The NHL CBA discussion inched forward yesterday when the league notified the NHLPA that the current collective bargaining agreement will indeed be terminated by the middle of September. Some may take it as the first shot over the bow between NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr, but in truth its just a necessary part of the process.
Its a customary piece of clerical work for both the league and the players union, but it also represents the first step in what could be a rocky road toward a new agreement despite unprecedented financial growth in the NHL over the last five years. The league and the players union are expected to engage in substantial discussions once the Stanley Cup Finals are over in the middle of June.
Hockey agent Allan Walsh had another interesting nugget when he tweeted about a number of NHL rookie camps already getting cancelled in the wake of a potential upcoming work stoppage.
But Bruins fans should fear not for their annual prospect camp thats become a summer showcase for the teams best and brightest young talent.
The Bruins have indicated they play to move ahead with their prospect camp despite the CBA uncertainty likely to be surrounding them. The Bs have tentatively scheduled the camp to take place prior to the July 4 holiday almost immediately after the NHL draft in Pittsburgh during the last weekend of June.
Dougie Hamilton will be the unmitigated star of the Bs prospect camp with the expectation he might win a regular roster spot at training camp provided that cooler heads prevail in the CBA negotiations. The hope is that both sides havent forgotten a lockout in 2004 nearly destroyed the NHL.
The Bruins prospect camp will be entering its fifth year of existence this July, and Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask, Tyler Seguin and Adam McQuaid are all alumni of the summer camp designed to ease a young players transition into the Bruins Way of doing things.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while finding it unbelievable that some people are questioning the heart of Isaiah Thomas at this point.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bruce Arthur with a column on Phil Kessel playing all of his cards right with the Penguins. It’s something he never did in an untenable Toronto situation where he and Dion Phaneuf were expected to be franchise players instead of the “third banana” type roles they were meant for on good teams with Ottawa and Pittsburgh.
That was very clear when he was with the Bruins early in his career, was not a good match with the hearty crew that ended up winning a Cup in 2011 and basically didn’t want to play for Claude Julien anymore after just three seasons. It was more clear when he pulled the same reluctant public figure card as Toronto’s high-paid star forward in the NHL’s biggest media market, and never did more than put up his numbers. Now in Pittsburgh he’s clearly well behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the pecking order, plays in a place where he can fade into the background a little bit without too many problems and a lot of his eccentricities are viewed as charming, or Phil being Phil, rather than Kessel being viewed as a bit of an odd duck or a malcontent.
But to this Bruins writer he’ll always be the guy that clashed with Julien over the stick that he preferred to use, clashed with Zdeno Chara on the ice for his work habits and was ultimately a player that wasn’t very popular at all in the Bruins dressing room despite the obvious talent and the courageous battle with cancer he waged during his first year in Boston. He’s obviously matured and is more well-rounded in some ways than his Boston days, but in many ways he’s the exact same Phil that doesn’t want to change for anybody or anything.
*Here’s the New York Islanders season in review after disappointing with a failure to get into the playoffs, and a big situation coming up with John Tavares.
*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen done for the playoffs after being diagnosed with “acute compartment syndrome.” What a big blow to the Predators.
*The Ottawa Senators are still looking to push the Penguins to the brink in the Eastern Conference Finals, but it’s obviously going to be a difficult task for them.
*Don Cherry and Ron MacLean had their Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada this weekend, and tackled some hot topics like the Nashville crowd throwing a dead duck on the ice.
*Ryan Getzlaf addresses the fine from the NHL for using a vulgar slur on the ice, apparently aimed at nobody in particular according to the player.
*Here’s a set of statistics that effectively sums up the pathetic regular season put forth by the Colorado Avalanche.
*For something completely different: In an interesting rumor, the Mr. Robot show creator is apparently in talks on an Obi-Wan Kenobi standalone movie.