The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/08/13 at 01:28 PM ET
Very interesting stuff: Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall spoke to ESPN's Craig Custance for an ESPN Insider blog entry, and the Red Wings' NHLPA player representative told Custance that the NHL provided the PA with multiple mock schedules which illustrated the travel teams would have to face, satisfying the players at least to the point that they chose to consent to the league's plan for two seasons:
"Compared to last year, they didn't have anything really mocked up. That was our concern. If [travel] is not going to get much worse, how much worse is it going to be? It was hard to make a call without seeing any numbers whatsoever," Kronwall said when we chatted following Detroit's win over Edmonton on Thursday night. "This time around we did get to see some numbers. It felt like the league wanted to work with the PA on a completely different level. It wasn't just, 'Here it is, take it or leave it."
And in very deliberate Donald Fehr-type fashion, the players took it, reviewed it and gave every player an opportunity to have their say through conference calls with player reps. Along the way, they found a counter-argument to the notion that the West has a playoff advantage.
"People were saying that well maybe in the East maybe you'll have a little bit easier schedule," Kronwall said. "That would make up for the advantage."
Kronwall also told Custance that the NHLPA hopes to convince the owners that shutting down the season and placing players at risk to take part in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi is worth their time, headaches involving the International Olympic Committee and the IIHF included:
"I think it's going to happen," he said. "I don't see how it's not going to happen, to be honest with you. It's a great opportunity to widen the hockey market even more."
As you might expect, Custance continues at some length and offers a superb mailbag.
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