Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sean McIndoe (aka Down Goes Brown) at the National Post, .
..in an attempt to be as efficient as possible, the league has encouraged the NHLPA to consolidate all of their grievances into one single master list.
Well, that list was leaked to me this week. And the interest of keeping fans informed I’m publishing it here:
- Although we’ve made our feelings crystal clear on the matter over the years, there are still between 20 to 25 players at any given time who are being forced to play in Edmonton.
- Due to difficult economic times, Philadelphia Flyer fans are now pelting our wives and children with pennies and nickels, instead of the much lighter dimes they used to throw.
from Anthony J. SanFilippo of the Daily Times,
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has the ability to bring out the best of two emotions: he can make you laugh hysterically or infuriate you — usually at the same time….
The league has no leg to stand on with the Kovalchuk deal, yet denied it anyway. The Devils and the NHLPA feel they have a structured deal within the parameters set forth by the CBA, and they likely have. As such, they filed a grievance Monday.
The league knew that was coming and will likely lose the arbitration. But even if it wins, the whole reason it balked was to fire the first salvo in what promises to be another arduous contract battle with the NHLPA following the 2011-12 season.
It’s laughable because it’s so frivolous. It’s infuriating because it brings a black eye to a sport that has had far too many on Bettman’s watch.
“No one is going to be able to prove circumvention until one of these guys retires and by then we’ll be in a new CBA. But I’m comfortable that a number of these players are, in fact, going to walk.
“I don’t believe these players are going to play in their mid-40s. And I don’t believe they’re going to play for what they’re making in those final years. So it defies logic. It may not defy the CBA. But it defies logic to think that players are going to serve the term of all these contracts. So that’s why we don’t do them. And a number of teams don’t do them. If the league thinks that this is one that they need to look into, then we support that.”
-Brian Burke on what he calls “back-diving deals”. More from Michael Traikos of the National Post.
via the NHLPA,
“The NHLPA has filed a grievance disputing the NHL’s rejection of the Standard Player Contract between the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk. Under the terms of the CBA, the NHLPA and Mr. Kovalchuk are entitled to an expedited resolution of this matter. The NHLPA will have no further comment until this matter has been resolved by an Arbitrator.”
added 3:23pm, from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
The NHL quickly responded with a statement from Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.
“We have received formal notice that the NHLPA is grieving the league’s rejection of Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract with the New Jersey Devils,” Daly said in the statement. “Although there is no defined timetable at this point, we intend to work with the players’ association to ensure an expeditious resolution of this dispute. The league looks forward to the opportunity to establish its position before the arbitrator. We will have no further public comment pending completion of the process.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
First, know this about Gary Bettman and his capricious prosecution of circumvention against the Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk—it’s personal with the commissioner, the way it was personal when he and the Board of Governors canceled a season in order to get rid of Bob Goodenow.
It’s personal because Bettman had been telling NHL general managers for months to stop signing players to dramatically front-loaded lifetime contracts designed to massage the cap hit before New Jersey’s Lou Lamoriello, of all teams and of all people, simply defied the commissioner.
Bettman’s ill-advised quest to impose a one-size-fits-all cap onto 30 teams with varying needs and constituencies is in tatters. The Kovalchuk contract, which meets every legal standard outlined in the collective bargaining agreement, is merely the latest example of a powerful team acting creatively in order to keep as much of its personnel intact as possible.
added 9:14am, from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
The Devils might have five million reasons to worry about the Players Association’s expected filing for arbitration of Ilya Kovalchuk’s rejected contract.
A league source said the NHL is not threatening, but also not dismissing the possibility that the Devils might be liable for a fine of at least $1 million. The fine could go up to $5 million should an arbitrator finds that their $102 million, 17-year contract is indeed a circumvention of the collective bargaining agreement.
In addition, Kovalchuk himself conceivably could be liable to a fine between $250G and $1 million.
from the NHLPA,
Below is a list of all the salary arbitration cases that are pending during the 2010 off-season and the date that they are scheduled to take place. Please note that players have the ability to come to an agreement on a contract with their clubs prior to reaching the scheduled arbitration date.
National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly today issued the following statement regarding the free agent contract forward Ilya Kovalchuk signed with the New Jersey Devils:
“The contract has been rejected by the League as a circumvention of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Under the CBA, the contract rejection triggers a number of possible next steps that may be elected by any or each of the NHLPA, the Player and/or the Club. In the interim, the player is not entitled to play under the contract, nor is he entitled to any of the rights and benefits that are provided for thereunder. The League will have no further comment on this matter pending further developments.”
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Talking with a couple of agents, a player here and there, an NHL management type here and there the last few days, and it’s clear to me that the impossibility that we all would assume for the NHL – that it is THE league we’d least have to worry about with regard to another long work stoppage, because of its recent past – is indeed possible.
I’m going to keep this kind of general for now, because it’s a blog and the expiration of the current NHL CBA is still another two seasons away, in September of 2012. I still have a hard time – a really hard time – believing that the NHL and its players would ever let another disastrous canceled season happen. The lost year of 2004-05 remains a dark, awful memory for everyone involved with this game. All that griping, all that posturing, all those “drop-dead deadlines”, all those false starts and crushed hopes. It was awful, and it really hurt the game a lot. Many fans still haven’t come back to the sport, though revenues have grown since ‘05, the cap has grown from $39 million to the current $59.4 million and TV ratings have improved greatly.
from Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey,
Media speculation grew this past week over the possibility the National Hockey League might be considering lowering the salary cap ceiling in the next round of collective bargaining with its players to $48 million.
Of course it must be remembered labor talks between the league and PA aren’t expected to begin until the end of 2011-12, so with two more years to go anything can happen and this rumored cap lowering could amount to nothing.
Currently there’s been no comment from league spokesmen, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman or his lieutenant Bill Daly on the matter, though if left to percolate in the media during the dog days of summer it could become an issue which cannot be avoided by the league.
If however the league is seriously considering a reduction of the cap it could have serious consequences, not just in labor talks with its players or at the risk of another possible labor war which could result in yet another work stoppage via lockout or player strike, but upon teams which have kept pace with the ever-increasing cap since its implementation in 2005.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL Players’ Association did not make a decision on its leadership after two days of meetings, and Robyn Regehr of the Calgary Flames said one may not come until the start of training camps in September.
Regehr said the union’s search committee is still interviewing candidates and he acknowledged what many people have assumed for some time: Donald Fehr, the retired executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association who is serving as an adviser to the NHLPA, is an official candidate to become the new executive director. Those close to the union have said for months that Fehr is the favourite for the job to replace Paul Kelly, who was fired in August, 2009.
However, Regehr said Wednesday the structure of the leadership is still under discussion.
added 2:18pm, from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
As first reported by THN.com, Fehr has indeed decided he wants to retain an active role with the NHLPA and will almost certainly be front and center during the next round of negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement. He will not be the executive director, but he will guide the new person for the next several years.
The two leading candidates for the executive director’s job are sports labor expert Doug Allen and former assistant executive director of the NFLPA David Faher.
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