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from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
With the new NHL collective bargaining agreement keeping the $81.5 million salary cap team ceiling, general managers and free-agents and their representatives trying to get new deals are all going, “Uh, oh…this is not good.’”
As Brian Burke said Friday on Sportsnet as he talked about COVID-19 and teams looking at huge losses this upcoming season because they could be playing in empty or near-empty rinks for a long time, “We’re not dealing with a lunar landscape, we’re dealing with a Martian one and nobody has been there before.”
If you’re a GM, it’s like knowing you need the roof fixed and work on the bathroom and kitchen, but you only have so much money to spend. If you’re a player, it’s the realization that being a free-agent really means you’re not that free. Especially with every team well over 90 per cent of their cap space for next season eaten up already.
continued, Oilers related...
At a time when other leagues are looking lost and about to play games in high risk — some would say insane — situations, Gary Bettman’s owners and Donald Fehr’s players, appear to have combined to give themselves long-term stability with a template to get through the next six years. Maybe seven.
They’ve created what appears to be a contract that will allow both to come out the other end of the COVID-19 pandemic and current economic challenges triumphing together.
-Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun. Jones has more on this topic.
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
...in September and October, just weeks before the NHL Entry Draft, many of the European prospects in this draft class will be playing hockey again.
With the pandemic easing in Europe, at least for now, most of those leagues should be up and running in the autumn.
The North American junior leagues likely will not be.
So, for Red Wings’ general manager Steve Yzerman and his staff, it’ll be another valuable scouting opportunity and chance for those European players to sell themselves on the ice — while comparable North American prospects are sitting.
“That could just confuse the situation even more,” Yzerman said. “We thought about that. In all likelihood, you’ll have some of these kids playing, the way it looks right now, and potentially, some of the North American kids not playing.
“So, depending on who’s playing, who’s not playing, who plays well, who doesn’t, it can complicate your decision-making even more.”
It certainly does offer, everyone around the NHL agrees, the unique opportunity for a young player to give himself a second chance to move himself up in the draft.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The 2017 NHL draft was a busy and unusual one for the Detroit Red Wings.
It marked the first time they were in the draft lottery, earning entry after missing the playoffs for the first time in 25 seasons. They finished with the sixth-worst record but were pushed back to ninth because expansion Vegas won the sixth spot and Philadelphia and Dallas moved ahead of Detroit. The Wings have been pushed back four straight years, including this year, landing the fourth pick despite finishing in last place.
They made 11 picks in 2017, including four in the third round that stemmed from trades and compensation from the Toronto Maple Leafs for their hiring of Mike Babcock. The Wings also had two picks in the sixth round.
Two picks from the draft already have made appearances with the Wings and look like they will help shape the rebuild.
Given how recent the draft was (only eight players overall from the class have topped 100 games), there aren’t many instances where it is clear if a better choice could have been made.
If a couple of stir-crazy players decide to tie up some bedsheets and slip out for a night on the town, the NHL owns that. If a bunch of hospitality workers serving the meals get sick and one of them dies, the NHL owns that. If a COVID cluster pops up and the league decides to tough it out because it’s Game 7 of the conference final, the NHL owns that.
-Cathal Kelly of the Globe and Mail where you can read more on this topic.
Sportsnet with their all time soundbites.
6 1/2 minutes to watch.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
The puck is on the goal line. Now the NHL and NHLPA just need to poke it home.
After a marathon week of bargaining, the NHL and NHL Players’ Association are closing in on a tentative memorandum of understanding on an all-encompassing new six-year Collective Bargaining Agreement as well as all of the necessary return-to-play components to drop the puck on a 24-team play-in.
The MOU would need to be ratified by both the NHL’s Board of Governors and the NHLPA’s full membership. A player vote could begin electronically as soon as Monday if an agreement is announced on Saturday; players will have 72 hours to vote.
There are more i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed. But the deal is believed to be imminent and multiple stakeholders in the NHL community have now been apprised of the details.
Here is a rundown of the pertinent particulars:
Stay safe, enjoy your hot dogs, apple pie or whatever food you are indulging in today.
Again stay safe.
On a local note, anyone else tired of seeing 90 degrees pus in the weather forecast os is this my 'get off the lawn' moment?
With the action on pause of 2020, many of us are looking forward to 2021 for all the excitement of an NHL draft. But which players should you be looking out for that can bring value to the league? To help you out, we have compiled a list of players we think you should be aware of that are in the 2020 draft.
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
As the NHL/NHLPA continue to grind their way through a return-to-play/CBA agreement, terms continue to seep out. Here’s some of what we’re hearing:
The updated rules will carry through 2025-26, although there is a provision for a one-year extension if more than $125 million in escrow is owed to the league. The salary cap for 2020-21 is $81.5 million. The NHL/NHLPA are talking about keeping it there until revenues hit $4.8 billion. At that point, they will use the two years prior to calculate the cap number — meaning the 2022-23 ceiling will be based on 2020-21 revenues. That will give more certainty and planning.
Cap on escrow is 20 per cent next season. Somewhere between 14-18 per cent in 2021-22, depending on 2020-21 revenue. Then we go 10 per cent in 2022-23, with a maximum of six per cent over the remaining term (if there is an extra year, the escrow cap will be at nine per cent). There will be a 10 per cent salary deferral next season. It will be repaid during the final three years of this CBA.
Olympic participation for 2022 and 2026 is guaranteed pending agreement with the IOC. This year’s playoff fund (a bonus pool of money players earn the longer their team plays) will be doubled to $32 million. It is much higher this year since more teams are eligible and players are coming into a bubble during a pandemic. It will go to $20 million next season. The minimum salary will rise to $750,000 next season and reach $800,000 by the end of this deal.
There are some interesting modifications:
Athletes must train mentally, physically, and emotionally to reach their top game. Some might even go so far as to say that training for sports is a spiritual process involving sacrifice, dedication, and equanimity.
There is more in Bob McKenzie's recent tweets, so check them out.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Toronto and the National Hockey League had plenty of work when it came to choosing Hogtown as a hub city, but it doesn’t seem the Stanley Cup will be raised here by the Maple Leafs or anyone else.
While Toronto and Edmonton are awaiting official designation as the two hosts for the 24-team tournament, a tweet from TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Thursday said the Alberta capital is the favourite to go on and stage the best-of-seven conference finals and championship rounds.
Both burgs will get 12 respective Eastern and Western teams in their towns, playing four best-of-five qualifying rounds while the top four teams get byes and go into a round- robin event to determine future seeding. The surviving eight teams then go to first and second round series that are best-of-sevens. But if Edmonton is indeed to be the site of the final, the two Eastern survivors will head there.
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press answers a few questions...
Does picking fourth set back the rebuild? I was really hoping for at least second.
Drafting second would have given general manager Steve Yzerman a choice of Tim Stützle and Quinton Byfield, who are expected to go after Lafrenière, the consensus top pick. Instead, Yzerman is likely to choose from top forwards including Marco Rossi, Cole Perfetti, Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz, and defenseman Jamie Drysdale. Picking lower isn’t a setback if Yzerman makes the right choice.
Gino Reda and TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie discuss the latest on the NHL / NHLPA negotiations, including the return to play tentative target dates, and when Free Agent Frenzy could begin. Bob also has the latest on which Canadian city could be hosting both the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final.
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
Now, first-round picks are important. But for an organization like the Wings, those picks in the second, third, and fourth round and beyond are just as vital.
“You need some of those picks to turn into players,” general manager Steve Yzerman said. “If it’s just going to be we’re doing to draft and count on our first-round pick playing every year, it’s going to take forever to build a good team.”
Given their trading of veterans on expiring contacts at the trade deadline the last several years, the Wings have stockpiled a particularly deep treasure chest this year.
The Wings have three second-round picks (their own, Washington’s and Edmonton’s) and two third-round picks (their own, and San Jose’s) in this year's draft.
In recent years, they’ve added prospects such as defensemen Gustav Lindstrom (second round, 2017), Antti Tuomisto (second round, 2019), Albert Johansson (second round, 2019) and Jared McIsaac (second round, 2018); and forwards Robert Mastrosimone (second round, 2019) and Jonatan Berggren (second round, 2018) beyond the first round.
“We’re going to need players to come in the second and third rounds, later rounds, year to year,” Yzerman said. “You’re not going to hit on every pick every year, obviously. You’re not going to hit on your first pick every year, as much work as we do on it.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
The return to NHL Olympic participation and the right for players to opt out of this year’s playoffs are part of a new collective bargaining agreement and return-to-play plan that will go a long way to forging Don Fehr’s legacy with the NHL Players’ Association.
According to a source, the NHL and NHLPA have essentially reached a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and all the issues have been decided on a plan that will see them return to play in August and extend the current CBA by three years, which would guarantee labor peace until at least 2024-25. It’s not a great deal for the players and there’s a lot in there they won’t like about it. But they will likely hold their noses and overwhelmingly approve because the alternatives might be worse. In reality, the only option Fehr and the NHLPA have is to negotiate a CBA now in an environment where, as usual, the employers hold almost all the leverage.
According to a source, here is the framework of the deal that is being completed. It is subject to the approval of both the NHL’s board of governors and the players.
* The current CBA, which has two years remaining, will be extended for three years, expiring after the 2024-25 season.
from Mark Falkner of the Detroit News,
Dani Probert expects Sunday to be bittersweet.
To mark 10 years after the sudden death of her husband, Bob Probert — the former Detroit Red Wings enforcer and one of Detroit's most popular and polarizing sports figures in the 1980s and '90s — the 52-year-old widow plans on a "somber" day with her four grownup children but also a day "full of celebration" in the Windsor and Essex County area.
Still, as a lifelong planner, organizer and now fundraiser who is helping to improve cardiac care in her community, Probert says there's also only so much she can prepare for when they get together Sunday to honor her husband and her children's father.
from Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,
In a time of chaos and confusion, the NHL has apparently made the logical choice.
Las Vegas reportedly won’t be a hub city when the league returns to play and, given its recent surge of COVID-19 cases, had no business being considered at this point.
Congratulations, then, We The North....
There is no right or wrong decision in the midst of a global pandemic. There is only intuition based on science and common sense.
Southern Nevada is failing at the latter....
Safety is a relative term right now depending on the dot on the world’s map where you exist. But it appears the league has determined it can keep players and team personnel better protected in the provinces of Ontario and Alberta.
From the outset of the NHL announcing 10 cities as potential spots for two hubs in which to hold its 24-team tournament, Las Vegas was thought to be the front-runner. More a sure thing than Connor McDavid winning a sprint around the ice.
But a not-so-funny thing happened to T-Mobile Arena’s chances of acting as host to one of two conferences and perhaps a Stanley Cup final. To an MGM property housing countless teams. To the Golden Knights making a run at a championship in the friendly, albeit empty, confines of their home rink.
TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie details how the NHL came to the decision to select Edmonton and Toronto as its hub cities, and sheds light on what's the latest on the Return to Play proposal between the league and players' union.
Watch at TSN. no geo-blocking.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Let us not lose sight of what brought us here.
It was the spread of a deadly virus that forced the NHL to turn to Toronto and Edmonton in an effort to salvage its season.
So while there’s some symmetry, and perhaps a cute headline, to be found in two Canadian hockey cities being identified as likely Stanley Cup Playoff hubs on Canada Day, there’s nothing cute about the circumstances.
There will be no fans at any games played on Canadian soil because of the coronavirus pandemic. Aside from local travel and tourism industries, the real winners from rumblings Wednesday that the NHL and NHL Players’ Association were making progress on a return-to-play package were those that see intrinsic value in being able to watch a Stanley Cup tournament during this challenging period in our history.
Now, let’s take a pause for a necessary disclaimer — no deal is done until it’s completely done. And negotiations were still ongoing as of late Wednesday morning. That can’t be stressed enough.
Just over 5 minutes to watch.
I slept in a little longer today than normal but I know what is coming and prepared for the day and the next week or so.
Coffee on hand, DoorDash menu ready, drapes shut, air conditioning on.
Now all we need is the first signing, then the floodgates will open.
Who are you hoping to sign?
Ah, it was a dream or a nightmare, still trying to figure this one out.
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