Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province via the National Post,
Paul Kelly knows that soon enough the Gary Bettman-led NHL owners will be back for more goodies now that they’ve run over the players with a steamroller in the 2004-05 lockout when they established the salary cap.
At the moment, Kelly, the National Hockey League Players’ Association executive director, is just trying to gauge what sort of backbone the players might be able to grow over the next two years, when negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement will be underway. And he made clear the one thing that has galvanized the players’ thinking recently is the massive escrow payments, which are take a big chunk out of their paycheques this season….
“We’re finding every time we meet with the players there is more and more interest in the issues facing us and the league. They want to know more and more, and the thing that’s really got their notice is the high deductions from their cheques this season.”
The more the players learn about the issues and how the CBA affects their lives, the better able they might be to resist the owners’ next attempt, which likely will come in the form of trying to whittle down payments to players they wish to buy out - in other words, to chip away at guaranteed contracts.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
There already seems to be growing controversy about the GMs’ recommendation this past week regarding a 10-minute misconduct for “staged fights.” The NHL Players’ Association considers this a “new rule” recommendation and thus needs approval from the competition committee when it meets again in June. However, we were told Saturday the league believes the “staged fights” proposal is “an existing rule” that simply needs new interpretation and enforcement, and therefore doesn’t need competition committee approval or, for that matter, the board of governors’ approval.
That is not how the NHLPA views this, and from the e-mails that were flying our way Saturday from both sides, this could get ugly.
continued (basically a recap of the Hot Stove during HNIC) plus a few more hockey notes…
If you missed Coach’s Corner last night, watch it below…
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
If all the suits on Pennsylvania Avenue have trouble forecasting where the economy will go, it’s a good bet that your faithful puck chronicler could be off a tad, pinch, or decimal point when trying to forecast how the NHL salary cap will shape up next season, or through the next 2-3 seasons of the CBA.
However, based on the numbers bandied about by NHL general managers last week in Naples, Fla., as well as calculations offered by the Players Association, the players must prepare to surrender 13-15 percent of their overall salaries. For a guy like Zdeno Chara, on the books for $7.5 million a year, that’s a haircut upward of $1.125 million. As trips to the barber shop go, that’s much pricier than a “boy’s regular.”
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
On the opening day of the annual NHL general managers’ meetings, the NHL Players’ Association proposed a new rule concerning hits to the head.
The proposal was delivered to the league’s GMs on Monday morning by NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly. It calls for three different penalties ranging from a two-minute minor to a match penalty for any player who “either intentionally or recklessly targets the head of that player and makes contact with any part of his body, whether it’s a hand, an elbow or a shoulder,” Kelly said.
added 12:57pm, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
In addition to the head-checking issue, Kelly and Healy raised a number of other issues from the NHLPA perspective:
Kelly wants to see if NHL players may be able to participate in the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. The tight turnaround of the NHL schedule break may currently prevent that, but the NHLPA believes it would be a wonderful marketing opportunity for NHL players to be included as part of the Olympics’ opening ceremonies as a number of them could end up as flag bearers for their respective countries.
from Tripp Mickle of SportsBusiness Journal,
The NHL is poised to keep more than $120 million in player escrow money at the end of this season, sources familiar with the league’s projections say.
The anticipated escrow return will be the largest ever made to the NHL and could deliver more than $4 million to each club’s bottom line at a time when the economy has softened and many have seen declines in single-game receipts.
It will be the second time since the league passed its current collective-bargaining agreement in 2005 that the NHL has kept a portion of the escrow money.
continued and thanks to SBJ for releasing the paid subscripition link to KK…
from Chris Johnston of the CP via TheRecord,
The executive director of the NHL Players’ Association still isn’t sure exactly how much impact the crumbling economy will have on the league beyond next season.
Kelly presided over an annual meeting with certified player agents on Thursday and spent plenty of time addressing economic issues.
He figures the salary cap will be between $54 million and $57 million next season, but he can’t say what will happen in 2010-11.
“It’s like predicting the weather - you get about three or four days out and you can’t do it reliably,” said Kelly.
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
...Being the league’s statistician, it was a simple matter for Andrews to release these numbers to the media, and in 1967, the league made it official. Plus-minus became a recognized statistic.
But that was more than 40 years ago and the game has changed a lot since then. Now, we have specialists. We have coaches who have elevated the art of line-matching to a science.
As a result, certain defensemen will always be on the ice against the opposition’s top lines. So if you’re constantly going head to head against the likes of Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk and so on, how can your plus-minus have any relevance whatsoever when compared to the defensemen on your team who only get off the bench to play against third and fourth lines?
more plus some Kelly/Lindros talk…
from the CP via TSN,
The head of the NHL Players’ Association believes it’s time to consider a rule mandating helmet use during fights, and to examine the role of one-dimensional enforcers in the game.
While a “clear majority” of players want fighting to remain a part of hockey, Paul Kelly feels his constituency is open to new restrictions on how the gloves are dropped.
“A couple that we’ve talked about that ought to be looked at anyway is, do you consider a rule whereby players need to keep a helmet on during the course of a fight, and perhaps require officials to step in if a helmet comes off during a fight,” Kelly told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s Conn Smythe Celebrities Dinner and Auction….
Kelly, however, didn’t stop there.
Acknowledging the role fighting has in policing the tenor of play on the ice, he added that so-called “staged fights” between two players with skill sets limited to chucking knuckles may no longer have a place on the ice.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Last summer, at union meetings in Chicago, Lindros arrived with a laundry list of complaints, including some directly aimed at Kelly. In the end, the rest of the key union executives backed Kelly and gave Lindros a rap across the knuckles.
That destroyed the relationship between the two men, and it was hardly a shock when Lindros departed yesterday, although nobody’s saying whether this was a resignation or a firing.
So the latest round of NHLPA bloodletting has again become public.
More specifically, a union that has in the past had difficultly dealing with dissension and disagreement in its ranks has again dealt harshly with an individual viewed as a troublemaker.
The NHLPA ombudsman Eric Lindros has resigned from his post, Sportsnet has learned.
Lindros was hired by the Players’ Association back in November of 2007. The newly created position was added under the ratified NHLPA constitution and allowed Lindros to resolve any complaints by members and/or staff of the NHLPA while reporting directly to the executive board.
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