Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston,
Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton has decided not to appeal his 15-game suspension to an independent arbitrator for attacking the Pittsburgh Penguins' Brooks Orpik during a game at TD Garden on Dec. 7.
After the team's morning skate Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena, Thornton said it was not an easy decision and he's had difficulty sleeping the last couple of days. He was even late getting onto the ice Tuesday because he was exhausting all his options with his lawyers.
Thornton, his agent and the Bruins felt that by the time a decision on the appeal was made, it actually wouldn't save him any games. He's eligible to return on Jan. 11 at San Jose.
Thornton said he'd rather not be a distraction for the team and wants to focus on preparing for his return. He thought there would be a hearing prior to Jan. 11 but it was not a guarantee that it would happen.
NEW YORK (Dec. 24, 2013) – Commissioner Gary Bettman today upheld the 15-game suspension that was assessed to Boston Bruin sforward Shawn Thornton by the Department of Player Safety for punching and injuring an unsuspecting opponent,Brooks Orpik of the Pittsburgh Penguins, in NHL Game No. 438 at Boston on Dec. 7.
Commissioner Bettman heard Thornton's appeal at a hearing in New York on Friday, Dec. 20. The original decision was assessed Dec. 14.
The incident occurred at 11:06 of the first period. Thornton was assessed a match penalty for violating NHL Rule 46.15.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Thornton will forfeit $84,615.45. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
View Bettman's ruling here...
The next tweet from Bob McKenzie...
If, after receiving Bettman's judgment and narrative, Thornton wants to appeal that, he can go to independent arbitrator.
from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,
This week, Bettman predicted the salary cap will rise to $71 million for the 2014-15 season and already the rumblings are it could shoot as high as $80 million for the following campaign.
The upshot is there will soon be more and more $10 million per season players dotting NHL rosters. The league minimum will rise at some point so every player in the NHL earns a seven-figure salary.
The man players were so quick to say was ruining the game and robbing their bank accounts has mapped out a strategy where all 30 teams in the NHL can claim to be on the road to financial health.
Lost in the players' rhetoric last winter was the fact many were being paid by franchises that couldn't cover the cheques as stand alone businesses.
Bettman's job was to make sure all league members could operate as sound businesses.
That, and the largesse bestowed upon the game's players, will be his lasting legacy.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
On that issue, the league feels its relationship with the players continues to grow stronger.
“There’s no doubt our ongoing relationship with the players' association is more regular and uniform that it has been in my memory,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Tuesday after the board meeting wrapped up. "We deal with them on all the issues associated with the game. We work through issues. Sometimes we don’t always agree, surprise, surprise. I think we have a strong working foundation and hopefully that will continue [to] improve in time.”
Then Bettman, standing next to Daly, said:
“I’d like to add to that that if you think that we went through a period where we had five different executive directors of the union in a relatively brief period of time. There is stability now in the union and that is a positive, not just for the players and the union; that’s a positive for us because you can’t build a strong working relationship based on trust when the cast of characters is changing every few months. So the strength and stability of the union, I think, is important as we try to accomplish the things we want to do moving forward.”
more BOG topics...
Stepehn Whyno of the CP at Yahoo writes about the small-market teams...
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
There is plenty of blame to be shared as a result of the most recent NHL player (Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik) to be evacuated from the ice on a stretcher following an ugly incident Saturday night in Boston.
It's high time for the NHL brass, their Officiating Department and the NHLPA to put their collective heads together to provide meaningful player safety measures that aren't being achieved through current attempts. Consistently applied player suspensions aren't the only tool to curb dangerous and unwanted hits to the head. We need to take a step back and have a serious discussion, recognizing that education will be the key to effectively changing this destructive culture at all levels of the game.
Players often seek out retribution for hits, even those deemed legal, that are delivered to one of their teammates. Following a "big" hit, the temperature of the game can immediately elevate to the near boiling point. At such times, the referee's primary job is to take whatever measures necessary to control the environment. To do that, he has to have a "feel" for the game and what is required. A better job could have been done by the refs in that regard after Orpik delivered a hard, legal open-ice check that knocked Loui Erisksson out of the game on the very first shift.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
- Just a horrendous and all-too typically arrogance-based missed call from an NHL referee on Friday night in Newark with 1:08 to go in a one-goal game, when Frederick L’Ecuyer cited Cory Schneider for playing the puck outside the trapezoid when everybody else in the building could see the goaltender had done no such thing.
That’s a no-judgment call that should be subject to video review, as should be delay of game for shooting the puck into the stands inside the defensive zone and a double-minor for drawing blood.
These aren’t calls open to interpretation, such as goaltender interference. These are he-did-or-he-didn’t issues that could be resolved almost instantaneously and without intruding on the game’s flow. That’s assuming there is a flow, which is a leap of faith in many rinks.
- Yes, it’s true, many general managers had no idea how the NHL playoff format would work prior to their league meeting a couple of weeks ago. When they learned the structure, many were aghast.
Expect the GMs to push for a change over the summer, but the format is part of the three-year realignment agreement the NHL has with the NHLPA, and it was the union that insisted on the wild-card/crossover as a means to achieve some sort of math-based equality between seven- and eight-team divisions.
“If that’s what the players wanted, there couldn’t have been any players involved in the decision,” one prominent player said this week.
more topics including Laviolette/Islanders talk...
Yesterday I was under the weather and missed posting this in a timely manner, today I am feeling much better...
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
Last summer, NHL general managers wanted to eliminate the spin-o-rama from shootouts. But the NHLPA blocked it. If you can't get agreement on that, you certainly aren't going to get agreement on Pavelski's move. So we get mass confusion and a prominent player ripping the game.
How, exactly, does the sport benefit from that?
The NHL and NHLPA fought over goaltending equipment. The union was annoyed that several GMs thought the league could unilaterally change the playoff system at a November meeting (they were reminded there is a three-year commitment to the setup). The NHL was furious at the players for waiting until the last possible minute to approve hybrid icing.
I get that there's a lot of mistrust between the two sides. It's deep-rooted and it's not going away any time soon. But the owners, league office, franchises and players will never have an opportunity to make more money for themselves than they will in the next decade.
Last summer, they worked together to clarify Rule 48, a smart move that ended confusion. But too often, it becomes, "If we do this, what will you give us?"
If the NHL and NHLPA maximize the on-ice product, they will maximize wallet fatness.
more plus 30 Thoughts...
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL Alumni Association calls itself “Hockey’s Greatest Family,” but it is far from hockey’s happiest family.
A lot of former players feel like poor relations, complaining about a lack of communication and support from an association they say only concerns itself with a small group of members in the Toronto area.
“It’s become a Toronto clique,” said former Buffalo Sabres star René Robert, who was one of the founders of the alumni association in the mid-1990s and served as its executive director until he resigned several years later. “We’ve got guys who don’t know we exist. They’ve never been contacted and don’t have a clue what this is about.”
A group of ex-players is unhappy enough to have sent the association’s executive director, Mark Napier, a five-page list of questions concerning various matters.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
The NHLPA says the Calgary Flames cannot mandate its players wear protective foot and ankle equipment commonly known as "shotblockers."
Flames general manager Jay Feaster instructed his players get fitted for the guards after Calgary captain Mark Giordano suffered a broken ankle and veteran forward Lee Stempniak broke his foot after being hit by pucks last month.
Flames players have informed the Players Association they were strongly encouraged by Flames management to wear the shotblockers, but were told the equipment wasn't mandatory.
However, Feaster says this is a mandatory team policy which may create a problem as such a policy could be viewed as a CBA violation.
This from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun a few days ago...
In fact, following the loss of their two most consistent players to shot-blocking injuries, the Calgary Flames have issued a directive to players making additional foot protection mandatory.
“With the injuries, it’s too bad that we reacted too late, but we don’t encourage them right now, they have to wear them now — it’s policy starting two days ago,” said Flames head coach Bob Hartley, whose club suited up Wednesday for the second game in a row without captain Mark Giordano and forward Lee Stempniak following painful shot-blocks that broke their ankle and foot respectively.
“It’s too late, but we learn from our mistakes. It won’t repeat itself with what happened to Giordano and Stempniak. Even though the players are pros, once in awhile, we have to put in some strict policies. Right now, we’re certainly not a better team without those two in the lineup.”
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