Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.”
from Aaron Ward of TSN,
The NHL Players' Association is seeking permission to sue the state of Tennessee on behalf its membership and get reimbursed for a special tax that players must pay each time they play a game in Nashville.
Since the 2009-2010 season, the state has taxed NHL players $2,500 - with an annual cap of $7,500 - under a 'Professional Privilege Tax' each time they were on their club's playing roster for a game in Nashville.
The Players' Association believes this is unfair and possibly unconstitutional, saying a player making the league minimum would in fact lose money playing there and would be better off financially by not playing.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Commissioner Gary Bettman’s opinion upholding the 10-game suspension assessed Patrick Kaleta for his head shot against Jack Johnson, in which the commissioner cites and quotes liberally from the NHLPA’s appeal of the sentence may prove a tipping point in the way the union responds in such matters.
Because if dues-paying members of the PA read the decision, they’d have to come to the conclusion the league is more invested in player safety than the union, which seems more invested in protecting an individual player’s paycheck and in assigning the blame to the victim.
There is, according to several disparate sources within the industry, widespread unease within the union over this course of events. Indeed, this is likely to become Topic A on the agenda during PA executive director Don Fehr’s annual fall tour of the league.
continued plus some Dipietro talk that Brooks broke earlier today...
NEW YORK (October 24, 2013) -- Commissioner Gary Bettman today upheld the 10-game suspension that was assessed t oBuffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta by the Department of Player Safety for an illegal check to the head o fColumbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson in NHL Game No. 49 in Buffalo on October 10.
Commissioner Bettman heard Kaleta's appeal of the original decision, assessed Oct. 15, at a hearing in New York on Monday.
Kaleta is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, will forfeit $152,439.00. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
The incident occurred at 3:08 of the first period.
Read Bettman's complete ruling here.
from Frank Seravalli of Frequent Flyers,
What does Paul Holmgren have up his sleeve?
It doesn’t take a mathlete to understand that the Flyers are currently over the NHL’s $64.3 million salary cap with Chris Pronger on the roster.
Pronger will not play again, but the Flyers must retain his salary cap hit on their roster for the first day of the season before he can be move to the long-term injury list.
It’s important to note that the first day of the salary cap begins Monday afternoon - and the Flyers’ first game isn’t until Wednesday against Toronto. Meaning, many expected the Flyers to simply make a “paper transaction” and send waiver exempt forwards Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier to the Phantoms for the first day and re-call them on the second.
from the Darren Dreger Report at TSN,
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr will meet with the IIHF in Portugal on Thursday.
Whether discussed at this meeting or not, there's a growing sense of urgency in determining the NHL's plans to continue to expand its European profile.
While it's not CBA related, the NHL and NHLPA did agree to work together to send four NHL teams back to Europe next fall for regular season games. Sources say there has been little progress in planning the NHL's return and time may be running out. NHL clubs are already making plans for their 2014 training camps and preseason games and the marketing impact required may suffer because of the loose ends.
The World Cup of Hockey is also on the list of items that IIHF executives would like to discuss this week.
Without question, both the NHLPA and the NHL are keenly interested in bringing this spectacle back, however, aside from some informal discussions, there appears to be little urgency to kick this joint initiative into high gear.
read on for more topics...
from Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly,
Chris Pronger walks a fine line between working for the Flyers in a scouting capacity and sitting in on meetings with management, all the while being a dues-paying member of the NHLPA.
Such is the life of a former player, struck down by post-concussion syndrome, and living between two worlds -- permanently disabled player and club scouting.
“I have yet to be told what my duties are,” said Pronger, who still suffers from headaches from an ocular concussion, and likely will for the rest of his life.
“As still an active player and a dues-paying member of the [NHLPA] and all that, I know my role will be somewhat limited still in what I can and can’t do," Pronger said on Thursday at Flyers training camp.
Pronger is not an active player in the true sense. He can’t retire without harming the Flyers' salary infrastructure. Under the CBA, they would be stuck with his near-$4.9 million cap hit for the remaining four years of his contract without the ability to place him on LTIR.
About 90 players attended the program which was designed to help them prepare for 'NHL life'.
from Andrew Gross of the Record,
Now running the NHL Players' Association and not baseball's players' union, Don Fehr could defer all questions on Alex Rodriguez and his looming suspension in the Biogenesis scandal on the basis of not being in the loop.
However, Fehr made it clear that A-Rod had every right to appeal the suspension, something the other 13 players handed bans chose not to do.
"All I can say is that I have complete confidence in the team that's there to represent the players to the best of their ability," Fehr said Thursday at Yankee Stadium as he was on hand for the announcement of outdoor hockey games between the Rangers and Devils on Jan. 26 and the Rangers and Islanders on Jan. 29.
"Any player, if he wants to have a hearing, it's an absolute right to have a hearing and the facts will be what the facts are," Fehr added....
Fehr had little to say when asked about the lack of performance-enhancing drug scandals in hockey, other than the NHLPA was satisfied with hockey's drug-testing program.
"Maybe the culture is different," Fehr said.
a bit more...
from Lewie Krashinsky of Sportsnet,
Organized by Dominic Moore, Smashfest is a charity ping-pong tournament created to raise funds for concussion research. Numerous players, including Martin St. Louis, Phil Kessel, David Clarkson and Kevin Westgarth, attended the second annual event Thursday.
“Great to see (Bettman) supporting a great charity event at Smashfest. Maybe we can get a dunk tank or something and make a little more money off of it,” quipped Westgarth, a tough Hurricanes winger who was heavily involved in the labour negotiations. “We want to bridge the gaps in our relationship, and hopefully (Bettman’s support for concussion research) can go a long way to doing that.”
The physical nature of hockey will naturally lead to concussions, Westgarth conceded, but that frequency and severity of head injuries is something worth trying to reduce.
“It’s an incredibly important topic to our membership in the PA. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure concussions are as small an issue as possible and that guys get treated properly and have long lives after their very short careers.”
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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