The Malik Report
After the NHLPA’s executive board meets from June 25-27 in Chicago, the PA will officially be ready to put the pedal to the CBA negotiating medal. NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr told the Canadian Press that the meetings, which are supposed to draw upwards of 50 players, will serve as a springboard to negotiations that the PA’s already prepared to begin:
“We’ll be prepared and have been prepared to start bargaining with the owners,” Fehr told The Canadian Press on Friday ahead of the NHL draft. “I think those (talks) will start — although not announcing the precise date yet — very quickly after the end of our meeting.”
The NHLPA’s approach to CBA negotiations will borrow heavily from the lessons Fehr learned while spending more than three decades with the Major League Baseball Players Association. During the last round of NHL negotiations — when a lockout wiped out the entire 2004-05 season — the union had just seven players on the committee tasked with hammering out the agreement under former leader Bob Goodenow. Fehr was hired in 2010 and thinks it’s important to have a wider cross-section of his membership participating in the process.
“It’s very important for players to be involved — it’s their futures, it’s their contracts — and they understand that,” he said. “And so I’ve always operated under the general philosophy that if a player wants to come to a bargaining meeting then he should be encouraged to. It doesn’t matter whether he’s on the executive board, the negotiating committee or he got to the league three days ago. It really doesn’t matter. He has a right to come, he has a right to be involved, he has a right to know what the issues are.”
Updated 2x at 2:55 PM: Amongst this afternoon’s relatively sparse crop of Red Wings news:
• First and foremost, I dig the probable signing of Damien Brunner. Yes, he’s an undersized 26-year-old who’s been playing in Switzerland, but the Swiss league has become one of Europe’s best over the past couple of seasons, and this is an ultimate no-risk deal for a classically undersized but speedy sniper (if it happens, which it probably will); the player wants to come to Detroit, and if he shows his stuff in training camp, awesome, and if not, he heads to Grand Rapids to adjust to the North American game, hopefully earning a call-up at some point. If he can’t adapt, he goes back to Switzerland with that, “Well, I tried to make it happen in North America” feather in his cap.
• In more serious news, via RedWingsFeed, the Left Wing Lock’s Sarah Lindenau reports that the Red Wings will pay tribute to fallen prospect Bryan Rufenach at this summer’s prospect camp in Traverse City:
Good news of a sort regarding CBA negotiations from the NHLPA—the players are going to get down to the business of mapping out their negotiation strategies in short order:
NHLPA EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING
TORONTO (June 22, 2012) – The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) will be conducting its Executive Board Meetings on June 25, 26, 27, at the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago. The Executive Board Meetings will be attended by approximately 50 NHLPA Members.
The three-day meetings will be focused on NHLPA business matters, including the upcoming collective bargaining negotiations.
Wisely-stated, from Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika:
One thing union might point out in talks: Players’ share isn’t really 57 percent. It’s more like 51 because some revenue isn’t counted.
added 4:12pm, Much more on this from the CP at TSN.
Updated 2x at 12:27 PM, and yes, Bill covered this—sorry about being slow on the uptake: As noted this morning, 26-year-old free agent Damien Brunner told Blick.ch that he may sign with the Wings, and MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that that may just happen:
The Detroit Red Wings appear to have landed talented Swiss forward Damien Brunner. But they won’t know for sure until July 1, when he can sign with any NHL team. Brunner, a highly sought undrafted free agent, told Swiss media that he has agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the Red Wings.
Brunner, 26, isn’t big (5-11, 180), but he’s a fast-skating, highly skilled winger who shoots right-handed. He led the Swiss-A league in scoring with 24 goals and 60 points in 45 games for Zug. He’s a Jiri Hudler-type of player, except with speed.
Brunner has one year remaining on his contract with the Swiss club but told media that he has an out clause. As many as a half-dozen NHL teams, including Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, were interested in the undrafted forward.
The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness confirms the news...
As so many of you wait for the Red Wings to theoretically get into the Draft day trade mix (the Wings do not have a pick in tonight’s 1st round, which will air on NBCSN from 7-9 and then switch to CNBC, but have six picks in rounds 2-7, which take place Saturday at 10 AM, and will be aired on the NHL Network and streamed on NHL.com—unless you live in Canada, where it’s all on TSN), despite Wings GM Ken Holland’s suggestions to the contrary...
Perhaps one Mike Ilitch’s take on when the Wings expect to make hay with their $24 million in cap space, shared in a mostly Tigers-centered conversation with the Free Press’s Evil Drew Sharp, might set the record straight:
He’s excited about the coming NHL free agency July 1 and said the Wings will be ready to make a big impact.
“We’re going to be flying all over the country,” he said.
Things tend to happen a little faster than that, but it’s good to hear that Ilitch is willing to lend the use of his private plane to the Wings’ brass.
The Sharks have agreed to terms on a three-year deal with defenseman Brad Stuart, Sharks GM Doug Wilson exclusively told CSNCalifornia.com. Terms were not disclosed but reports say the deal is worth $3.6 million per year.
Stuart, 32, was acquired by the Sharks from the Red Wings on June 10 for Andrew Murray and a conditional seventh round draft pick in 2014. The pick will be transfered to the Red Wings when the deal becomes official.
“We acquired his rights, and he certainly fits how we want to play and what we’re looking for on our hockey team,” Wilson said on Monday.
Via RedWingsFeed, you and I already know that the players the Red Wings are particularly interested in signing and/or acquiring the signing rights to—like Zach Parise, Alex Semin and Ryan Suter—have either already chosen to explore unrestricted free agency on July 1st, or they’re still entertaining contract offers from current rights-holders insistent upon waiting things out while their players assess their market values before circling back to their 2011-2012 season’s employers on Canada Day.
So it should come as no surprise that, on a Thursday night swirling with thunderstorms in Southeastern Michigan and trade rumors in Pittsburgh, Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s told the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness that the Wings are not likely to make a trade on Friday or Saturday, save perhaps swapping draft picks to move up or down in the draft:
On an evening of rumors, rumors and more rumors which will give way to a Friday and Saturday equally salted with a dump truck’s worth of, “You know, 99% of these don’t pan out, especially given that every major player agent and every general manager is using the electronic media to test the waters while a hundred of ‘em are in the same building” draft trade/free agent speculation pumped out on Twitter (dear hockey gods, if Twitter goes out again, what will people do?)...
The Free Press’s Helene St. James delivers a welcome dose of relative sanity in the form of a road trip story regarding Red Wings execs Kris Draper (special assistant to GM Ken Holland) and Chris Osgood (goaltending coach/goalie mentor/amateur goalie scout):
The NHL Draft takes place tomorrow and Saturday in Pittsburgh (TSN covers the draft in Canada; NBC Sports Network and then CNBC will air the 1st round, which starts at 7 PM EDT on Friday, and the NHL Network and NHL.com will cover rounds 2-7 on Saturday starting at 10 AM), and the Red Wings’ have the 49th overall pick in the second round and then the 20th overall pick in rounds 3-7 (picks 80, 110, 140, 170 and 200), and Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill will make the final calls as the amateur scouts go over their lists over the next 36 hours.
Nill told the Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell something surprising: for the first time in a long time, the Wings will alter their blueprint somewhat, having decided that Nicklas Lidstrom’s departure and the playoff successes of bigger teams that play chip-and-chase hockey mean that size and toughness will finally trump the team’s “small but skilled” model it’s stuck to for the past 15 drafts:
Updated 2x at 2:09 PM: As noted in the overnight report, one of the Red Wings’ main free agent targets was taking part in a charity hockey event (though he didn’t take part due to his UFA status) in Minneapolis on Wednesday, and as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Brian Stensaas noted, mum was the word for New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise when he faced inevitable questions about his future:
“I’ve got a lot of people asking what’s going on, and we’ll get things figured out pretty soon hopefully,” Parise said. “I haven’t really given much thought to anything. It’s been pretty nice.”
It likely won’t last. The New Jersey Devils captain can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. He made $6 million this season, scored 31 goals and led the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final. He can expect to make a boatload more money going forward. But where?
The Devils have exclusive negotiating rights with Parise, but he said last week to reporters in New Jersey that to his knowledge his agents and Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello had no talks during the season. Asked Wednesday if there had been any talks since the Devils’ season ended in a six-game loss to the Los Angeles Kings, Parise smiled.
“We’ve kept everything pretty quiet, and we’re going to do the same thing for however long it takes,” said Parise, a former Shattuck-St. Mary’s and North Dakota standout who grew up in Bloomington.
About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.