Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
The National Hockey League, responding to what it says is a possible increased use of cocaine among its players, has kick-started talks with the NHL Players Association to add the drug and others like it to the list of banned substances for which the league regularly monitors.
"The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they're going up," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told TSN in an interview. "I wouldn't say it's a crisis in any sense. What I'd say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you've hit a cycle where it's an 'in' drug again.
"I'd be shocked if we're talking about a couple dozen guys. I don't want to be naïve here … but if we're talking more than 20 guys I'd be shocked. Because we don't test in a comprehensive way, I can't say."
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Brandon Sun,
At this time in 2012, the NHL season was on hold as officials from the league and Players' Association were embroiled in tense lockout negotiations. More than three months of hockey were lost before a 48-game season was salvaged.
Three years later, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Don Fehr rave about the quality of play — some of the fastest and most exciting hockey they believe the sport has ever offered. Not only is the on-ice product thriving, but the relationship between the NHL and NHLPA is stronger than it has ever been.
"There have been times in the past where some might get the feeling that the union was working against us," Bettman said during a sit-down interview in his New York office. "Don and the union, people who work with him have been extraordinarily constructive, professional, in working on things that make sense to both of us.
"It doesn't mean we're not going to have disagreements about some things. But the places where we can work together, we are, and I think that's great for the game."
Bettman and Fehr are at the forefront of the friendlier NHL-NHLPA partnership. The two men have known each other for over 30 years, Bettman said, and there's at least a high level of respect in peace time and during labour talks.
In a phone interview last week, Fehr echoed Bettman's caveat that there are philosophical disagreements between the league and the players and also the feeling that the two sides can work together now to accomplish some positive things.
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
The World Cup of Hockey is shaping up to deliver a million-dollar payday to each of the NHL’s 30 team owners, some of which could come from advertising on team uniforms for the first time.
When the tournament was conceived, NHL and NHL Players’ Association executives believed they might be able to generate $90 million in revenue from a two-week tournament. Now, after selling rich TV rights to ESPN in the U.S. and Rogers Communications in Canada, and thanks to strong interest from corporate sponsors, NHL team owners and NHLPA executives have been advised the September 2016 event may raise as much as $130 million, according to a source who said NHL team executives have been briefed on the profit projections.
Costs are estimated to be about $65 million - including $10 million to $15 million budgeted for player insurance - meaning owners and players, who are jointly staging the event, will split a profit of about $65 million.
That would be a far cry from the $4 million profit the last World Cup of Hockey event generated in 2004.
NEW YORK / TORONTO (Sept. 15, 2015) – The National Hockey League (NHL®) and adidas today announced a seven-year partnership in which adidas will become the authentic outfitter of on-ice uniforms as well as an official supplier of licensed apparel and headwear for the League starting with the 2017-18 season. adidas Group-owned CCM will remain an official on-ice equipment supplier, delivering world-class product for NHL players, including sticks, skates, helmets, gloves and goaltending gear.
The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), NHL and adidas today also announced a partnership for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in which adidas becomes the exclusive outfitter of both authentic and replica jerseys for the eight-team tournament next September. The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will be played at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, 2016 and be comprised of eight teams – Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden, Team USA, Team Europe and Team North America. More than 150 NHL players will compete in a best-on-best international hockey championship.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
There will be some added onlookers at NHL games this season, and they won't be watching for goals.
In an effort to boost its ongoing concussion protocol, the NHL is in the process of hiring concussion "spotters" for all 30 arenas, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to ESPN.com on Monday.
The move has the blessing of the NHL Players’ Association, as the union and league run the concussion program jointly.
There have been club concussion spotters for the past few seasons -- people hired by teams -- but this season they will be independent. There will be two designated people per building with varied backgrounds who will split the games.
Their only given job on any given night will be spotting for any visible signs of concussion. They will log all those incidents into a file.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
For a sport so accustomed to a clean image, the past 12 months have been a tough pill to swallow for the NHL and its players.
Suddenly, hockey is sharing some of the same dubious headlines normally reserved for other sports and leagues.
And while we can debate whether several disconnected arrests or incidents present a trend or just an unlucky year, all of it has perhaps served to raise awareness among the rest of the player membership about one's conduct off the ice and the pitfalls that exist.
"I think as players we're all aware of it," superstar center Sidney Crosby told ESPN.com this week at the Player Tour event. "The league and Players' Association do a good job of informing us and making us well-aware of certain situations and consequences, things like that. I think it's something that everyone, whether you're a professional hockey player or a professional athlete, in general everyone is trying to educate each other in terms of situations you could be put in and making the right decisions.
continued with comments from a few more players...
WHO: Gary Bettman/NHL Commissioner; Don Fehr/NHLPA Executive Director; Zdeno Chara/Boston Bruins; Sidney Crosby/Pittsburgh Penguins; Anze Kopitar/Los Angeles Kings; Henrik Lundqvist/New York Rangers; Ryan McDonagh/New York Rangers; Evgeni Malkin/Pittsburgh Penguins; David Pastrnak/Boston Bruins; Tuukka Rask/Boston Bruins; Brandon Saad/Columbus Blue Jackets; Steven Stamkos/Tampa Bay Lightning; James van Riemsdyk/Toronto Maple Leafs.
WHEN: Wednesday, September 9, 2015, 1:00 p.m. ET
WHERE: Air Canada Centre
from Eric Macramalla of TSN,
Richards was arrested when Canadian border guards found "some pills in a single bottle" during a random search of his car. According to Westhead's breaking report, it was small quantity intended for the hockey player's personal use.
That means Richards is looking at a simple possession charge rather than a charge for possession for the purpose of trafficking, which is a lot more serious. A trafficking charge means that a person was in possession of drugs for the purpose of selling or distributing. Richards is facing up to six months in prison and/or a $1,000 fine. Given the small amount, Richards is not going to jail assuming he's guilty of the offence (he may not be). Worst case scenario for Richards may include a fine and community service.
The issue being raised now is whether being charged will hurt Richards' likelihood of success in connection with his grievance against the Kings for unlawfully terminating his contract.
The short answer is no. Before criminal charges were filed against Richards, he stood a good chance of having an arbitrator overturn the termination of his contract. While Richards has now been criminally charged, nothing has changed as far as his chances of success.
I don’t expect the NHLPA and Kings are negotiating settlement. The NHLPA is unlikely to accept the termination of Richards contract in any form. For the NHLPA, it simply cannot allow this precedent to stand as it could adversely impact its members. By allowing the termination to go unchallenged, the floodgates risk opening with teams terminating problem contracts. ‘He’s fat, cut him. He’s slow, cut him.’ Ultimately, expect the NHLPA to see this case as far too important an event and precedent to go unopposed.
-Eric Macramalla at Forbes on the LA Kings/Mike Ricards situation. Much more at Forbes.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
It's the one phrase that can send a chill down your spine on the sweatiest summer July day.
Rest easy, for now: the NHL and NHL Players' Association has guaranteed labour peace for each of the next five seasons, through the 2019-20 campaign.
While another hockey work stoppage may not be on the radar of most - the lost half-season of 2012-13 still all too fresh - a group of the league's highest-paid players are already gearing up for the possibility.
New York Rangers forward Derek Stepan became the latest player to negotiate protection in his contract in case of labour strife when he inked a six-year, $39 million deal on Monday.
Technically, the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement runs through Sept. 15, 2022 - or shortly before the opening of training camps for the 2022-23 season. But either the NHL or NHLPA can opt out of the agreement on Sept. 15, 2020.
That's why quite a few players, like Stepan, have negotiated hefty signing bonuses to be paid on July 1, 2020 - before any side could possibly opt out.
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.
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