CBA meetings delayed + NHL teases fans w/ newest Schedule

NO CBA talks today, discussions have been delayed until tomorrow[Friday]. It appears that NHLPA needs more time to respond to the new NHL proposal. Could a potential lockout see Sidney Crosby playing in the KHL along side Malkin? Players continue to make alternative plans in the event that a lockout becomes reality. Is this what the fans have to look forward to next season?…a random selection of the NHL’s best players mixed in the European League, Swedish Elite League, the KHL and others? It is not good enough for me…not even close. I mean yes those are all great leagues but it just will not be the same. If the players play elsewhere and there ‘potentially’ a lockout there will be no allure of the fresh slate all teams start with at the beginning of the season. There will no battles for playoff positioning. There will be no playoffs. There will be no Stanley Cup Championship. Again. Seriously? Does this seem like a great blueprint for Bettman to follow again? Does he want to be responsible for the NHL becoming the only sport to have lost NOT just one entire season…but TWO entire seasons if it happens? NO other professional sport has EVER lost an entire season due to a lockout. Can you honestly say that you will remember his time as NHL commissioner for doing something other than procrastinating the start of a season or canceling it? When I think of Bettman in his tenure as commissioner the only word that comes to mind is ‘lockout’. It is a negative image that comes to my mind and others when Bettman’s name is uttered and if he wants to change that…he’s going to have stop forcing lockouts. It doesn’t teach the players a lesson and it certainly doesn’t win the league more fans…if anything it is detrimental to the progress of the sport itself. It prevents any progress whatsoever.

The word lockout is not a welcome one in my vocabulary. Yet it keeps forcing its way into it….

Is it a coincidence that today marks to release of the National Broadcast schedule for the upcoming NHL season?

No, I think not. It seems more like some sort of ploy that league is using to bait the fans…giving us a glimpse of what we could miss should the lockout occur. It is cruel that they tease us this way…giving us a faint faint glimmer of hope looking at the ‘official’ broadcast schedule if they are only going to take it away in 2 weeks! Seems unfair to give the fans the ‘official’ schedule if the season is not even ‘official’ yet and it might not be at all. *My fingers are still crossed that we at least get most of the season…1/2 a season would better than NO season.

The NHLPA is supposedly going to to respond to the NHL proposal at tomorrow’s meetings…we’ll see if any progress gets made or not. Both sides are going to have to give in a little more before a deal of any kind is made official or any announcements come from Bettman regarding September 15th. The players want to play and many WILL go elsewhere if locked out…but lets hope it doesn’t come to that.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Players don’t want a lockout + CBA meetings continue+ New salary cap…maybe?

The players are not shy to express their distaste in the face of a potential third lockout. Forward Zach Parise went as far as stating that he wants an on time season like the rest of the players but BETTMAN is “adamant” about a lockout. In regards to the ever endless CBA debate, the NHL and the NHLPA met again in NYC today to discuss the latest proposal that NHL presented yesterday. Fehr says that the PA will respond to the latest proposal in tomorrow’s[Thursday] meeting. Rumor has it that the new NHL proposal does not call for a salary rollback but rather suggests a drop in the salary cap from $70.2 [in 2011-2012] to $58 million for next season, a large drop and many teams are certainly over that number especially those with multiple players under long term contracts that will pay them each more than $10 million next season[ahem Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Nashville]. It will be interesting to see how the NHLPA respond to this proposal at tomorrow’s meetings. The last 5 seasons the salary cap has looked like this:

2007/2008 salary cap: $50.3 million

2008/2009 salary cap: $56.7 million

2009/2010 salary cap: $56.8 million

2010/2011 salary cap: $64.3 million

2011/2012 salary cap: $70.2 —>potential 2012/2013 salary cap: $58 million? Will this be possible to integrate within the current contracts of some teams players or will it even be considered by the PA as an option? Only time will tell…but there 16 days left to come up with a new deal signed before the clock strokes on the deadline and Bettman throws down the gavel one way or another. Each day that passes makes me despise the word “lockout” more and more, but you all know that if you follow my blog. I blogged about that just a few days ago. This round of CBA meetings seem to actually have BOTH sides talking things through…how thoroughly is yet to be seen.

The Ottawa Senators have signed Kyle Turris to a 5-year extension worth $17.5 million [or a $3.5 annual cap hit]. It pretty great contract for Turris following a year when a change of scenery made all the difference for his career. He became a much different and more influential player with Ottawa than he was in Phoenix. The Montreal Canadiens have announced that Rene Bourque[former Calgary Flame] will be sidelined 8-12 weeks following abdominal surgery. And while Doan’s agent has set a deadline for him signing his new contract there does not seem to be any urgency on Doan’s part to make that official.

Like with all things CBA related we will all have to wait and see if the NHL and NHLPA can reach an agreement before Bettman throws down the gavel to complete his lockout hat trick[3 lockouts in less than 20 years? is this the legacy that Bettman wants to leave behind…because that is all many people including myself will remember about him should a lockout occur this season].

That is all for today….until tomorrow, as always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Players plan ahead +CBA talks continue + Hockey is more than a game

The ever pressing possibility of a lockout has many NHL players looking to ‘back-up plans’. Rumor has it that Evgeni Malkin is in talks with various KHL clubs looking into playing in a ‘week-by-week’ set up in the case of a lockout which would allow him to return to the NHL should the lockout be short-term. Steven Stamkos and teammate Martin St.Louis have reportedly considered playing in Europe in the event of a lockout and they believe that should the lockout be an extended one that other NHL players will also look to Europe. The players do want to lose a year of playing hockey due to being locked out. No one wants the lockout to happen but in the event of one, most would like to keep themselves and their skills viable while the CBA situation gets sorted out.

CBA talks ended between the NHL and the NHLPA after 45 minutes with Fehr and Bettman simply stating that both sides would most likely meet again this afternoon. Fehr was going to update the players both in NYC and those who could not be there on the outcome of this morning’s meeting. Bettman and the NHL made a counter-proposal that they feel is significantly different then before…but the question remains how will the players see this new offer? Will they see it as a resolution or distrust the league once again? It reportedly is only for 6 years which means that in 6 years they will be right back in this square debating the same issues all over again. Mind you if both sides can finally find some common ground before the 15th, it wouldn’t matter the term of the agreement but rather it would just be nice to watch hockey once more.

Imagine hockey was never to be played again anywhere…in any league….can you picture it? I cannot picture it…now that I’ve fully embrace hockey and all its personality it is impossible to think it being never more. It will return whether it is on time, delayed for short-term or delayed in October 2013…but it will return eventually.

Rumor has it that the city of Glendale in Phoenix is pushing to extend their arena deal with the NHL for another month which would give Jamison the extra time he needs to get the final investors he needs in buying the Coyotes.

Rumor also has it the Detroit Red Wings are looking in to more than one defenseman to help fill the void left behind in Lidstrom’s retiring. They reportedly made a 2-year offer to Carlo Colaiacovo and expressed an interest in Michal Rozsival, Brett Clark and Mark Eaton. Lidstrom retiring has left a void in the strong Red Wing defence but it also presents the opportunity for someone to step up and do the unexpected.

The great thing about hockey is that every game allows a different player to showcase their unique ability and presents each player or team, the chance to rise above the expected. The under dogs take on the ‘supposed’ best and beat them soundly or a player that was never drafted becomes an all-out superstar. Each game[and each season] presents a new slate and you never know what might happen. You might have expectations for a game or series but somehow those always change with each game. A game might look like its finished and then suddenly in the final minute or final seconds your team TIES it…and then OT/and a shootout later determines that your team won a game that looked like a sure defeat. Or a player returns from an extended injury recovery…and plays like they never missed a game. Or the game that clinches a team’s playoff berth…the arena gets extremely animated. You see, there are so many great moments not just throughout the entire season, but within ONE game. It is about more than the x’s and o’s, it’s about how one single moment can change the way you view the entire game or how the game can unite fans around the world. PLEASE…let us have the WHOLE season Bettman, Fehr, Executives & Players. Get a deal done on time. The fans deserve the season not another lockout.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Bettman okay with lockout while CBA meetings aim to progress + other NHL happenings

Are these the words that Bettman wants to make a reality? Every day with no news makes it seem as though he’s that much closer to making it so.

Dollars and sense. Economic issues seem to be the main focus of Tuesday’s meeting between the NHL and the NHLPA executives. Rumor has it that the NHL will be presenting a new proposal. The question remains whether or not the two sides can come together before economically September 15th. Both sides are looking to make progress in negotiations as the deadline looms. No one wants to hear the word ‘lockout’ uttered by Bettman. I really truly do loathe that word and all that comes or does come with it. Bettman’s legacy during his tenure as NHL Commissioner will be the 3 lockouts rather than advancements in the game, everyone will remember him stalling its progress 3 times. Time will tell whether he’s willing to take the gamble that could make or break apart the league its many fans. Will the fans return? Probably…but it will have nothing to do with Bettman calling us ‘the best fans’. It will be because we want to see their team and favourite players play the game again. I hate when Bettman makes suggestions to how the fans will respond because how can he know when he never HEARS us? We do not want the lockout….and should it happen….there will be MANY calling for him to be replaced. Keep your fingers crossed as this next round of CBA negotiaton begins and that real progress is made this time because otherwise we will all be stuck watching ESPN classics until the lockout is ended or worst case scenario until October 2013. Let’s all hope that does not happen.

In other news the Vancouver Canucks announced the re-signing of goal-tender Eddie Lack to a 2-year contract. He has spent the last few seasons playing with the Canucks AHL affiliates[The Manitoba Moose/ and current Chicago Wolves]. He seems pretty happy to return to the organization, we shall see how impacts the team whether it is with the Wolves or the big club next season. Talks are ongoing between Burrows and the Canucks regarding his extension.

A lockout may be looming and the Phoenix Coyotes may not have all their ownership issues in order but one thing is certain. Shane Doan will indeed sign a new contract prior to September 15th deadline.

Question marks are surrounding the Philadelphia Flyers and their fading blue-line…with all eyes waiting to know one way or the other if Pronger can or cannot play again. Philly has lost many of its rear guard to injury or free agency, but the biggest loss to their defence is the concussion that has sidelined Pronger since early last season. It would be an enormous void to fill should Pronger not be able to return. Time will tell.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Lockout looming & I hate the word LOCKOUT even more…it is not welcome in my vocabulary…

Seriously…the players are needed to keep this great tradition called HOCKEY going. The word lockout is not a welcome one in my vocabulary…except for in this post…

I absolutely hate the word lockout and all that it embodies. The word lockout is one that ALL sports fans [but mostly hockey fans] loath to hear coming from the league executives. It is a word that brings with it days, months or even a year without the sport that gives every player the chance to rise above themselves. 30 teams vying for the same goal and in the end only ONE will be left standing after 82 regular season games[or maybe less if there is a short lockout or none until October 2013] and 4 intensely fought rounds in the playoffs. No other professional sport has ever lost an entire season due to a lockout and there is a possibility that with Bettman there will be a second one lost. Like I said I hate the word lockout and all the negatives it brings about. A lockout will take away the excitement that comes to each city as the calendar turns to October. There will be no Saturday night hockey nights. There will be no can’t miss games between bitter rivals. There will be no All-Star game and possibly no Winter Classic.There will be no moments of the unexpected, no hat tricks, no moments of sheer magic that can occur in one game on a particular night. There will be no streak achieved. There will be no games to remember. There might be a few exhibition games between NHL and KHL players should there be a lockout…but that would only be a handful of games….and would not compare to the grind that is the regular season and the level of excitement when playoffs begin. Playoffs are an entire different level of excitement..16 teams qualify…but ONLY one will win it all. There will be no victory parade for the team that wins because with a lockout NO ONE wins. There will not be any playoffs if Bettman gets his desire to stick to his gamble that the players must give in and that league will not lose any fans.Get real Bettman…we have been here before and YES the fans returned last time…but a second full season lockout will not be taken lightly at all. The fans have spoken but will we be heard? Not too mention a lockout will cause the NHL to lose more money than the last lockout…is it worth it? Simply put, NO. It is not worth another entire season lost just to make a ridiculous point…how many more points does Bettman want to make? It would be the 2nd lockout in less than 10 years?! Does that not sound wrong to anyone else? Who’s with me? It is not too much to ask that he return some respect to the fans and in turn they may start to respect him?…did I just say that? yikes…I must miss hockey! If Bettman wants to gain some respect back first the fans will have to be given a FULL season…and he WILL have to hold EVERY team and player to the SAME standard regarding the rules[aka when a player breaks another player’s vertebrae{Pacioretty when Chara rammed him into the stanchion received only a penalty!} or puts another player in a back brace{Raymond game 6…Rome got 4 games for causing a concussion…Boychuk got NOTHING for breaking Raymond’s back..disgusting!}….there should be more than the nothing that was given to either Bruin….or when a goalie is full on attacked outside his crease{when Lucic took out Miller.. he got ONE game…that is all…that was ludicrous!} there should be some accountability for ALL players{and then there was the example of Torres getting 25 games….} and NO favoritism or antagonism for one team or player whenever the league begins again.

What do the fans want? We want the season to start on time. Will that happen? That is yet to be determined….as the ever looming September 15th deadline from Bettman inches closer.

The season is supposed to begin October 11th…but it very well could be delayed or be canceled completely. If it is a brief lockout[aka 2 months or so] that wouldn’t be the worst thing…yes there would not be an 82 game schedule…but each team would play same amount of games in the shortened season…but still need the elusive 16 wins to earn the Stanley Cup. A shortened season does not diminish the victory…just ask the 1995 cup winning Devils and their at the time rising star Martin Brodeur[he now has 3 cups to his name & 2 Olympic GOLD medals!] or this year’s NBA Champion Lebron James and the Miami Heart! A shortened season may cause some disappointment but it would be WAY better than a full season lost because of sheer stubbornness.

I really truly do despise the word lockout and all that comes with it whenever it comes to pass in sports…but especially when it follows the acronym NHL.

DEAR, NHL & NHLPA…lets get this deal done PLEASE! -Sincerely, the fans.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Bettman vs. Fehr on CBA progress + No Rentals 4 Sweden + Give LOU the respect he has earned!

The NHL and NHLPA ended their meetings yesterday after 90 minutes of deliberation…one has to wonder how they much they were really able to discuss in such a short meeting. Bettman said that the only was to make any progress before the deadline is to solve key financial issues. He also said that the NHL was able to recover from the lockout was because they have they have the BEST fans. Really warms your heart doesn’t it?[yeah right!…does he not realize that the fans support their teams regardless of the words he spews?]. Fehr stated that the PA does not separate issues the way the league does but rather believes all things are inter-connected and that there is a lot to do. Fehr has always believed there is enough time. The NHL executives [i.e. Bettman & Daly] and the NHLPA executives [i.e. Fehr and his brother] are expected to meet again on Tuesday in New York about economics and attempt to get on the same page. Both sides will have meet on some middle ground and really make some progress this week so that the season has a hope of starting on time…the deadline is 3 weeks away…and training camps are nearly here…

The Swedish Elite League has made it official..if ANY NHL players wish to play for them next season they may only do so IF they commit to the ENTIRE season. They will not allow part-time or ‘rental’ players come and go should a lockout be announced & then come to an end.

Interesting fact…but did you know that in all professional sports, though many have had lockouts NO OTHER SPORT has had an entire season canceled due to a lockout. Look at last season when the NBA had a lockout but all was resumed by Christmas and business went as usual with the HEAT winning a championship. Seriously NO other professional sport has ever lost an entire season, except the NHL when the 2004-2005 season was canceled.

Shane Doan’s agent has stated that Doan WILL sign a new contract before the current CBA expires on Sept.15th regardless of the Phoenix ownership situation.

Seriously Vancouver where is the love for #1 R.LUONGO? I am tired of everyone saying that he did nothing for this city…that is simply untrue. Must I remind you as I did in this post:  that he has more than earned the respect of YOU, VANCOUVER…??!! The guy has 339 NHL wins & counting…224 of which are with the Canucks[in 6 seasons he has garnered a record of 224 WINS-115 Losses -41 Overtime/Shootout Losses +33 SHUTOUTS] And if the day comes that ends up back with Florida or somewhere else…I will tell you this…I will only ever root for him[even he wins a CUP elsewhere but I hope its here] and SO should you. This guy deserves a lot more respect than most of this city and most of the fans have ever given him.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Buffalo responsible for BIG offer on the table + CBA meetings resume today + Edmonton in for the long HALL

Rumor has it that it was the BUFFALO SABRES who offered Shane Doan that 4-year $30 million deal but the question remains…if it’s money he’s after why has he not signed on the dotted line? Perhaps it is not the money he is after or maybe it’s as simple as he does not wish to go to Buffalo. His first choice remains returning to the Coyotes unless they cannot assure that the franchise stays in Phoenix. We all kno w that Buffalo is not one to afraid to spend the big bucks…Ville Leino & Christian Ehrhoff[remember that contract that will see him having earned nearly $18 million by the end of next year!] last season and now with the hopes of landing Doan they are at it again. It would appear that while Buffalo has made this lofty offer…there is still no clear answer from Doan aside from he wishes to remain in Phoenix if possible. Once again, only time will tell.

CBA meetings were set to resume yesterday in Toronto between the NHL and the NHLPA following a somewhat shocking development…meetings were canceled for the afternoon yesterday and rescheduled to resume today[Thursday]. It is unclear as to why the meeting was canceled but the move follows a separate meeting the NHL & NHLPA executives[Bettman & Daly vs. Donald Fehr & his brother] had yesterday morning. The canceling and rescheduling of the meetings suggest that both sides have much to consider during this ‘make or break’ session as the ever near deadline looms. Some think this is the CBA session that will determine the future of the pending upcoming season…but no one can really know until the Sept.15th deadline comes & goes. Yesterday also marked some NHL executives, NHL GM’s and NHL players meeting to discuss officiating standards and new rules. Can we just hear the news we are all waiting to here instead of gossip about the latest meeting?! Hopefully some positive steps are taken by both sides to shorten the gap that separates them & moves them towards starting the season on time…wouldn’t that be nice instead of all the negatives?

In other news the Edmonton Oilers shall indeed continue to be ‘taylor-made’ as they announced signing Taylor Hall to a 7-year contract extension worth $42 million [an annual cap hit of $6 million…that is some precedent that the Oilers have set with signing one of their young core!]. With this contract the Oilers have insured that Hall remains with them through the prime of his career [w/ one year left on his current contract..and the 7 that will follow, he will 28 by the end of the contract] making him an integral part of their franchise. One would think that the Eberle extension of near identical money will be announced any way now. The Oilers newest young gun Nail Yakupov is suffering an apparent leg infection.

It appears that the former San Jose Shark backup goalie Antero Nittymaki is going back home regardless of a pending lockout..he has secured a one-year deal to play in his native country of Finland.

Still waiting to hear an official announcement on Burrows being signed to an extension…but I have a feeling that we’ll be hearing about #14 staying in Vancouver long-term any day now…

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.