Archive for October, 2012

No talks scheduled, but both sides say they are willing to meet … Escrow checks in the mail

  • Darren Dreger via twitter: Don Fehr to players: “at every op we have contd to state we are ready to meet + willing to discuss all open issues,incl owners’ last offer. Nonetheless, to date, their group has declined to commit to a mtng unless it can dictate what the agenda is.”
  • Katie Strang of ESPN: Bill Daly said yesterday that no talks are scheduled but the league is willing to meet.

    “No new news. We withdrew our most recent proposal on Friday, and now we are spending time thinking about our next proposal and how best to get closer to a resolution,” Daly said by email. “We hope the union is doing the same thing. Given the fact that the union refused even to discuss our last proposal, it would appear that we still have a large gulf to bridge.”

    Don Fehr denied that the NHLPA is unwilling to play ball,

    “Since the last bargaining meeting on Oct. 18, we have consistently made it clear to the League that we are ready to meet and are willing to discuss all ideas, certainly including their last proposal,” he told ESPN.com.  “The league has unfortunately continued to decline to meet. Their position makes it difficult to move the process forward, as it is obviously hard to make progress without talking.”

  • Joe Haggerty of CSNNE: Haggerty wonders if it’s time for Gary Bettman and Don Fehr to step away from talks. Several sources have said in recent weeks, “the players want Bettman’s head.”

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Insurance holding Crosby back … More players heading overseas, 2 signing in ECHL … Some NHLers career may be over … Hall off IR

  • Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Sidney Crosby’s agent, Pat Brisson, said that it would cost as much as $400,000 to insure Crosby if he were to go overseas. Crosby was interested in playing in Max Talbot’s charity games in Quebec before he was told the insurance cost was prohibitive. He still hasn’t ruled out Europe if a wealthy owner can absorb the cost.
  • David Pagnotta via twitter: Maple Leafs Joffrey Lupul signed with Avtomobilist of the KHL. Slava Malamud via twitter: “Lupul isn’t eligible to sign in KHL due to the league’s rules. In the KHL, though, rules are merely hurdles, not obstacles, so let’s see.”
  • Tom Gulitti of the Bergon Record: Devils Travis Zajac is considering heading over to Europe. His agent, Kurt Overhardt, “He might be going over to play in the next few weeks.”
  • Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun: Senators Peter Regin has returned after playing 4 games with SC Langenthal of the Swiss National League B. He appeared to be a replacement for Jeff Campbell while he was injured. Campbell was the teams leading scorer last year.
  • Michael Russo of the Star Tribune: Matt Cullen, in the last year of his deal, knows that he could get squeezed out next year if the season is lost.

    “There are guys here that this is going to snowball on,” said Ray Ferraro, who played 18 years in the NHL. “I’m talking about veterans, and I’m talking about guys that have played 45, 100 games. They’re in a bad spot, and there’s nothing you can do now. Now you’re hanging on to the train, and you just hope you don’t get bucked off and you never get to play again.”

    “You’re gone and you’re forgotten and that’s it,” Cullen said. “It’s sad, but lots of guys’ careers ended with the last lockout and that’ll definitely be the case this time. Guys are just going to be gone, vanished.”

    Brian Rolston knows his career is likely over.

    “I’m realistic. I’ll be 40 years old,” Rolston said. “If there’s half a season, maybe somebody will be willing to sign an older player. But I’m not holding my breath. I’m content if I have to retire.”

    Ferraro added,

    “When you walk into the dressing room and talk to Teemu Selanne, the day’s a better day. Yet Teemu’s not coming back if they miss a year,” Ferraro said. “Daniel Alfredsson has left his guts on the ice for Ottawa for 17 years and he’s going to go away?

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Winter Classic to be cancelled … More owners need to get involved … Johnson and Parise share some thoughts

  • Renaud Lavoie via twitter: The NHL and NHLPA are still talking to each other over the phone and through email. There are no formal talks scheduled.
  • Katie Strang of ESPN: A source said that the NHL is expected to cancel the Winter Classic on Thursday.
  • Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet:  Kypreos believes more owners need to get involved.

    Worse is the perception that only three people control all the power and information when it comes to the future of the NHL, that a new deal hinges solely on Bettman, Bob Batterman (lead counsel for the NHL) and Jeremy Jacobs (Boston Bruins owner and chairman of the NHL board). Everyone else is on the outside looking in when it comes to power in the league.

    If you asked any other owners, they’ll tell you they know as much as you or me. Some will say a reduction to a 50-50 split is fine. If an owner like Mike Ilitch wanted to join negotiations with the NHLPA, he wouldn’t be allowed to. More than a handful of teams have said they can’t afford to lose a 2nd full season in 8 years.

  • Bruce Garrioch via twitter: NHL teams were told not to start booking their arenas until after Tuesday in case there were last ditch talks between the NHL and NHLPA.
  • Aaron Portzline via twitter: Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson on his site: “The concept that the owners are trying to dismantle existing contracts that they in good faith offered, signed, and committed to is appalling, unprofessional, and disgraceful.”
  • Michael Russo via twitter: Wild Zach Parise: “…you hope the fans come back because if they don’t, there is no revenue to split at all. I hope everyone can get this thing figured out soon because it will kill our sport if we miss another season.”

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Markov may be heading back to Montreal … Sharp and Schneider may be thinking Swiss … Bradley heads to Finnish League

  • Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette: Andrei Markov may be on his way back to Montreal with a rib injury.

    “I was trying to check an opponent and he leaned at the last second,” Markov told Gagnon. “Instead of hitting him with my shoulder, it was my ribs that took the impact. I was winded and returned to the dressing room. That’s all.”

    Max Pacioretty hasn’t said much about his departure from the Swiss A League. He had 1 assist in 5 games and was a healthy scratch for 3 games.

  • Tracey Myers via twtter: Patrick Sharp will make a decision about going overseas in about 2 weeks if the lockout continues. He is leaning towards a Swiss team, but not the one Patrick Kane is playing with.
  • Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun: Cory Schneider has a Swiss citizenship and would be able to play for a Swiss team as a non-import.

    “It’s nothing serious at this point,” he said Monday when queried about going overseas. “There are still a couple of hoops to jump through before that’s a possibility but when you see the month of November cancelled, that’s 30-plus days from now. If we take the deadline seriously that there will be nothing until Dec. 1 — and you have to — I think it would only make sense to try and get in some game action.”

    “I don’t think beggars can be choosers,” said the 26-year-old redhead from Marblehead, Mass. “There are not a lot of spots over there and I’d be fortunate to even get an offer. So I’m not looking at it as the most opportune situation for me. I’m just looking at a place where I might be able to play some games.

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NHL NY offices closed … No meetings scheduled … Bill Daly and Steve Fehr quotes

  • Michael Russo via twitter: The Winter Classic was to be cancelled today, but the NHL offices are closed today and tomorrow because of Hurricane Sandy, so it might be delayed.
  • Louis Jean via twitter: There are no meetings scheduled between the NHL and NHLPA. Jean wouldn’t be surprised if it stayed that way for a while.
  • Pierre LeBrun via twitter: Bill Daly: “We withdrew our most recent proposal on Friday, and now we are spending time thinking about our next proposal and how best to get closer to a resolution.  We hope the Union is doing the same thing.  Given the that the Union refused even to discuss our last proposal, it would appear that we still have a large gulf to bridge.”

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Suter backtracking from comments … Will take more than guaranteeing existing contracts … A few more heading overseas

  • Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly: To avoid financial penalties, the NHL will be forced to cancel the Winter Classic sometime between Tuesday and Friday. A 60 or 62 game season could begin on December 1st. After this week, the next cancellation could be the remainder of the season. Players have been saying that if the owners would guarantee existing contracts, that a deal could could get done. That may not be the case according to Don Fehr:

    “No, I don’t think so,” he told us. “You have that issue. You have the big reductions. Walking away from contracts but you have changing free agency against the players, changing restricted free agency against the players, changing arbitration against the players, changing length of contract against the players, changing contract structure against the players. All the things which are really important to the players when they negotiate for their own contracts and security, they want to take away, too.

    “The owners basic position was, ‘Last time we got a lot of monetary concessions and you got contract rights. Now we want more monetary concessions and we want the contract rights.’ Where does one go from there? When you think about it, is there anything in this for the players?”

  • Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune: Wild’s Ryan Suter is backtracking from some comments he made about the owners, including Wild owner Craig Leipold, in a article with Craig Custance and ESPN magazine. From Custance’s story:

    “It’s disappointing. If you can’t afford to (sign contracts) then you shouldn’t do it. (Leipold) signed us to contracts. At the time he said everything was fine. Yeah, it’s disappointing. A couple months before, everything is fine, and now they want to take money out of our contracts that we already signed.”

    Suter talked with Russo and wanted backpedal a bit on what he said:

    “I thought a lot about since what I said, I don’t question Craig Leipold and Minnesota with regards to negotiating our contracts in good faith. I don’t question that. That might have came off wrong. I don’t question that. It’s just frustrating. We just want to play. We support Don in what he’s doing. Obviously you sign a contract, and you want to hold true to that. I think, and I hope, everything works out.”

    Do you feel that in the back of Leipold’s mind, he figured you’d take a haircut: “No, I honestly don’t feel that. It’s easy to think that or it might come off like that, but honestly, I know they’re good people. And I know they wouldn’t negotiate thinking, ‘OK, let’s give them this because it’ll end up being this.’ Because that’s not the kind of the people they are. So that came off wrong [in Suter’s original comments to ESPN the Magazine].”

  • Joe Yerdon of Pro Hockey Talk: Taken from the Post-Gazette and ESPN Magazine, Marc-Andre Fleury and Ryan Miller say they are considering going to Europe. Goalies are having more trouble than position players finding employment overseas.
  • TSN: Blake Wheeler has joined EHC Red Bull Munchen of the German Elite League.
  • Dave Stubbs via twitter: Reports are that Lars Eller is signing with JYP of the Finnish league. Official announcement could be coming today.

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Jagr says he and Selanne don’t have many games left … Pronger collects $8.2 million … Luongo talks trade rumors

  • Joe Yerdon of Pro Hockey Talk: Jon Rosen of Fox Sports West talked with Jaromir Jagr,

    “Hopefully the season’s going to start. It would be very sad for everybody for us me and Teemu especially,” Jagr said. “We don’t have many games left. The separation, the goal separation is only two goals. It’s the final countdown. It would be kind of special, but you never know what’s going to happen.”

  • Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: Injured NHLers still collect their pay, including Chris Pronger who received a $1 million bonus last month and will get his full salary of $7.2 million. He likely won’t play again and has $19.2 million left on his contract.
  • Adam Jahns of the Chicago Tribune: Jahns notes the fans deserve better than this and both sides are to blame, with most of the fault on the owners side.

    But the fans — especially the die-hards — deserve better. The NHL’s lockout of its players insults them. It insults their loyalty and their financial sacrifices.

    They deserve to root for a league not plagued by work stoppages. Fan-driven events such as the Winter Classic and the All-Star Game shouldn’t be used as bargaining chips.

    Both sides are to blame for this mess.

    But if you had to assign fault, 85 percent belongs to the owners. Maybe it’s because the players are allowed to explain their side while the owners have been silenced by commissioner Gary Bettman and his bylaws, but it’s tough to see where the owners are coming from.

  • Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun: Roberto Luongo touches on trade rumors.

    “I don’t want to speculate on anything because there are a lot of rumours,” Luongo said.

    “Obviously, when the time comes and I do have to make a decision we’ll make one with the best interests for myself, the team and all that kind of stuff,” he said. “But for now I think my focus is just on being ready to play no matter where that is.”

    “Mike never asked me for a specific list, so I have never given him a list of five teams or anything like that.” he said. “We did speak over the summer about certain teams, but that was nothing concrete.”

    “At this point in time, I think we all know what the situation is with me, but there are many teams out there that I’ll consider for sure.”

    “We’re just going to wait and see. I’m getting ready as if I am coming back here for training camp when it’s over and if things change we’ll take care of that when it comes.”

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Winter Classic and All-Star Game could be gone next week … Not all owners are on board … NHL say they’ll lose $720 million

  • Tim Panaccio via twitter: Daly said “No,” when asked if the NHL were prepared to cancel the Winter Classic on Monday.
  • John Buccigross via twitter: Buccigross has heard Monday, Tuesday and Thursday as dates to cancel the Winter Classic and All-Star Game.
  • Dave Stubbs via twitter: After yesterday’s cancelled games, Gary Bettman has cancelled a total of 2,024 regular season games so far.
  • Andy Strickland via twitter: Sources said that the NHL pulled their latest offer off the table partly because not every owner liked the proposal. Several teams weren’t on board with it.
  • Adrian Dater via Sulia: There are several owners who are unhappy with how things are going on their side, but it takes 22 owners to override anything anything that Gary Bettman and the other 8 owners decide.
  • Sam Carchidi via twitter: Forbes said that the Flyers will have lost $17.1 million in gate receipts for the 13 homes games that were cancelled.

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Mass exodus of players could happen starting next week … Markov injury not serious

  • Allan Walsh via twitter: “NHL Ave Salary since 04-05 lockout. 05-06 (-16.64%), 06-07 (9.20%), 07-08 (15.20%), 08-09 (-0.29%), 09-10 (6.69%), 10-11 (9.32%), 11-12 (9.33%) = 32.81% NHL Ave Salary Increase. NHL revenues up 50%+”
  • Larry Brooks via twitter: Brad Richards in considering his options, though he’s not talking with any teams in Europe at the moment.
  • Larry Brooks via twitter: Can expect a mass exodus of players overseas within the next 7 to 10 days if constructive talks don’t take place next week.
  • Harvey Fialkov via twitter: Panthers Kris Versteeg is still getting treatment on his hip from the team and is able to use their facilities.
  • Pavel Lysenkov via twitter: Andrei Markov left yesterday’s game in the 2nd period and didn’t return. Dave Stubbs via twitter: Markov said he was merely winded by a hit and it’s nothing serious, not his knee. (originally reported by Francois Gagnon)

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NHL cancels games through November 30th … Bill Daly and Don Fehr statments

  • NHL.com: Bill Daly’s statement following the NHL cancelling games through November 30th.

    “The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to take this action. By presenting a proposal to the NHLPA that contemplated a fair division of revenues and was responsive to Player concerns regarding the value of their contracts, we had hoped to be able to forge a long-term Collective Bargaining Agreement that would have preserved an 82-game Regular Season for our fans. Unfortunately, that did not occur.

    “We acknowledge and accept that there is joint responsibility in collective bargaining and, though we are profoundly disappointed that a new agreement has not been attained to this point, we remain committed to achieving an agreement that is fair for the Players and the Clubs — one that will be good for the game and our fans.”

  • NHLPA.com: NHLPA executive director Don Fehr’s statement after the NHL cancelled more games today:

    “The league officially informed us today that they have withdrawn their latest proposal and have cancelled another slate of regular season games. This is deeply disappointing for all hockey fans and everyone who makes their living from hockey, including the players. But it comes as no surprise.

    Last week the owners gave us what amounts to a “take-it-or-leave-it” proposal. We responded with the framework for three proposals on the players’ share, each of which moved significantly, towards their stated desire for a 50-50 split of HRR, with the only condition being that they honour contracts they have already signed. Honouring contracts signed between owners and players is a reasonable request. Unfortunately, after considering them for only 10 minutes they rejected all of our proposals.

    Since then, we have repeatedly advised the owners that the players are prepared to sit down and negotiate on any day, with no pre-conditions. The owners refused. They apparently are only interested in meeting if we first agree to everything in their last offer, except for perhaps a few minor tweaks and discussion of their “make whole” provision.

    The message from the owners seems to be: if you don’t give us exactly what we want, there is no point in talking. They have shown they are very good at delivering deadlines and demands, but we need a willing partner to negotiate. We hope they return to the table in order to get the players back on the ice soon.”

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