Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
When you look at what Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks got in their new eight-year contracts Wednesday and compare this to what the top players were getting back in 2004 before the salary cap, it just might be that the NHL Player’s Association has outlived it’s usefulness.
While it may sound to many in Canada like these two guys are making a wage that nobody should get for playing professional sports, it is also quite clear that if the normal market basics were to play out and these two could sell their services to any team the way a person can work for any firm he or she chooses, they are tremendously underpaid.
The collective bargaining agreement between the NHLPA and the NHL is clearly holding many players back and not just the top earners. What it does is create a minimum wage which may, repeat may, help quite a few players, but for the most part it serves to put the players into a straight-jacket so they can be beaten up by the NHL owners who have seen the asset value of their franchises skyrocket since the players rolled over when locked out back in 2005.
The argument that it is holding back the top players is absolutely beyond discussion.
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
The only way a union for major junior hockey players can work is with the help of the NHL Players’ Association.
That’s the view of Gilles Lupien, a former defenceman with the Montreal Canadiens who is now an agent for professional and amateur hockey players.
Lupien said a mainstream union will struggle to win over the public and the families of some players, who would see the move as a cash-grab.
But the NHLPA, Lupien said, is better positioned to act as an umbrella organization protecting the rights of hockey’s budding stars before they graduate to the NHL.
The Star reported this week that Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, is trying to organize players in Quebec’s major junior hockey league and then take its efforts west across Canada, eventually organizing all 60 of the Canadian Hockey League’s franchises.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
- Multiple choice: James Neal and Scott Hartnell, a) both had dreadful playoff series against the Rangers; b) both were traded this week; c) both of the above.
- So what point, exactly, was Ottawa GM Bryan Murray trying to make when he negotiated a deal that would have sent Jason Spezza to the Predators even though the center had Nashville on his no-trade list?
- Nashville GM David Poile, who acquired Neal on Friday, seemed miffed at Spezza, who has asked out of Ottawa with one year remaining on his contract, but his annoyance was misplaced.
- The insidious nature — or, on the other side, the genius — of a hard-cap system was on display Thursday night and Friday afternoon when the NHLPA voted against including the new Canadian television contract as revenue for purposes of calculating the 2014-15 cap.
The players, concerned about escrow that might have increased by 3 percent if the cap had gone to the projected $71 million, instead authorized a cap of $69 million that will create a significant squeeze on a significant number of the league’s most successful clubs and will cost players jobs on those teams and eliminate those teams as potential destinations when the market opens on Tuesday.
more plus some Garth Snow and New York Rangers talk...
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
About 60 former players, some of whom hadn’t taken part in any alumni meetings, gathered Saturday to air their grievances and concerns and hear how their leadership was handling their problems.
None came away disappointed.
“It was very productive,” said Steve Ludzik, the long-time Chicago Blackhawk who has Parkinson’s and runs a Parkinson’s clinic. “There was no candy-coating. It was like a hockey room, a closed-door meeting. It was good.
“We can do a lot more for each other. Better communication. Different ways we can help guys that are in trouble. I would like to build a retirement home for hockey players.”
As the room emptied, former players thanked NHLA executive director Mark Napier one-by-one, including ex-Leaf Walt McKechnie, who declined an interview request. It was McKechnie who, by and large, brokered this meeting as a peace deal between the warring factions.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
The NHL and the players’ association came up with a protocol when it comes to dealing with head injuries. It would be a positive step toward dealing with the head injuries if anyone took it seriously. But teams and players continue to circumvent the protocol by denying a player has suffered a concussion.
The latest case in point involves Canadiens forward Dale Weise, who missed Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final against the New York Rangers with what Montreal coach Michel Therrien described as a “body injury.”
I’m not a doctor and I’ve never played one on television, but all my experience covering sports tells me that Weise suffered a concussion when he was hit in the head by the Rangers’ John Moore in the third period of Game 5. Weise was knocked to the ice and then lost his balance as he got to his feet. Weise’s eyes were glazed as P.K. Subban grabbed him and steadied him. In boxing, the referee would have been giving Weise a standing eight-count. Weise needed assistance as he made his way to the locker room.
Less than five minutes of playing time elapsed before Weise returned to the ice. When Therrien was asked whether Weise had been subjected to the concussion protocol mandated by the league, he said Weise had gone to the “quiet room” and had been cleared by doctors to return.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Kurt Walker can barely walk and lives every day in pain after 17 surgeries related to his career as a hockey enforcer.
Now 59, the ex-Maple Leaf lives outside Atlanta on medicare.
Gene Carr, who squandered what hockey gave him in the 1970s, needs $30,000 for stem cell replacement surgery to help him walk again. The 60-year-old ex-Los Angeles King lives in L.A, making do on about $2,000 a month through social security disability.
Both are part of a movement of disgruntled retired players who want those still involved in the game to live up to the sport’s credo that hockey takes care of its own.
“This is not about me,” said Carr. “This is about every son of a b---- out there that’s hurting, that has nothing.
from Dave McCarthy of TSN 1050,
"The big take away from this meeting is the managers are really happy with where the game is right now,"said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.
Throughout the week, GMs have expressed an interest to lessen the number of games decided in a shootout. To that end, a recommendation is expected to be put forth to have teams switch sides to begin overtime (the same as in the second period), hoping that a team's bench being further from their defensive zone will lead to more goals.
"I would say that's going to be recommended for sure," St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong confirmed.
So far, 18 of 30 teams have scored their largest number of goals under these conditions in the second period.
Also given consideration was doing the dry scrape of the ice prior to the overtime period to provide for better ice conditions instead of waiting until before the shootout; however, due to the potential of lengthening games, that item will continue to be discussed.
via Darren Dreger tweets,
Mathieu Schneider says players aren't interested in making games longer. Says players would prefer games not ending in shootout...so...
...PA would like to see more testing on long change in 4 on 4, or ways of encouraging games ending in regulation.
Schneider says players would like to see more interference allowed to slow game down. Removal of trapezoid to relieve pressure on D-men...
TORONTO/NEW YORK (February 27, 2014) – The National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced today that each have agreed to terms with The Upper Deck Company on multi-year agreements to be the exclusive licensed manufacturer of NHL Trading Cards, beginning with the 2014-15 season.
Upper Deck had been the exclusive trading card partner from 2004 through 2009-10, and is currently one of two licensed manufacturers through the 2013-14 season. Upper Deck has held NHL and NHLPA trading card licenses since the 1990-91 season, and will release the 25th edition of Upper Deck Series One Hockey this coming fall.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Pierre LeBrun: Where does this go after Sochi in terms of future NHL Olympic participation? Every single player we've talked to here at the Games wants to remain involved. We all understand it's more complicated than that, but ...
Donald Fehr: It's always an issue to have to shut down a business for a length of time. It's always a greater issue when you're shutting the business at a point in time in which the substitute product, if you will, is not prime time back to the areas that you are. There's always people [who] worry about the additional games and the injury risk and so on.
And the question is a couple things: Is this something that NHL players should do because it's good for the game overall, good for worldwide marketing and approach and all the rest of it? It is a question as to what the players would like and prefer to do.
And then it's the question of negotiating the details and arrangements to make sure we can make it work. People have a tendency, I think, of thinking I'm being cagey or holding my cards close to my vest. But in fact, what we'll do is that after this is over, we'll let it digest for a while; we'll begin to talk to the players; we'll talk to the parents; we'll see what kind of reaction federations had.
And then, I'm sure, at our executive board meeting this summer, we'll have long discussions. And either then or after my meeting with the players in the fall, the players will tell me what they want me to do and then I'll go try and do it. That's basically it.
LeBrun: All 700-plus NHL players are not here in the Olympics. What's always intrigued me is the idea of how rank-and-file players who never get to play in the Olympics really feel about shutting down the game for the Olympics and whether their input is heeded.
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.
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