Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Mashinter re-signs with Sharks, NHL CBA negotiations proceed

Per Renaud P. Lavoie, Brandon Mashinter has re-signed with the Sharks.  That’s a good thing since David Pollak had him penciled in among the three maybes for the fourth line.  The two-way contract is for one year at $550,000.  Also on that theoretical line is John McCarthy.  I’m very happy about that.

Captain’s Practice at Sharks Ice officially started Monday.  Thomas Greiss was there but no other Sharks, per David Pollak’s Twitter feed.  The absence of more NHL players isn’t very telling at this point.

The question of Michal Handzus still looms.  Pollak points to his good performance for Slovakia last May as a sign that he could be better this season.  Certainly he could be.  Last season was his worst in a while.  I remember when Wilson first signed him, I also looked at his performance in the IIHF Championships.  It seems that the international game agrees with him, which isn’t true of all NHL players, especially those not known for speed.  Curious.  How many more games he will play for the Sharks isn’t clear, and not all of that is on him.  The last year of his contract may be foreshortened.  Now is a good time for players to get any surgery they might possibly need.

A month from today is the deadline for CBA negotiations.  Anze Kopitar is ready for a lockout, has a plan in place to play somewhere else.   The NHLPA has unveiled their alternative proposal to the NHL.  They call it an “alternative proposal,” instead of a “counter-offer.”  Is that like saying “Very funny, NHL.  If you’re done kidding around, can we try to get some work done?”

I was surprised by my reaction to the NHLPA’s proposal that cap space and draft picks be bought and sold, as well as traded.  The cap space idea looks like a not very subtle way around the cap system, but whatever.  The sale of draft picks though, that seems just wrong.  I’m not sure why.

The draft system and the salary cap are both intended to foster parity in the league.  Whether they have done so isn’t clear, maybe other factors need to be considered.  But certainly if the gap between the salary cap and the salary floor were expanded, that would have to undermine what parity we have, wouldn’t it?  Does it matter?  The accepted rule is that a winning team attracts a bigger audience, so keeping the small market teams competitive should be important.  A team that functions just above an even lower salary floor isn’t guaranteed to lose, but they probably won’t win for long before they lose their best players.  So that seems like a way to allow struggling teams to sink still lower.

I don’t think the cap space sell and swap plan is a good one but it doesn’t bug me as much as selling draft picks.  General Managers are already free to trade away all their picks if they want to, I don’t think it should be easier.  We already saw Columbus try to dump all their picks in one trade last July.  Crazy stuff.  There’s a mantle of fairness over the way draft picks are assigned now, even if the Oilers seem to have rigged the lottery.  Picks can already be traded, to sell them too doesn’t sit well with me.

Trading or selling cap space is a like urban preservation plans that limit the height of buildings.  Cities allow property owners sell the height allotment they don’t use to developers who want to go over the limit.  The difference between building codes and a salary cap is that an uneven skyline tends to be more aesthetically pleasing than many buildings of uniform height.  Looking pretty is the objective of such building restrictions.  For NHL teams, steep differences in spending are not so attractive.  The result would be, in terms of visibility and relevance, a much smaller league.

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There is no question that Michael Handzus still sucks. Never has been.

Posted by Brian Nuemann on 08/15/12 at 02:01 PM ET

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About Petshark: Talking Stick

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net