Bettman sets deadline for latest proposal

840305.jpg

Bettman sets deadline for latest proposal

By Tim PanaccioCSN Philly
NEW YORK -- A morning meeting that lasted nearly three hours and invited optimism in these CBA talks between the National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association ended on a threatening note.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman rejected the unions latest proposal with a counteroffer from the owners that he said would be pulled from the table if a deal is not reached by Saturday when the CBA expires at midnight.

We caucused and decided in the hopes of moving these negotiations along before the weekend that we would make yet another proposal, which we did, Bettman said at league headquarters.

It had meaningful movement in it and an attempt to engage the union finally in trying to make a deal on the economic main issue.

We made clear in presenting the proposal that this proposal was intended to lead to a deal before the weekend, before the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement, and if in fact a deal was not achievable, what we proposed would be off the table. We were quite clear on that.

At that point, the lockout would begin, and presumably all future offers from the league would be worse.

Bettman said this latest proposal retains the current HRR (hockey related revenues) math and doesnt ask for it to be redefined, a concession to the union.

At the same time, however, he insisted the two sides arent far apart on revenue sharing, and its not an issue.

The union sees revenue sharing as a huge issue; it wants the 10-12 richest teams in the league contributing more of their HRR into the share pot for financially distressed clubs.

A source said the Flyers annually give between 5 million and 7 million in revenue sharing to other clubs.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said he was hoping the league would give the players new proposal serious thought but added, I dont know if this will lead to anything.

We hope it will address a number of concerns clubs have raised, Fehr said, adding the unions proposal retain their core principles.

Fehr also said again that the union rejects anything that includes an absolute reduction in player salaries, given the leagues revenue growth during the current CBA.

Soon after Fehr spoke, Bettman said while the deal on the table from the league can be negotiated, its the only one they will talk about and not the unions offer.

The leagues new six-year offer would see between 250 million and 300 million going back to the players, Bettman suggested. He said that represented about 650 million in concessions to the players since negotiations began in August.

The offer from the league would reduce player salaries by 9.7 percent down from the 19 percent decrease that the league previously offered, Bettman said. That would be achieved through escrow.

ESPN.com said the NHL's counter-proposal offered to start the players share of hockey-related revenue at 49 percent and end it at 47 percent by the end of the term.

At the end, Bettman cautioned that while the league doesnt doubt the players resolve to get a deal done, They shouldnt doubt ours.

He said the deal would be pulled from the table on Saturday night because enough damage to the game has been made and he wants a deal now.

Nobody wants to make a deal more than I do, Bettman said.

E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net.

Morning skate: Devils win NHL Draft Lottery

adam-mcquaid-bruins-devils-3-5-17-.jpg

Morning skate: Devils win NHL Draft Lottery

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while continuing to marvel at the strength and character of Isaiah Thomas. 

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Barry Trotz and the Washington Capitals doing major damage control after going down 0-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in their series. 

*Dion Phaneuf is finding exactly what he needed with the Ottawa Senators and is going past where he’d been before in the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

*The New Jersey Devils won the NHL Draft Lottery, and will get the No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s draft with a team badly in need of some star power. 

*On the other hand, the Colorado Avalanche were the big losers dropping all the way to the fourth overall pick after being a dumpster fire all season. I guess there is some hockey justice left in the world. 

*Larry Brooks says that the word on the street is that the Lightning are going to shop Jonathan Drouin this summer for a stud top-4 D-man. They should be getting the pick of the litter by making the skilled forward available. 

*Ron MacLean and Don Cherry talk Big, Bad Oilers and the decline of Corey Perry during Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada. 

*For something completely different: Manny Ramirez hitting home runs in Taiwan is a beauty and a joy forever

Bruins will add assistant coach, tap Bradley to run draft board

Bruins will add assistant coach, tap Bradley to run draft board

While the Bruins technically operated, and operated well, short one coach once assistant coach Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien behind the Boston bench, that’s not expected to continue for the upcoming season.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed this week that the B’s will be retaining the current assistant coach group of Joe Sacco, Jay Pandolfo and Bob Essensa to work under Cassidy as full-time head coach, and that they’ll be looking to add one more person to his staff.

“I think our staff did a very good job jumping in and picking up, because we didn’t add to it at the time [of Cassidy’s promotion] when we subtracted from the group. It will stay as is,” said Sweeney. “We will also be looking to add to it to complement that group. Bruce and I have already spoken briefly about it, but we haven’t identified yet and we’ve already received some people that would have some interest. We’ll pursue that accordingly.”

Sacco handled the defensemen and the penalty kill in the final few months of the season, and Pandolfo worked with the forwards in his very first season as an NHL assistant coach following a stint in player development. Essensa, of course, worked with the goaltenders and as the “eye in the sky” from the press box once Pandolfo moved to the bench following the coaching change. So the natural assumption would be that the Bruins would hire another former defenseman to work with the D-men given the backgrounds of Sacco and Pandolfo as forwards.

“We haven’t gotten too far out in front of it. But, Joe Sacco moved from the front of the bench to the D, and did a terrific job [while playing a] big part of the penalty kill all year. Jay [Pandolfo] came down from the press box, worked with the forwards, which he had worked with all year. But now he’s in the heat of the battle. They were terrific. We were a true staff,” said Cassidy. “Goalie Bob [Essensa] became a little bit more of an eye in the sky for us up there. We had Kim [Brandvold], who was our skating coach, helped a lot with the practices, with the pace we were trying to establish. I can’t thank them enough.

“Going forward, we’re going to meet and decide what’s the best fit for us [as an assistant hire]. Obviously those two have a forward background, I have a defense background, so maybe that’s an area we have to look at, what’s the best complement. But we’d be getting ahead of ourselves if I said today that we’re pinpointing an exact thing. We’ve got to look at it and say, ‘OK, who’s the best fit. What makes us the most successful?’ We’ll go from there with the candidates we get.”

The situation automatically leads one to wonder if P-Bruins head coach Kevin Dean would be a possible candidate as a longtime Cassidy assistant at the AHL level, or if Dean wants to continue on his track as a head coach. If not Dean then perhaps Providence Bruins assistant coach and former Bruins D-man Jay Leach might also be a strong candidate after his first season working with the young P-Bruins at the AHL level.

While it’s clear the Bruins still have some discussions before potentially making a move on hiring an NHL assistant for Cassidy’s staff, they have made a determination about their scouting staff. The B’s never replaced the head of amateur scouting position when Keith Gretzky was hired as an assistant general manager with the Edmonton Oilers, and it will instead be Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley that will run Boston’s draft board in June.

“Scotty Bradley has stepped back into that role, which he’s very comfortable doing. He holds the title of Assistant General Manager and he’ll oversee the draft. We’re very comfortable with the people he’s worked with in recent years that have been a big, big part of our recent drafts. Our meetings went well,” said Sweeney. “They were just at the U-18s and had other subsequent meetings, so there will be some banter in the upcoming [scouting] meetings, in terms of where we end up finalizing our list. Scotty will oversee that.”

It’s not exactly foreign territory for Bradley, who previously held the head scouting position with the Black and Gold and played an instrumental role in drafting players like Milan Lucic, Phil Kessel, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. But there’s also some question as to how big a role Gretzky played in drafting the massive wave of talented prospects now pushing their way through Boston’s system, and how much his presence will be missed at NHL Draft weekend moving forward.