Season’s End

If you are wondering where I have been the last few days the answer is simple: I took a break from all of my social media outlets. I was tired of all the negativity regarding the Canucks and needed a few days away from the negative commentary that I knew would follow the sweep. I am by no means in denial of the their first round ousting by San Jose, I fully accept that the Canucks season has come to an end. You will hear no complaints or excuses here. Are there things I could complain about or make an excuse about, YES but it would not change the result so it would be fruitless. It is what it is and that is all there is. We may not have got the ending we wanted BUT we are lucky that we got to watch our team play any hockey in May [14 teams were not so lucky!].

Today’s post looks that the season that was and it was full of plenty of excitement beyond the playoff disappointment. Let’s begin at the beginning shall we? You remember back in September when everyone’s favourite NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman threw down the lockout hammer? As soon as the deadline passed and the lockout was enacted, EVERYONE assumed that there would NO NHL season. The NHL and NHLPA had countless meetings and every time progress seemed to occur it was followed by stalling and growing animosity between the two sides. It seemed as though there would be no end to the lockout as both sides seemingly could not come to any sort agreement. The League did not cancel the season out right rather every two weeks saw Bettman announcing the cancellation of blocks of the season including the cancellation of the ever popular Winter Classic. Each new cancellation only added to the anger of the fans. It quickly became a case of Gary vs. Donald Fehr in a war of words and there seemed to be no end in sight. Cue the call for a negotiator to come in! With the aid of the negotiator the two sides were forced into putting some serious time and reflection into their cases and eventually forced to meet together. The lockout came into affect September 15th 2012 and did not come to an end until January 6th 2013. 510 games were lost from the season. It was initially thought that they could put together a 50 game schedule but later was reduced to 48 games.

After a delay of 3 1/2 months, the season finally began January 19th 2013. Teams around the league created initiatives to encourage their loyal fans to return to the rink. The season had many incredible moments league wide:

The Chicago Blackhawks set a new NHL record with their 21-0-3 undefeated in regulation streak which was eventually broken by the Colorado Avalanche. The Blackhawks solidifed themselves as the best team of the regular season winning the President’s trophy for the 2013 season.

Sidney Crosby came back healthy for the first time in almost two years and played like he never lost a beat. Crosby would have won the Art Ross Trophy had it not been for an unfortunate incident in which he suffered a broken jaw and missed the remaining 12 games of the season. It should be noted that Crosby returned for the playoffs and picked up right where he left off before his injury! The Pittsburgh Penguins proved themselves to be the best team in the Eastern Conference when the went on a tear winning 15 games straight!

The Minnesota Wild overcame some early struggles as big name signings Zach Parise and Ryan Suter helped the teams clinch a playoff berth for the first time in a few years. The feel good story of the year perhaps was the incredible journey of goalie Josh Harding who overcame an early diagnosis of MS to play games in both the regular season and the playoffs.

The New York Islanders made the post-season for the first time in 6 years thanks to some incredible young talent and lots of heart from players like John Tavares, Michael Grabner, Frans Neilsen and veteran goalie Evgeni Nabakov. Tavares lead his team by scoring and setting the example that you never give up on a play or your team.

The Washington Capital overcame many growing pains [new coach and early season struggles] to dominate their second half of the season being led by an awakened Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin led his team scoring more than 30 goals to nab yet another Rocket Richard trophy. The Capitals despite early season woes won their division and earned home ice advantage in the first round.

The Toronto Maple Leafs had their share of drama this year, from the firing of Brian Burke to the ever constant goal-tending rumors. Despite the rumors the tandem of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens helped this team earn their first playoff berth in 9 years! Welcome back to the post-season Toronto, enjoy your journey however long it lasts [I’m rooting for you!!].

The Columbus Blue Jackets earn the award for most improved team overall. This is a team that everyone expects to take advantage of and this year they proved to the league that they are competitive. They made every team they played earn every inch of the ice. They beat Detroit 4/5 times! They acquired Marian Gaborik at the trade deadline and he helped them make a Cinderella run in the final stretch. They only missed the post-season by a SINGLE point [had Minnesota lost their final game, it would have been Columbus that played Chicago!].

The Detroit Red Wings entered their first season without the veteran presence of former Captain Niklas Lidstrom. The void he left was a large one and at times you could see Detroit missing his presence on the ice. For the first time in many years their participation in the playoffs was put in question as they had many ups and downs through the year. Their playoff streak in jeopardy and their fate in their hands sent Detroit on a determination mission where they insured that they would be playoff bound. 22 straight years and still going strong!

The Boston Bruins continued to play their Bruin style of hockey despite the loss of Tim Thomas. Tuukka Rask proved that he was up to the task of being number one and helped to lead the team.

The Montreal Canadiens adjusted very nicely to the coaching change and proved that they can be a top contender. They finished their season as division leaders and 2nd overall in the Eastern Conference. Despite missing the early part of the season due to a contract dispute, P.K. Subban lead the Montreal defence and proved to the league that he is an offensive defenseman.

The Edmonton Oilers may not have had the success in the win column that they hoped for BUT they showed that they have a lot of young talent up front that is capable of making a lot of noise in the next few years. With the talents of Eberle, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov, & Schultz, don’t be surprised if we see Edmonton return to the post-season next year!

The Ottawa Senators Erik Karlsson picked up where he left off last year as the league’s top defenseman before having his season put on hold when he suffered a severed achilles tendon. Despite losing their best defensive asset, the Senators still found ways to win games and were able to put numerous rookies in their line up. Captain Afredsson lead his team on the way to the post-season. Erik Karlsson did return for the final game of the season despite reports that he would not be back until next year and did so in style scoring a goal! Karlsson’s return helped to spark the Senators in their first round victory, best of luck in the second round Ottawa!

The Vancouver Canucks may have had their post-season ended prematurely but they had some great moments. Captain Henrik Sedin became sole possessor of 1st on the all-points leader surpassing Markus Naslund’s 757 points in his 905th career game February 15th. Daniel Sedin became sole possessor of 2nd on the all-time points list behind his brother also passing Naslund’s previous record in his 905th career game April 22nd. Roberto Luongo proved what many fans already knew that he is more than qualified at helping a team WIN. Jannik Hansen scored some timely goals and played an unlikely hero in some games. The team finished third in the conference and won their 5th straight North West Division title. My favourite 2013 Canuck moment was probably on my birthday when Henrik scored that penalty shot goal against Nashville and the entire arena went absolutely nuts!

See? There were A LOT of good moments this season in a year when everyone told me that there would be no hockey. A LOT of people told me that it was pointless to keep suggesting that we would get a shortened season BUT we did get a shortened season! It may have been short but it was full of incredible moments all around the league.

I took a self-induced break from social media the last few days and it was necessary. The Canucks season is over and despite all the negativity that social media has been full of about them, this a team that I am now and always will be fan of my Canucks.  #heartofacanuck. Better luck next year boys!

The playoffs are still underway and many memories are yet to be made.16 teams qualify and by next week only 8 will remain. Prediction: Stanley Cup Final: The Chicago Blackhawks vs. The Pittsburgh Penguins

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Guess who’s back? + Players & Owners meet + Behind the Green

Guess who’s back? Yes, its me. I’m sorry for disappearing! I’m still here! A crazy work schedule of multiple 6 day work weeks has kept me from having time to work on my blog! Even though I was absent from the world of blogging I have been quietly keeping up with the CBA meetings as they have continued. So without further ado, lets get right down to business.

Let’s review the last few weeks. Bettman and company[well mostly Bettman] wanted to take a long break from CBA talks but alas meetings were resumed a few short days later. Just as progress seemed to be around the corner, talks stopped abruptly and once again all progress was put on hold. Then came Black Friday. Black Friday, indeed as Bettman cancelled the All-Star game and all the activities that come with it, as well as all games prior to and on December 14th. So to recap…Bettman announced the lockout as official midnight of September 15th and has cancelled the 2012 pre-season, all regular season games between October 11th and December 14th, the 2013 Winter Classic and the 2013 All-Star Game. In response to each cancellation more and more players have gone overseas to seek playing opportunities as the season has slowly faded away. Along with more players leaving following each announcement, more and more players are speaking out in regards to the lockout. At first the players seemed cautious to speak their minds publicly, but as time wears on, more are willing to publicly voice their frustration. Teemu Selanne called out Bettman shortly after the lockout began, Bobby Ryan called out the players who have opted to play elsewhere[until he too decided to play overseas!], a healthy Sidney Crosby though frustrated at the longer the lockout keeps him off the ice has been a steadfast part of the ongoing negotiations, and the ever calm Canucks Captain Henrik Sedin has added his voice of frustration in the direction of the owners.

On December 1st, there was a new approach to the more than 80 day lockout problem. The NHL and the NHLPA agreed to an owners + players only meeting. The meeting involved 6 owners, 18 players, Bill Daly[Bettman’s right hand] and Steve Fehr[Donald’s brother]. Among those players is said to be captains, Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews. That meeting took place YESTERDAY and lasted for more than 8 hours with BOTH sides stating that the day was constructive…..only to resume again this morning following the Board of Governor’s meeting. It is also expected that following the meetings, Bettman will address the media [it was announced this evening that BOTH Bettman & Fehr would keep quiet on the outside as the two sides exchanged proposals]. It is being speculated that THIS round of meetings will massively impact the future potential of the season being re-instated. The speculation is that should these meetings and Bettman’s media address result in a new deal than there could be potentially 56-60 regular season games on the schedule. That is merely speculation at this point as the meetings are still in progress and we will not know one way or another until they address the media this afternoon. Perhaps this different approach will the key to solving the CBA problem, only time will tell but it is interesting to know that both sides have called these owners/players meeting constructive and having traction in the right direction. How does one solve the 2012 CBA conundrum? Perhaps yesterday and today’s meetings will hold part of the answer…but it is going to take movement on both sides to bridge that gap that has always remained.

Some fans have given up on the NHL and say that they will not return to the game should it return this season or not until next. All I know…all I want for Christmas is to see my Canucks and 29 other teams back on the ice. Regardless of when the NHL returns…I will be still be a fan of the game and my team.  #EndTheLockout #Hockey4ChristmasPLEASE #TimetoBringHockeyBack #56isthenew82

In other news Canucks fans….those pesky Green Men are at it again[come on you know you love them…okay so maybe some of you can’t stand them…but I think they are great fans!] They have released “Behind the Green” Part 1…and you just know that it will be hilarious. Don Taylor does the introduction. The book is released just in time for the holidays and will make a great gift for any Canucks fan your Christmas lists!…just follow the link below!

In regards to the owner and players continued meeting, this afternoon’s media conference with Bettman will be more revealing in regards to the potential of hockey returning this season or not. Fingers crossed that this time REAL progress can made and not just a proposal.Is 56 the new 82? Can both sides meet in the middle and together create a CHRISTMAKKUH miracle…starting a season by Christmas? We shall see! As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

The 2012 CBA saga continues…

Like any sports fan, I hate lockouts. As an NHL fan…I really hate lockouts. This is the 3RD lockout in less than 20 years of Bettman’s reign. For the piece of ‘de resistance’ good old GB’s announced on Friday, that Winter Classic is indeed canceled. WOW. Canceling the Winter Classic is below the belt. Many fans had already purchased tickets, and the outdoor event was set to host more than 70,000 fans. I hate…no LOATHE the fact that this marquee event has been taken away from the fans. On the heels of this ridiculous announcement came the news that CBA talks were set to resume Saturday between Bill Daly and Steve Fehr. Their meeting was rumored to continue until 1:00 AM Sunday morning. More CBA meetings are set to be scheduled and reportedly may resume tomorrow in NYC between Bettman, his minions, and Donald Fehr and the PA. Is there reason to be excited? Perhaps not just yet, but there is as always room for optimism. Whether or not this latest round of CBA discussions brings the season back sooner or later, there is finally discussion happening. This is the first round of discussion between the two sides since October 18th[more than two weeks ago!]. Progress of any kind such as the extended discussion of the weekend is encouraging in the CBA saga that at times seems never ending.

Here are a few things that I am certain of:

1. Some people think the players are asking for too much money and some think that the owners are taking too much money. BOTH sides need to make compromises that they can BOTH live with.

2. The Owners are upset that the players want more money BUT if was the OWNERS that signed the players to those big lofty contracts. Contracts that have been SIGNED should be honored.

3. The lockout has hurt more than the players, owners, and fans…it has hurt those individuals who work in and around the game within each organization. The lockout has taken jobs from hundreds of people that did not deserve to lose their jobs…they should be allowed to go back to work.

4. The fans deserve better and just want to watch hockey again…but this lockout will push some away from the game they love. After the last lockout, the league introduced the shootout to entice fans to return….what will the league use this time to bring back the fans who turn away?
5. Gary Bettman, you, made the WRONG decision in the canceling of the Winter Classic. Every time it seems like there is progress…GB follows it with yet another announcement of a chunk of games canceled or a proposal deemed unacceptable.

6. I absolutely LOATHE the word ‘lockout’ and its three separate associations with the NHL (the 1994-1995 season, the 2004-2005 season, and now the 2012-2013 season). As I stated in the opening of this blog….I hate hate hate lockouts and I know I am not the only one.

Perhaps as sports writer Damien Cox suggests in the link below…that reason for the serious talks not beginning until November is that this whole lockout scheme seems scripted and was perhaps in the plans all along. Maybe it was…–nhl-lockout-if-it-s-november-it-means-serious-negotiations-are-finally-under-way-cox

It is November…and I should not be writing about the continued lockout. November means the beginning of when teams begin to take shape and streaks begin. November should not mean continued discussion of the THIRD lockout in GB’s tenure. November should not be NO-hockey-VEMBER.  As Cox and others have suggested…it seems as though all along that the league planned to have the lockout continue through November…and maybe they did. No matter how this lockout came to be, whether you blame: Bettman, the league, the owners, Fehr, or the players; it is time to end it and to put the game back on the ice.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Gary & Don, you’ve still got work to do!

This is not the blog I wanted to write today. I wanted the words to jump off the page in excitement due to the lockout being called off….but it was not. The lockout is still ongoing as the NHL and NHLPA still do not see eye to eye. Once again…it comes down to a war of words. According to Bettman..the NHL and the NHLPA are still not speaking the same language and he is very disappointed. Wow…big shock…just two days after proposing a deal that on the surface changed GB from scape goat or the hope of the season, he once again has doubts in regards to the upcoming season. Once again…Bettman is full of words that only bring disappointment. Once again it seems as though rather than hearing out the proposals presented by the NHL all he did was shut them down soundly. Was his supposed 50/50 split proposal just a cruel hope for the fans? In comparison, according to Fehr, the NHL’s offer was a great starting point or in other words finally a real negotiation. Fehr and the players believe that there is still work to be done. The PA made THREE counter-offers…none of which were deemed acceptable by Bettman and his minions. The PA seems ready to negotiate…but have not been given proper time to make their presentations as meetings were adjourned after ONE hour. Fehr stated that TODAY was supposed to be a good day BUT in the end it was NOT as both sides are still at an impasse. In a glimmer of hope…Fehr has confirmed that the PA is available to continue negotiating and that the PA WILL go to 50/50 IF the NHL OWNERS promise to honour contracts that have already been signed [which honestly….if the OWNERS signed the players to said contracts…it makes SENSE to honour the contracts THEY initiated!].

Regardless of today’s disappointment on both sides #thefansdeservebetter from both sides. We, the fans DO NOT CARE ABOUT HRR or who gets more of it…WE JUST WANT HOCKEY BACK. In short…Gary & Don…you’ve still got work left to do to get me hockey back by November 2….get’er done! That is all, nuck said. #endthelockout

#wemisshockey #hockeyinNovemberPLEASE

Sarah E.L.

Dear GB, NHL execs, Don Fehr, and Players

Dear Gary Bettman, NHL execs, Don Fehr, and Players,

This letter is dedicated to all of you out there who will determine the future of the pending season and the game that captivates us all.

This is a letter to remind you of a simple fact that you keep overlooking…the fans. The fans do not care about the numbers and percentages or which side gets more money. The fans do not care how each side chooses their words extremely carefully in addressing the media following each round of meetings.The fans simply put, care about the game that has been cancelled temporarily[at least for now…]. The fans just want the game they love to return.

Do you really think this game of tug of war over the numbers waiting to see who blinks first, is worth the risk of losing the fans? Some fans have vowed to not return back to the game after yes the third lockout of your career, GB. Seems absurd that a few words could cause such an uproar…but the words “lack of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement” and “lockout” go hand in hand when neither side is willing to see beyond the numbers. The longer this war of words over who gets the bigger slice of the pie continues, the bigger the risk.

Are numbers important to hockey? YES. Take 82 for example. 82 is the number of total league-wide regular season games that YOU have cancelled. 82 is also the number of regular season games EACH team plays in one season [unless shortened by a lockout such as 1994-1995…and now 2012-2013]. Effectively you have already taken away a season’s worth or games from ONE team already….how far are you willing to go to make a point?

Some players have begun to flee abroad just to keep themselves viable should you finally come to a new agreement. Ovie, Datsyuk, Malkin and Gonchar are just a few of the notable players making their presence felt in the KHL. Each day brings more news of more players signing to play elsewhere during this “work stoppage”. It is concerning that the best players in the league are playing elsewhere when they should all be participating in what should have been the first week of the regular season. What is more concerning…that Sidney Crosby is READY to freaking play symptom-free for the first time in more than a YEAR! The face of the NHL in recent years and he is still holding out hope unlike many other players that a deal can be reached. Has he considered running abroad…probably…but instead he is waiting to see what you can accomplish. It concerns me that should Crosby finally cave and go abroad….the hope for the season will grow dimmer. Does it not concern you all that each day brings news of your best players signing to play else where….and that any day now, Crosby and more just might join those already overseas?

Thursday marks what was supposed to be the beginning of the 2012-2013 regular season..but thanks to all you and your money squabbles, it will simply be a plain old Thursday. You keep saying that the fans of the NHL are the best fans….yet you are not listening to US. Somewhere along the way of these negotiations, you all lost sight of not only the fans, but the game that once came before the numbers. The game that you are dreamed to be a part of back when you were a kid. The game that captured you all when you saw a great player such as Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, or Mario Lemieux bring the game to new heights with a play that you could never have imagined possible. The game that gives every player or the team the opportunity to rise above their expectations. The game that you all claim to play or work around because you love it and it defines you. How can it define you or be something that you love if none of you are a part of it right now? The game that you all claim is what you all want back… the one that none of you seem to be fighting very hard to bring back. It is time to stop merely discussing secondary issues at these scheduled CBA meetings and get down to the heart of the matter. Start talking those numbers that you all are fighting over and lets get all those NHL super stars back in North America [ahem…such as Malkin who once again is playing ridiculously good…just at the moment it is not for the NHL…time to change that!].

The fans just want the season back. Will we accept a shortened season?…that’s the only option you have left us after canceling the first 82 games, GB! Do you really want to make the financial colossal mistake or canceling the Winter Classic? I must say that really truly would be an all-new low for the league. All people will remember of the Bettman legacy at this point is the 3 lockouts endured during your tenure as commissioner. The fans do have a voice. The question is will you hear us? Does the NHL have the best fans? Yes…but how long will you, GB, NHL execs, DF, and players make us endure this ever loathed state of a lockout? The fans do not have a choice in the matter…but it is the common opinion that we all despise the lockout. That is all, nucksaid.

Sincerely, a fan who just wants to watch hockey again!

Sarah E.L.

2012 lockout here we come……….!!!

Merry Christmas indeed Gary Bettman. Are you happy? It is official. 2012 NHL Lockout powers activated. You succeeded in completing the hat trick of lockouts in your tenure and creating MORE dislike of you for the fans[who knew that was even possible?!]. WOW….it is quite a legacy you are leaving behind. Will people remember the changes you made to the game? No…but we will all remember the 3 lockouts you enforced on hockey. Now instead of looking forward to the training camps and pre-season games….in the next few days we will get the pleasure of hearing the league cancel training camps and pre-season games….leaving the rest of the season up in the air while many veteran players will be playing abroad and younger players will be playing for the AHL or junior clubs.

Rumor has it that the NHLPA was more than willing to re-ignite CBA talks today..but the NHL did not feel that they would say anything they found relevant. Funny how the players were willing to talk…but Bettman through Daly said it did not warrant any formal talks between the two groups today. It’s nice to know that the commissioner was so completely determined to have a lockout don’t you think? [ha!] Alright…Bettman, Daly, Fehr brothers, NHL owners, and NHL players….PLEASE do get to work on the new CBA stat.

I will say this of the current lockout….it has come down to the Winter Classic saving the season. I really do not see the league canceling a game that brings in so much revenue beyond the game itself that the owners all love…not to mention the 70,000+ fans that will be at the game live in Michigan. It would be an extremely STUPID move for the league to cancel the outdoor event that features two of the original six in Detroit and Toronto. The league has until January 1st to cancel the game…but as I said…it would extremely on their part to make that decision.

Until the NHL returns…it looks like I will have to add the cheering for the Chicago Wolves to my blog[not because I like Chi-town..but because they are the #Canucks AHL affiliate and many of the Canucks players will be featured…Lack, Corrado, Jensen, Ebbett, Schroeder, to name a few. The team with the current roster looks ready to contend!].

Are you happy Bettman? I’m not and neither are the thousands of fans that are also extremely disappointed. It is official…you have created even more distaste for yourself…your name will have even more negative connotations in relation to this 3rd lockout of yours. Job well done. If you want to change the way people will view your lockout legacy then fix it.PLEASE DO NOT LET THERE BE AN ENTIRE SEASON LOST….let’s get the NEW CBA done!! Get ‘er done for the fans!

As Donald Fehr said…”a lockout is a choice, NOT a requirement”. And now once more we shall await the repercussions of this choice that has been made. A decision that did not have to be made but was and now we shall see its many ripple effects. As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

And now we wait…

United they stand. Unfortunately not together with the players on one side and the NHL on the other side. Now if only they could be united together. The NHL and NHLPA wrapped two days of CBA talks yesterday in NYC. 283 players were present for the meetings.
According to the Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul “the players are unified in this round of CBA talks and that he worries about the fans. There is a time when the fans will get fed up and both sides should probably apologize to them.” As with any war of words there is a difference of opinion between the two sides. One is adamant that there is a way for a solution and one is adamant that in order for change to occur is means putting the season on hold.  Fehr  says that the the players stand united. My favourite Fehr statement of the day “a lockout is a choice, not a requirement.” Bettman says that the owners also stand united. They all apparently have voted unanimously to lockout the players September 15th if indeed there is no new CBA in place. Question: did they really vote unanimously or did Bettman do a little leaning to force his preference? Did you also hear Bettman’s claim that the players solidarity is WHY the league lost an entire season in the last lockout? So question for Bettman….who’s solidarity will he blame this lockout on…the players or the owners? Well there is rumor of limited talks happening at some point today between the NHL and the NHLPA….but will they be able to gain any middle ground? We will have to wait…

In the mad dash scramble to the ever closer impending lockout many teams will be looking to lock in players to extensions before the expiration of the current CBA. Many teams have taken part in the last minute dash…everyone wants their intangibles locked in beyond next season while the current CBA still exists.

Speaking of intangibles. One of my very favourite #Canucks….ALEX “Mr.clutch” BURROWS has signed a 4-year  $18 million extension[an annual cap hit of $4.5 million] with the Vancouver Canucks. Remember how this guy was never supposed to make it to the ECHL let alone the AHL? Or when this guy was had his first 28 goal campaign and he was making $500,000? One day someone is going to write his biography…and hopefully it includes another run at the cup or two. Congratulations Alex Burrows! You have more than earned the new contract!!!

Will you believe that Shane Doan and the never ending off-season drama continues with a contract today?! He WILL sign a new contract and announce his FINAL decision today. Rumor has that it will be Phoenix[most likely]. UPDATE: SHANE DOAN has [surprise, surprise] signed a 4-year $21.2 million deal to stay in Phoenix. Wow. He took the entire summer down to the 11th hour to make a decision that EVERYONE knew was most likely to happen. Congratulations to Phoenix for allowing Doan to play his entire career for the ONE franchise…that does not happen for every player. So…now that Doan’s staying in the desert…does this mean the Canucks go after Jason Arnott [short-term…1-2 years]?

In the land of things that are so predictable, we are down to 1 day. 1 day before Bettman and the owners make the announcement of the looming lockout official. And now all we can do is wait. Wait for what we all know is coming when the gavel is thrown down tomorrow.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

CBA meetings stalled…two weeks left until the deadline…

Welcome to September! Surprise, surprise. CBA meetings ended Friday with little progress once more as both sides still struggle to see eye to eye. The question is, when will the next CBA session take place? The next round of meetings has yet to be scheduled although rumors are swirling that this is just the beginning and more will be known closer to the 15th.Both sides have yet to see eye to eye on any proposal made. Talks seemed to have stalled and neither side is yet willing to give what it will take to reach a new agreement especially as Bettman wants the players to take a pay cut. He wants to them to see less and less profit each year….and is more than willing to enforce a lockout to achieve that aim. Not acceptable. Time is quickly winding down. Yesterday marked exactly two weeks until Bettman makes it official one way or the other…but each day that goes by with no answers makes it seem inevitable that he will lockout the players. The gavel will come down and it seems that Bettman is not in the business of gaining fans but rather gaining more who dislike him. Enough with dragging it out until the 15th…just come to an agreement already! Like any hockey fan, I would just like to know when or if the season will start! The decision feels like its already been made with little or no progress after each meeting….and it does not seem like one that will please the fans unless some drastic progress gets made in the next 13 days. I would love to hear that YES the season is starting on time…but we could hear NO it will be delayed or NOT at all. I would certainly love to write about more than the *potential [but very likely] lockout in the days that follow…but until the bricks fall into place that is all there is to report.

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.

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.