Bettman: Two sides 'are still far apart' after NHLPA offer


Bettman: Two sides 'are still far apart' after NHLPA offer

The NHLPA had a good feeling about their soup-to-nuts Wednesday offer to the NHL in an attempt to end the lockout, but that was quickly crushed by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. The NHL leader along with deputy commissioner Bill Daly and several owners announced to the media they are still far apart on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement despite the players offer.
The new deal went to a strict percentage share of Hockey Related Revenue rather than any links to spikes in revenue, upped the make whole pot from the owners to nearly 400 million and included a provision designed to eliminate the back-diving contracts the league is looking to outlaw.
Were still far apart, said Bettman, who was speaking to the media outside the NHL offices while a Flyers fan heckled the NHLs CEO. But hopefully theres some momentum so we can bring this to a conclusion.
"I think it's frustrating for everybody and disappointing for everybody that's it's taken this long and we're still far apart.
Meanwhile, the New York Post is reporting that there is an NHL Board of Governors meeting scheduled for Dec. 5, and both sides have agree to talk on Friday about what the next steps in negotiations will be. NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr said there was no reciprocity from the league after the NHLPA opted to get on the same wave length with the league, and appeared frustrated that the league essentially rejected their offer out of hand.
"On the big things there was as of today no reciprocity in any meaningful sense, no movement on the players' share, no movement on salary-arbitration eligibility, no movement on free agency eligibility, no agreement on a pension plan, said Fehr. We moved more than halfway. Thats about as good as we can do.
Both sides said they will continue to discuss things internally on Thanksgiving while more than 700 NHL players remain out of work, and the lockout reaches Day 68 of the regrettable proceedings. While things look pretty grim at this point in time for hockey, its important to remember that its a negotiation and neither side is going to give away what theyre holding for cards.
Nobody expected Bettman or Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs to be performing handstands after Wednesdays offer, but both sides are admitting theyre less than 200 million away from each other over the course of a five-year document to govern the NHL.
Thats not exactly a far distance away, and they still sit at least a month away from thinking about cancelling the entire season. But the NHL is expected to cancel games through Dec. 15 and ax the NHL All-Star Game in the next round of cuts that could come at the end of this week.

Friday, Aug. 26: Coyotes keep taking on dead money in latest deal


Friday, Aug. 26: Coyotes keep taking on dead money in latest deal

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while finally catching up on “The Man in the High Tower” on Amazon.

*The Coyotes and Panthers executed a trade sending Dave Bolland to Arizona, and it’s not exactly great news for Gary Bettman with Arizona continuing to take on a lot of dead money.

*Alex Pietrangelo was appropriately humbled to be named the 21st captain in the history of the St. Louis Blues.

*The Colorado Avalanche have a new head coach, and his name is Jared Bednar, who it is said will get the players to play hard for him.

*The footage of somebody in full goalie equipment running away from a burglary scene is something out of a movie.

*The New York Rangers can never have enough depth, and that’s why they added Brandon Pirri to the mix on Thursday.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker says Lawson Crouse brings the total package in the trade from Florida to Arizona, and he also brings a player that can take a hell of a hit as he was the guy that got rocked by Charlie McAvoy at the World Junior Showcase earlier this month.  

*It’s only 15 days until the US National Team Development Program gets going with their 2016-17 schedule: here it is in full.

*For something completely different: can you see David Ortiz’s face in this corn maze? This could be like an ink blot test.


Foster playing catch-up, could help his cause vs. Panthers


Foster playing catch-up, could help his cause vs. Panthers

FOXBORO -- When DJ Foster took the field for Patriots OTAs, he looked as advertised: quick, a crisp route-runner, and the owner of a pair of dependable hands. But that was back when players wore shorts to every practice. Since then, the undrafted rookie running back out of Arizona State hasn't had the opportunity to do much other than work on his conditioning while the majority of his teammates practiced. 

That could soon change. Though Foster has dealt with what he calls a "nagging" injury throughout much of training camp, he felt well enough this week to return to practice, and on Friday night he is likely to see preseason game action for the first time this summer.

The reason Foster's preseason debut could carry some importance is that he happens to play a position that may qualify as the thinnest on the Patriots roster right now. Because sub back extraordinaire Dion Lewis will not be healthy enough to start the season, and because coach Bill Belichick opted to part ways with veteran Donald Brown recently, the team is low on numbers in their running back room.

If Foster can capitalize on the opportunities he's given, he may make a case for a roster spot. James White, who is expected to be Lewis' primary replacement, is the other lone true sub back on the roster. Brandon Bolden can fill in at that role on an emergency basis, and Tyler Gaffney has shown he can catch the football when asked, but neither has the kind of pass-catching upside of Foster, who played receiver for the Sun Devils as a senior and racked up 222 receptions during his four-year college career. 

Foster has only so much time to prove he's worthy of a job. The Patriots have to reduce their numbers to 75 by Aug. 30. They need to be down to 53 by Sep. 3. Foster could be a tantalizing prospect to stash on the practice squad, but surely he'd like to make a push for a greater role. 

He explained this week that, despite his recent physical limitations, he won't be holding back whenever he does get a chance to prove himelf. 

"The coaches do a great job at just kind of making sure I'm OK and stuff," he said. "For me, when I'm in there, do what I can, give everything I got -- every rep, every chance I get with the reps. Stay in the playbook, stay involved in the meetings, and just try to learn as much as I can. Whenever I do get an opportunity, go out there and make the most of it."

Against the Panthers, the Patriots coaching staff will have to balance the need to evaluate players like Foster against good competition versus getting the entire team ready for Week 1. For example, they'd like to get a good look at Foster, whose practice reps were next to nil before this week. They'd also probably like to get White as many reps as possible so that he's prepared for the Cardinals. 

Who should play when? And how many snaps do they need? 

"You can’t see D.J. Foster play in this league. You have Arizona State film but that’s all you have, and some of the spring work that he did which is obviously encouraging," Belichick said earlier this week. "We still have him, but there’s just no body of work. Donald Brown, you can see Donald Brown . . . Players like D.J., it’s hard. You don’t have much to go on. But maybe he’ll be able to do more. We’ll get an evaluation of him soon, hopefully."

Friday night could be the night.