GB Going Negative as the 2012 Lockout Continues…

As if good old GB needed any more negative press than all the local media is giving him the last few days. Following my posting of the NHL and the NHLPA’s stream of consistent meetings….Bettman decided rather than come to an agreement that it would be best to wait for it because I know how much you all love to wait….take a break…a two week break. Ridiculous? Yes. It was a stupid idea. It led to all the local sports media and many players to call out Bettman for this ridiculous idea. Detroit Red Wings, Ian White called GB an idiot and Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul sarcastically called Bettman’s desired break from talks as a “great approach” moving forward. Despite GB’s desire for a lengthly break from CBA discussions, the two sides are scheduled to resume meetings Monday[November 19th].

In lieu of having the season re-instated, Canuck fans can take a small comfort in the fact that Daniel Sedin is completely symptom free following that crunching Keith elbow that sidelined him with a concussion back in March. [I know all of you, Canuck fans, remember the hit of which I mention….a hit that made us all cringe at once]. Despite the game being on hold, it is great news to hear that Daniel Sedin is symptom free!

Pavel Bure was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame recently which left many divided on whether the honour was deserved. It also sparked many to suggest that perhaps the Canucks should retire Pavel Bure’s jersey in the upcoming season whenever that should come to be. Is there a doubt that Bure was an amazing player? No…he was definitely a one of a kind player….he didn’t earn the nickname “Russian Rocket” for nothing. The guy won the Calder trophy, scored 60 + goals more than once and catapulted the Canucks on one of their most memorable playoff runs in their history [1994]. Bure’s quick reliable shot helped re-define Canucks hockey making plays that seemed impossible, so yes maybe they should retire #10. Maybe you think it should not be retired but rather that he is included in the “Ring of Honour” or that the Hockey Hall of Fame was good enough. Regardless of anyone’s opinion on Bure’s inclusion in the HHOF or the possibility of his jersey being retired, NO ONE can dispute his talent or contribution to the game. The Russian Rocket left Vancouver fans with some great memories.

Date to keep in mind: January 20th 1995. That is the date the shortened season began following the 1994-95 season lockout. Yes, the October and November have been taken away, and the Winter Classic being canceled certainly puts a damper on the chances of the season happening. Each day makes it seem as though, Bettman wants to take away more from the fans[especially as he wanted a break from meetings!..]. I know it seems more and more unlikely to everyone out there that a season is even possible at this point…but in 1994/95 …the season did not begin until January 20th….and I cannot help but hold a [albeit faint] sliver of hope. Perhaps my being optimistic will drive some people crazy or lead some to call me crazy..but that does not bother me. I simply miss the game, and the idea that it will not return is not something that I choose to entertain.

Each day as the lockout drags on, the league, owners and players alike lose more money. Each day fans, media and yes even all the bandwagon fans pick sides, and each individual thinks their opinion is the correct one. Each day both sides stand their ground, and each day the fans grow more disgruntled. Each day the lockout continues to drag on. Each day Bettman and Fehr speak on behalf of their side, but since Bettman’s desire for a break rather than continued discussion or a resolution has led many to call for his resignation as soon as a new CBA is reached.

CBA talks will resume tomorrow as will the usual drama that ensues when these two parties meet. As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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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.

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: https://nucksaid.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/roberto-deserves-better-from-you-vancouver-you-should-give-him-the-respect-hes-earned/  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.

NHLPA meeting w/ Fehr + Neuvirth opens can of worms + Fisher extended

Director of the NHLPA, Donald Fehr began a round of CBA meetings with the NHLPA[prior to resuming meetings with the NHL tomorrow]  in Kelowna yesterday and expected to continue today.The focus of these meetings with the NHLPA is the details of BOTH the NHL and NHLPA proposals. Players representing the NHLPA at these meetings include: Ryan Getzlaf, Shea Weber, Jarome Iginla, Tyler Myers, Brayden Schenn, Jordin Tootoo, Dan Hamhuis, Manny Malhotra, and James Reimer. Jeremy Roenick has spoken about his distaste for the ’embarassment’ of the NHL’s first proposal to the NHLPA and agreed that there was NO way the players would agree to such a deal. While the players will resume meeting today, it is also expected that some NHL representatives will meet to discuss officiating standards. Fehr and Bettman are expected to resume formal CBA tomorrow and Thursday in Toronto. Both sides remain anxious to come to an agreement and avoid another full season lockout. With the deadline drawing nearer…it will be quite dramatic whichever way the coming announcement goes.

In other news the Edmonton Oilers are reportedly close to signing Taylor Hall to an extension, and are beginning the pursuit of also signing Jordan Eberle to an extension. They are looking to keep their young but at times potent offense signed long-term.

Michael Neuvirth has unleashed a can of worms with a few controversial statements about a few teammates and former coach in an interview in the Czech Republic. He has said that ‘Alex Ovechkin is no long the player he used to…once you reach the top you can only fall…he hopes that Ovie starts to play the way he used when he was at the top’. He then said that ‘Ovechkin is a team player and great guy to have in the locker room’. Regarding Alex Semin he said that he ‘ didn’t have the best work ethic and could be the best player in the world but he doesn’t want to everyday and that is wrong’ and ‘him leaving the team is a minus for the Caps…but maybe its a good thing’. Regarding new coach Adam Oates he said ‘he is a Captials legend that it is a new beginning and it means Dale Hunter isn’t staying [the coach that took over for Bruce Boudreau last season] Holtby was Hunter’s #1 but I didn’t find a way to him after having good relationships with Boudreau and my former farm team coach… it’s good that he left’. In regards to Hunter’s #1 Holtby he had this to say : ‘I have played just over 100 NHL games and I am going into this season expecting to play 40-50 games and will finally try to be the #1..I have always had others in front of me in the net [Varlamov, Vokoun]…but this time will be a turning point…Holtby is my weakest competition ever[in comparison to the more experienced Varlamov & Vokoun]…he was my #2 when we both played for the farm team.’ Wow…that is a quite a few interesting statements for him to make about a former teammate [Semin] and current teammates [Ovechkin & Holtby] and some might not like what he had to say. One would have to think that there will be some sort or repercussions about such statements made. It’s up to Semin how he will play each game, & speaking of Holtby, he was the rookie goalie last season that in the playoffs took down the BRUINS in an epic 7 game series…and played valiantly in a 7 game series against the Rangers & Ovechkin is still a world class player and deserves a lot more respect than what Neuvirth gave to him [especially as Ovie is team captain…not too mention his many other accomplishments since joining the league]. Neuvirth showed much confidence in this interview, but I do think it is misguided to start calling out your teammates in such a disrespectful way.

The Nashville Predators have signed forward Mike Fisher to a 2-year extension worth $8.4 million[an annual cap hit of $4.1 million] that will kick in  at the start of the 2013-2014 season. Great signing by Nashville, Fisher is a very dependable player….putting up 63 points in 99 regular season games & 11 points in 22 post-season games with Nashville. Mike Fisher is a class act on & off the ice and my favourite part about this guy? He’s a Christian and not afraid who knows it! There are more and more hockey players that are not afraid to speak about their faith openly to media and it is amazing to hear…[David Booth, Dan Hamhuis to name a few others who aren’t afraid to speak the truth]. Way to go Fisher, best of luck as you continue your career in Nashville!

That’s all for today folks! I’m off to work! As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Canucks & Burrows talking + BEAM me up SCOTTY extended in Philly + Cherry Commentary

The Vancouver Canucks Assistant GM Gilman has been quoted saying that YES they are in the beginning stages with Burrows agent to get him re-signed beyond next season long-term. Burrows has positioned himself in a place of receiving a well deserved raise (he has scored 26 or more goals in each of the last 4 seasons…MOST of those were even-strength goals as he gets limited if any power play time with the Sedins & Kes being the #1 power play unit. Rumor has that the Canucks are also looking to lock up Edler with an extension beyond next season…#23 has been becoming more & more consistent the last few years…he put up 49 points(incredible saying as no one was supposed to get those type of numbers except Ehrhoff…fascinating tidbit: last year Bieksa also hit +40 points with a total of 44 points & Hamhuis hit 37 points….our top 3 offensive D combined for 130 points…that’s sensational!). Let’s get Burr signed quickly, MG & then Eddy too!

Rumor has it that the San Jose Sharks in trouble….reports have come out that they lost $15 million last season despite having sold out every home game. We’ll have to wait and see how accurate those reports are and how it will affect the franchise, if at all.

While the Philadelphia Flyers have a fading blue-line…they have secure one of their most exciting forwards in signing Scott Hartnell to a SIX-year extension[$28.5 million with an annual cap of $4.75…extra note:BURROWS could request that type of $$ but he probably wouldn’t]. Way to go Scott, the contract was well earned…this guy scored 37 goals last season!  Hartnell is always fun to watch…one of my favourite moments was watching him in the ALL-Star game last year and he kept razzing Phaneuf  or him & Lupul commentating while they were mic’d up so the viewers could hear.Plus that guy has a habit of scoring some clutch goals…like another gritty player I know(#14 in green & blue)! Solid signing Philly! Now they just need some help on the defense.

In the world of CBA negotiations, the ever colourful Don Cherry[you either love the guy &his suits or you hate him] is back at it, giving loud commentary regarding the NHL. He has stated that he believes its a shame that there is going to be a lockout as both sides have yet to come to a new agreement, however he predicts that it will only last two months. Could we have a lockout and hockey in November? People may not always like what Don Cherry has to say, but this guy has NEVER been afraid to call them like he sees them and in this comment…he could very well be correct. While the idea of a lockout is disturbing to me and many other hockey fans…I would take a shortened season any day over NO season. Let’s hope that should there be a lockout, that is a very brief work stoppage. The next round of CBA meetings are set to resume Wednesay between the NHL & the NHLPA and both sides will have to give a little in order to make a new CBA a reality.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Fans uniting + More CBA meetings still to come + Philly honours Jessica Redfield

In light of a lockout looming…fans around the world are taking action or threatening to take drastic measures. Do we want a lockout? NO! Some have started initiatives to start boycotting all things related the NHL…including no longer purchasing any merchandise for a particular team & un-following any social media outlet for a particular team. There are groups popping up all over social media [facebook, tumblr, & twitter] inviting all fans to un-follow the NHL groups & any associated with the NHL. They want to show Bettman & company that the fans will not accept a lockout quietly and willingly. I like that the fans want to have a voice and do not want to be silenced by Bettman & company. Will I boycott my Canucks…probably not, but I do understand that fans want to express their absolute distaste of a lockout. I absolutely HATE the impending threat of a lockout and would like nothing more than there to be an official agreement that both the NHL & NHLPA are satisfied with so that the season can start on time [not delayed or canceled!]. I cannot think of any real hockey fan that wants to see another lockout…04/05 was brutal…please do not let there be a repeat, Bettman, PLEASE.

On that note, Director of the NHLPA, Donald Fehr has stated that the “players are unified” in face of an NHL lockout essentially, united they stand]. Fehr has also been quoted saying that NO ONE on the players side is talking about stopping the season and that he would like to speak with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman before the next CBA meeting [Wednesday, August 22].The NHL would like an official response to their initial proposal[not the alternative view!] whereas the NHLPA feel that their proposal[alternative view] was proactive & addressed existing problems. There is A LOT of work to be done before both sides will come to an agreement and both will have to make compromises before meeting somewhere in the middle.

In other news defenseman Scott Hannan[played for Calgary last year] has signed a one-year deal with Nashvile. Rumor has it that Dany Heatley has filed an $11 million lawsuit against his former agent for withdrawing $4 million from his bank account & not receiving financial returns that he was promised from a real estate deal. No news yet on Doan as he continues to await the Phoenix ownership saga before any official decision is made, although none will be surprised to see him stay with the Coyotes. The Vancouver Canucks continue to work with re-signing my favourite #14 to an extension [get on with MG …lets get this deal signed & sealed!]. Philadelphia may becoming decimated on the blue-line, but they gained a ton of respect in creating the “Jessica Redfield Internship” in memory of Jessica who lost her life in the Aurora movie theater shooting. The internship will be for female college students with ambitions of getting into the field of sports journalism, just as Jessica was pursuing the same dream. She was working as an intern with the “You Can Play” project and had gained many followers on twitter and her blog. This is an amazing way to honour her memory and help other achieve the same dream that she aspired to become.
The jury is still out on the lockout and all moves made and yet to made during this off-season. All will become more clear as the CBA situation eventually comes to a close. Keep your fingers crossed that both sides can come to an agreement by the 15th or atleast before the Winter Classic…I’d rather a shorter season than NO season. I say if Bettman leads the NHL to another lockout…there will be a need for a NEW Commissioner[but that’s just my opinion!…but seriously a potential 3rd lock out in less than 20 years with Bettman at the helm? anyone else with me?]
As always, until next time, nuck said.
Sarah E.L.