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.

Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while proud of my wife and daughter participating in today’s Women’s March.

*This is from a few days ago, but Bob McKenzie weighing in on the prospects for Claude Julien and his job security is always worth checking out.  

*The New York Rangers have themselves a rookie named Pavel that’s doing a pretty darned good job for the Blueshirts.

*What should the St. Louis Blues do with Kevin Shattenkirk as the trade deadline approaches and the seven-year, $49 million contract waiting for him in free agency is pretty daunting?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Allen has a list of underperforming NHL stars, including Jamie Benn and Jonathan Toews, that may have been impacted by the World Cup of Hockey. Certainly Patrice Bergeron could have made this list as well.

*Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling may be earning some more playing time after the way he performed against the Bruins, according to Pro Hockey Talk.

*Good news with Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson set to return to the team in a couple of weeks after tending to his wife in a battle against cancer.

*The struggles of Anthony Duclair with the Arizona Coyotes mirror the team’s issues this season as well. It’s interesting that Duclair has popped up in trade rumors with the Desert Dogs this season.

*For something completely different: the final Wolverine movie with Hugh Jackman is going to be extremely emotional with its characters.


 

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

BRIGHTON, Mass – While both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller were missing from Bruins practice on Saturday morning, both injured Bruins defensemen could be rejoining the team soon.

Colin Miller skated on his own prior to Saturday’s team practice at Warrior Ice Arena for the second or third time since suffering a lower body injury in the win over the St. Louis Blues. Claude Julien said his presence on the ice was proof that the puck-moving defenseman is “definitely on the mend”, and could be nearing a return to practice soon with Sunday marking the sixth straight game that he’ll have missed.

Kevan Miller is out with a concussion suffered last weekend in the win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and the B’s current three-game losing streak has coincided with his absence from the lineup.

Julien said Miller has actually been away from the team for the last couple of days while dealing with a virus, and that his recovery from the concussion symptoms was good prior to being knocked down by the illness.

“Kevan was actually feeling really well and then he got hit by a virus that’s kept him in bed for the last two days,” said Julien. “It’s nothing to do with his original injury. There was a possibility he could have been ready very soon, but that’s set him back a bit.”

Both are obviously out for Sunday’s matinee against the Penguins, but a return to practice at some point next week seems like a good bet for both players. Here are the line combos and defense pairings from Saturday’s practice with the Bruins focusing on getting a good result in Pittsburgh with the hockey club on a “mom’s trip” with 22 of the players’ mothers traveling with the team to and from the game:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Blidh/Beleskey-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

Rask

McIntyre