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.

Morning Skate: Sabres' Okposo back on the ice

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Morning Skate: Sabres' Okposo back on the ice

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while officially in the Dead Zone of the NHL offseason.

*A great sight to see is Buffalo Sabres forward Kyle Okposo taking the ice in a summer league in Minnesota after a health scare at the end of last season.

*Nolan Patrick might be fresh off abdominal surgery, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be rushed if he plays for the Flyers.

*Here’s an offseason power ranking of the offseason moves for the NHL teams, and the Bruins rank 28th out of 31 teams with the organization being “stuck” in the estimation of this writer. I don’t disagree that they’re kind of paralyzed right now until David Pastrnak signs an extension, with other things being held up because of that. The Paul Postma and Kenny Agostino signings were about as small time as you can get on July 1. But the Bruins’ goal for this summer wasn’t to win in the offseason moves department, but instead continue to let their interesting mix of young players and established veterans grow into an effective mix. Winning the offseason power rankings really isn’t the thing for the Black and Gold, and that’s perfectly okay given their situation.

*There’s a wide gap between the Detroit Red Wings and Tomas Tatar with salary arbitration looming.

*It’s a good thing that Barstool Sports is here to ask the really tough questions, like whether Jaromir Jagr is being treated unfairly by NHL teams because of his hair.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Johnny Gaudreau really high on the window for the Calgary Flames to compete over the next three years with the young, talented group they have in place.  

*Nico Hischier is looking to be a playmaking force for the New Jersey Devils right off the bat after being the No. 1 overall pick in Jersey.

*A slew of soon-to-be college sophomores starred in development camps across the NHL and showed what they learned at the NCAA level.

*Classy tweet from the Arizona Coyotes wishing war hero and distinguished statesman John McCain well in his battle with brain cancer.

*Players that are on AHL contracts will be allowed to participate in the Winter Olympics this season. While the loss of NHL participation would be a difficult blow to the Olympics and fans, part of me is happy that some of these AHL guys will get to experience playing for their country when they might not have been able to otherwise.  

*For something completely different: Paul Pierce sees some very good things with first-round pick Jayson Tatum, but he’ll need to see “killer instinct” from the Celtics rookie for him to live up to the Pierce comparisons.

 

AHL allowing players on minor-league deals to go to Olympics

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AHL allowing players on minor-league deals to go to Olympics

Players on American Hockey League contracts will be eligible to play in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

President and CEO David Andrews confirmed through a league spokesman Wednesday that teams were informed they could loan players on AHL contracts to national teams for the purposes of participating in the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The AHL sent a memo to its 30 clubs saying players could only be loaned for Olympic participation from Feb. 5-26.

The Olympic men's hockey tournament runs from Feb. 9-25. Like the NHL, which is not having its players participate for the first time since 1994, the AHL does not have an Olympic break in its schedule.

The AHL's decision does not affect players assigned to that league on NHL one- or two-way contracts. No final decision has been made about those players.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly denied a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation report that the league had told its 31 teams that AHL players could be loaned to play in the Olympics. It was an AHL memo sent at the direction of that league's board of governors.

When the NHL announced in April that it wouldn't be sending players to South Korea after participating in five consecutive Olympics, Andrews said the AHL was prepared for Canada, the United States and other national federations to request players.

"I would guess we're going to lose a fair number of players," Andrews said in April. "Not just to Canada and the U.S., but we're going to lose some players to other teams, as well. But we're used to that. Every team in our league has usually got two or three guys who are on recalls to the NHL, so it's not going to really change our competitive integrity or anything else."

The U.S. and Canada are expected to rely heavily on players in European professional leagues and college and major junior hockey to fill out Olympic rosters without NHL players.