Why SO serious[again!]? & NHLPA says YES to RA!

Is that panic I hear? Why yes, yes I think it is. It is hardly time to panic just yet. Yes, it is nearly the halfway mark of the season for every team but it is certainly not time to panic by any means. Yes the Canucks have gone 1-1-2 in their first 4 games of March [which means yes they have lost 3, but they have picked up points in 3 of those 4 games]. The Canucks still have 25 games left to play and personally, I think the best is yet to come!

Henrik and Daniel have returned to their point per game status quo [remember how 8 games in people were asking what happened to the twins?! well they certainly are back on track aren’t they?]. The biggest blow to the Canucks so far this season was the loss of Ryan Kesler to a broken foot and Manny Malhotra being shut down for the year. In Kesler’s absence Jannik Hansen and Mason Raymond have stepped up their respective games with providing secondary scoring. Both have found ways to score and make some great defensive plays. Raymond has looked very good since being moved to centre but just needs a little work in the face off circle. It is nice to see that there are players in the line up able to put up goals on a more regular basis which takes the pressure off of the twins. The forwards combined through 23 games have put up 119 points[46 goals, 73 assists].

If Alberts is going to stay in the line up could he please not take terrible penalties or can we just put Ballard back in?! The defense definitely needs some work with Kevin Bieksa still out of the line up. Hopefully Juice[Bieksa] is back in the line up soon to give the Canucks a little more dependability defensively as they have lapsed slightly defensively in his 5 game absence. The defense has been solid at least offensively this season putting up 42 points[15 goals, 27 assists] combined in the first 23 games, that an average of 1.8 points per game[not bad hey?]. The Canucks will need to tighten up defensively as the stretch drive to the playoffs is right around the corner.

Goal-tending controversy smontroversy! Take a chill pill people. You all lobbied for Schneider[6-4-3] to get the starting position and lobbied to send Lou[5-2-3] packing. How quick all the band-wagoners are to jump back on the #LUUUUUU train every time Schneids struggles. I do think that while Cory has earned the chance to prove himself, he has struggled to find any kind of consistency in this shortened season. Maybe he will find his bearings, maybe not, in the mean time can we please give LOU the chance that he more than deserves after everything this city of finicky fans have put him through? Here’s #Looking2LOUKID! I like BOTH goalies and think both are capable of helping the Canucks towards their end goal for the season, but Luongo has more than paid his dues with his never wavering patience this season and he too has earned his chance to play.

Major news from around the NHL rink this last week was that the NHLPA finally gave approval of the re-alignment going into next season[2013-2014]. That is a HUGE boost moving forward with the re-alignment, and next it must be approved by the owners and the Board of Governors before it can be official. The re-alignment should it be approved by all parties will change and re-ignite rivalries new and old. It will be interesting to see how the NHL will address the playoff format with uneven conferences next year. Gone will be the 6 division/2 conference set up that is currently in place and in its place will be a 4 conference system. New details are sure to be released the closer to reality this becomes.  Let’s hope that they have better names for the conferences than Conference A. B, C & D.

Sad news in the NHL as hockey anthem writer #Stompin Tom Connors passed away. He was responsible for writing the hockey anthem “the Hockey Song”: the good old hockey game is the best game you can name & the best game you can name is the good old hockey game…” Oh how I miss that song on Hockey Night in Canada[I think that CBC should make that the theme song!]

In other news, the Chicago Blackhawks FINALLY lost a game in regulation. It only took 25 games! As much as I cannot stand Chicago, that was sincerely an impressive run of 24 games[21-0-3] before their defeat in Colorado last night. Congratulations on achieving a record that will be extremely hard for any other team to match. Congratulations also to the Avalanche for being the team to break the streak! [P.S. I think Colorado is greatly benefiting from Ryan O’Reilly being back in the line-up as they have greatly improved offensively since getting him back last week!].

Now that the O’Reilly drama is settled with Colorado there is room for other signings. The biggest re-signing so far this season was announced just yesterday by Anaheim. The Ducks have re-signed Ryan Getzlaf to an 8-year $66 million extension[that’s an average of $8.25 million per year]. The question is now that they have invested the big money into Getzlaf’s contract, can they afford to keep Corey Perry who is also in line for a raise from his last contract. If they cannot afford to sign Perry the rumors are already swirling that they may move him the trade deadline[unlikely as that would greatly anger their fans] or he will test the waters of free agency in the off-season.

Did you hear the Pronger news? He addressed the media for the first time on his post-concussion status. He may not be near playing condition, but he stated emphatically that he is NOT ready to hang up the skates just yet. That does not mean he will or will not play again, it just means he is still hanging on to a sliver of hope, and who can blame the guy for wanting to hold out for one more chance. Best of luck Pronger whatever your future may hold, you’ve had a heck a career!

#MarchMadness has only just begun and the best of the season is yet to come! Are you ready?

23 games down for the Canucks, 25 more to go. #GoCanucksGo Best of luck in the final 25 boys! I look forward to seeing the boys live at Rogers when they return home this week to play Nashville on Thursday[3/14]!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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Western Conference Quarter Season Facts

The 2012-2013 NHL season was shortened [due to Bettman’s 3rd lockout] to 48 games.  12 games in marks the quarter mark of the season [All teams have played 11-14 games].

Here’s an overview of the Western Conference thus far into the 2013 season[with a slightly more extensive look at my #Canucks]:

1. Chicago Blackhawks [10-0-3 –23 points] As much as it pains me to say this….they are playing some incredible hockey so far. They remain the only team to be undefeated in regulation this year. Their offense is firing on all cylinders and Corey Crawford has been lights out in the net. It pains me even more to type this next sentence….the Chicago Blackhawks are being led by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane & company towards a possibly lengthly playoff run. It’s not easy to play so many early games on the road, but the Blackhawks are finding the answers, picking up points in every single game they have played in. They are playing some unbelievable hockey.

2. Anaheim Ducks [9-2-1 –19 points] The Ducks ruined the Canucks home opener and the Canucks ruined their home opener. While Jonas Hiller has struggled in the net, his team has helped with offense to help win games. It doesn’t hurt that his backup Victor Fasth is undefeated in his NHL experience! Has anyone mentioned the age of Teemu Selanne affecting his play? No they have not because this guy is still putting up points and making ridiculously awesome plays despite his age.

3. Vancouver Canucks [8-2-2 –18 points] After 12 games the Canucks who are perennially slow starters are off to a 8-2-2 start. The Canucks were without Ryan Kesler and David Booth to start the season, but have found a way to win games. Zack Kassian has been a pleasant surprise to Canuck fans this season finding an offensive spark, even earning playing time with the twins. Mason Raymond looks like he has finally found his speedy stride again posting 8 points[4 goals, 4 assists] in 12 games. The Canucks are getting secondary scoring from their defense, 2nd, and 3rd lines which is extremely important in a shortened season and building towards a playoff run. A closer look at the defense reveals the Canuck defense has contributed 27 points [9 goals, 18 assists] through 12 games, that is comparable to the triplets [the Sedins & Burrows] posting 24 points[6 goals, 18 assists]. Did I mention Alex Edler is leading the rear guard with 9 points? Henrik Sedin may not have a goal [yet, its coming, SOON!] but he is just ONE point behind Markus Naslund on the all-time points leader of the franchise{fun fact:Daniel is just 27 points behind Hank and looks to be passing Nazzy soon as well}.The Canucks are currently on a six-game WIN streak. Rumors are swirling that Ryan Kesler and David Booth are nearing their return to the lineup within the next games. The question remains with both presumably back sooner rather than later what will become of rookie Jordan Schroeder? The kid has been incredibly solid and scored his 1st two NHL goals in one game in front of a crazed home crowd….not too mention a shootout winner against Chicago!!! Speaking of rumors…can we let the goalie controversy crap end please? Relax. In a shortened season such as the current one have TWO incredibly goalies is an incredible gift and fans should appreciate this luxury. It’s funny that all those fans who said they wanted Luongo gone are suddenly singing his praises. The guy never stopped being a #1…he simply has stepped his game up to a new level….and his numbers have him sitting #2 behind Ottawa’s Anderson. Luongo has posted a 1.45 GAA and 0.943 save percentage. Luongo is undefeated in regulation yet thus far….his current run is reminding me of a 16-0-5 run he helped lead the team on back in the 2010-2011 season. Cory Schneider has been solid in his recent games…bringing his numbers to a respectable 2.36 GAA and 0.921 save %. With so many teams having lost their #1 goalies to injuries, the Canucks are extremely lucky to have not just one #1 but two goalies capable of giving the team a chance to win every game. Every game and every point matters in a shortened season.

4. San Jose Sharks [7-3-3 –17 points] The San Jose Sharks were off to an incredible start this season…a franchise best even going 7-0-0. January was incredible for their big name players, particularly for Patrick Marleau. February has been a much different story as they have yet to register one win, the Sharks are 0-3-3 in 6 games. They will to need to go back to finding the offense[hello Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski, Couture…where did you go?] that won them all their January games before they find themselves in an irreversible rut.

5. Detroit Red Wings [7-4-2 –16 points] Following a disappointing 6-0 opening loss to the St.Louis Blues, the Red Wing have been extremely solid. Henrik Zetterberg was name captain following the retirement of Niklas Lidstrom and is off to a great start…including a hat trick! The Red Wings have been a cornerstone of the West for the last two decades, and all signs point to them continuing their dominance as they find their stride. Detroit has a great history of developing amazing players through their organization and this year is not different with the emergence of rookie Damien Brunner.

6. Nashville Predators [6-3-4 –16 points] The Predators lost Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild in the off-season to the tune of a $98 million contract and followed up that loss by locking Shea Weber into their own ridiculous long-term deal. Weber has yet to register a goal, however the Predators have been able to rely on the consistent play of goalie Pekka Rinne to keep them in reach of the division lead.

7. St.Louis Blues [7-5-1 –15 points] The St.Louis Blue opened the season by beating the Detroit 6-0, picking up right where they left off last season. Since that game however, they have not been able to find that same consistency. Brian Elliot is still searching for his form from last year while his goalie partner Jaroslav Halak is out injured. Last year the Blues led the league with fewest allowed goals. The brightest spot on the Blues this season is their rookie Tarasenko who has made a name for himself in St.Louis just 13 games into his career.

8. Dallas Stars [7-6-1 –15 points] The Dallas Stars have been up and down. Jaromir Jagr has found his offensive spark once more despite his age. Offense has been good despite the delay in the re-signing of Jamie Benn who has helped lift this team over .500 level hockey and start a 5 game win streak that came to a halt in Calgary.

9. Phoenix Coyotes [6-5-2- 14 points] Shane Doan played coy during the off-season until re-signing with the team he has ever played for. They have had some good moments giving fans a glimpse of the team that went to the conference finals last season. The Coyotes have considerably well despite the continued issue of uncertainty regarding their ownership.

10. Minnesota Wild [6-6-1 –13 points] This is the team that spent nearly $200 million signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in the off-season. Those two signings were supposed to catapult the Wild into a high scoring team, but it just has not happened yet. Parise has found some offense, the same cannot be said of Ryan Suter who has yet find the back of the net. The Wild are barely above 0.500 and are beginning to look the way they did the in second half of last season when everything fell apart for them. They need to find their balance offensively and play the way they did at the beginning of last season….and get their two newest Wild members to play the way they have been known to in the past. Rumor has it that the head coach Mike Yeo is on the chopping block.

11. Edmonton Oilers [5-5-3 –13 points] The Edmonton Oilers won the Justin Schultz lottery and he has been a major asset to them on the blue line 13 games in. The Oilers are stacked with young talent, but have faced the trouble of inconsistent play and injuries costing them important points. If they tighten up defensively and add some consistency to their game, they will turn it around. Their young core definitely has a bright future.

12. Calgary Flames [4-4-3 –11points] The Calgary Flames have picked up right where they left off the last few seasons…in a disappointing fashion. They have yet to find their scoring niche. They say as Iginla goes so do the Flames….and he is not yet at the top of his game. Iginla and the Flames are typically slow starters but in a short season the entire team needs to pick up their game with more efforts like the game against the Stars.

13. LA Kings [4-5-2 –10 points] The LA Kings have hardly looked like the dominant team that won last year’s championship. They are without Mitchell and Greene to help solidify their defensive play. Jonathan Quick has also not played to his full capacity just yet, but he definitely is more than qualified. The Kings still have most of their championship core in place, but they need to find that drive that catapulted them to the Stanley Cup last season if they are looking to repeat.

14. Columbus Blue Jackets [4-7-2 –10 points] The Columbus Blue Jackets were faced with beginning the year without the former face of the franchise Rick Nash[he is now a New York Ranger]. They have begun slowly losing some important games while showing some great moments in their few wins. They need to find secondary scoring as they can no longer depend on Rick Nash scoring their goals. In the latest news the Blue Jackets fired GM Howson following their 13th game.

15. Colorado Avalanche [4-6-1 –9 points] The Colorado Avalanche are just in a string of bad luck…with injuries to everyone from their Captain Gabriel Ladeskog and Eric Jonhson and losing games they need to win. Not too mention all the drama with last year’s scoring leader Ryan O’Reilly still unsigned. Initially the Avs said they were working to re-sign the forward…and than talks broke off and rumors have begun to swirl that he will either be traded or sit out for the entire season before being signed. The Avs could really use a player like O’Reilly to help them get back their scoring touch. Head Coach Joe Sacco will have to find a new approach to snap Colorado out of their skid.

The post lockout issue between the NHL and NHLPA is the ‘Re-Alignment’. Have you heard about the re-alignment? Do you even care? The details at this point are limited as it is still in the discussion process. Here are the basics: The NHL wants to realign the league to 4 conferences [instead of the current two conference and 6 division split]. The league was looking to pass the realignment last season but it fell flat when the NHLPA voted against the notion in December 2011. The two sides are in renewed talks about this proposal and the owners are expected to vote on it, if approved by them, the vote would then go to the players. If this newest proposal gets approved by all parties the realignment would go into effect next season. One of the issues with this 4 conference format was the fact that there were no clear lines regarding playoff qualification as the West would have had two 8 team conferences whereas the East would have had two 7 team conferences. We shall see what the two sides come up with should they address all the issues.

It is only the quarter mark of the season and already so many stand out moments have occurred [From Chicago’s ridiculous point streak, teams winning/losing streaks, to goalie controversies and media speculated rumors]. Streaks good and bad have begun and will continue to occur throughout the remainder of the season. Players will be injured forcing teams to respond and others will return from injury giving teams a boost. We will have to wait and see what both the conference and the league look like at the halfway mark.

As always until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

2012 ends with the NHL making one FINAL offer…

Let me start by saying I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Years! Adios 2012. Hello 2013.  The 2012-2013 NHL Lockout has now surpassed 100 days. As 2012 came to a close…the NHL has made yet ONE more FINAL offer to the Players. Funny how each time a new offer is made..Bettman calls it the FINAL offer. Following each proposal there is usually a counter proposal. The sides have been in constant contact since the new deal was suggested and are supposed to met together yesterday and today. The latest reports suggest that a new deal MUST absolutely BE in place by January 11th in order to get the minimum 48 game regular season in place + playoffs ending by the end of June. It was expected that NHLPA would respond to the NHL’s offer yesterday with a counter proposal of their own. They did. We shall have to wait and see how that turns out….all signs point to they BOTH need more time to review and discuss. Great…more waiting! Just what we all wanted! There are many who claim they could care less if hockey returns after this latest round of cat & mouse that the league and PA are currently trapped in. There are a few NHL analysts that still hold out a faint[very faint] hope that a deal will be struck by the 11th. One of those analysts is the ever colourful Don Cherry who has taken to twitter tweeting his belief that the NHL will be back ice mid-January. I admit [as always] that I would LOVE if that occurred but it really comes down how far Bettman is willing to lose just to make his point [in the end, it might be more costly to him than he can guess. Rumor has it that this could mark his last year as Commissioner].

Now that 2012 has come to a close and the lockout continues…here is a list of all the moments we have missed thanks to Bettman’s lockout:

– 2012-2013 pre-season [but that is the least important of any games!]

– 2012-2013 opening day of the NHL season and all the games prior to & on January 14th.

– 2012-2013 All-Star game & all the festivities that come with it.

– 2013 Winter Classic [It was supposed to be TODAY in Detroit!]

– All of the ups and downs that come with an NHL season for each player individually and each team separately. There are always streaks [good & bad] throughout the season that make it unique and draw comparisons to previous years of previous players.

In other news…have you been watching the World Juniors taking place in Russia? Have you seen Ryan Nugent-Hopkins stealing the show? He has so far led Team Canada through an undefeated preliminary round…sending them into the Semi-finals! Go Team Canada![p.s. the U.S. team is looking pretty good too!] World Junior hockey is a great outlet for those us who are missing hockey. It gives us those lovely moments to yell at the refs for making bogus calls, yelling at the players when they make a mistake or dissing the opponent and cheering like crazy each time your team scores a goal. Yes, World Junior hockey is great for any hockey fan, but it ends as quickly as it begins and each game leaves me wanting to watch the game I have been missing since September.

I don’t care how it happens, I just want to be able to watch hockey again. I want to see my Canucks hit the ice at Rogers arena just as many of you [though you might not admit it at this moment] want to watch your team hit the ice in their home arenas. I am tired of reading the local papers [Vancouver Sun/The Province] attempts at creating hockey story lines during this lockout…it drives me crazy[specifically those jabs at Luongo…!] Their constant negativity is what drove me away from buying their papers and keeps me from buying them now. Each article seems to push fans against the home team rather than support them. That is not a paper that I want to read. I would rather read a paper that supports the team WIN or LOSE. It can report the BAD and the GOOD….not just the bad.] Apologies for my rant…but I was reading the paper at work the other day and the story made my blood boil…that is all I will say.

Moving on, back to the lockout that has seen no end [YET]…we shall have to wait and see the results of this latest NHL  offer and PA counter as it unfolds. 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!

http://behind-the-green.myshopify.com/

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…

http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/nhl/article/1282764–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.

50/50

Rumor has it that while Bettman’s number is up…that HOCKEY will be BACK by NOVEMBER!!! ….the NHL has officially tendered a NEW offer to the NHLPA that would give both sides 50/50 split contingent on an 82 game season that WOULD begin November 2 IF the players agree. The jury is still out on whether the PA will agree…but you can almost hear a sigh of relief that an ACTUAL offer was made in today’s meeting. PLEASE NHLPA…let’s really think about this…you could ALL be back playing in 2 weeks & still have an 82 game season!! I have been very vocal about my dislike of this current lockout…..this is the FIRST time that an offer made has REAL potential to be accepted by BOTH sides! THIS deal would last for up to 6 years AND it means a FULL 82 game season NOT a shortened one!

Did I [& many others!] not suggest many times previously that the only way to really negotiate this latest CBA would be a 50/50 split? Why…yes, yes I did. This is the first time since these negotiations began back in the summer that I feel there is potential for a new deal to be signed, sealed & delivered VERY soon. I think the players will want to take a closer look at this deal in detail before they consider it as a solution…but it is encouraging to see an actual offer be tabled. Let’s hope they do not take too long in their consideration as if they do sign…they could be back on the ice by NOVEMBER 2!!!! Come on…who doesn’t want hockey back soon?  The offer is on the table…your move NHLPA….please do not wait too long to get back to playing the game you all love.

The word lockout is not a welcome one in my vocabulary. Yet it has forced its way into it…and FINALLY we have an offer that has potential on the table….time to get back on ice BOYS because the puck cannot slap itself….#isitNovember2ndYET

The word ‘lockout’ has been forced into the vocabulary and reality of NHL fans three times in the last 18 years….and each time it was GB with the announcement. One would think that if HE cannot get the players to agree to this latest offer or worse takes away the entire year….that his days are not only numbered but finished. There will be a push or counter proposal that comes from the PA soon…but this 50/50 split gives the PA a place to make real progress. I hope the PA realizes that the this latest offer is where things will eventually end up a 50/50 split. This offer also has no immediate rollback. This offer is the first one that is one that seems like real PROGRESS!!! FINALLY! Let’s get this deal & probably counter offer done followed by a new CBA PLEASE!!!!!!!! This is finally some real negotiating!!!!!!!!!! I know that this deal is probably not perfect….but it really is the first time that feels like hockey could be back SOON…as in NOVEMBER. I think it is best for all parties to get this deal done STAT. The PA now holds the cards….the question is how will they play them? Is this 50/50 split really a 50/50 split? If so, then it means that Bettman is finally taking one for the team and moving the league forward…if not…I think it is good-bye Gary!

There are still many questions that will be addressed regarding this latest offer and what is sure to be the PA’s counter-offer…but in this moment it is refreshing to hear of actual progress in the great CBA debate. I don’t know about you….but I really want hockey back..and this deal could get it back as soon as NOVEMBER 2 with NO games lost!…Rumor has it that the NHL is already in contact with all in teams in regards to getting additional dates in order to accommodate an edited 82 game regular season schedule. This offer would get the season sooner than most expected. The NHL has made their offer…and now its up the NHLPA as to how they will respond. Donald Fehr is expected to meet with the players this afternoon. Whatever happens in regards to a counter-offer…I really hope it is a short cordial give and take so that WE the fans get back the game we all love. This offer brings the opportunity to salvage not just part of the season but the ENTIRE season. I have never given in to the belief that the season was over…and this could be the move that makes the season a reality. Now, once again all we can do is wait. Wait and see. #EndtheLOCKOUT #BringBackHockey #isitNovember2Yet

As always, until next time[when hopefully I can be sharing the news of the 2012-2013 season being back on and no more lockout!] 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.