman sent a memo to all 31 clubs on Monday instructing team officials to not comment on potential individual participation, saying that the league will rule on the subject.

You can rest assured that a team of lawyers on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan is already working on that policy, with the goal of quelling the chatter of a revolt sooner rather than later.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly admitted on March 17 – more than weeks before Monday’s announcement ¬– that the league was already contemplating how to combat a free-for-all.

“We’ve started giving some to thought to that. It’s certainly not an issue that we have to resolve today,” Daly told the Ottawa Sun. “I would be surprised if we allowed it to be club-by-club issue at this point. I think there will be a league response.”

Daly declined to comment further about the league’s response on Tuesday.

So, what can the NHL do to curb individual players from leaving their club?

One option would be to issue a rule stating that any player who leaves his club next February to play in the Olympics will be banned from playing for his team for the remainder of the season, including the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The belief is any such unilateral order would quickly be grieved by the NHL Players’ Association, who would likely feel that stiff a penalty and change to the rules would need to be bargained.

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Here is what Gary Bettman said on the topic last night on Sportsnet,

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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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