NHLPA biding time until counter-offer is ready

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NHLPA biding time until counter-offer is ready

Its been two weeks since the NHL unloaded the first CBA proposal onto the NHLPA and the rest of an unsuspecting hockey world, and made the statement that the two sides are indeed very far apart on terms, revenue shares and nearly every major sticking point.
The NHLPA and Executive Director Donald Fehr have pored through the document, asked their questions and come to harmonious agreement on some of the minor points below the surface.
But make no mistake about it: the biggest point of contention will be the percentage split of hockey-related revenue and where the players will ultimately go from their current 57 percent haul of revenue.
Its expected the league wants to eventually land at a 5050 split with the players that will ultimately lower the salary cap ceiling from the expected 70 million limit for each team next season. There are hundreds of millions of dollars in the balance of which side wins the negotiating battle, and its that large pile of cash that will make the CBA talks painful before its over.
But through it all, the NHLPA has acted coolly and rationally where they might have once flown off the handle in a rage.
"They have asked for a reduction in the players' share," said Fehr to reporters. We indicated that here is some further information that we've requested.
Instead the NHLPA is sitting, waiting and taking measure of which way the wind is blowing before releasing its own counter-proposal. One would expect that counter-move is coming sooner rather than later, and that its going to include creative ideas about revenue sharing.
After all, Fehr is the same union head that oversaw the change to a soft salary cap in Major League Baseball that essentially boils down to a luxury tax with heavy revenue sharing controls. The New York Yankees spend like drunken sailors and poverty-stricken teams like the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates end up the beneficiaries of the extra funds.
Fehr and the NHLPA have designs on something similar in the NHL where teams like the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs have seemingly endless reserves of cash they could call upon when needed. That would make things more manageable for teams like the New Jersey Devils and Phoenix Coyotes that are facing economic difficulties. That system could help the struggling small market franchises that are driving the owners to a we are losing money argument despite a record 3.3 billion in revenues last season.
But it would also be a large departure for teams like New York, Toronto, Chicago and Boston that dont want to bankroll the rest of the league based on their own successful business models. Its not the business that any owners signed up for when they joined the NHL, but it might just be the best solution to get everybody what theyre seeking.
One thing that proposal will do: get the small market and big market NHL owners fighting among each other given the very different situations theyre each facing.
Its the kind of divide-and-conquer philosophy Gary Bettman has long used to break the backs of the players union during CBA negotiations, and now it would appear that Fehr is working that same side of the street.
The NHLPA has been thoughtful, diligent, understanding and deliberate in each move theyve made thus far this summer, but a big move is coming from them sooner or later. The contents of their upcoming counter-proposal will tell a great many things: how far apart the owners and players truly seem to be right now, what is most important to the players and just how many games hockey fans can expect to miss when the NHL gets started late this season.
Its trending toward a short-ish work stoppage being a definite rather than a simple possibility at this point.
But any work stoppage be it ending the day after Thanksgiving or on New Years Day along with the Winter Classic -- will ultimately be decided by the men armed in briefcases that hold hockeys fate in their very complex business models.

Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

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Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Tuukka Rask made 35 saves to help the Bruins hold off the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Saturday

David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron scored to give Boston a 2-0 lead and the Bruins improved to 3-0-1 in their past four.

Evander Kane scored his first goal of the season for Buffalo. Robin Lehner returned after missing one game with a hip injury and made 32 saves.

The Sabres combined for nine goals in their previous two wins but the NHL's lowest-scoring team reverted to form from the first 21 games, when star center Jack Eichel was out of the lineup with a high-ankle sprain.

Krejci got the Bruins on the scoreboard with 5:50 left in the first when he deflected Brandon Carlo's slap shot from the point off the right post and into the net.

The Sabres appeared to tie the game late in the second period but replays determined Brian Gionta kicked the puck into the net.

Bergeron made it 2-0 at 7:10 of the second at 7:44 of the third when he knocked on the rebound of his own missed shot. Bergeron initially hit the puck with his forearm on the left edge of the crease and skated around the net to chase down the puck and slip a backhand past Lehner.

The Sabres answered two minutes later, scoring on Rask for the first time in 109:12 this season. Sam Reinhart's feed off the rear wall set up Kane for a wrist shot from the slot that bounced in off Krejci. Reinhart has five points in his last four games.

NOTES: Bruins F Matt Beleskey was escorted to the dressing room in the final minute of the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. ... Sabres D Josh Gorges did not play after injuring his foot blocking a shot in Thursday's win over the New York Rangers. With Dmitry Kulikov (lower back) and Zach Bogosian (MCL sprain) also out, the Sabres were down three of their top four defenseman and recalled 19-year-old Brendan Guhle from the minors to make his NHL debut. Guhle hustled back to thwart a breakaway by Krejci late in the third period. ... F Anton Blidh became the seventh Bruin to make his NHL debut this season after being recalled from the minors on Friday. ... The Bruins scratched F Jimmy Hayes. D Zdeno Chara, the Bruins' captain, missed his sixth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Rask got a shutout in Boston's 4-0 win over Buffalo on Nov. 7.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Host Florida on Monday.

Sabres: At Washington on Monday.

 

© 2016 by STATS and The Associated Press.