Wake me up when September ends…

Well it’s official. Wake me up when September ends. The NHL has announced that there will be no pre-season games prior to or on September 30th. In the days that have followed since the lockout was enacted there has been no formal communication between the NHL and the NHLPA. Both sides are expected some type of formal communication to take place next week.The aim is for both sides to come to an agreement that will please everyone…but as we all know that is hardly ever possible. Most of the time, each party has to give a little. The NHL and NHLPA will only be meeting this week together with the Alberta Labour Board to determine whether it is legal for the Calgary and Edmonton players to be locked out. The Quebec Labour Board sided with the NHL so we will see how Alberta sides. Pre-season does not mean a whole lot other giving most prospects a chance to preview the NHL level. At this point only the pre-season that would have taken place in September has been cancelled officially.

It has been made official that many players have signed to play else during the duration of the lockout. Malkin, Datsyuk, Gonchar and Ovechkin have returned to Russia to play in the KHL. Thornton, Weber[Yannik], Couture, Nash have gone to Switzerland and many more have gone abroad to keep themselves game ready should the lockout be temporary. Alex Ovechkin has been more than willing to openly admit his dislike of the now real lockout and is sticking by his belief that many players will not return to the NHL should the lockout persist. He does think the players should have to endure the owners distaste of contracts and numbers as it was those same owners that signed every one of the players on their team. Ovechkin signed a one year contract with the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow that could see him spend the season in his home country however there is an out clause[of the contract] if and when the season does in fact begin. If the season resumes and Ovechkin does not return it would violate his current contract with the Washington Capitals and result in sanctions from the IIHF[International Ice Hockey Federation]. It is hard to say whether Ovie would really go as far as not returning…but odds are he is just speaking out in frustration. NHL’s other face of the game, Sidney Crosby has yet to go abroad as he and his agent feel it is too soon to believe that the entire season is lost….me too. It is not over until someone named GB throws the hammer down on that final nail. I do hope that while some players get exposure to the game internationally that it will end soon and the season resumes sooner rather than later.

Where oh where have you gone, September? We have lost you to a lockout. In the very least September in Vancouver we have been blessed with an amazing stretch of weather…it still feels like summer in the city! Not too mention we do still lots of hockey to watch,not at the NHL level, but still some exciting games. We have the Vancouver Giants, Chilliwack Bruins and yes the Chicago Wolves[many #Canucks prospects a few veteran players will be on the team!] to cheer for as they all move forward with their WHL and AHL seasons. September may bring me new teams to focus on and be nearly gone but I have not lost all hope for the NHL season.

In the mean time wake me up when September ends and October begins! I want get out the jersey & get myself canuck’d up & to a game….so come Bettman and Fehr. Become that dynamic duo that will preserve the majority of the 2012-2013 season…otherwise Ovie[at least in his frustration] and others may not return to the league. There is sure to be drama as the Albertan Labour Board meets with the NHL and NHLPA through Friday and as meetings between the two sides eventually take place as early as next week. All we can do now is wait. Wait for the 30th to come and go and hope that when the Calendar turns to October all is not lost on the season. Wake me up when September ends. I will still cheer for the blue & green regardless of when they return. 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.

NHL & NHLPA continue meetings + HABS go to the MAX + still waiting on Doan

Today marks day 3/4 of the meetings between the NHL and the NHLPA in Toronto. The NHLPA took their time in diligently putting together their perspective and yesterday Donald Fehr and the NHLPA presented their alternative view to the NHL’s original proposal. Fehr brought out the big guns(Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin & Steven Stamkos) for his presentation in push to make it known that the NHLPA wants to get a deal done. Other players were also present including: Jason Spezza, Mike Camalleri, John Tavares, & P.K. Subban. Bettman was very quiet following yesterday’s meeting only stating that the NHL is going to evaluate the proposal and hopefully respond in today’s meeting(at 12PM Eastern). Meetings go through Thursday. Rumor has it that this round of meetings have taken on a sense of urgency with both sides wanting to avoid a lockout. Let’s hope that the positives keep on coming & that we get that official announcement we are all waiting for(that the season will continue as planned) in the next 4 weeks! Bettman will have to deal with fans around the world should he even utter the word lockout as a reality. Here’s hoping he makes the right decision!

The hits just keep on coming. The Philadelphia Flyers have taken yet ANOTHER hit to the blueline. Defenseman Andreas Lilja is out until November(optimistically) due to recovering from hip surgery. The Flyers have already lost Carle(to free agency), Meszaros with his torn achillles tendon(out indefinitely), Pronger(to concussion…still no official word on when/if he will be able to to play), and Weber(thanks to Nashville’s matching of their outrageous offer sheet)

In other news the Montreal Canadiens have signed Max Pacioretty to a 6-year extension worth $27 million(or $4.5 million annual cap hit). He led the team last year with 65 points. The fact that he played at all last season(let alone led the team in scoring) is impressive following the controversial hit by Chara late in the 2010-2011 season. Despite offer sheet rumors, restricted free agent P.K. Subban is hoping to have his own contract with the #Habs signed as soon as possible…he believes that he will have a long career in Montreal. It is where is he is from, it is the team he grew up cheering for, the team that drafted him & the team he desires to stay a part of. The Edmonton Oilers are looking to be ‘taylor-made’ and  have resumed talks to extend Taylor Hall beyond next season. The Calgary Flames have invited veteran forward Steve Begin to their training camp on a professional tryout. Begin missed all of last season recovering from hip surgery. Best of luck to him on his comeback!

Still waiting…yes its true Doan has still YET to make an official decision. The guy cannot be called hasty as he really takes everything into consideration for this decision. It feels like the longer this saga takes, the more likely it is that he stays in Phoenix but then again who knows, maybe he will shock us all. Once again, we will have to wait until any official announcement is made.

I’m sure there will be drama before this day is done…all eyes will remain on the NHL/NHLPA meetings in Toronto.

As always,until next time,  nuck said.

Sarah E.L.