Bettman, Fehr outline CBA strategies

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Bettman, Fehr outline CBA strategies

NEWARK, N.J. The Collective Bargaining Agreement for the NHL will be terminated in September, but thats about the only thing thats a certainty after hearing from both NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr at the Prudential Center prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Bettman addressed the media at his customary press conference prior to the start of the Cup Finals and among other things announced that the NHL broke league records with 3.3 billion in revenue in 2011-12.
The commissioner also addressed the upcoming CBA negotiations with Fehr and the NHLPA that could go one of two ways: come to an agreement prior to next season that will keep a growing league on an upsurge or result in a work stoppage that could truly cripple a league that has fully recovered from the lockout in 2004-05.
"I'm hoping something works out because labor peace is much more preferable to the alternative, said Bettman.
The commissioner said that the NHLPA has expressed interest in beginning the bargaining conversation, and thats expected to take place in the next couple of weeks. Once the Stanley Cup Finals have been completed, then both sides can push forward with informal discussions that will then lead to negotiations.
As for the scope of talks, it will include a multitude of things: Olympics involvement in the future, improvement in player safety, the player suspension appeal process and of course the player and league share of the revenue pie.
The players currently get 57 percent of the NHL revenues, which would mean close to a 70 million salary cap next season under the current CBA. There is plenty of speculation out there that the NHL wants something closer to a 5050 split of the league revenue, and the players wont be willing to grant the same 24 percent salary rollback that ended the last NHL lockout.
Dont you like me in this job? cracked Fehr when asked if the players would again agree to roll back their salaries as they did during December 2004. All I can say is that we wont make any economic proposals that the players arent aware of or dont approve of. Thats first and foremost. Secondly they recognized that they made enormous concessions in the last round of bargaining. That is part of the backdrop that leads us into this round of negotiations along with a myriad of other factors.
Well see what happens when we get to that. I dont make predictions. Coming to mutual agreement is the goal. Hopefully thats a goal that everybody shares.
Fehr wouldnt come right out and say it, but its no secret that many NHL players werent happy about sacrificing 24 percent of their salaries, and they wont be endorsing that kind of a concession this time around.
Even if the CBA negotiations are weeks away from truly gaining steam, it appears that the first round of positioning and posturing has begun with Bettman and Fehr outlining their bargaining stances with a long summer ahead of them.

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins, looking for a spark after terrible, back-to-back losses to the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings, are hoping the return of Matt Beleskey from a knee injury can help provide the inspiration. 

The blue-collar left winger has missed the past 23 games with a torn MCL in his right knee suffered in early December against the Buffalo Sabres, but now he’s easing back into the lineup on the fourth line in Friday night’s showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Beleskey was skating with Dominic Moore and Austin Czarnik on the fourth line at morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena and should be expected to throw a few hard hits and play with some intensity in his return.

“I’m ready to go and excited to get back out there,” said Beleskey, who has been skating with the team for roughly a week after giving the knee sufficient time to heal. “I’ve just got to keep it simple and do what I do well: Be hard on pucks, take the body and just try and find your groove. You don’t want to expect too much in your first game back, but you just want to be able to contribute.

“’I’ve been saving [the pent-up energy] for a while, so I’m ready to get back out there and hopefully provide a spark for us.”

The Beleskey return also provides the player with a bit of a reset button after a slow start to the season that saw him with two goals and five points along with a minus-6 rating in 24 games played for the Black and Gold prior to his injury. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairs against the Blackhawks based on morning skate today:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Beleskey/Blidh-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

Rask

Friday, Jan. 20: Canes’ Bickell tries to carry on after MS diagnosis

Friday, Jan. 20: Canes’ Bickell tries to carry on after MS diagnosis

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while simply skating my lane today.

*A terrific piece on Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell getting on with his life after an MS diagnosis, and pushing to see if he can return to the ice.

*If the New York Islanders botch the hirings for people guiding the franchise, then John Tavares could be one of the next figures gone from Brooklyn.

*It’s been a rough go of it for St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen over the past few weeks and that continued on Thursday night.

*Top NHL Draft prospect Nolan Patrick’s value comes from his two-way play, and that’s what teams are focused on rather than the injury issues.

*Mike Babcock talks a wide range of subjects with James Duthie during a 1-on-1 with the Toronto Maple Leafs head coach.

*In his never-ending odyssey on the fringes of the NHL, Seth Griffith has been claimed by the Maple Leafs on waivers for the second time.

*Veteran forward Clarke MacArthur won’t be playing this season for the Ottawa Senators amid his concussion issues.

*For something completely different: Bill Belichick just being Bill Belichick at his press conference on Friday and that’s something we can all be reassured about.