Kukla's Korner Hockey
NEW YORK/TORONTO (September 1, 2011)—The following statement was released jointly today by Don Fehr, Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association, and Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the National Hockey League:
“Everyone at the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association is profoundly saddened by the loss, within a matter of a few weeks, of three young men, each of whom was in the prime of his life.
“While the circumstances of each case are unique, these tragic events cannot be ignored. We are committed to examining, in detail, the factors that may have contributed to these events, and to determining whether concrete steps can be taken to enhance player welfare and minimize the likelihood of such events taking place. Our organizations are committed to a thorough evaluation of our existing assistance programs and practices and will make immediate modifications and improvements to the extent they are deemed warranted.
“It is important to ensure that every reasonable step and precaution is taken to make NHL Players, and all members of the NHL family, aware of the vast resources available to them when they are in need of assistance. We want individuals to feel comfortable seeking help when they need help.
“NHL Clubs and our fans should know that every avenue will be explored and every option pursued in the furtherance of this objective.”
from the CP at TSN,
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman expects the league to review its substance abuse and behavioural health program following the death of two players over the summer….
“My guess is we’ll talk at the appropriate time with the players’ association, making sure that we’re comfortable with all of the mechanisms and programs we have in place, which are extensive,” Bettman told The Canadian Press at the league’s research and development camp on Wednesday. “I don’t think any sports league does more than we do but maybe there’s more, as we focus on it, that we need to focus on. I know it’s always hard for people to accept, but sports is a microcosm of society in general.
“And life isn’t always easy.”
from Sean Fits-Gerald of the National Post,
What would the owners want?
Given the complaints about the height of the salary floor this year (US$48.3-million, or US$9.3-million more than the original cap), it stands to reason the owners will be looking to reduce the percentage paid to players. Under the terms of the CBA, players are entitled to 57% of league revenues in any year in which league revenues exceed US$2.7-billion. A league news release — headlined “Best-ever business year highlighted by record revenue” — issued in April projected NHL revenues at more than US$2.9-billion.
How would the players react to that?
Poorly. Not only did the NHL emerge with its salary cap in the last round of negotiations — winning Bettman’s cherished cost certainty — it also emerged with a 24% rollback of all existing player salaries. The NHLPA, especially with Fehr now at the helm, would not be willing to enter another round of concessionary bargaining just to fix a system the NHL had basically itself designed.
So how would the players fix the trouble of teams fighting to get to the floor?
They would implore the league to improve its revenue sharing program between teams , with more money going from the rich clubs (Toronto, New York Rangers, Philadelphia) to the poor teams (Florida, Nashville, Phoenix). It is also worth remembering the NHLPA proposed adopting a luxury tax during the last round of bargaining. Allowing the bigger clubs to spend beyond the ceiling would obviously soften the league’s hard salary cap, but the penalties those rich teams pay would help fund the poorer teams toward the salary floor.
from John Steigerwald of the Observer-Reporter,
If you’re a hockey fan, you should fear Donald Fehr.
He’s the guy who gave you what is now Major League Baseball. Of course, he couldn’t have done it without the full cooperation of the Idiots Who Run Baseball. Now, he is the head of the NHL Players Association.
The NHL’s collective bargaining agreement runs out in September of 2012. Here’s what Fehr said about the salary cap a few weeks ago, “In my judgment, the lynchpin of the labor peace you’ve had in baseball for a very long time is in fact the revenue sharing agreement. There is no cap in baseball, but it’s the revenue sharing agreement that made it work.”...
The NHL has several low revenue teams which are struggling to maintain the salary floor while still making a profit. They are vulnerable to be bought off by the NHL large market/high revenue teams the way baseball’s little guys were bought off.
From the Canadian Press via TSN:
Visiting earthquake-ravaged Haiti has been an eye-opening experience for the Montreal Canadiens P.K. Subban.
The rookie defenceman and former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque spent three days this week meeting patients and their families at Grace Children’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince and getting a first-hand look at the effects of the Jan. 12, 2010 quake that killed an estimated 300,000 and left more than one million homeless.
“I’ve never been to a poor country, I’ve never even been anywhere in the Caribbean, so this is a pretty different experience,” Subban said in a telephone interview this week. “I don’t know if it changes you, but it definitely affects you as a person.”
More on the NHLPA’s Hockey for Haiti initiative posted here yesterday.
from Damien Cox of the Spin at the Toronto Star,
Once upon a time, at the tail end of the 2004-05 lockout when the idea was first developed, the concept was that the competition committee would consist of 10 individuals, each there to vote their conscience regardless of what their constituency might be.
Those quaint old days are long gone. As seen today when the competition committee met at a downtown Boston hotel, this has grown from its original notion into a new level of bureaucracy and, really, an extension of the collective bargaining process.
At various times there were upwards of 30 people in the room, including NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players Association chief Donald Fehr. The players are now represented on the committee by Chris Clark, Chris Campoli, Mike Cammalleri, Ryan Miller and David Backes. Miller and Backes participated by phone today, while Steve Montador was present as well in a, well, non-voting, informal way.
For the owners/management, the voting reps where Jim Rutherford, Ed Snider, David Poile, Steve Yzerman and Joe Nieuwendyk, with the league’s new hanging judge Brendan Shanahan in attandance as well along with other hockey ops people like Colin Campbell and Rob Blake as well.
The main result people were looking for was some kind of agreement on the changes Shanahan wants to make with Rule 48, the legislation guiding head shots. Basically, it appears the idea will be add the word “defenceless” to the rule and take out “blindside,” and all members of the committee appear to agree.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The NHLPA has told agents that the union projects a salary cap of approximately $62.2 million next season if the players vote to trigger the 5-percent escalator, Slap Shots has learned.
That represents an increase of $2.8 million from the current $59.4 million cap, or approximately 4.7 percent. This means that, 1) the NHL’s “record” revenues have not increased by the 5 percent the players voted to bump the cap for this season; and, 2) the cap would remain flat or even decrease slightly for the first time if the players opt not to adopt the inflator for next season.
continued plus a few more topics…
“They grow on you — I just don’t think there is any other way to put it. They seem to be earnest. They seem to want to put the organization back together. They want to do a good job for themselves. And they appear to be interested in working on it. ... They care.”
-Donald Fehr, Executive Director of the NHLPA on the NHL players. More from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY.
Toronto (March 14, 2011) – National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Executive Director Don Fehr made the following statement today regarding initiatives announced at the GM meetings:
“The NHLPA is pleased that we have reached an agreement with the NHL regarding clarification of the Concussion Evaluation and Management Protocol. We are confident that the protocol will be properly implemented across the NHL by each of its member clubs. This is a significant step to improve player safety, and concussion protocol is an area where we will continue to work with the league, through the joint NHL/NHLPA Concussion Working Group.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Three years ago, after polling their players, Paul Kelly and Glenn Healy spoke to the general managers in the National Hockey League and made an impassioned plea for the elimination of head shots in hockey.
The reaction of the GMs, Healy remembers? “Silence.”
“I could feel the knives in my back as I was walking out of the room, everybody staring at you,” said Healy, who was then Kelly’s assistant with the NHL Players’ Association.
“The response was that there was no response. We knew we were working in a hostile environment.”
He didn’t know that just about everything they proposed would be the centre of so much controversy three years later. Kelly has since been fired, Healy is back on television and the problems of hockey are at a crisis point once again.
continued plus other NHL topics…
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