Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
There are plenty of rumors swirling around Edmonton’s apparent need for a third line center, most of it focusing on free agents Manny Malhotra and Blair Betts. No doubt the roster would really benefit from the signing of character guy like Malhotra, but his asking price (thought to be three years, $6 million) is too high. The familiarity of coach Tom Renney with Edmonton native Betts makes him a logical fit, too, but the guessing here is that Oilers stick with what they have and hope that an option emerges in camp.
As if the loss of Joe Sakic isn’t enough for the sad-sack Avs to deal with, it looks like the schedulemakers had to get their shots in, too. Colorado, which had a league-low eight back-to-back games in 2008-09, has 16 of them slated for 2009-10. So who catches a break? That would be the Blue Jackets, who led the league with 20 B2Bs last season, but have just 12 on the new sked…
read on for some NHLPA/Olympics talk…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
No one is suggesting that Kelly leads Bettman and the owners in a rousing version of “Kumbaya” when the two sides get together. There are issues of contention: The limits to which players are willing to submit to enhance the league’s drug-testing policy is one. But there is also an appreciation that the two sides can have different opinions without necessarily being on separate planes, which was how the two sides existed for much of the past two decades.
“I think Paul takes a far more constructive approach to labor relations than Bob Goodenow ever did,” Daly told ESPN.com via e-mail this week. “He works hard to find common ground as opposed to points of conflict. And he clearly understands that success for the players is integrally tied to the league’s success.”
These are interesting, if not complicated, times for the players as they try to make their way in this new global economic order under a CBA that has them more closely tied to the league than at any previous point in NHL history.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Sources tell TSN the National Hockey League Players Association has filed a grievance over the Chicago Blackhawks mishandling of a number of its qualifying offers and intends to argue the players affected by the mishap, who remain unsigned, should be ruled unrestricted free agents.
The NHL will be notified and can agree with the NHLPA’s filing, or the league can disagree and the case will move on to an expidited hearing.
“In response to various media inquiries, the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) confirms today that it has filed a grievance regarding the failure of the Chicago Blackhawks to submit Qualifying Offers to its 2009 Restricted Free Agents prior to the deadline stipulated in the CBA. The NHLPA will make no further comment on the matter, which is now pending before the Impartial Arbitrator,” said Jonathan Weatherdon, NHLPA Spokesperson.
At this moment, it’s the Players’ Association’s contention, these players are unrestricted free agents and free to negotiate with any team.
added 6:16pm, from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
The status of only Versteeg and Barker is in question since the Hawks signed five of their restricted free agents on Monday, including Troy Brouwer, Ben Eager, Colin Fraser, Corey Crawford and Aaron Johnson.
According to a source, the five restricted free agents chose to re-sign with the Hawks rather than be part of the union’s grievance. Brouwer and Crawford signed two-year deals while Eager, Johnson and Fraser re-uppped for one.
Obviously the agents for Versteeg and Barker see the Hawks’ blunder as a golden opportunity to get their clients a bigger payday.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
According to both the NHL and the NHLPA, the investigation into how and why the Chicago Blackhawks bungled a number of their qualifying offers is ongoing.
Neither side will comment, however since this story broke Friday evening on TSN.ca, interest into how the league and players association will respond is significant.
If the NHL grants leniency and attempts to sweep this issue away, it’s expected the NHLPA will swiftly file a grievance and the matter will go to a hearing.
Sources with hands on knowledge of how qualifying offers have to be filed say as innocent as this mistake may have been, there is no excuse for it, and the league should follow through with the ultimate penalty and declare all players who didn’t received proper notification, unrestricted free agents.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Attendance at the union meetings in Las Vegas was so limited, it seemed as if one had wandered into a game in Glendale. Fact is, the PA did not have enough player reps at its own meeting to tally the vote on the critical issue of voting on the 5-percent cap escalator clause that eventually was adopted through e-mail tally.
Much worse, and perhaps scandalous, is that a number of players went to Las Vegas on the union’s dime, partied, and never bothered to actually, you know, attend the meetings. Wait until the summer meetings in Rome.
The close vote on the escalator indicates executive director Paul Kelly and director of player affairs Glenn Healy do not have the union’s attention. For both these gentlemen understood the critical importance of not allowing the cap to fall by the $2.64 million it would have if the vote had gone the other way.
Slap Shots has learned that the escrow withholding figure for last season has been calculated at a staggering 15.9 percent. That means, for example, that Alex Ovechkin will wind up losing $1.431M of the $9M he thought he was earning last year for the Caps.
more & additional hockey topics too…
from the CP via the Globe and Mail,
The NHL’s salary cap is on the rise.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed Friday that next year’s cap will go up by $100,000 to $56.8-million in 2009-10.
Part of the reason for the growth is that the NHL Players’ Association decided to invoke a five per cent inflator, which was negotiated as part of the collective bargaining agreement.
TORONTO/NEW YORK (June 26, 2009)—The National Hockey League Players’ Association and the National Hockey League announced today that the Team Payroll Range established for the 2009-10 League Year, pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, provides for a Lower Limit of $40.8 million, an Adjusted Midpoint of $48.8 million and an Upper Limit of $56.8 million.
from the CP via TSN,
There could be as many as three NHL games played outside of traditional venues next season.
The league’s competition committee discussed several different scenarios during a wide-ranging meeting on Thursday and left open the possibility for games to be played outdoors in Boston and Calgary, with another being held under the roof at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.
“We are looking at a couple potential additional special events beyond the NBC Winter Classic game,” said NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly. “(It’s something) that we all collectively think will be very good for the game. We think that they won’t dilute the product that we’ve created.”
continue for more topics that were discussed
added 4:56pm, Now Bob McKenzie of TSN comes out with this… T
here will not be a second NHL outdoor game in Calgary on January 1, 2010.
The NHL’s competition committee met today in Montreal and that was one of a number of issues that was dealt with.
While there won’t be a second outdoor game to follow up the currently scheduled New Year’s Day game at Boston’s Fenway Park, there is likely to be a second special event in a Canadian city.
Sources say that event is possibly a game at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium to celebrate the Canadiens’ 100th anniversary.
via Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The NHL players union has voted to trigger the 5-percent escalator on the 2009-10 salary cap, The Post has learned.
This means that the 2009-10 cap will remain within a couple of hundred thousand dollars of last season’s figure of $56.7 million.
E.J. Hradek of ESPN The Magazine passed this to me tonight and asked if I could post…
After speaking with NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly and Lightning center/competition committee member Jeff Halpern, I expect the competition committee to green light the league’s plan for a second outdoor game – the back-end of a New Year’s Day 2010 Winter Classic doubleheader – hosted by the Flames (likely against the Leafs) at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium as ESPN The Magazine reported last Thursday.
Both Kelly and Halpern felt the league’s outdoor plan, which was discussed in both smaller and full group discussions at the NHLPA meetings last weekend in Las Vegas, was favored by an enthusiastic majority of the players. “I don’t think there’d be an issue with it from the players’ side,” said Halpern, who’ll participate in the competition committee meeting on Thursday morning in Montreal. “There was a lot of positive feedback. I think it’s a good idea.”
from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,
Ownership updates were the theme of the day at the Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday.
Commissioner Gary Bettman updated the board on a number of franchise situations during a session of five-plus hours. Another briefing came from Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillette, who is in discussions to sell the team to three members of the Molson family. Bettman said the talks are in the preliminary stages, but said he was excited to see a well-known family involved with the sale.
continue for more topics discussed…
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