Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
As Alan Eagleson made his rounds at the morning skate at the United Center before Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final, some of the many former players on hand felt uneasy. Others were angry. One former player refused to shake Eagleson’s hand. Eagleson asked for a picture with another and he reluctantly agreed so as not to make a scene.
Twenty-three years after Eagleson stepped down as the executive player of the NHL Players’ Association he was instrumental in starting and 17 years after he was convicted of fraud in two countries and of embezzling funds in Canada, the 82-year-old Eagleson has resurfaced in the hockey world during the Stanley Cup final. Eagleson has been around the United Center during the playoffs. He is not a guest of the NHL and the Chicago Blackhawks media department said it was not certain whether he was a guest of the team. Eagleson is friends with longtime Blackhawks executive Bob Pulford, who was the first co-president of the NHLPA along with Bobby Baun and he had close ties with late Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz, whose family still owns the team. Eagleson managed to get into the building and that has rankled some of the many former players who are around right now.
“I don’t like it,” said former NHLer Barry Melrose, an analyst for NBC Sports. “He shouldn’t be allowed to be here. I can’t believe he’s here. I can’t believe the NHL lets him be here.”
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
The National Hockey League Players' Association is finalizing plans on a watershed program to help current players return to school and prepare them for a multitude of issues they will face in transitioning from playing careers to retirement.
The program was conceived several years ago and will be unveiled at a time when the union is facing criticism from both current and former players about whether more can be done to help players cope with the stress of leaving hockey.
In April - two months after former Chicago Blackhawk Steve Montador was found dead in his home at age 35 - his one-time teammate Daniel Carcillo said in an online video that the NHLPA hasn't done enough to help its members move on with life. NHLPA executive Mathieu Schneider said that criticism is deserved, adding that a new program may mark a turning point.
TSN has learned that for the past two years, Schneider and his colleagues have been quietly researching professional sports leagues around the world, consulting with sports industry executives as far away as in New Zealand about programs that help active professional athletes improve levels of education and prepare for post-playing careers.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
- The NHL Players’ Association will meet in New York City in the first week of June for its annual board meetings, and part of that will include formulating responses to the rule changes proposed by NHL general managers in March. The competition committee meeting between the two sides is tentatively scheduled for June 4th. At the top of the agenda will be using three-on-three in overtime next season.
The GMs threw out a couple of options, and the players have yet to formally respond. More and more, however, there seems to be a sentiment that there needs to be a trial period to evaluate this rule change. One option would be to try it out during the pre-season, then hold off on implementing it until the 2016-17 season if the results are favourable. The union sees the way in which shootouts have gradually lost popularity as a warning to just implementing three-on-three play without actually understanding the impact.
- The NHLPA is becoming increasingly concerned with the drop in scoring during the regular season and playoffs, which makes sense because lower statistics can impact bonuses, arbitration and contracts. Meanwhile, more and more you’re hearing out there that a growing number of coaches, players and executives believe that the move a decade ago to take out the red line for the purposes of two-line passes has proven to be a failure, producing a style of low-scoring hockey few contemplated.
more hockey topics...
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
While the decision on whether or not to trigger the annual 5 percent growth factor on the salary cap has often been treated like a foregone conclusion, it should not be this season.
The issue on the growth factor, commonly referred to as the "inflator" or "escalator," has become a hot topic of conversation amongst players with growing concerns about increasing escrow rates and the potential implications on revenue with the falling Canadian dollar.
Several sources told ESPN.com that there is a divide between two camps of players: those who are already under contract for next season and those who are pending unrestricted free agents. Those already set on their current deals may be against the idea of increasing the salary cap, deterred by the thought of another season of high escrow (the players were hit with 18 percent this season). Those players up for new deals, however, would ideally like more money in the pot. The current salary cap is at $69 million. At last week's General Managers meetings, the rough projection provided by commissioner Gary Bettman was $71.5 million -- assuming the inflator was triggered.
For players, there is a growing sense of skepticism about areas of potential revenue growth, such as television deals, outdoor games, etc., compounded with concerns about the devaluation of the Canadian dollar.
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Globe and Mail,
On the final day of the NHL general managers meeting, the Players’ Association got its first look at rule changes being proposed for next season, most notably adding some three-on-three play to overtime.
Players will have give their input on three-on-three, expanded video review and faceoff changes and must sign off before anything becomes official.
General managers were split on whether to go to the American Hockey League model of four-on-four for the first three minutes and then three-on-three from the next whistle to the end of a seven-minute overtime or to simply play three-on-three for the existing five-minute overtime.
One concern is that the extra two minutes a game, while likely to reduce shootouts, would put more of a strain on top players.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Player-tracking technology could be implemented across the NHL next season in place of the real-time statistics it has employed for more than a decade.
Officials from the league and NHL Players’ Association met earlier this week to discuss the Sportvision system that was tested at the all-star game in January, and are believed to be working towards a deal to have it fully operational for 2015-16.
That has been the NHL’s hope since a successful initial run-through in October, but it needs approval from the union to move forward.
Don Fehr, the NHLPA’s executive director, says a proposal is currently being reviewed internally and must still be looked at by the players. Asked for his views on the test at the all-star game in Columbus, he replied: “I think there are some very interesting things there.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Will NHL players be going to Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February 2018 or not?
It's a question that's far from being answered yet.
"We haven't had any discussions about it," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told ESPN.com Wednesday. "And I said in Columbus [at the All-Star Game], this decision about the World Cup has no bearing on that decision. We're focused right now on the World Cup. When we get to discussing and evaluating the Olympic opportunity, that decision -- whether or not we go or not go -- will rise and fall on the merits of making that decision."
NHLPA executive director Don Fehr agreed with Bettman's characterization of the Olympic decision not being tied to the return of the World Cup.
"Yes, I think that's a correct statement, that the Olympics have to be evaluated on their own, and you have to get the right kinds of agreements with the IIHF and the IOC," Fehr told ESPN.com Wednesday. "Assuming you can, it's no secret what the players' position is going to be. But this [World Cup] is something we would do if we had already decided to go to the Olympics or if the Olympics had shut down and you never had them again. It wouldn't matter."
I found this interview more interesting than the interview of Gary Bettman which was just posted.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr joins Hockey Central at Noon to talk about the players perspective of the World Cup of Hockey and much more.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Donald Fehr is still the executive director after earlier declaring he didn’t think he would be in the job for very long, but if he wants a project to consider, he might start working on what must surely be annoying to the players — the NHL’s persistence in markets where hockey is obviously not working.
We refer here mostly to Florida and Phoenix, and to a slightly lesser extent, Carolina. And if you really wanted to cast the net wide here, New Jersey as well, although their New York market television deal keeps them in solid shape in the revenue game.
Commissioner Gary Bettman is loathe to move any franchises out of what he claims is loyalty to the fans in these cities, and to some degree, that’s laudable. But let’s be clear here, it’s also to make sure he doesn’t have to move these teams into markets they have targeted for expansion. Why move Florida or Phoenix into a ripe city for expansion when there is no way a transfer fee could be anywhere near as high as an expansion fee for the owners, a source of revenue in which the players do not share? They do, however, get the increase in jobs, and like any union, this one is all for increasing its membership and thus their own revenues, so expansion is essentially a win-win for both parties.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal.
- NHLPA talking head Mathieu Schneider was a fine D-man, but he’s got to be kidding with the ridiculous analysis that the top guys will be fatigued by having to play an extra few shifts of 3-on-3 OT if the AHL model moves to the NHL. A few extra shifts? Tired? That’s why the top guys are making $6 mil and $8 mil and $10 mil a year. So they maybe have to play LOTS of MINUTES!
- I’m a huge Darryl Sutter fan but I’m beginning to think the Kings have little left in the tank. They might gut it out to still make the playoffs but they can’t score. They get shut out (six times) or score one goal (another seven) way too often to think they can win another Cup. Sad, but there’s a lot miles on that LA team.
- *I’ve given up figuring what second-pairing NHL D-men should be making on the open market when teams stupidly throw money around, so I those not to laugh when I heard Cody Franson, an average NHL blueliner would be in the $5.5 mil range on July 1. He’s a 35-point NHL D-man. I guess if Matt Niskanen can get 7 years at $5.75 mil in Washington last summer, anything’s possible. He had 51 points and was plus 33 in his UFA year in Pittsburgh and is predictably back to being what he really is (17 points, plus 3) now.
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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