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NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood and play-by-play man Mike "Doc" Emrick are ready to get going.
The NHL and NHLPA have come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, which will effectively end the lockout.
The league and union continue to meet well into the early hours on Sunday.
Negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA are ongoing Saturday as the sides are tantalizingly close to securing a shortened NHL season but have final details to work out first.
Federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh has brought the NHL and NHLPA face-to-face after spending much of the last 24 hours searching for common ground on remaining issues.
It appears as though mediator Scot Beckenbaugh is helping CBA talks move along, and he spent much of his time shuttling through the cold NYC streets to do so Friday.
The NHLPA will again look for the authority to dissolve their union.
What happens when a league has bludgeoned its players' association nearly to death? Why, it must use the courts to save the union, of course.
CBA talks will resume Thursday morning in New York.
Don Fehr is still at the bargaining table, representing his players following the NHLPA's deadline to file a disclaimer of interest.
The NHLPA has tabled a counter proposal to the NHL's most recent collective bargaining proposal.
The NHL is waiting for the NHLPA to respond to their most recent collect bargaining proposal.
The NHL Players Association is expected to table a counterproposal to the NHL on Monday afternoon during face-to-face negotiations.
The two sides are set to come together over conference call in ongoing negotiations.
The NHL reportedly has a drop-dead date of Jan. 11 to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Players Association.
The NHL has made another CBA offer, making positive movement on all previous positions. Could it lead to the end of the lockout?
The NHLPA has overwhelmingly voted in favor of allowing the executive board to file a disclaimer of interest.
The NHL announced Thursday that all games through mid-January have been canceled.
Bill Daly may have shown the NHL's hand a bit on Wednesday, saying there will be a 2012-13 season.
Bill Daly stated in a radio interview on Wednesday that the NHL has a drop-dead date to cancel the 2012-13 NHL season around mid-January.
Sidney Crosby has not yet made a decision on whether he will sign overseas while waiting for the NHL lockout to end. However, he plans on making that decision by early January if a new collective bargaining agreement is not in place.
The NHL will have a major image problem once it finally ends the lockout.
It's just like August!
In utterly shocking news, the NHL and NHLPA disagree about this whole lawsuit thing.
The NHL has filed a lawsuit hoping to preserve the legality of the ongoing lockout. It's a preemptive move after news leaked that the NHLPA is considering the option of dissolving their union.
The executive board of the NHLPA has passed a vote, which will allow the players to determine whether the union will pursue a disclaimer of interest.
President Obama talked about the NHL lockout. He didn't say much, but he talked about the lockout!
Flip on CNN lately? You might find that the discussion about the "fiscal cliff" feels a whole lot like the NHL lockout.
The NHL and NHLPA met at an undisclosed location on Wednesday with federal mediatiors.
For many reasons, NHL fans can't stand Gary Bettman. Incredibly, his immediate predecessor was worse.
It's all rather tedious for NHL fans, but the NBA went through this last year and they still had a season.
The NHL has officially canceled games through Dec. 30.
The NHL will cancel games through Dec. 30 as the long lockout marches along with no end in sight.
With the lockout posing more of a financial challenge for some players than others, the NHLPA may see a split in the ranks.
One member of the NHL's Board of Governors seems to think there's no reason for the lockout to continue.
Hear from four NHL owners after lockout talks go south.
One side thought it was a negotiation. The other did not. And that's how we're back to an apparent Square One in NHL lockout talks.
Nearly immediately after its announcement, the NHL shot down a union proposal. They apparently did it via voicemail.
Despite a mountain of rhetoric on Thursday, the NHLPA put forth a new CBA proposal, and it appears the sides are closer than they've ever been.
The NHLPA has reportedly asked for federal mediators to be reintroduced into the negotiations with the NHL.
Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr will be in the room when CBA talks resume Thursday. Tensions are high.
The NHL lockout could be ending in the very near future, but the marathon negotiations have reached a very delicate phase, according to multiple reports.
Details of the NHL's latest CBA proposal leaked early Thursday.
Wednesday was another marathon day of CBA talks, with little divulged in about nine hours of meetings between owners and players. Lots of podium face time, though.
The NHL has a new celebrity. It's an inanimate object.
The NHL and NHLPA have exchanged proposals on Wednesday in the first true negotiations of the lockout.
Another day of talks is scheduled after the NHL updated the Board of Governors on Wednesday morning.
The NHL and NHL Players Association received an adjournment by the Quebec Labour Board on Wednesday, which will suspend their scheduled meeting on Thursday and Friday. This will allow the two sides to continue CBA negotiations through the week.
Owners and players met for nearly nine hours on Tuesday. It was characterized as perhaps the "best day" of CBA talks so far.
The NHLPA announced that 18 players will be meeting with six owners on Tuesday as part of a players/owners meeting.
Alex Ovechkin threatened to stay in the KHL. He's changed his tune.
There are three possible outcomes for this week's NHL CBA meeting without Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr. The most likely is the one that's all too familiar.
Players and owners will meet face-to-face this week without Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr.
James Dolan was key in negotiating an end to the NBA lockout, and reportedly believes he can do the same for the NHL.
The mediation process between the NHL and NHLPA lasted two days before it was ruled unsuccessful.
Jeremy Jacobs continues to be the worst.
The NHL and NHLPA met on Wednesday for the first of a series of meetings with federal mediators.
It's pretty obvious that there's a rift in the NHL's Board of Governors.
The federal mediator appointed to help with the NHL and NHLPA negotiations won't accomplish a thing, unless the NHL and NHLPA are ready to let that happen.
Government mediators will finally get involved in NHL CBA talks.
Judging by its reluctance to seriously negotiate, the NHL owners have a scripted date or milestone in mind when they'll stop demanding the world or else. Is that date this season? Can that milestone come with NHLPA decertification?
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr was asked about the union potentially decertifying to take the NHL to court, but did not tip his side's hand regarding their strategy.
The NHL officially announced the cancellation of the 2013 All-Star Game on Friday afternoon, in addition to all regular season games through Dec. 14. The cancellations are due to the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations between the NHL and NHL Players Association.
The All-Star Game was scheduled to be held at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 27, 2013. In addition to the game, the league will also be canceling the weekend's worth of events, including the annual skills competition and player draft. This was going to be the first time that the Columbus Blue Jackets franchise has ever hosted the event.
In the official announcement, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly stated that the league will work to return the All-Star Game to Columbus as quickly as possible.
With Friday's announcement, the NHL has now canceled 423 regular season games including the 2013 Winter Classic, which was going to be played between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium.
As of Friday afternoon, the NHL insists a significant gap still remains between the owners and players union on the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement.
Roman Hamrlik is sick of the lockout and he's taking out his frustrations on NHLPA chief Don Fehr.
The NHL summarily dismissed the NHLPA's offer on Wednesday, stating that it was not enough to get a deal done. The lockout continues.
Black Friday will be a dark day for NHL fans this year, as the league is expected to cancel the 2013 NHL All-Star Game on Friday.
The NHLPA says they've made significant movement on core economics. Will the NHL agree?
The NHL wants the NHLPA to present a proposal on core economic issues, and it looks as though the union will meet internally Tuesday to discuss doing just that.
The NHL and NHLPA will meet again Tuesday, and it's the league's hope that a union proposal will be put on the table.
A small group of representatives, from both sides of the dispute, are expected to meet despite commissioner Gary Bettman's suggestion of a moratorium on talks.
The two sides are planning a weekend meeting to discuss what the next step in the negotiating process should be.
Recommendation for two-week hiatus comes after negotiations stall.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly's words Thursday confirmed every hockey fan's biggest fear: this lockout is going nowhere, fast.
The NHL is set to cancel all games through Dec. 15 if a new deal is not reached in the next week, with the entire season likely being canceled next.
The judge that presided over the negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA has stated he'd work for free in order to save the NHL season.
Retired NHL player Mark Recchi, who's currently a minor league hockey owner, is advising players to quickly agree to a new CBA.
After a week of meetings, the NHL and NHLPA will not meet on Tuesday, according to a report.
Ovi sticking it to the NHL after the latest contract setback with the players.
Representatives of the NHL and NHLPA appeared to be doing so well in negotiating an end to the lockout and a new CBA. Friday, all those gains may have been lost as tensions rose across the bargaining table.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spoke briefly after collective bargaining agreement negotiations on Thursday.
After the NHL Players' Association made two offers on Wednesday, the sides have remained quiet publicly and will resume negotiations on Friday.
The NHL Players Association reportedly submitted new offers on revenue sharing and the "make whole" provision.
It's another important day in NHL lockout negotiations as the players and owners take up the contentious 'Make Whole' provision.
The NHL and the NHLPA spent another five and a half hours speaking on Wednesday in New York, and they'll meet again on Thursday.
With the league and the players unable to come to an agreement, talks will continue again Wednesday.
Talks between the NHL and NHLPA are expected to go late into the night on Tuesday.
NHL Players' Association executive director Donald Fehr said meeting will focus on 'issues that divide' league and union.
There's ANOTHER lockout in the NHL and public opinion is at its lowest point in years, but all things considered, it's tough to argue that the league hasn't grown over the last four years.
After months of stagnation, CBA negotiations may finally be picking up steam in the NHL.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA general counsel Steve Fehr had a productive negotiating session over the weekend.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr are reportedly meeting Saturday.
The NHL has amended its "make whole" provision, long considered a sticking point in negotiations to end the lockout.
The NHL has announced the refund policy for the 2013 Winter Classic, which was canceled on Friday.
The 2014 Winter Classic will be hosted by the Detroit Red Wings at the University of Michigan's football stadium, just as it was supposed to be in 2013.
The 2013 Winter Classic will be canceled on Friday.
The NHL and NHLPA have agreed to schedule more negotiation dates.
The NHL is informing sponsors of the 2013 Winter Classic that it will be canceling the event on Friday, according to a report.
The 2013 Winter Classic could hit the history books Friday as the NHL makes what would be an incredibly hasty, stupid decision.
Neither the NHL nor the NHL Players' Association has pushed hard for a mediator to be involved in the lockout discussions.
The NHL will not be canceling the 2013 Winter Classic on Thursday.
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is unhappy with the fact that a labor dispute continues to cancel games, blaming both sides for their inability to reach an agreement.
The Phoenix Coyotes relieved their media relations manager due to the lockout.
The NHL and NHLPA are considering their next moves in the collective bargaining negotiations.
The NHL will cancel the 2013 Winter Classic on Thursday, according to a report.
Hurricane Sandy has forced the closure of the NHL's offices in New York. Will this impact the NHL lockout?
NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr expressed his frustration with the NHL following the league's official announcement that all regular season games through Nov. 30 had been canceled on Friday.
Fehr acknowledged that the announcement came as no surprise given the NHLPA's rejection of the owners most recent collective bargaining proposal, which contained a 50/50 split of hockey related revenue with no salary rollbacks.
However, he made it clear that the NHLPA is not happy about the way the league has decided to negotiate throughout this process, labeling their most recent deal as a 'take-it-or-leave-it' proposal. He added that when the players made a counterproposal with three separate deals that all worked down to a 50/50 split, the league dismissed them after 10 minutes of the presentation.
He continued by discussing the players willingness to meet and negotiate without any pre-conditions. Fehr's conclusion is that the owners believe there is no point in talking unless they get everything they want. As of this time there are no future negotiations scheduled but Fehr hoped the two sides would meet soon.
Here is his full statement, via the NHLPA's official website:
"The league officially informed us today that they have withdrawn its 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."
The NHL has officially announced the cancellation of all regular season games through Nov. 30 due to the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations with the NHL Players Association.
The announcement was merely a formality as it was clear the league would cancel more of the schedule when the NHLPA failed to accept the league's most recent proposal prior to Thursday's deadline. The deal, which included a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue with no salary rollbacks, has since been withdrawn by the league.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly stated that the withdrawal of the proposal was not a negotiation tactic because the offer was made in the hope of playing a condensed 82-game schedule, which would have started on Nov. 2. However, reports have stated that not all of the owners agreed with the most recent proposal and wanted to change it.
With this most recent cancelation, the league will lose a total of 326 regular season games (26.5 percent of the schedule) from Oct. 11 through Nov. 30.
Now it seems unlikely that an 82-game schedule can be played this year, according to Daly's statement on Friday:
"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."
The Winter Classic could be on the chopping block next week.
The NHL could cancel the Winter Classic as early as next week.
The NHL informed teams on Friday that the league has canceled all games through Nov. 30 due to the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations with the NHL Players Association, according to a report by Elliote Friedman of CBC.
This announcement is expected later on Friday as the league is likely to cancel more games following the NHLPA's decision to reject their most recent proposal, which was presented last Tuesday. The league proposed a new collective bargaining agreement that contained a 50/50 split of hockey-related revenue with no salary rollbacks.
The NHL expressed that the proposal was made in the hopes of fitting in a condensed 82-game season for the 2012-13 year. This meant that a deadline was set for this past Thursday for the players to accept the deal.
Now that the deadline has passed, the NHL has formally withdrawn the proposal.
The NHL All-Star Game will not be canceled as part of this set of cuts, according to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. However, some have reported that the All-Star Game and the Winter Classic could potentially be canceled as early as next week if no progress is made in negotiations.
An anonymous team executive discussed the NHL lockout on Reddit Wednesday, offering unique insight into the owners' side of the ongoing negotiations.
The NHL will pull their most recent proposal to the NHLPA after the Thursday deadline passes.
Gary Bettman doesn't like the chances of an 82-game NHL season in 2012-13.
The NHLPA wants to meet with the league, but it seems unlikely that one will happen.
The NHL owners are reportedly looking to end the lockout imminently, but want to negotiate off their last proposal to the union.
The NHL allowed its constituency to contact their players during a 48 hour grace period last week. However, they failed to notify the NHLPA, which has left them displeased.
Bovada has set the odds for when the NHL lockout will end.
Sergei Kostitsyn of the Nashville Predators told Russian media he would rather the entire 2012-2013 season be locked out than have to return to the NHL. Kostitsyn is playing in the KHL for the duration of the lockout.
Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin said over the weekend that he would consider staying in Russia if the new NHL CBA is too unfavorable for the players.
Nothing's been signed yet, but the NHL's deputy commissioner said the framework for a new CBA may be in place Sunday.
The NHL will have to determine by Nov. 20 whether they will hold the 2013 Winter Classic, according to a report.
The NHL has canceled games through the month of October, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
The NHL officially announced on Friday afternoon that the league has cancelled the regular season schedule through Nov. 1 due to the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations with the NHL Players Association. A total of 135 games were scheduled over that span.
Despite the announcement, the league is reportedly still optimistic that a condensed 82-game schedule starting on Nov. 2 can still be played. According to previous reports, as long as a new collective bargaining agreement is ratified by Thursday, Oct. 25, the NHL could fit in the entirety of the 82-game schedule.
However, that would require for both the NHL and NHLPA to come to terms on an agreement within a week, which may be difficult based upon the quality of negotiations on Thursday. After the NHL presented a new proposal on Tuesday, which included a 50/50 split of hockey related revenue, the NHLPA countered with three separate proposals on Thursday that the NHL negatively responded to.
Despite the lack of optimism by both sides, there are still some who think the two sides are gradually getting closer to a new deal.
As of this time, no future meetings have been announced.
Ryan Miller is optimistic that the NHL and NHLPA are closer to a new CBA than they appear.
The NHL is expected to cancel all games through Nov. 1, but is still hopeful that a condensed 82 game schedule can be played.
The face of the NHL, Sidney Crosby, sharply criticized the league's owners for their quick rejection of three new proposed deals from the union.
Negotiations between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association continued Thursday and despite the league making what it believes is its best proposal yet, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said the owners apparently don't want to make a deal.
Fehr, who spoke to the media for nearly a half hour following the negotiations, was critical of not only the latest offer, but also the NHL's negotiation tactics. During his press conference, which can be seen in its entirety below, Fehr said the owners don't analyze or discuss counter proposals and instead take less than 10 minutes to reject them entirely.
Fehr also criticized the owners for waiting until four weeks into the lockout to make their best proposal. Fehr said the owners are trying to take back any concessions the players received in the last negotiation and give off the vibe that unless the NHLPA is ready to agree to the current offer, with very few tweaks, they aren't interested in negotiating.
Fehr summed up the day's negotiations bluntly, saying, "today is not a good day."
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly released a statement saying the NHL Players' Association's proposal for a 50-50 revenue split is not actually an even deal.
The NHL commissioner is disappointed with the proposals outlined by the NHLPA on Thursday.
The NHLPA has proposed four different CBA solutions Thursday, and all called for a "gradual" decrease to a 50/50 revenue split.
The NHLPA will have 18 player on hand for Thursday's negotiations, which are expected to include a counter-proposal to the owners' latest offer.
If CBA talks go south on Thursday, the optimism of the last several days will evaporate, and more hockey games will likely go with it.
The NHLPA is expected to make a counter-proposal to the league during a scheduled meeting on Thursday.
A 50/50 revenue split! Reduction of entry level contracts from three years to two years! A crackdown on back-loaded, cap-evading deals and the ability to trade cap space! This new NHL CBA proposal must be awesome! Not quite.
There are still a few big financial sticking points remaining in CBA talks between the league and the NHLPA.
Donald Fehr sent a letter to the NHLPA membership on Tuesday, outlining his take on the NHL's new CBA proposal.
The NHL has released the full text of its CBA proposal.
The newest salary cap offer would lower the current cap and set a floor below $44 million.
Further details about the NHL's latest collective bargaining proposal were leaked by Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie on Tuesday night.
A response to the NHL's latest CBA proposal is expected from the players association within the next couple of days.
In a last-ditch attempt to preserve an 82-game season, the league has sweetened their 50-50 revenue split deal by allowing teams to spend up to $70 million in 2012 as a part of transition rules.
It doesn't matter who wins the lockout PR battle. Not according to fans, at least.
The NHL reportedly included a clause in its most recent proposal that would eliminate teams burying bad contracts in the AHL.
Tuesday's offer from the NHL will cut long-term contracts, extend free agency and keep salary arbitration in tact.
The NHL offered progress in CBA talks Tuesday, offering a 50/50 split in revenues and hope for an 82-game season. The NHLPA will look over the offer and get back to the league in the coming days.
The NHL hired political strategist Frank Luntz to help craft their PR message during the lockout. They're more focused on their perception than actually negotiating with the NHLPA.
Frank Luntz has issued a public statement in response to the leak of a NHL focus group that has set the hockey world on fire. Earlier on Monday Deadspin reported on a leak from a Luntz Global focus group that was spearheaded by the NHL and the owners, to better determine how to direct the league's public relations strategies moving forward.
The leak exposed what was an obvious attempt by the league to determine what the best method would be to sway public opinion away from the players and back on the side of the owners, by figuring out exactly what fans would like to hear from the league.
The NHL and NHLPA are currently locked in a stalemate in the current CBA negotations, with fan and media opinion firmly on the side of the players. Many see the NHL as unnecessarily proceeding with the lockout at a time when revenues were reported to be at an all-time high. The NHL, per the focus group, is apparently gearing up for an attempt to pull that opinion back onto the league's side by trying to paint the union, and not the players, as the reason the lockout continues.
Here is the statement from Frank Luntz, released via his Twitter feed:
Material from a focus group I conducted was made public earlier today in an attempt to discredit efforts by the NHL to reach an agreement with the players on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The research was no different from what I and others in my field have done for sports steams, sports leagues, and players' unions for many, many years.
The objective: to understand exactly what fans think and precisely what they want. In this case, the fans were very clear: they want the teams and the union to reach an agreement quickly so that they can get the hockey they want and deserve.
The NHL and NHLPA are set to resume negotiations on Tuesday in Toronto, although it is not expected that core economic issues will be discussed.
The NHL's owners are trying to re-shape public opinion with the help of PR strategist Frank Luntz.
The NHL is expected to cancel a much larger block of regular season games sometime this week, according to Darren Dreger of TSN. With the NHL and NHL Players Association still separated on several key issues, a resolution to the labor dispute does not appear to be coming in the near future. With their arenas left open during that time, owners will look to book other events in the place of missed games.
The league announced the cancellation of the first two weeks of the regular season on Oct. 4, which totaled 82 games lost. However, its unclear as to whether the games were cancelled or postponed, meaning that they potentially could be made up at a later date. According to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, the league has lost upwards of $240 million due to the cancellations. The players are also losing money as they were scheduled to receive the first of 13 paychecks on Monday.
The NHL and NHLPA are scheduled to resume talks on Tuesday in Toronto.
Sergei Gonchar thinks that Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk or Pavel Datsyuk might want to stay in Russia and play for the KHL, even when the NHL resumes play. For his part, Gonchar says he will return to the Senators.
The Tournée des Joueurs had a less-than-stellar turnout on Thursday night.
Sides remain far apart after two negotiating sessions in New York on Thursday.
Sidney Crosby addresses the rumor that the NHL has a secret deadline in November to end the lockout.
As the NHL lockout nears one full month there are growing concerns regarding an NHLPA special weapon, as well as whether some Russian players will return to the NHL once a CBA agreement is finally reached.
The NHL and NHLPA met on Wednesday on two separate sessions, yet no significant progress was noted as neither side chose to discuss the key economic issues at the heart of the lockout.
While Donald Fehr, Gary Bettman and Bill Daly met briefly this morning, none of the three were present during the afternoon negotiations. With Steve Fehr leading the NHLPA, along with several player representatives, the two sides discussed further health and safety issues as well as improving ice conditions.
Earlier Wednesday, the Alberta Labour Relations Board had ruled that no decision could be made against the NHL, as the NHLPA sought to block the lockout of players under contract to the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.
Per TSN's Darren Dreger: "I'm told Alberta Labour board viewed this case as a distraction to ongoing negotiations."
Neither the NHL nor the NHLPA has made an actual proposal since the lockout began on Sept. 15, with both sides refusing to be the first to budge on the core economics that led to the work stoppage.
The NHL has canceled the NHL schedule through the end of October, with further cancellations expected soon.
The Alberta Labour Relations Board has ruled in favor of the NHL and against the NHLPA on Wednesday, stating that the league's lockout is lawful in Alberta, according to an ALRB release.
The NHLPA had filed with the Alberta board under the claim that the lockout of players with the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers violated Alberta labor laws, and that the players should be allowed to use team facilities and equipment. The NHL, meanwhile, claimed that the Relations Board has no jurisdiction to regulate between the league and the teams in Alberta and should not be allowed to intervene in the lockout.
The Board ruled in favor of the league, stating that the NHL and NHLPA never established which jurisdiction's laws apply to teams in Canada and that -- since both sides have mostly relied on US legislation -- the board decided it could not intervene in this case.
The NHL's deputy commissioner praised the decision in a released statement Wednesday afternoon.
"We are pleased with the Alberta Labour Board's ruling today that the lockout of Players is effective on a League-wide basis, including in Alberta, and we are extremely appreciative of the decisive manner in which the matter was handled.
"We are hopeful that this ruling will enable both the League and the NHL Players' Association to focus all of our efforts and energies on negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in order to get our game and our Players back on the ice."
This is the second failed attempt by the NHLPA to use Canadian jurisdiction to block the lockout. The union had previously filed in Quebec.
The NHL is viewing these CBA negotiations in selfish terms. The NHLPA is viewing them in selfish terms. It's high time you do the same.
According to a report by Rob Simpson, the NHL season could begin as early as mid-November. According to a source that Simpson says is close to the owners, negotiations could move quickly after "a little grandstanding for show, thrown in for another 2 weeks or so."
The NHL has been in a lockout since mid-September, and announced recently that the first two weeks of the season have been cancelled. The league and the NHLPA will hold discussions on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, though revenue split issues are not expected to be a topic of conversation.
A whole host of NHL players -- including stars like Joe Thornton and active union members like Henrik Zetterberg -- have signed with teams across Europe to stay fresh and employed as the lockout drags on.
The big date on the horizon for the NHL is the Winter Classic on New Year's Day, which is annually one of the biggest events in the league. This year, the Winter Classic is slated to be played in Ann Arbor, Mich. with the Detroit Red Wings facing the Toronto Maple Leafs, but there has been growing concern recently that the league will not resume in time to play the game.
The NHLPA might fight the idea of a salary cap in the NHL, according to their chief, Donald Fehr.
NHL staff have no future plans to visit Ann Arbor, making many fearful that the ongoing NHL lockout is threatening the 2013 Winter Classic.
Detroit Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg thinks Russian players will remain in their home country for at least the remainder of the season, even if the NHL lockout ends before that, according to MLive's Ansar Khan.
Zetterberg, who recently signed with Swiss club Ev Zug, has every intention of returning to the NHL once the lockout is over. However, he wouldn't say the same of the Russian players, who seem to be more welcomed in the KHL.
"I know for a fact Russians will probably stay. I can't blame them either. The Russian league treats players a different way. For them to play in their home country and not have these disputes every other year ... and they honor the contracts over there. If you sign a deal, that's the deal you get.''
The Red Wings star went on to say that players won't hesitate to look for other places to play if the NHL doesn't want them. It could be only a matter of time before that happens, as a settlement between the league and the NHLPA does not appear likely to happen anytime in the near future.
Zetterberg is the second notable player to recently comment on the possibility of the Russian players staying in the KHL, as Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov uttered similar remarks over the weekend.
New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist could soon be playing for his hometown team in Sweden after the club was able to secure financing for injury insurance.
The NHL and its Players Association are scheduled to resume collective bargaining negotiations on Wednesday with an additional day of talks already scheduled for Thursday. As of this time, the negotiations are not expected to include any talks of core economic issues, which is the primary points of contention dividing the two sides.
This round of negotiations will come after the two sides held an unannounced meeting last Friday between NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, deputy commissioner Bill Daly, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and his brother Steve who is acting as special counsel to the Players Association.
It is believed that the two sides are discussing secondary issues in order to gain momentum toward talks on core issues. The two sides remain at odds because the owners want to cut the players share of revenue. The players are willing to take less, but want it to come from anticipated revenue growth and want to maintain their current cut of $1.8 billion.
The NHL made $3.3 billion in 2011-12, which was the highest total in the history of the game. Every percentage point change in either direction represents $33 million and does not include future growth.
Ilya Bryzgalov says that many players could decide to remain playing in front of their friends and families in the KHL, even after the NHL lockout is resolved.
The NHL and NHL Players Association held an unannounced meeting in Toronto on Friday afternoon, according to John Shannon of SportsNet.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the meeting occurred but declined further comment. The meeting reportedly took place between Daly, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and his brother Steve. According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, the two sides are expected to be in contact over the weekend.
This meeting comes only one day after the NHL announced the cancelation of all regular season games from Oct. 11 to Oct. 24. The cancellation of games was described as necessary by the league because of the absence of a new collective bargaining agreement with the NHLPA. However, Fehr contends that games did not have to be cancelled, as the players are willing to play while the two sides continue to negotiate.
As of this time, the two sides remain at odds over key issues such as core economics and the definition of hockey related revenue.
There may have been no urgency before, but now owners are missing significant revenue, and the players will soon be missing paychecks. Let's hope that makes them actually try.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly issued a statement on Thursday regarding the cancellation of two weeks' worth of regular season games.
Following the announcement on Thursday by the NHL that all regular season games scheduled from Oct. 11 to Oct. 24 had been cancelled, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr released a statement.
Fehr contended that games did not have to be cancelled and that if the owners cared about the fans, they would lift the lockout during the course of the negotiation so that games could still be played. He continued by asserting that the players were still interested in playing hockey during the negotiations and that the lockout was a tactic to gain massive concessions from the NHLPA.
Here is the press release in its entirety, via The Tennessean:
"The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners. If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock-out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner."
As of this time, the two sides are not expected to meet again until next week. The last round of negotiations failed to bridge the gap on key issues such as core economics and defining hockey-related revenue.
Has the NHL canceled 82 games, or have they just canceled the schedule? Could those games still be played?
The NHL announced the cancellation of their 2011-13 regular season schedule through Oct. 24.
NHL chief operating officer John Collins met with key league sponsors on Wednesday, according to The Canadian Press. Collins met with several big-name sponsors to discuss the current NHL lockout and to field questions from the group.
A source indicated that representatives from Molson, Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Kraft, Sirius XM and Scotiabank participated in the meeting. One attendee called the session "productive" and applauded Collins for taking part.
"They were very transparent with us," said the source, who requested anonymity. "I was looking around the room and the long-term, cumulative contract dollars around the table were probably at the $100-million mark. It's a significant chunk of change for the league."
The NHL is now in the third week of the lockout, with no end in sight. The two sides met for five days over the weekend and into the week, but core economic issues were not discussed and both the NHL and NHLPA admitted not much progress was made.
The league is claiming losses of nearly $100 million because of the canceled preseason. Cancellations or delays to regular season games are expected to be announced soon.
The NHL has yet to schedule an announcement regarding the cancellation of regular season games.
The Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron will play overseas with HC Lugano of the Swiss league, joining linemate Tyler Seguin in Switzerland.
The NHL and NHLPA continue to meet with no progress, making one wonder exactly how long we'll be beating our heads into a wall over this.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly stated on Tuesday afternoon that the NHL had lost $100 million by canceling the entirety of the preseason last Thursday. This is the first time since the lockout of the NHL Players Association was enacted on Sept. 15 that the league has quantified its losses.
Those losses should grow exponentially though, as Daly also reported that discussions between the NHL and NHLPA have failed to progress. This means that the next set of cancelations will be in the form of regular-season games, which were originally scheduled to begin on Oct. 11.
Considering the amount of time it would take for players to travel to North America, as well as the grace period they would require to train, the first set of games would likely have to be canceled regardless of how the talks were going. According to a report filed on Monday afternoon, the league is expected to start canceling games sometime this week.
The NHL and NHLPA met again Tuesday morning in the hopes of finding common ground in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement but ultimately failed to make any progress. As of this time, the two sides will remain in contact but have yet to schedule any future meetings.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly plainly stated after the negotiations let out that the talks weren't overly encouraging and that there would be no progressive movement unless the Players Association was willing to compromise on some issues. Daly also stated that the possibility of bringing in a federal mediator was a potential course of action the two sides may pursue in the future.
In addition, Daly announced that the NHL lost $100 million when they were forced to cancel the preseason last Thursday. One can only imagine how much more money the league stands to lose when they are forced to cancel regular-season games, which is expected to happen some time this week.
Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk will have five of their games for Russian clubs streamed on ESPN3 during the NHL lockout, as the network has reached an agreement with the Russian KHL.
The NHL could begin canceling regular season games as early as this Wednesday.
Four-day workweeks and a corresponding 20 percent reduction in pay began for NHL staffers Monday as the NHL lockout has no end in sight.
The NHL and the NHLPA have reportedly agreed on how to define hockey-related revenue in the next CBA.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly admitted on Friday that the regular-season games could be at risk for cancellation if the NHL Players' Association and National Hockey League cannot come to terms on several core issues in CBA talks.
"We really need to hear from the Players' Association on those," Daly said, according to NHL.com, when asked why the sides can't get to a discussion on those issues. "Again, we need some kind of sign that they're prepared to compromise their economic position because we haven't had that since Aug. 14. We'll see if we get there."
NHLPA rep Steve Fehr, the brother of Executive Director Donald Fehr, stated the same sort of frustration with the current stalemate, even if he appeared more optimistic regarding the current status of talks. The sides spent much of Friday discussing smaller issues such as drug testing policy.
"We had hoped we could have dealt with the more critical fundamental issues," Fehr said, "and we actually thought that would put us in a better position to compromise a lot of these sub issues, for lack of a better term, but it didn't happen that way. The calendar is ticking away and we might as well use our time somehow."
The league locked out the players on Sep. 16 following the expiration of the previous CBA. On Thursday, the league announced that it was canceling the remainder of the preseason. The regular season is scheduled to begin on Oct. 11.
Further talks have been scheduled between the two sides for Saturday and Sunday. According to Daly, the conversation will involve hockey-related revenue issues.
"I don't think it can be any more urgent than where we are now," he said.
The NHL and the players' union returned to the negotiating table Friday and were able to agree on issues regarding player safety and drug testing. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman participated in the discussions, though union leader Donald Fehr was not in attendance. The money issue was not broached, but NHLPA special assistant Mathieu Schneider is hopeful that the progress made Friday will lead to bigger things:
"In general, when you're dealing with collective bargaining, when you start to have agreements on smaller issues, it can lead to bigger issues, but it's still too early to say."
This was the first time the two sides had met since Sept. 16. They are also expected to meet on Saturday and Sunday, when they will discuss other health and safety issues, among other non-economic topics. Fehr is expected to join the meetings at some point.
The NHL has canceled all preseason games, while the regular season -- intact for now -- is scheduled to begin on Oct. 11.
NHL CBA negotiations won't move anywhere until the two sides address their philosophical differences about who carries the burden of keeping the league healthy.
The two sides will meet to discuss "non-core economic issues," which means that the most pressing issue in the disagreement – the hockey-related revenue split – is not on the agenda.
The NHL canceled the remainder of its 2012 preseason on Thursday.
The NHL and NHL Players Association will resume negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement on Friday, according to multiple reports. A location for the meeting has yet to be determined at this time.
This will be the first formal meeting between the two sides since Sept. 12, three days before commissioner Gary Bettman locked out the players for the third time in 18 years on the job. The discussions are reportedly not going to focus on core economic issues.
Last week, Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com reported that many believed it was crucial for the two sides to get back to the table within a week's span or the lockout could be prolonged as it was in 2004-05, when the two sides went three months without speaking. Now, it's believed that the quality of these discussions will be the litmus test for how long this lockout will last.
The NHL and NHLPA met on Monday to discuss accounting from the 2011-12 season, yet no progress was made on the current CBA negotiations.
As the Canadian Press reports, both sides met for five hours during the day without making plans for further talks on the current negotiations. Bill Daly, deputy commissioner for the NHL, says that the league is willing to meet to negotiate as soon as the NHLPA is willing to make a new proposal to the NHL.
"Obviously, we've got to talk before you can get a deal, so I think it's important to get the talks going again," said Daly. "But you also have to have something to say. I think it's fair to say we feel like we need to hear from the players' association in a meaningful way because I don't think that they've really moved off their initial proposal, which was made more than a month ago now."
There has been growing consternation over just how much of the 2012-13 season will be lost, especially in light of Dan Cleary's comments that the players are ready for the lockout to cancel the entire season.
"I'm hoping that some of (the players') pessimism is almost an intentional pessimism because certainly that's not where our mindset is," said Daly. "We don't want an extended work stoppage, we don't want to miss any regular-season games. That's going to be our mindset until we have to cancel some."
Daly states that he believes the two sides are not that far off -- at least fundamentally -- compared to the 2004-05 lockout that resulted in a lost season. For now, no new negotiations are scheduled at this time.
Locked-out Columbus Blue Jackets Nikita Nikitin and Sergei Bobrovsky have signed with the KHL
Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens is joining the Swiss A League during the NHL lockout, signing with Amrbi Piotta.
Devellano stated in an interview with Island Sports News on Thursday that the owners could be viewed as a ranch and the players as cattle (Devellano included himself as part of the cattle). Havlat stated that the players already knew that the owners only view them as commodities and is glad the public finally gets to see this.
Via the Twitter feed of Allan Walsh:
"The comments made by Devellano are nothing new. The players know that's how Bettman and some of the owners think, we're not shocked at being called ‘cattle'. I can tell you the players have been called a lot worse by some of the guys on the other side, it's just never been reported publicly. I think it helps that the fans get to hear what we already know, we're not humans in their eyes, we're just pieces of meat that get to eat some grass for awhile."
Devellano was reportedly fined $250,000 by the NHL for his comments.
The NHL and NHLPA will meet on Monday, but the two sides won't be working on ending the lockout.
According to David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail, the meeting was previously scheduled to approve the hockey-related revenue numbers from the past season. The Players Association said that they'd like to reopen negotiations with the league over the new CBA, but the NHL refused to commit to anything:
"I guess we’ll have to see on Monday," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Saturday in an e-mail message about the chance of negotiations starting up again after talks broke off 10 days ago.
Neither NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, nor NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, will be in attendance on Monday, which makes it unlikely that any substantive talks will take place regarding a new collective bargaining agreement.
Detroit Red Wings VP Jim Devellano was fined $250,000 for comments made about the NHL lockout. The NHL released the following in regards to the comments Devellano made to Island Sports News' Scott Harrigan:
The Detroit Red Wings’ organization and the League agree that the comments made by Mr. Devellano are neither appropriate, nor authorized, nor permissible under the League's By-Laws. Such comments are neither constructive nor helpful to the negotiations.
The interview in question with ISN can be found in full here. The following comment would seem the most likely to have angered Bill Daly and the NHL (via ISN):
I'll make a suggestion Scott. Let the players take 43% and let the owners take 57%. Just reverse it from where it is now and let the owners run the rest of their business and manage their expenses. Now keep in mind this time around it's not just revenue sharing that is the issue. There are many, many more components at play here, from entry level contracts, years of service, insurance, etc. I mean a whole bucket load of disputes that are just as important for the owners to need to get a fair deal done.
While those comments on the negotiations probably led to the hefty fine, the following comment seems to have angered the NHL and many of its fans as well (via ISN):
It's very complicated and way too much for the average Joe to understand, but having said that, I will tell you this: The owners can basically be viewed as the Ranch, and the players, and me included, are the cattle. The owners own the Ranch and allow the players to eat there. That's the way its always been and that the way it will be forever. And the owners simply aren't going to let a union push them around. It's not going to happen.
The NHL clearly wants to keep their teams from making comments such as these to the media, and the hefty fine that Devellano will now be paying should serve as a reminder to other executives not to discuss the negotiations going forward.
NHL fans have a lot to be angry about these days, but one of the more frustrating aspects of the lockout is that it comes on the heels of a mad dash by owners to hand out massive contracts during the summer's free agency period. The owners presented the NHLPA with a plan that would take a significantly greater cut of a $3.3 billion pot right after a spending spree. It's akin to some of the issues raised last year during the NBA's lockout -- that the owners were seeking a new CBA to protect them from their own wild spending and bad contracts.
SB Nation's Coyotes blog, Five For Howling, took a look at just a snippet of the league's most extravagant contracts this summer. Nashville's deal with Shea Weber comes in as the No. 1 sign of hypocrisy:
As a fellow sunbelt team, I love what the Preds have done, and respect the heck out of that organization and its fans. However, as with our beloved Coyotes, the franchise isn't going to be confused with the Maple Leafs in terms of their revenue stream; just check the Forbes valuation list. So the signing of Weber for a 14-year deal at a cap hit that exceeds the operating losses reported by Forbes for the franchise just might take the cake.
In addition to the Preds, Ellel highlights eight other teams who handed out big deals, including the Wild. Minnesota made the biggest splash in free agency, signing superstars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. But they were another team that agreed to deals that exceeded their reported operating losses. Even teams that are reportedly making money are not above reproach, as Ellel spotlights the Bruins, who handed out three large contracts just 10 days before the owners locked out the players.
Owners may have been doing what they felt was necessary to survive and compete, but it doesn't alleviate the hypocrisy or make fans feel any better.
Is there a chance that NHL owners will cave in the ongoing CBA negotiations with the NHLPA? Not a chance, says one high-ranking team executive.
In a candid interview with Island News Sports, Detroit Red Wings vice president Jim Devellano said that there's no chance the owners cede ground to the players in the current lockout -- the third lockout of Gary Bettman's 20-year tenure as league commissioner. He shared a worldview that seems common of many that run NHL teams: That the players are nothing without the billionaire owners who employ them and, in many cases, lose money on employing them.
From the interview with ISN's Scott Harrigan, which is worth a full read:
"Now [NHLPA director] Donald Fehr would have you believe by getting rid of the cap, the owners would make more money and that the sky is the limit, but trust me Scott, the owners would lose their asses. We've tried that. It doesn't work. There is just too much cost involved in running and owning a team.
"It's very complicated and way too much for the average Joe to understand, but having said that, I will tell you this: The owners can basically be viewed as the ranch, and the players, and me included, are the cattle. The owners own the ranch and allow the players to eat there. That's the way its always been and that the way it will be forever. And the owners simply aren't going to let a union push them around. It's not going to happen."
Devellano also remarked that Gary Bettman doesn't deserve the scorn of hockey fans, as he's simply doing the work of the 30 team owners from across the league. He said that Bettman does care about his public persona, but that in the end, he only needs to answer to those 30 owners and not the fans. A harsh truth.
If Devellano is correct and those 30 team owners fail to give in even the slightest bit to the players' union in these talks, the cancellation of another season is certainly in play. If that happens, the blame from the fans is undoubtedly going to fall on Bettman harder than ever before. But as long as the owners are happy when all is said and done, Bettman doesn't really need to answer to us.
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson and Stars forward Loui Eriksson could all be heading home to the club that turned them into some of the NHL's top Swedish-born stars.
According to a report from Swedish publication SVT, Frölunda is in talks with the three players who could be set on joining the their top-level club in the Swedish Elite League during the ongoing NHL lockout. Deals have yet to be signed, but the signings would make sense: Lundqvist, Karlsson and Eriksson all have ties with Frölunda.
Lundqvist, last season's Vezina Trophy winner, played with the club from 1999 through his move to the Rangers in 2005. During his most recent SEL season in 2004-05, Lundqvist compiled a .936 save percentage and a 1.79 goals-against average in 44 regular season games.
Eriksson played with the club beginning in 2000. He played two SEL seasons -- 2003-04 and 2004-05 -- scoring 13 goals and 14 assists in 85 total regular season game. Karlsson joined Frölunda in 2007. He played 45 SEL games in 2008-09 before making the jump to the Senators the following year.
An anti-trust ruling in Sweden will allow NHL stars to sign with Swedish Elite League clubs.
NHL Players' Association executive Donald Fehr sent his players a message detailing just how far apart his union is from the league. In the memo, which was obtained by sports legal analyst Eric Macramalla, Fehr said the league simply wants to reduce player salaries.
He added that the goal from the NHLPA standpoint was at first to avoid causing a dispute, that being the reason why it hasn't been aggressive giving proposals to the league. Fehr's message laid out the basics of the proposals offered by the NHLPA and those of the NHL:
#Fehr: NHL proposed lowering salaries to 49%, 48% in year 2 and 47% for last 4 seasons; reduction equals 14% (yr1), 16% (yr2) and 17.5%— Eric Macramalla (@EricOnSportsLaw) September 20, 2012
In the memo, Fehr went on to say that if the revenue growth of the league is at 7.1 percent, then the rate salaries would decline by a total of $1 billion during the first three years of the collective bargaining agreement. Fehr also told the players that the NHL will keep the lockout going until the players agree to take pay cuts, giving little evidence that any form of talks between the two sides are close to beginning.
On the whole, the NHLPA executive is accusing the league of demanding the reduction of salaries with no benefit to the players thereafter.
For more NHL lockout coverage, head over to SB Nation's NHL hub.
The KHL is suddenly a hot destination for NHL players thanks to Gary Bettman's lockout.
On Wednesday, the NHL cancelled all preseason games through Sept. 30.
NHL staff members at the league offices have been informed by commissioner Gary Bettman that they will be operating under a four-day work week with pay being cut by 20 percent beginning on Oct. 1, according to a report by Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy. The cuts are directly related to the lockout of the NHL Players Association, which began on Saturday night.
The decision was made in an attempt to avoid layoffs if the lockout lasts for an extended period of time. However, Bettman could not guarantee that staffing would remain unaffected if the lockout drags on, according to sources who attended the meeting.
During the last lockout, which began in September 2004, Bettman was forced to lay off half of the staff who worked in league offices in New York, Toronto and Montreal.
The commissioner and his deputy, Bill Daly, will not take salaries during the course of the lockout.
The IIHF is reportedly denying transfer cards to NHL players looking to play overseas. Could this have an impact on the lockout? Likely not.
The International Ice Hockey Federation has refused to issue the transfer card of Edmonton Oilers top-pick Nail Yakupov to HC Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, which makes him ineligible to play with the team.
Yakupov had reportedly been given permission by the Oilers to play in the KHL while the players are locked out by the owners as part of the on-going collective bargaining negotiations. However, until the IIHF administers his transfer card he will be unable to play.
This could cause problems for other NHL players looking to play overseas during the duration of the NHL lockout.
The director of Neftekhimik, Rafik Yakubov, was quoted by Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov as saying that he believes the IIHF does not want to feud with the NHL and that the federation may be waiting to receive permission from the league before distributing transfer cards for players coming from the NHL. He was not given an official reason for why Yakupov was not given his transfer.
Although the NHL is not a member of the IIHF, the league does hold a considerable amount of sway with the federation. Via Dmitry Chesnokov of Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy:
No one will officially confirm this within the IIHF, but it is possibly the case that this is yet another way the NHL can stop players from playing altogether. The IIHF's leadership is weak to make independent decisions.
According to the Yahoo! report, foreign outlets are reporting that no player attempting to play overseas has yet to receive transfer cards from the IIHF, which includes the likes of Jaromir Jagr, Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk.
For a full list of confirmed and rumored transfers, click here. For more on the NHL lockout, continue to check out this Storystream and SB Nation's NHL hub, which will have all the latest news and updates.
Ovechkin was vocal in his desire to play in the KHL in the event that the NHL locked out its players when the collective bargaining agreement expired on Sept. 15. With the lockout in its second day and no end in sight, Ovechkin has followed through with his previous statements.
Dynamo Moscow will be forced to pay more than $100,000 per month of insurance on Ovechkin's contract. That stipulation was reportedly a huge component in whether the 27-year-old superstar was going to play for Dynamo or CSKA Moscow.
Ovechkin began his professional career with Dynamo in 2001-02 at the age of 16. During four seasons with the club, he recorded 36 goals and 33 assists for 69 points in 151 career games.
For a full list of confirmed and rumored transfers, click here. For more on the NHL lockout, continue to check out this Storystream and SB Nation's NHL hub, which will have all the latest news and updates.
With the NHL lockout in its second day, the members of the league's players association have been left to their own devices to continue training for the 2012-13 season, whenever and wherever that ultimately ends up being. For some, that means signing contracts with foreign teams overseas. For others, it means remaining in North America training at their team's practice rinks.
Since the players are locked out, they are not allowed to use the teams' facilities (weight rooms, locker rooms, etc). However, they are allowed to rent the ice just like any regular citizen can, which is what several groups of players are doing.
Scott Hartnell of the Philadelphia Flyers rented out the ice surface at the team's practice facility in Voorhees, New Jersey every day this week so that he and a group of his teammates could continue training. Eight members of the Washington Capitals followed suit as did several members of the Florida Panthers and a contingent of Tampa Bay Lightning players rented out the club's practice rink at the Ice Sports Forum.
Toronto Maple Leafs all-star forward Phil Kessel was seen carrying his own laundry out of a public locker room during an informal practice on Tuesday. While renting ice time and doing their own laundry isn't a problem for the players, they hope they won't have to do it for too long.
Via NBC Washington:
"It's obviously weird, but going into it, we knew that if something didn't get done, this was going to be our life for hopefully just a little bit," forward Jay Beagle said, bucket of pucks lying next to his feet. "It's not a surprise that we've got to carry our own pucks and waters and rent our own ice, but obviously, it's not ideal."
For a full list of confirmed and rumored transfers, click here. For more on the NHL lockout, continue to check out this Storystream and SB Nation's NHL hub, which will have all the latest news and updates.
With the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and its player's association on Saturday night, all 30 owners gave commissioner Gary Bettman the ability to lockout the players, which he immediately did. With negotiations at a standstill, several players are preparing for the worst by finding alternative employment options in professional leagues overseas.
For those asking, the contracts players are signing overseas are temporary deals. If the NHL season resumes, they'll return.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) September 17, 2012
Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin and former teammate Sergei Gonchar of the Ottawa Senators quickly signed with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), and were promptly joined by Nikolai Kulemin of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils will also be playing in the KHL but as a member of SKA St. Petersburg.
Dallas Stars forward Jaromir Jagr announced that he will be playing for HC Kladno of the Czech Extraliga – he is the owner of the team – and will be joined by friend Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens. Ales Hemsky of the Edmonton Oilers will also be playing in the Czech Extraliga as a member of the HC Pardubice.
In addition, Ruslan Fedotenko of the Philadelphia Flyers (Donbass Donetsk), Alexei Ponikarovsky of the Winnipeg Jets (Donbass), Pavel Kubina (HC Vitkovice), Jiri Tlusty of the Carolina Hurricanes (HC Kladno) and Mark Streit of the New York Islanders (Bern), have come to terms on contracts with foreign teams.
SB Nation's Dominik Jansky and Dave Strehle go point-counterpoint on the issues surrounding the 2012 NHL lockout. Who's to blame?
After accepting a hard salary cap, a 24 percent salary rollback and being told they were in a partnership with owners following a lost season eight years ago, NHL players are being told once again it's time to give back.
The NHL lockout has begun in earnest, and with it, many of the league's foreign players including Evgeni Malkin have officially begun to seek playing options until the labor dispute ends.
The most prominent player headed abroad is a very prominent one indeed in Malkin, the 2012 MVP and scoring leader. The Pittsburgh Penguins star will play for Mettalurg in the Kontinental Hockey League primarily based on Russia, the team for which Malkin began his career. He'll be joined on Mettalurg by Sergei Gonchar of the Ottawa Senators. The KHL will also be home to Pavel Datsyuk from the Red Wings, who will play with Ak Bars Kazan, and Ruslan Fedotenko of the Flyers, who will play with Donetsk. Jaromir Jagr will return home to the Czech Republic to play with Kladno, a team he owns in part, while Ondrej Pavelec of the Jets will also play in the Czech league for HC Trinec.
The ability to earn money playing abroad provides a valuable bargaining chip for the players as well as ice time in high-level leagues, in addition to the added bonus of being able to play on one's home continent as opposed to half a world away. We will only hear of more and more players spending time in other leagues as the lockout progresses.
Saturday's expiration date of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL owners and players passed with no resolution, so the league's players are now officially locked out. The NHL released the following statement Sunday:
Despite the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the National Hockey League has been, and remains, committed to negotiating around the clock to reach a new CBA that is fair to the Players and to the 30 NHL teams.
Thanks to the conditions fostered by seven seasons under the previous CBA, competitive balance has created arguably the most meaningful regular season in pro sports; a different team has won the Stanley Cup every year; fans and sponsors have agreed the game is at its best, and the League has generated remarkable growth and momentum. While our last CBA negotiation resulted in a seismic change in the League's economic system, and produced corresponding on-ice benefits, our current negotiation is focused on a fairer and more sustainable division of revenues with the Players -- as well as other necessary adjustments consistent with the objectives of the economic system we developed jointly with the NHL Players' Association seven years ago. Those adjustments are attainable through sensible, focused negotiation -- not through rhetoric.
This is a time of year for all attention to be focused on the ice, not on a meeting room. The League, the Clubs and the Players all have a stake in resolving our bargaining issues appropriately and getting the puck dropped as soon as possible. We owe it to each other, to the game and, most of all, to the fans.
This is the second NHL lockout in the last seven years and the third since 1994.
The expiration date of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and the NHL has passed, with the league officially locking out the players with no new agreement having been reached. Nearly 300 players were in New York City this past week, along with the NHL Board of Governors, yet no significant progress was made in negotiations as it became clear that neither side was willing to make any concessions at this time.
The fundamental differences lie in how the NHL and NHLPA view the core economics of the agreement. Under the old CBA the players received 57 percent of all Hockey Related Revenues; the NHL is wanting players to take a further cut to 47 percent with a new CBA, while the players are wanting a revamped revenue sharing agreement between teams before they'll consider further salary cuts.
With the deadline looming, there were no negotiations held between the two sides on Saturday. Both the NHL and NHLPA released separate statements, perhaps highlighting the fundamental differences that have allowed the league to reach this point yet again.
"We spoke today and determined that there was no point in convening a formal bargaining session in light of the fact that neither side is in a position to move off of its latest proposal," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. "I'm sure we will keep in touch in the coming days and schedule meetings to the extent they might be useful or appropriate. We are sorry for where we are. Not what we hoped or expected.
The NHLPA's Steve Fehr felt otherwise, stating that the players were willing to talk.
"Today we suggested that the parties meet in advance of the owners' self-imposed deadline of midnight tonight. Don Fehr, myself and several players on the Negotiating Committee were in the city and prepared to meet. The NHL said it saw no purpose in having a formal meeting. There have been and continue to be private, informal discussions between representatives of both sides."
This is the third lockout under commissioner Gary Bettman and the second in seven years. The last lockout resulted in a lost season for the NHL; there's no indication how long this current lockout will last.
With the NHL's imposed Saturday deadline for a new collective bargaining agreement fast approaching, you might think that the two sides would be hard at work trying to get something done before midnight. According to Reuters, you'd be wrong, as the league and Players' Association are not presently talking.
The two sides, who had been meeting in New York this week, contacted each other early on Saturday but with no movement from the league or union there was nothing to spark last-ditch talks.
With just hours to go until commissioner Gary Bettman locks out the players, it's looking more and more likely that a deal of any kind is not going to get done. There's no hope of a season unless a new collective bargaining agreement is struck, and that won't happen until the NHL and Players' Association come together on the revenue split.
As Reuters notes, the revenue split is a big deal, given that the league enjoyed record-breaking revenues a season ago. The NHL was hoping for the players to take a cut from 57 percent down to 43 percent of all hockey-related revenue. They then followed that up with a six-year deal that starts at 49 percent and ends up at 47 percent. The NHLPA came back with a counter that would see the players get 54.3 percent initially, with a finishing point of 52.7 percent.
The numbers may seem small, but the difference is pretty sizable when you're talking about $3.3 billion in revenue. If the lockout goes through at midnight, it will be the fourth work stoppage in 20 years.
The Quebec Labour Board has ruled in the NHL's favor in a case to determine the legality of a player lockout in the Canadian province, according to TSN's Darren Dreger. The NHLPA, led by 16 Montreal Canadiens players, sought an interim ruling, hoping the board would find the lockout to be illegal before the scheduled start of the NHL lockout on Saturday at 11:59 p.m. ET.
The NHLPA is not a credited union in Quebec, so the group faced an uphill battle from the start. The ruling means the NHL would not face any legal action should they lock the players out.
Commissioner Gary Bettman was unanimously backed by the league's owners this week and the lockout will begin on Saturday should a collective bargaining agreement not be reached. The sides are still far apart, especially in terms of the players' revenue sharing cut, so a deal is not likely.
Should a work stoppage begin on Saturday, it would be the fourth such occurrence for the NHL since 1992.
With the NHL lockout now hours away, the league and NHLPA are each spinning hard about "growing the game" and "stability," which are each wonderful euphemisms for "We want more money."
With CBA negotiations never really reaching the level of anything meaningful, NHL owners and the NHLPA are preparing their respective game plans for a lockout, scheduled to take affect Saturday. Hockey fans are similarly gathering their troops together.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters that there will not be a season without a new collective bargaining agreement in place, according to Matthew Cotts of CTVNews.ca. Bettman did not sound optimistic. In a two-hour meeting with the NHL's board of governors he said that "We've had seven years of incredible competitive balance," according to Cotts. Bettman went on to say that "the game on the ice has never been better. But I'm not going to apologize for saying we need to adjust [the current system]."
The players' union and owners were in negotiations just one day prior, at the same time the NHLPA held meetings with almost 300 players to discuss the state of the situation. Union head Donald Fehr says that the league is asking for a 17 percent cut in player salaries, and it doesn't sound as if the players are going to accept that anytime soon. Bettman stated that the offer will be on the table until Saturday night, at which time the players will be locked out if a deal is not reached.
We know the NHL lockout is coming, and it really doesn't matter who's to blame.
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr met with the media a second time Wednesday to discuss the NHL's proposal from earlier in the day. The response was not very optimistic, despite hope that the two sides has finally found some common ground on which to work.
The NHL's proposal called for the players to take an immediate cut in revenue shares from 57 percent to 48 percent, which would then roll down to 47 percent over the next six years. While player revenue shares would decrease, the overall amount of player salaries would, in theory, increase along with the growth of the NHL. What had created some optimism was the fact that the NHL had decided to keep the current definition of "Hockey Related Revenue" as part of the proposal, a major concession on the part of the league.
The concession was not enough, according to Fehr.
"They've moved from an extraordinarily large to a big amount," Fehr said to the media on Wednesday.
The NHLPA is unwilling to make any concessions on the current percentage of revenue sharing as long as the league is not addressing the long-term health of the NHL itself. There is currently a large disparity between the richest clubs on top of the league and those that exist at the bottom and in the players' eyes. The NHL wants the NHLPA to take up the burden of making up that revenue disparity through salary rollbacks.
Don Fehr: "Big market clubs must do their part, so far that's not the case."— Allan Walsh (@walsha) September 12, 2012
What is abundantly clear at this point is that both sides are unwilling to budge from their separate proposals. The NHLPA refuses any sort of immediate rollbacks in salaries, while the NHL is asking for a 17.5 percent rollback, both through revenue sharing percentages and a higher escrow percentage.
Three days remain before the lockout begins and, even with the major concession on the definition of HRR, it seems that neither side is prepared to find a significant middle ground to further negotiations.
There are no further talks scheduled between the two sides at this time.
For more on the impending NHL lockout and the ongoing CBA talks between the league and the NHLPA, stick with out StoryStream. For more on the Canadiens, Flames, Oilers or any other NHL club, check with our network of hockey blogs.
The NHL and its players' association met for three hours on Wednesday in an attempt to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement. The current agreement between the two sides is set to expire on Sept. 15.
NHLPA head Donald Fehr stated that the players' association submitted a new proposal to the owners, which addressed a number of the club's concerns. However, he wouldn't specifically state what the contents of the proposal were. In turn, the NHL presented a counter-proposal to the players, which reportedly increased the players' share from previous offers.
NHL counter-proposal today was six years in length: offered to start players' share at 49 percent and end it at 47 percent at end of term— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) September 12, 2012
This means the players received an increase of $300 million compared to $250 million in the last offer, which is $650 million more than the initial offer from the owners in July. It is believed that the players are interested in a term shorter than six years.
Both sides stated that they were not willing to characterize the nature of the talks in terms of progress, and that both sides needed to examine the proposals further to understand what the offers included.
However, commissioner Gary Bettman stated that if the NHLPA fails to accept this most recent offer before Sept. 15, that it will be pulled from the table and future offers will remove some of the recessions the owners have made.
Both groups are expected to make public statements on Thursday in New York with larger memberships.
For more on the impending NHL lockout and the ongoing CBA talks between the league and the NHLPA, stick with out StoryStream. For more on the Canadiens, Flames, Oilers or any other NHL club, check with our network of hockey blogs.
With just under four days remaining until a potential work stoppage in the NHL, the league and the NHLPA resumed talks on Wednesday in New York on a potential new collective bargaining agreement.
After a stall in negotiations going back to Friday, August 31, both sides are in New York City for separate meetings within their respective organizations, and restarted talks at 11:35 a.m. ET on Wednesday. Following that, the NHLPA will hold a series of committee meetings over two days, with over 250 players in attendance.
If the two sides can't reach a deal by September 15, the NHL will have another work stoppage on their hands. In 2004 a lockout lasted an entire season, and in 1994-'95, a work stoppage delayed the season until January.
At the core of the debate is a proposed cut in player revenue from 57 to 46 percent. NHL revenue has grown since the last labor agreement, from $2.1 billion to $3.3 billion.
For more on the impending NHL lockout and the ongoing CBA talks between the league and the NHLPA, stick with out StoryStream. For more on the Canadiens, Flames, Oilers or any other NHL club, check with our network of hockey blogs.
Hoping to possibly block the league from implementing a lockout this week, the NHL Players Association has filed an appeal to the Quebec Labour Board on behalf of players from the Montreal Canadiens, according to Chris Johnston of the Canadian Press.
As SB Nation's Travis Hughes explains, a law in the Canadian province states that an employer "cannot lock out employees unless they are represented by a union certified by the QLB." The NHLPA is arguing that the QLB doesn't recognize it as a union, therefore making the NHL's actions illegal in Quebec.
If the QLB accepts the NHLPA's appeal, the NHL and the Canadiens could be ordered to cease the lockout on legal grounds. For hockey fans around North America, that would undoubtedly be splendid news.
NBC Sports Network is beefing up their college hockey coverage in preparation for the NHL lockout.
Russia's Kontinental Hockey League has released a stiff list of criteria that will need to be met for NHL players looking for employment in case of a lockout.
With the current collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and its player's association set to expire on Sept. 15, commissioner Gary Bettman has already made it clear that the league will lockout the players if a new deal is not in place by the deadline. This has left many of the players searching for alternative employment opportunities, with the KHL largely considered the most popular option.
However, with this new set of restrictions it will limit the amount of players able to play in the league.
- 150 NHL games played over the last three seasons
- Must have previous KHL experience
- A national team member in one of the last two World Championships, World Junior Championships, or Olympic teams
- A Stanley Cup winner or finalist or an NHL award winner of another kind
To add to this, the KHL will only pay up to 65 percent of an NHL player's contract so even if you want to go get paid, you're not going to get it all. On the upside for the Russian team, that salary doesn't count against their league's cap.
Compound this with the Swedish Elite League's decision to not allow temporary contracts for locked out NHL players and the available opportunities are slowly drying up.
For all the news surrounding the NHL's collective bargaining agreement and the ongoing quest to replace it, stick with this StoryStream.
With a labor strike looming just four days away, there are no scheduled meetings on Tuesday between NHL owners and the Players Association, according to a report by Chris Johnston of The Canadian Press.
The NHL and NHLPA both say there are no CBA talks currently planned for today.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 11, 2012
Johnston reported on Monday that negotiations were scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in New York City, and that 250 players are expected to attend. Tuesday could just be a preparation day for what is sure to be two days of intense negotiating.
Nothing has suggested that the league and NHLPA are close to reaching a deal that would satisfy both parties. But there has to be productive interaction by Saturday if the lockout has any chance of being avoided.
It's not the news hockey fans wanted to hear, but at least it's something the NHL and NHLPA agree on. According to Renaud Lavoie of RDS, the two warring factions agreed upon a special waiver period that begins now and ends the day the CBA expires (i.e. Saturday). How convenient.
To put it simply, a player currently signed to a two-way contract can play hockey with their farm team, as long as he assigned there by September 15th. In
December October, the parent club has up to three days before the season starts to bring that player back without having to put him on re-entry waivers.
Why this is good: Young talent and newly signed journeymen will be able to learn the system, get to know teammates, and get back in hockey-shape before camp with the NHL club. They will get game experience. It may not be equivalent to the NHL, but there are more vets that will be there, upping the level of competition. Being able to bring players up, especially the top prospects, without having to put them through re-entry waivers carries no risk of the player being picked off by another team. It's nice to see the players and owners agree on something.
Why this is bad: The usual stuff like injuries, more players not ready for the speed of the NHL when they're brought back, yadda, yadda, yadda.
The big, flashing sign in a move like is that it's the first substantial step towards a lockout. They are taking care of the players that need their paychecks to live their lives. These are not your Zach Parise's or Sidney Crosby's. AHL salaries are pretty low compared to the player's NHL salary and these guys depend on that money. Also, saying players can be recalled up to 'three days before the season starts' already says the NHL isn't starting when it's supposed to. Vague dates are not a good thing.
It could be a tough fall for NHL fans; there's always the AHL.
For more news and analysis on the CBA negotiations and anything else hockey related, visit the puck heads at the NHL hub. They could use a hug right now.
The NHL Players' Association will hold meetings on Wednesday and Thursday in New York City, with 250 players expected to be in attendance, according to The Canadian Press' Chris Johnston.
With the league-imposed Sept. 15 deadline lingering on the horizon, things have become quite intense between the NHL, who isn't concerned with possible legal implications that could result from a lockout, and the NHLPA. That's likely to be a major topic of discussion for the players, some of whom filed a cease-and-desist order on Friday due to the impending violation of Quebec's labor laws.
Meanwhile, there has been rampant finger-pointing between the league and its players as both sides attempt to pressure each other into negotiating a deal. However, if talks continue to stall, the NHL will be staring at its third work-stoppage in less than a decade.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly dismissed the legal challenges to a potential lockout being considered by the Alberta Labour Relations Board. "This is a joke," Daly said in an email to The Canadian Press.
The NHLPA doesn't seem to think that legal challenges against the NHL lockout in Quebec and Alberta will actually prevent a work stoppage Saturday, but they do hope that a legal win in those Canadian provinces could put pressure on NHL owners to come to a deal more quickly.
In Quebec, the NHLPA says that the Canadiens cannot lock out union members because the Quebec Labour Board does not recognize the union. The union has threatened to file a grievance with the QLB this week if the league does not rescind the threat of a lockout. In Alberta, a similar issue could lead to a lockout challenge with the Alberta Labour Relations Board.
Speaking on a conference call Monday afternoon, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges spoke on behalf of both his Habs teammates and the rest of the union membership on the pending legal challenges.
"Even though there may only be three teams that are involved in this," Gorges said, "it may put pressure on other teams to say, 'You know what? These guys are getting ready, they're practicing, they're getting themselves ready to play. Maybe we should have our players doing the same sort of things.'
"It's unfortunate that it's not the same sort of laws in every city, but I think it gives us an opportunity to put pressure on the owners to try and get a deal done so other teams can join us and we can start playing on time."
The NHLPA doesn't expect the challenges to fully stop a lockout, even if successful. After all, only three teams -- the Canadiens in Quebec, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers in Alberta -- would be affected if each respective labor board rules in favor of the union.
But Gorges' point is still strong. If the two labor boards rule that Canadiens, Flames and Oilers players can use practice facilities, meet with coaches and carry on in preparation for the season, other owners might feel that those teams are getting an unfair advantage. Theoretically, it could put pressure on the owners and the league to get a deal done faster.
That's the NHLPA's hope, anyway.
The NHL stated long ago that its deadline before it would lock the players out was Sept. 15. Unfortunately, that date is rapidly approached while the two sides continue to dig their heels in and bang their heads against the proverbial wall.
However, the Montreal Canadiens' players are saying that a lockout would be in violation of Quebec labor laws, since the NHL Players Association isn't certified in the providence. Under provincial law, players can't be locked out unless they're represented by a union, according to USA Today.
Thus, Montreal players filed a cease-and-desist order on Friday. The NHL has responded with deputy commissioner Bill Daly saying, "We will do what's legally appropriate." The league also came out and called the notion an "unnecessary distraction."
Canadiens player rep Erik Cole stated the players' feelings to the Montreal Gazette, saying his group still wants to sit down at the negotiating table. However, Cole says the Montreal players are also prepared to do what's necessary.
"The players are committed to reaching a fair deal with the NHL owners through CBA negotiations, and we have told the NHL that the players are willing to continue to negotiate if an agreement isn't reached prior to the expiration of the CBA.
"The NHL seems content to lock out the players if an agreement isn't reached this week, and we would like the Quebec Labor Board to step in and inform them that their lockout would be in direct violation of the Quebec labor laws."
If the NHL does indeed lockout the players, it would be the third time under commissioner Gary Bettman's watch.
Efforts are underway in two Canadian provinces to prevent the upcoming NHL lockout, as NHL Players' Association members attempt to use labor law to block the league from locking out union members.
In Quebec, the challenge hinges on the NHLPA's status as a union. The PA says that they're not recognized as a union by the Quebec Labour Board, and according to the Montreal Gazette, an employer "cannot lock out employees unless they are represented by a union certified by the QLB." Should the law agree with the NHLPA's case, the NHL would not be allowed to lock out players who play in the province -- members of the Montreal Canadiens.
Habs players plan to make an application to the Quebec Labour Board this week, according to the Gazette, should the NHL "cease their threats" to lock out its players. The QLB could then order the NHL and the Canadiens to stop or end a lockout.
It's a bit different in Alberta, but the NHLPA's goal is still the same: Block a lockout. The union argues, according to the Calgary Herald, that the NHL should not be able to hold a lockout vote in Alberta because they rushed through a legally-required mediation progress. The NHLPA says that because of this, the Alberta Labour Relations Board should rule that the NHL cannot lock out Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers players.
The Herald writes that a similar challenge was recent denied in Ontario.
There's no way to know at this point whether or not these legal challenges will work, or what impact they'll have in the United States or in other Canadian provinces. But there is one pretty glaring question: Why didn't the NHLPA try this back in 2004 when the NHL went through with a lockout?
The NHLPA attempted to get certified by the Quebec Labour Board in 2004, a move that would have stopped the Canadiens from using replacement players, but at the conclusion of that lockout in July 2005, the Gazette writes that the NHLPA withdrew their application.
The NHL at the time "formally opposed" the union's attempt to gain recognized status by the QLB, which is pretty ironic in hindsight. The shoe is now on the other foot for both sides this time as the NHLPA looks to use their lack of recognition by the QLB as a weapon against the owners' planned lockout.
If the NHL and the NHLPA don't reach an agreement on a new CBA by this Saturday, the league can lock the players out. If it gets to that point, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will not even need any approval to commence the league's second lockout in less than a decade. Via the Canadian Press:
"The commissioner doesn't need specific board authorization to institute or implement a lockout," deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Canadian Press in a recent interview. "That has been granted already in connection with his authority to conduct collective bargaining."
Negotiations will ramp up this week, with more than 200 current NHL players expected to attend meetings with the league on Wednesday and Thursday. On Thursday afternoon, Bettman will meet with, and brief, the league's Board of Governors on the status of the negotations.
For more on the CBA talks, head over to SB Nation's NHL news hub.
The New York Rangers' owner James Dolan has earned a reputation for being borderline reclusive when discussing his pair of sports franchises, but the Cablevision magnate took a moment to address the NHL labor dispute at a Rangers' charity event.
Dolan, who owns the Rangers as well as the NBA's New York Knicks, had a brief comment expressing hope for an NHL season, even as labor talks between the NHL and its player union have broken off.
"The only thing I can say is that I want us to play hockey," Rangers owner James Dolan told ESPNNewYork.com at the team's first annual charity dog walk in Riverside Park.
Dolan's sentiments were echoed by his coach, John Tortorella:
The New York Rangers camp is ready to go on the 21st. We're chomping on the bit to get going here. If they say no, we'll wait 'til they say yes.
The pair's optimism is little recourse for actual progress between the two disputing sides that seem headed for a lockout, but its still nice to see.
An informal meeting on Friday between representatives for the NHL and NHLPA ended with no progress being made towards a resolution. The two sides will reconvene on Saturday to try and move closer to an agreement.
Talks are done for tonight in NY. NHL and NHLPA won't decide the next step before Saturday.— Renaud P Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) September 8, 2012
If the two sides don't come to an agreement by Sept. 15, the NHL will lock the players out for the second time in a decade. Friday's meetings were between NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, his assistant Steve Fehr, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Bill Daly, the NHL's deputy commissioner.
The NHL is asking the players to take a reduction in their share of overall revenues while also agreeing to curtail free agency and end salary arbitration.
For more on the CBA talks, head over to SB Nation's NHL news hub.
The NHL and representatives from the players' association met on Friday at the NHL's offices in New York. The meeting was an informal one between NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, his assistant Steve Fehr, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
Donald Fehr said he expects the discussions to resume officially between the league and the players' association, but also that nothing has been determined yet. The NHL is threatening to lock out the players if a new collective bargaining agreement is not signed by Sept. 15.
The NHL has had three labor disputes since 1992, with two of them ending in lockouts (1994-95, 2004-05). The league is asking the players to take a reduction in their share of revenues along with accepting limits on free agency and an end to salary arbitration.
The NHL and the Players Association are set to resume CBA talks, according to a Tweet from Chris Johnson of The Canadian Press.
The NHL and NHLPA are also ready to restart CBA negotiations, possibly as soon as tomorrow.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 6, 2012
Johnson also spoke to NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. When asked about a Sept. 21 start date for training camps, Daly said "I think it's becoming unlikely."
Despite the willingness to restart talks, a new collective bargaining agreement is likely still some time coming. Daly's statement seems to be something of an understatement; signs have increasingly pointed towards a lockout, including a memo from the Players Association preparing players for a lockout and acknowledgements from NHL teams that a lockout is likely.
The Winnipeg Jets aren't skirting the possibility of an NHL lockout. The team sent its stakeholders and season ticket holders a message on Thursday, becoming one of the first to officially acknowledge that the NHL Players' Association and the league likely face a lockout.
TSN got a hold of the message, one that simply warned its recipients that an agreement might not be reached anytime soon. The league's current collective bargaining agreement expires Sept. 15.
"Although it is the League's objective to successfully conclude negotiations for the new Agreement by September 15th, it is possible this may not occur."
The letter went on to give its purpose. Obviously, the most important reason for the Jets to issue the statement is to let fans and team partners know that the organization isn't too hopeful that an agreement with the players will be reached. In that, the Jets said they are in the process of developing a contingency plan for the possibility of games being cancelled.
Former NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly believes that the NHL is headed toward a lockout. In an interview with ESPN's John Buccigross Kelly said:
"Significant issues still divide the two sides, and millions of dollars are at stake. As things currently stand, and absent a significant move by one side or the other, we will have a lockout as of Sept. 15 and it will last for at least several weeks, if not longer."
The current collective bargaining agreement expires on Sept. 15 and if a new deal is not reached by that time, a lockout is expected. Kelly, who was the head of the NHLPA from October 2007 through August 2009, doesn't see either side folding and stated that the players appear more unified now than they did during the 2005 discussions.
Buccigross also received a text from a "well-connected hockey source" that does not give a lot of hope to the season starting on time:
"In spending time around the players the last month, I think they are very unified and more misinformed than ever. They don't get it. I know for a fact there are teams that would lose much less money by not playing than if they played. If you are an owner, why would you agree to lose more money when this is your one chance to reset the equation? The players are being walked right down the gangplank and don't see it coming."
For more on the NHL and the CBA negotiations please visit SB Nation's hockey hub.
The NHL Players' Association doesn't see the owners' Sept. 15, 2012, lockout deadline as a real concern, according to NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly (via USA Today's Kevin Allen).
The NHL's collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expires on Sept. 15, which is why the owners chose that date as a deadline for securing a deal on the next CBA. However, since there is no rule stating that a lockout has to occur without a CBA in place, the NHLPA doesn't feel pressured to cave in to a deal that isn't in their favor, according to Allen.
The NHL cancelled its annual media tour on Wednesday, while the NHLPA sent out a memo to its players informing them of what to expect in the event of an extended work stoppage. Talks are now stalled, according to Daly, with player/owner revenue splits and the proposed length of a new CBA remaining the main issues.
For more on the NHL and its collective bargaining agreement negotiations with the NHLPA, please visit SB Nation's hockey hub.
The NHL Players Association has sent its players a memo to better inform them about the expected lockout. With the league likely going into its third lockout in less than 20 years when the current collective bargaining agreement comes to an end on Sept. 15, the informational guide titled "How Does A Lockout Affect Me?" gives players answers to just that, according to USA Today.
One interesting piece of information covered by the memo includes how injured players can receive pay from their current clubs.
"If you are unfit to play because of a hockey-related injury when a lockout begins, you are entitled to receive your salary until you are fit to play," the memo said. "If you are currently injured, you should make sure that your condition is fully documented and that your club is aware of it. If you do not receive your salary payment when it becomes due, you should contact your agent and/or the NHLPA legal department immediately."
USA Today also writes that the document provides details about how players can go about signing with teams in other hockey leagues, though it warns that doing so could cause problems if the lockout is lifted. Other topics include information about the potential of teams trading players during the lockout, and how players can continue to receive signing bonuses or buyout payments during the lockout.
The NHLPA is also expected to hold a meeting in New York next week before the expiration of the CBA.
NHL players will receive escrow payments from last season sometime in mid-October, according to James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail. These paychecks could be particularly important to players as it becomes increasingly likely that the beginning of the season will be delayed by a lockout.
With the league and the players union struggling to make any sort of progress on a new collective bargaining agreement, it's becoming all but assured that the league will lockout players for the start of the season. That has many players talking about playing in Europe, but it appears they will get some payment even if they don't play elsewhere.
According to Mirtle, players will receive about 6.5 to 8.5 percent of their 2011-2012 salary In October, which equates to roughly two weeks' pay. For the average player, that figures to be around $150,000 to $200,000 in each escrow payment, but star players like Alexander Ovechkin will receive as much as $700,000.
For more on the NHL and its collective bargaining agreement negotiations with the NHLPA, please visit SB Nation's hockey hub.
With the Sept. 15 expiration date of the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and NHLPA quickly approaching, many are prepping for the worst as commissioner Gary Bettman has already made it clear that the players will be locked out without a new deal.
"I'm still confident, I'm still training, and pushing myself to be ready for training camp when it opens on time, as scheduled," Hamonic told Sporting News.
If a new deal is not negotiated in time and the league has to undergo an extended lockout, the 22-year-old will be eligible to play in the American Hockey League because he will be entering the final year of his entry-level contract.
Hamonic said he hasn't even considered it.
"I haven't really thought of (Bridgeport), because I'm confident it's going to get done," Hamonic said of a new collective bargaining agreement, despite the fact that no negotiations are scheduled between the NHL and NHLPA. "It's a situation, we'll cross the road when it comes, when we get there, but as of right now, my mindset is getting ready for the NHL season and getting ready for training camp. That's where I'm at right now."
For more on the NHL and its collective bargaining agreement negotiations with the NHLPA, please visit SB Nation's hockey hub.
The talks between the NHL and NHLPA are at a standstill, but there is news regarding at least one item that the NHL wants. The New York Post has learned that in the NHL's proposal it includes something called "management rights:"
... the NHL proposals feature a "management rights" clause under which the league would assume unilateral power over issues including realignment, scheduling and playoff format.
The union refused to give its assent last year to the league's proposed realignment plan for 2012-13 that would have created a four-conference (division) format, with attendant changes in scheduling and playoff structure.
Realignment was an issue last year since the Atlanta Thrashers moved to become the Winnipeg Jets, and the league was forced to rearrange the divisions for the 2012-13 season.
This "management rights" item would give the NHL a lot of power in how the league is set up, and if a team relocates then the NHL would be able to decide by themselves where that new team would be placed. Also, this move would allow the NHL to create new criteria as for who makes the playoffs with four divisions, and not have to consult with the NHLPA.
While collective bargaining agreement talks between the NHL and NHLPA remain on hold, ESPN.com reports that among the proposed changes brought forth by the league is to change the start of the free agent signing period from July 1st to July 10th.
There are marketing advantages for moving the date to avoid the big news from player signings being lost around the July 4th holiday. With the media coverage of player movement around the league, moving the date can further maximize the league's awareness during the offseason. The extra time would also allow teams additional time to prepare for the free agent signing period following the entry draft in late June.
While this proposal has obvious benefits for the teams and league, the players may not see the benefit in changing, as Pierre LeBrun mentions.
My suspicion is that the NHLPA would likely not look kindly on moving the start of free agency 10 days into July. Shortening the window for any of its free-agent members to find work isn't that appealing to the union. At least it hasn't been in the past when the league has brought up the notion.
Add this item to the list of issues big and small the league and players still need to negotiate whenever they decide to resume talks.
For all the news surrounding the NHL's collective bargaining agreement and the ongoing quest to replace it, stick with this StoryStream.
Detroit Red Wings LW Henrik Zetterberg won't be playing any hockey in the event of a NHL lockout.
Members of the Washington Capitals were skating at the team's practice facility at Kettler Capital Iceplex on Tuesday morning in order to prepare for an NHL season they hope will eventually occur. With the NHL and NHLPA still at odds over the pending expiration of the collective bargaining agreement on Sept. 15, the threat of another lockout is on the horizon.
For Capitals' captain Alexander Ovechkin, a potential lockout is a situation he isn't looking forward to. A native of Russia, Ovechkin stated on Tuesday that although he doesn't want to return home to play this fall, he ultimately believes he will have to.
Via The Washington Times:
"Of course I think about [a lockout] because my hometown have teams and my Russian Federation have a league. Of course I'm probably gonna be there. But I don't wanna be there; I wanna be here. But, again, my contract is here and I hope the NHL and NHLPA are gonna sign a deal before the 15th."
The biggest issue that is separating the two sides is the NHL owners' desire to limit player's salaries. One solution that has been proposed is the concept of salary rollbacks where players contracts would be altered even though the deals were signed prior to the new CBA.
This concept doesn't sit well with Ovechkin and he thinks it won't sit well with other players, either; so much so that they potentially won't want to return to the league.
"If they need us, how I say, if they're gonna cut percentage of the contract and years, I don't think lots of guys who signed American deals are gonna come back and play here. It's not reasonable to be here. You have to think of the future, you have to think of your family."
For all the news surrounding the NHL's collective bargaining agreement and the ongoing quest to replace it, stick with this StoryStream.
15 days before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement, talks have broken off between the NHL and NHLPA while optimism has been thrown out the window.
"At this point, talks are off," NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said at NHL headquarters in Manhattan Friday after a meeting that lasted approximately 90 minutes. He noted that it was the owners who opted to call off talks and that the players are ready to resume at any time. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called that claim inaccurate.
The union made a counter-proposal Friday based on a proposal submitted by the league earlier in the week, and cautious optimism had filtered through the hockey world due to the simple fact that the two sides were at least discussing the same proposal.
But Friday's news seemingly brings us back to square one: The owners want more money -- whether that's from a direct roll back in salaries or increased escrow -- and the players do not want to give it to them. The players are sticking by their initial CBA proposal, one from which the league is not prepared to work, saying that the players are not willing to budge on the "core financials."
Fehr: players are not prepared to see a reduction in their salaries.— Steve Lepore (@stevelepore) August 31, 2012
Fehr: if players are not prepared to take "meaningful reduction" than owners see no point in discussing or responding to NHLPA proposal.— Steve Lepore (@stevelepore) August 31, 2012
The NHLPA's initial offer two weeks ago called for a reduction in player salaries for the next three seasons after which the deal would "snap back" to again give the players a 57 percent share of hockey-related revenue, the same terms under the current CBA. Fehr called the give back in the first three years meaningful, but Bettman called the fourth year a non-starter.
Bettman says salaries snapping back to 57% in the 4th year "isn't acceptable".— Steve Lepore (@stevelepore) August 31, 2012
The PA's initial proposal also called for greater revenue sharing -- the NHLPA believes that larger-market teams should spread wealth around to smaller-market teams, and he praised the idea of an "industry growth fund" similar to one he negotiated as head of the MLB Players' Association that would help struggling clubs.
The owners want a longer-term deal, and Bettman cited the 10-year agreements reached in both the NBA and the NFL a summer ago. The players disagree, citing an uncertain economic future and high player turnover rates as reasons to stick to a three or four year agreement.
All in all, it seems as though the two sides are back to the beginning and no real progress has been made.
The NHL made yet another offer to the players' association, as the two sides try to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement, and escrow is a part of it.
This latest offer from the NHL includes fixed salary caps for the next few seasons, with the proposed 2012 salary cap at $58 million. Currently, 16 teams are over the proposed 2012-13 salary cap.
With no salary cuts in the NHL's latest proposal, the league would have to get creative to get teams under the salary cap. Apparently, the answer to this dilemma is escrow -- and the good folks over at Mile High Report have an explanation on how escrow works.
You can think of escrow like withholding taxes from your paycheck. As tax season ends, depending on what you were able to deduct for whatever reason, if you paid too much income tax, the US government and/or your state government gives you a tax refund. (I don't know how Canadian tax works though.) Nobody knows what league revenues will be before the season, so nobody knows what cut players and owners are entitled to, but players have to get paid, right? So they project. Accountants work their fancy math and a certain percentage of player salaries go into an escrow account, and payments into it throughout the year are adjusted as projections get more accurate. Finally, in the offseason, the accountants are able to fancy-math us an answer for how many dollars of the revenue the owners were entitled to under the CBA. The owners take whatever they may still need to get them to that number out of the escrow account, and what's left is given back to the players: a "tax refund," if you will.
The problem here is that adding more to escrow is, in terms of real dollars, not different from a salary rollback. Keeping with the "tax return" theme, if suddenly you were having more of your check withheld every pay period, and your refund either stayed the same or decreased come tax time, how would that be different from just starting at a lower salary with the percentage being withheld staying the same?
Steve House, author of that fine explanation, doesn't believe that this particular deal will be accepted because of escrow. Even if escrow isn't in the final deal, at least you know what it is, as it's now a part of the negotiations.
For the latest on all things hockey, be sure to check SB Nation's NHL hub regularly.
The NHLPA intends to respond directly to the owners' CBA proposal by Friday at the latest, and while it is progress that the NHL and its players' union are at least discussing the same proposal, differences clearly remain regarding core economic issues.
While the owners' proposal doesn't call for a direct roll back in player salaries, it does call for more dollars in escrow. Fehr and the NHLPA don't see much of a difference.
"From a players' standpoint," Fehr said, "it doesn't make much difference. If the player doesn't get the dollar value of his contract because of a roll back in the contract, or whether he doesn't get an amount because there's escrow, he still doesn't get it. It amounts to the same thing. That's obviously one of the issues which has occurred in the other cap sports and it's going to have to be, in some fashion, addressed as we go forward here."
Gary Bettman doesn't necessarily agree with that, calling a roll back "different than escrow" in that it changes contract terms for the life of the deal while, in escrow, a contract's value can fluctuate.
Fehr talked at length about the different calculations of hockey-related revenue, and how the current NHL proposal would cut the players' share to 46 percent of revenues, amounting to somewhere near $360 milllion in total losses for the players. That's an increase from the 43 percent proposed by the league in their first proposal.
Bettman, meanwhile, doubled down on the league's latest offer, echoing the sentiment expressed Tuesday that it was a significant proposal made in good faith.
"Our counter-proposal was more significant that the NHLPA proposal," Bettman said. "The counter-proposal moved more money than the initial proposal made by the players' association."
The new proposal, according to Bettman, reduces the players' share of hockey-related revenue by 11.5 percent in Year 1, 8.5 percent in Year 2 and 5.5 percent in Year 3. The league believes that their offer will result in a rise in the players' share in Years 4 and beyond.
SB Nation's Steve Lepore was in New York and has audio of Fehr's session with the media. You can hear it below.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman came out on Wednesday and responded to the counter proposal that they offered to the NHLPA. Bettman feels that the NHL's counter offer that was a good one, and better than what was received by the NHLPA in their initial proposal.
SB Nation's Steve Lapore relayed what Bettman said to the media about how their counter proposal was significant:
"Our counter proposal was more significant the NHLPA proposal", Bettman Said. He also added that the NHL's proposal was "meaningful and significant move."
Bettman also touched on player revenue which he believes will rebound after a few years:
Bettman anticipates player revenue share would drop first three years, start growing in year 4 based on anticipated economic growth.— Steve Lepore (@stevelepore) August 29, 2012
Donald Fehr and the NHLPA are expected to have a counter proposal sent back to the NHL by Thursday or Friday.
The players' union will respond to the owners' latest proposal, as the two sides ramp up negotiations in the run to the league's self-imposed September 15 deadline.
If you're one of those NHL hockey fans hoping that a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached before the start of the 2012-13 season, new Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise probably would tell you not to get your hopes up.
"I think the '04-'05 season is still pretty fresh in everyone's minds, and now we find ourselves in the same position," Parise said after a workout in St. Louis Park on Tuesday, Aug. 26. "It's not good for the game. It's not good for anyone. We're ready to play. We want to play. But (NHL commissioner) Gary (Bettman)'s pretty adamant about his third lockout of his tenure."
Parise's comments were picked from a feature done by The Pioneers Press' Ben Goessling that focused on the winger and his new Wild teammates, including Cal Clutterbuck, who're willing to wait on a new deal.
"We want to play in a system that's fair for both sides," Clutterbuck said. "We're not asking to get 100 percent of everything. We're just trying to make a compromise. As long as we're in the right system, I think it's important for us to get it right this time, so we don't have to be in this situation ever again."
Perhaps we can consider this a win for the NCAA in their ongoing, never-ending squabble with the Canadian Hockey League and the entire idea of the Major Junior route to professional hockey.
Of the 12 players attending collective bargaining sessions with at league headquarters in Manhattan today, nine are college educated and just two took the CHL route. Four of those nine went to Ivy League schools, and some of the others went to some pretty decent schools themselves. A list:
Lightning forward B.J. Crombeen and Senators defenseman Chris Phillips are the only two members of the delegation that played Major Junior hockey. Crombeen played for the OHL's Barrie Colts and Phillips played for both Prince Albert and Lethbridge in the WHL.
Evgeni Malkin has stated he plans to play in the KHL in the event of a lockout, but he also indicated that teammate Sidney Crosby might join him overseas.
Teemu Selanne is considering playing in his home country of Finland if a new CBA can't be reached.
When the NHLPA responds to the NHL's most recent CBA proposal on Wednesday, it will be interesting to see how it handles the issue of the salary cap.
The league has proposed a salary cap reduction of just over $12 million for the coming 2012-13 season, down from $70.2 million to $58 million. The cap would rise to $60 million in Year 2 of the league's proposed six-year CBA and ultimately is projected to reach $71.1 million in the final year of the deal, 2016-17.
But one note of utmost importance: The league did not propose a rollback in current player salaries, a move that would leave 18 teams above -- in some cases far above -- the new salary cap that would go into effect immediately upon ratification of this proposed CBA. Without a salary rollback, how would those teams get back under the cap?
Some teams have built in solutions, but even then, shedding up to $10 million in salary cap dollars is not an easy task without utterly decimating your roster. The NHLPA will likely address this in its response on Wednesday, but exactly how it does that will be interesting. Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy ran through the options, from the seemingly obvious suggestion of amnesty buyouts to the intriguing if not insane suggestion of a dispersal draft.
It will be interesting to see exactly what road the NHLPA wanders down on this particular issue.
The Ottawa Senators are reportedly preparing for a 50-game season that would start in early 2013 and coincide with a litany of layoffs. All of this comes in preparation for another potential lockout due to owners and players still being far apart on a labor deal with less than a month before the start of training camps.
While it's not a good sign, these types of things are to be expected with owners trying to brace for what could be an extended stalemate.
The NHL missed the entire 2004-05 season due to a lockout that transformed the sport with the implementation of a salary cap among various other new rules on and off the ice.
Now the league faces perhaps another self-imposed work stoppage, one that fans certainly will have a harder time understanding. The NHL is coming off a very successful season which saw NBC provide television coverage of every postseason game live on one of its networks (or the NHL Network in the first round).
It's tough to imagine the owners holding firm when so much money is there for the taking between gate receipts and TV money. Then again, its business after all.
Desperate to avoid a lockout on Sept. 15, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman presented players a shiny new six-year CBA proposal on Tuesday that plans to adjust league-wide revenues to a 50-50 split by its fourth year.
Here are details of the league's new offer, according to USA Today Sports' report:
The 50-50 split by year four marks a significant change from the NHL's proposed 53-47 split in its initial offer, so it will be interesting to see what the NHLPA's response is when the two sides meet again on Wednesday.
Be sure to stay with SB Nation's NHL hub for more coverage from around the league.
A new NHL CBA proposal offers a phasing-in of a new revenue split that would ultimately tilt in favor of ownership.
The NHL made a new CBA proposal on Tuesday and the initial reaction from the NHLPA is that the new proposal is very similar to the first and it won't fly.
union source: NHL moved some things around but it is "basically the same" proposal as before and won't fly— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) August 28, 2012
There had been some initial optimism regarding Tuesday's meeting and the NHLPA has yet to make any official response, but this is not an encouraging sign. In addition to the anonymous source from above, Canadiens left winger Mathieu Darche, who was present at the meetings, said that the proposal didn't take the NHL five minutes to come up with and it won't take the NHLPA five minutes to analyze it.
Gary Bettman and the NHL remain optimistic that this newest proposal is a step in the right direction, but we'll have to wait and see what Donald Fehr and the NHLPA have to say on Wednesday.
Good news on the NHL CBA front? Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr and other bigwigs from the NHL and the NHL Players' Association met on two separate occasions Tuesday in New York, where the league submitted a modified proposal to the union and the overall tone of talks seemed much more optimistic than in weeks prior.
Neither Fehr or Bettman would comment on the proposal in detail, but the NHL commissioner did say that there was "significant and meaningful movement" on the league's side involving core economic issues. He also noted that the sides are "not far apart on revenue sharing." We'll have to wait and see whether or not the union agrees, but unlike the NHL's prior offer, one that was viewed as a slap in the face from the owners to the players, this one could at least begin the discussion.
"It's a proposal we intend to respond to," Fehr said.
The NHLPA will take the evening to fully review the proposal. The sides will again meet at the NHL's offices in Manhattan on Wednesday. Talks are currently scheduled each day through Friday.
Dennis Seidenberg is contemplating joining Adler Manneheim if an extended lockout occurs.
KHL Champions Dynamo Moscow will approach Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin if there is an NHL lockout this season.
There is a chance the NHL will not start up play until late December, according to a report. The NHL and the NHLPA have been working to come to a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement that works for both sides, but so far they have been far apart in their negotiations.
Here is what one agent said in a recent CSN New England article about when he believes a deal could be reached:
"I don't think we're going to be playing anytime soon," said the agent. "My best case is Christmas. It looks grim right now. (Commissioner Gary) Bettman is overreaching. He had a chance to get the players believing he wanted a partnership. Instead he wants a return to feudalism."
Other reports have indicated the season may begin around Thanksgiving, while others believe a New Year's Day start date is a possibility as well. Players across the league want to get the season started on time, but the financial aspects of the league may prevent that from happening.
For more on the NHL and its CBA negotiations, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation's StoryStream for the latest updates.
Another week of precisely zero optimism and zero progress in NHL CBA talks has passed, and we're now just 23 days ahead of Sept. 15, the date that will yield the third NHL lockout in 17 years if the two sides can't reach an agreement before then.
Representatives from the NHL and the NHL Players' Association met again at NHLPA headquarters in Toronto Thursday. Thirteen players joined various executives from both sides in attending the bargaining session, which hinged mostly on economic issues and player contract rules. A split of hockey-related revenues remains the major sticking point.
"We believe we are paying the players more than we should be," commissioner Gary Bettman told the media following the day's meetings. Bettman also attempted to shift the blame to the players, saying that the NHL's side was ready to begin talks "in January" while Fehr took time to meet with players in preparation for negotiations.
The owners' initial proposal called for a sharp 24 percent roll back in current salaries in addition to a giving just 43 percent of HRR to the players. The players' initial proposal called for 54 percent of HRR to their side without a salary rollback. The current CBA gives players 57 percent of HRR, but NHLPA chief Donald Fehr says that his side believes the split is closer to 50/50 based on total, not just hockey-related, revenue.
Taking the podium after Bettman, Fehr expressed that the owners' current position is not all that surprising, saying the desire of employers to pay their employees less is a natural one.
"We want more flexibility and the league doesn't want that," Fehr said.
The league's initial proposal had severely limited the players' options with regards to contract rules. It would push unrestricted free agency eligibility to 10 years instead of the current seven, would limit all contracts to a five-year maximum length, would end salary arbitration all together. The owners seem unwilling to budge on those issues and the players seem unwilling to compromise
Bettman noted that revenue sharing is not much of an issue between the two sides and that they're closer on that than previously believed. The sides will meet again on Tuesday at the NHL's offices in New York City.
NHL players looking for a reprieve from a potential lockout in 2012-13 might not have the ability to run off to Sweden's top league. Elitserien (or the Swedish Elite League) officials will not allow NHL players to sign short-term contracts with their teams for the upcoming season, according to a report from Jatkoaika.com, a Finnish hockey publication.
Only full-season contracts will be allowed, a stipulation that could scare off NHL players who believe the impending lockout may not force the cancellation of the entire 2012-13 NHL year. On the flip side, several prominent Swedish-born players have already voiced their intentions on playing in Elitserien during a potential lockout. If players like the Sedin twins follow through with those plans, the NHL could lose some of its top talent whenever play does begin in 2012-13.
During the NHL lockout in 2004-05, roughly 70 or 80 NHL players made their way over to Sweden to play hockey, but the majority of those contracts featured out-clauses that would have allowed players to leave in the event the lockout was resolved midseason. It wasn't, as we all know, and those players wound up playing the entire year in Sweden.
Most of the NHL talent playing in Elitserien that season were of Swedish decent, but several North American-born players ended up in there as well. American-born NHL veteran Mike Knuble led the league that season with 26 goals while Canadian-born Shawn Horcoff and Brendan Morrison also found their way onto the leaderboard.
Executives from both the NHL and NHL Players' Association gathered at union headquarters in Toronto Thursday morning to resume collective bargaining agreement talks. The financial differences between the two sides are expected to be the focus of Thursday's meeting.
Commissioner Gary Bettman, deputy commissioner Bill Daly, discipline chief Brendan Shanahan, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke and Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford are among the negotiators on hand for the league, according to NHL.com's Dan Rosen.
NHLPA head Donald Fehr and advisor Steve Fehr are among those on hand for the union. Thirteen players are also in attendance, according to the NHLPA: Martin Biron, Nick Bonino, Brian Elliott, Ruslan Fedotenko, Marc-Andre Fleury, Bruno Gervais, Steve Montador, Max Talbot, Michael Weber, Mike Weaver, Kevin Westgarth, Dan Winnik and Wojtek Wolski.
Talks began at 9:30 a.m. ET and are expected to run for several hours. It's expected that principals from each side will speak with the media following the round of negotiations.
With the NHL's collective bargaining agreement set to expire on Sept. 15, full-time and front office employees of the Calgary Flames have been informed that pay cuts could be looming as soon as a potential lockout begins, writes Eric Francis of The Calgary Sun.
According to the article, the organization, with 175 full-time workers, is preparing for hard times:
"We have a contingency plan in place -- it would be stupid of us not to," confirmed Flames president and CEO Ken King, adding quickly that such a contingency plan doesn't presuppose there will be a lockout.
"What we would attempt to do is affect as few people as possible and as minimally as possible. The plan is quite generous in that some people it won't affect at all."
Employees could also take a little break, without a paycheck, writes Francis:
As an alternative, employees have been given the option of taking a sabbatical or prolonged leave of absence -- without pay -- with guarantees their job will be waiting for them upon their return.
All the principals in NHL collective bargaining agreement negotiations met for an informal meeting at the NHLPA's Toronto offices Wednesday morning before more formal, fully-attended meetings scheduled for 1 p.m. ET were cancelled. The two sides are expected to meet again Thursday morning in Toronto.
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr was joined by his brother and NHLPA advisor Steve Fehr for talks with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. Other parties did not attend. Daly said the two sides attempted to "chart a way forward in talks" before the NHLPA asked to delay further discussions until Thursday.
"We spent some time talking about the core economics issues," Fehr told the media at NHLPA headquarters, according to RDS.
The two sides entered the week seemingly miles apart on those economic issues. They're still split on how to divide up hockey-related revenue -- or perhaps even how to define it -- and they're still far apart on revenue sharing and rules governing player contracts.
It has been said that the NHL and NHL Players' Association can afford to sit out for a while, at least monetarily.
For the NHLPA, escrow payments due to be paid on Oct. 15 have the players feeling comfortable and not having to worry about finding gigs in Europe for a while.
For the owners, not only do they avoid (especially in small American markets) money-losing early-season games that have to go up against playoff baseball, football and basketball, they're still getting a little money thrown into their pockets, thanks to the good folks at NBC.
I had been told a while ago from a source what NHL player agent Allan Walsh wrote on Twitter Wednesday: If the NHL cancels the 2012-13 season, NBC will pay the league the $200 million or so they are owed in rights fees anyway, with NBC getting a free season at the end of the deal, which would incidentally be 2021-22, if there's not another lockout by then.
If lockout wipes out 2012-13 NHL season, NBC makes $200M payment to league and extra year is added onto deal for no rights fee.— Allan Walsh (@walsha) August 22, 2012
While the NBC money wouldn't exactly be a cash cow when divided up by teams, it still gives the owners a small profit to look forward to even if they wait this out as long as possible.
The NHL and NHLPA's lack of progress on a new collective bargaining agreement and potential lengthy lockout could cost Columbus the All-Star game this season. The Blue Jackets and Nationwide Arena are set to host the event on Jan. 27.
The current CBA expires Sept. 15 and training camp is scheduled to begin Sept. 21. However, little if any progress has been made in the negotiations and few expect training camp or the preseason to begin on time.
The All-Star game would likely be hit if the lockout goes a month into the season or longer. In 2004-05, the scheduled All-Star game in Atlanta was canceled (and so, later, was the entire season). Atlanta wasn't awarded with the All-Star game again until 2008. There already won't be a 2014 All-Star game if NHL players take part in the 2014 Winter Olympics, which is one of the points of contention with the CBA negotiations.
The NHL and NHLPA proposals are far apart, but here are eight points that can bring them together into a compromise solution.
The NHL and the NHLPA have not met face-to-face for CBA negotiations since Wednesday, and since the break-up of talks, much of the debate has been around a so-called 50/50 split in of hockey-related revenue between the two sides. Why don't they just split it and sign on the dotted line?
The owners' initial CBA proposal outlined a 57/43 split of HRR in favor of their side. The players' proposal outlined a 54/46 split in favor of their side, down from the 57/43 split they see under the current CBA. Roughly a 50/50 split was negotiated in both the NBA and the NFL a year ago, and at face value, that makes the NHL's current split seem like a huge win for the players.
But speaking on a conference call Friday afternoon, NHLPA head Donald Fehr went on the offensive, explaining in great detail the union view that the two sides actually have a 50/50 split of revenues already.
"Let me caution you when you start taling about 50/50 splits," Fehr said. "If you start talking about all revenue as opposed to hockey-related revenue, the way we calculate it the players are already at just about 50/50. Hockey-related revenue begins by subtracting some amounts of revenue. They don't count. What I'm saying is that if you add those things back in and then take what the players get, we calculate that to be about 51 percent."
Fehr said that the players are compromising directly off the start based on the fact that the league has a salary cap.
"Suppose the players came in -- as we have not done -- and we said, 'This is what we want. We'll have no salary cap, have a minimum salary and benefits, which will be a small fraction of the salary bill, and all the owners can pay whatever it is they want to pay. They can adjust their salaries up and down based on what they think is best for them. Whatever the free market produces, in a real free market, the players will take.'"
"The reason we have a salary cap is because the owners believe -- and they are correct -- that the salary cap we have now pays the players less than what the free market would pay them. That's the starting point from the players' analysis, but the players are willing to live with that if we can work out an agreement."
The argument from the owners' side of things when it comes to a 50/50 split of revenues is that the two sides are partners in building and growing the NHL as a business. But Fehr rejects that idea whole-heartedly.
"If we are partners, do we have joint control?" Fehr asked. "Do we get to have an equal say on how the marketing is done, how the promotion is done, where the money is invested, where the franchises are located? Do we have an equal say on when teams are sold, where the money goes? Do we get part of that? Do we have an equal say on how the television arrangements are done?
"Do we have an equal say on anything? That's what a partnership normally implies."
We'll go out on a limb and assume that NHL owners don't share this view, but Fehr's remarks were a truly fascinating view of how the NHLPA sees the world. He reiterated that the players do not want a work stoppage and that if a stoppage does occur, it'll be because the owners dictate it. In other words, there will be no player strike this year.
The ball is in Gary Bettman's court now. Fehr expects the two to speak over the weekend before meeting again face-to-face for meetings next Wednesday.
The NHL is in danger of yet another lockout, but the AHL is prepared to keep going as planned, and could serve as a haven for younger NHL talent without a place to play.
The Phoenix Coyotes have been slow to make moves this off-season and, with a lockout looming and team ownership still in question, it doesn't appear that a flurry of activity will be taking place anytime soon, according to AZCentral.com.
Before addressing the free agency of their star and captain Shane Doan, the Coyotes have opted to wait and see if potential buyer Greg Jamison's bid to purchase the team is approved.
Now, with the collective-bargaining agreement's expiration upcoming on Sept. 15th and a lockout seeming more than likely, the Coyotes have two hurdles to cross before solving the Doan issue and becoming active players in free agency.
Phoenix GM Don Maloney has said that the CBA has made the entire league quieter than normal and stated that he "doesn't foresee a lot happening around here right now."
Of course, if Jamison's bid goes through the Coyotes could start making deals, likely starting with Doan, who has already expressed a desire to stay in Phoenix.
Earlier on Thursday, NHL Commisioner Gary Bettman talked about the significant gap that still exists in collective bargaining negotiations between owners and the National Hockey League Players' Association; this news speaks to that, as the announcement marks the first shutdown of the Traverse City event in its 15-year history. The Red Wings plan to bring the tournament back and pick up where they left off in 2013, according to the team's website.
In addition to Wings prospects, young players from the St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers would also reportedly have been featured in the tournament.
The NHL and NHLPA have 30 days to before the current collective bargaining agreement expires. If the two sides don't get a deal done before then, the CBA will expire and a lockout will commence. That deadline is Sept. 15 -- the same day the Traverse City tournament was supposed to take place.
A Swiss club says that Rick Nash will play for them in the event of a lockout. Nash called them liars. Intrigue!
The NHL's collective bargaining agreement has exactly one month left before its no longer relevant. If the players were to be locked out by their owners on September 15, the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and the Florida Panthers would be the two franchises most hurt, a report by Forbes Magazine said Wednesday.
A lockout would push away the thousands of new fans who helped inject more than $3 billion into the league last season, and the NHL’s 30 teams would feel the financial repercussions for years to come. But it’s doubtful that any teams would be hit harder both on the ice and in the wallet than the Florida Panthers and Los Angeles Kings.
According to Forbes' Chris Smith, both L.A. and Florida would be hurt mainly because they would lose a majority of the fans gained during the 2011-12 season. A loss of fans means a major loss of mainstream appeal and new revenue.
The defending Stanley Cup champions ought to be one of the NHL’s top stories heading into next year, but the team may be forgotten in its own hometown if next season is cancelled or even delayed.
Currently, talks between the owners and players have stalled, as the owners want a radical change in the way things work when it comes to revenue, length of contracts and unrestricted free-agent rules. Meanwhile, the players want an adjustment in overall economics, including less player salaries if more revenue sharing takes place in return.
Regardless of what comes out of the situation, it is clear that the Kings and Panthers want a resolution, and soon.
For all the news surrounding the NHL's collective bargaining agreement and the ongoing quest to replace it, stick with our StoryStream. Check with Kings blog Jewels From The Crown for more on Los Angeles hockey and Litter Box Cats for more on the Panthers.
After about three hours of NHL CBA talks Wednesday, Commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media at NHLPA headquarters in Toronto, saying that there's still a considerable difference between where the two sides stand.
"There's still a wide gap between us with not much time to go," Bettman said, according to The Fourth Period. "I think there's still a number of issues where we're looking at the world differently."
Bettman didn't elaborate on the differences specifically, but he did cite agreements in the NBA and NFL in his talks. There's roughly a 50/50 split of revenues in those leagues. As outlined by Sportsnet.ca, the players' Tuesday proposal would give them roughly 54 percent of hockey-related revenue over the next several years. The owners' initial proposal would have given players a 43 percent share and would have rolled back all salaries by 24 percent at the outset.
The current collective bargaining agreement expires exactly one month from Wednesday and Bettman has said the league will lockout its players without a new deal on Sept. 15. Full negotiations will not resume for an entire week.
For all the news surrounding the NHL's collective bargaining agreement and the ongoing quest to replace it, stick with our StoryStream.
The NHLPA's CBA proposal, made public in bits on Tuesday afternoon, was heralded as a compromise that could save hockey from another painful lockout next month. The players are willing to give back money to the league and they're willing to do it in a substantial way over the next three seasons.
They're also asking that the league throw a bone to the 18 to 20 "poor" teams in the league -- the teams that operated at losses in 2011 -- via a more robust revenue sharing program. The catch is that in Year 4 of this collective bargaining agreement, the players would have the opportunity to revert back to the current CBA in which they earn 57 percent of hockey-related revenue. It's a compromise, right?
Well, maybe not. In the smartest bit of writing that's hit the series of tubes since details of the players' proposal came to light, Michael Grange at Sportsnet.ca illustrates the still-meaningful gulf -- to use Donald Fehr's own term from a week ago -- between the league and its players' union.
The players' proposal calls for small raises above the $1.87 billion the players' received last season -- two percent next year, four percent in 2013-14 and six percent in 2014-15. But with league revenues projected to continue growing at a much higher rate -- at least seven percent per year over the next three years, if not more -- the owners will pull in a ton of money that they'd otherwise owe the players under the current system.
But as Grange describes, the players are still going to get a considerable amount of money under their proposal, even though it seems like they're giving up a ton of cash. That's where the gulf between the owners' initial proposal and the players' Tuesday proposal floats.
Put another way, the owners' plan would give the players 43.3 per cent of HRR, rolling salaries back by 24 per cent immediately. The players' proposal would get the players about 54.4 per cent of HRR and allow them to keep every cent that's in their current contracts.
The NHLPA's proposal is clever and it's outside-the-box and it's an absolute public relations win, but the league and its players are still very far off in terms of how they see their share of revenue being broken up. Will we end up at around a 50/50 split when all things are said and done? Perhaps. After all, this is just a proposal, and we don't expect the league to accept it without amendment.
NHLPA chief Donald Fehr announced details of his group's CBA proposal Tuesday, saying that the players are ready to give up part of their share of hockey-related revenue in order to get to work on time this season.
It's unclear exactly how much of the current 57 percent share of HRR the players would be willing to give back to the owners in the proposed three-year agreement, but Fehr told the assembled media in Toronto that reduced compensation could reach as much as $455 million if league revenues continue to grow in the same way they have since the 2005 CBA was established. The proposal would allow for an optional fourth year at the end of the term.
Fehr said that up to $250 million could be entered into revenue sharing under the PA's proposal. The league's current system is quite benign, with various limits on which teams are eligible for revenue sharing. Only 10 teams were eligible a year ago while 18, according to Forbes, operated at a loss. Full details of the NHLPA's revenue sharing ideas were not initially available.
While a hard salary cap would remain, the Canadian Press reports that the PA's proposal calls for a luxury tax that would allow big-spending teams to exceed the cap by a certain number. If the luxury tax were to work like in other leagues, the money spent over the set limit would be distributed amongst teams that do not spend over the limit.
Player contracts would stay largely the same under the proposal. The NHL had proposed changes to free agency, contract term, entry-level deal structure and salary arbitration. The NHLPA's proposal would leave those virtually untouched, according to Fehr.
The current CBA expires on Sept. 15 and Gary Bettman has said that the league will lockout the players without a new deal by that date. The league is expected to give their response to the NHLPA's proposal on Wednesday.
The institution of a salary cap was the major point of contention during NHL CBA negotiations in 2004 and 2005. The owners' insistance on a cap and the players' initial refusal of one led to a lengthy work stoppage that eliminated an entire NHL season from the history books, a time that's still fresh in the minds of all of us as we sit through another round of CBA talks here in 2012.
But there's a bit of good news: Even despite the NHL's radical initial CBA proposal in July, the NHL Players' Association will not attempt to go back on the salary cap issue in these negotiations, according to RDS. It wasn't originally expected that the NHLPA would look to get rid of the cap, but after the NHL made such drastic changes in their first proposal, it was tough to be sure on how the players would respond.
Major League Baseball operates under a luxury tax system without a salary cap, a system negotiated when current NHLPA head Donald Fehr was in charge of the MLBPA. Both the NHL and NFL operate currently under hard salary caps, in which team payrolls cannot exceed the set number.
The NHLPA could still propose something similar to the NBA's soft salary cap and luxury tax system, in which teams must pay a tax based on how much they go over a set threshold. The taxed money is then distributed amongst the teams that remain under that limit, theoretically corralling how much money is spent on salaries by the wealthiest of teams.
The NHL Players' Association presented their alternative CBA proposal to the league on Tuesday in Toronto, but it's unlikely that we learn the owners' position on that proposal until Wednesday at the earliest.
The two sides are set to meet at NHLPA Headquarters in Toronto again on Wednesday and Thursday as they continue to work out their differences, hopefully culminating in a new collective bargaining agreement before a potential work stoppage begins Sept. 15.
Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke with the media after the meetings, implying that the offer from the union is a complex one.
"It's clear to me they didn't put it together in an hour or two," Bettman said, according to the Canadian Press.
Even still, one day seems like a limited amount of time to pour over what's clearly a complicated proposal. If the league truly is prepared to respond in less than 24 hours, it's likely that the NHLPA's points were at least somewhat predictable.
Several big stars were on hand for the meetings, including Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and many others. 27 total players joined the negotiations Tuesday, a much larger number than we've seen in the past and an indication that talks are getting much more in-depth.
Before speaking, Bettman made sure the blue NHLPA backdrop in the media staging area was removed from view.
The owners want to turn the current CBA battle into a repeat of the 2005 fight, in which their players gave back a huge share of the pie. But that's not the fight we should be talking about.
Representatives from both the NHL and the NHL Players' Association held the first of four days of labor talks Monday as negotiations begin to heat up with the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire on September 15. Economic issues continue to be the major divide with the NHL Players' Association set to make their proposal on Tuesday.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said Tuesday's pitch will not be a counter-proposal to the deal the NHL presented in July. Instead, Fehr said the Players' Association will, "put forth an alternative view as to what we should do next."
The NHL's July proposal asked players to lower their percentage of hockey related revenue from 57 percent to 46 percent. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently said the league would lock out the players if there is no new agreement when the current agreement expires.
The NHL may be on verge of a lockout beginning on Sept. 15, but it wouldn't necessarily mean an immediate cancellation of the 2013 Winter Classic. That game— between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs— is scheduled to be held at the University of Michigan's Michigan Stadium on Jan. 1. According to the New York Times, a clause in the NHL's contract stipulates that the league can announce a cancellation of the game as late as the day of, which would allow the NHL to put the game on even if the lockout was resolved in mid-to-late December.
Gary Bettman's salary during the NHL's canceled 2004-05 season was $3.7 million. In 2010-11, according to the NHL's recent tax filings (via Sports Business Journal), Bettman's more than doubled to $8 million. In that same time, the NHL's total annual revenue grew to $2.9 billion, with that number reaching $3.2 billion for the most recent season.
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr has said all along that his union would be willing to continue on under the current collective bargaining agreement should they not be able to come to a new deal with the league by its Sept. 15 expiration date, but that's always seemed like a far-fetched possibility.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman left little room for doubt on that Thursday, telling the assembled media after a short bargaining session in New York that the league will not play another season under the current agreement. If Sept. 15 comes and there's no deal in place, we're heading to a lockout.
According to the Sporting News, Fehr remarked that the Players' Association will finally send a counter-proposal to the league on Tuesday, after which it's expected that negotiations will really get serious. Fehr said that revenue sharing continues to be a hot topic and that there's a "meaningful gulf" separating the league and the union on that issue.
The National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) announced Tuesday afternoon that there's still no timetable for a counter-proposal to the NHL's initial collective bargaining agreement proposal, but executive director Donald Fehr continues to believe there's no need to rush to get something done.
Fehr told the Associated Press on Monday that "there's sufficient time" to get a deal done before the current CBA expires on Sept. 15.
"There's no law that says you have to lock out," Fehr said. "If both parties are both really interested in trying to reach an agreement, and if we both really care what the people watching hockey games think, then we ought to be doing everything we can to avoid that eventuality. And that includes not short-circuiting the process."
The union has said repeatedly that the players are willing to play the start of the 2012-13 season under the current agreement should a new agreement not be reached. The NHL has refused to comment publicly on that possibility.
Fehr and the NHLPA are in the midst of poring over 76,000 pages of financial data before making their counter-proposal. Fehr has been meeting with players in Europe but is expected back at in New York to join negotiations on Wednesday.
As negotiations continue regarding a new collective bargaining agreement between the National Hockey League and the NHL Players' Association, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr now needs to wade through an overwhelming amount of paperwork.
Jesse Spector of the Sporting News reports that the league -- at the NHLPA's request -- turned over 76,000 pages of financial documents to the union, and according to Fehr, there are many more such documents on the way. The league made an initial proposal for the CBA that is a far cry from what the players want, so Fehr and the NHLPA wish to examine the NHL's financial records in full before making a counterproposal.
The sticking point for the CBA regards revenue sharing. NHL owners want to cut the players' share of league revenues by 11 percent, a stance at which the NHLPA obviously bristles. An investigation of the league's finances will give the NHLPA a more informed approach to their first offer.
NHL Commissioner Gery Bettman said he believes there is still plenty of time to hammer out a deal before any sort of lockout talk needs to be thrown around.
The current collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association is set to expire on Sept. 15. As in most situations like this, the two sides are running into some issues as they negotiate in an attempt to hammer out a new agreement prior to the 2012-13 NHL season.
The Associated Press reports that representatives from the NHL and NHLPA, who last met on Friday, will resume talks on Wednesday. At the moment, the biggest issue appears to be with total revenue -- the players are happy with their current cut of NHL revenues, while the owners would like the players to have a lower take.
The two sides have been proactive in their meetings throughout the offseason so far and are hopeful that a deal will eventually be reached in time.
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr believes that any potential strike on the part of the players is being viewed purely as a last resort.
For complete coverage of all professional hockey news, please stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.
The NHL made its first official offer to the NHL Players' Association on Friday, and it essentially amounts to a slap in the face.
The offer, as reported by RDS, would drastically trim the players' share of hockey-related revenue from the current 57 percent to 46 percent. Players would also have to wait 10 seasons before hitting unrestricted free agency, a jump from the current standard of seven seasons. Contracts would also be limited to just five years in length, salary arbitration would be completely eliminated and team-friendly entry-level contracts would be extended from three years in length to five.
The New York Post also reports that the league has proposed eliminating signing bonuses, that they would alter the definition of hockey-related revenue to reduce the players' ultimate share and that the range between the salary cap and the salary floor would be $12 million, not the current $16 million.
Dirk Hoag at SB Nation's On the Forecheck has a fantastic breakdown of all these points, but in essence, this proposal is worrying for those afraid of another lockout or strike. It may just be the posturing of an initial offer, but it's a wild offer, and we have to assume that the NHLPA would come back just as hard with their counteroffer.
The NHL and the NHL Players' Association sat down around a table in New York City Friday afternoon for the first of what could be many sessions of collective bargaining. The current agreement between the two parties expires on Sept. 15 and the 2012-13 season is in jeopardy as long as a new deal isn't in place.
The first day of meetings was more procedural than productive, as should be expected in such a complicated process.
"Members of our league office staff and several of our owners met today with the NHLPA and various members of the players' negotiating committee at the league office in New York," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. "The meeting was very cordial and we hope it was constructive."
According to Daly, the two sides discussed follow-up steps after the meeting and have confirmed plans for future meetings. The details of those plans were not released.
The NHL and the NHL Players' Association announced Thursday that the salary cap for the 2012 offseason will be set at $70.2 million, down from an original estimate of $70.3 million set back during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The lower limit is set at $54.2 million, a number all teams must meet in order to ice a team for the 2012-13 season.
But of course, there's a catch. The rules governing this cap are set by the current collective bargaining agreement, a deal that expires Sept. 15. A work stoppage is expected to begin the 2012-13 season if the NHL and its players cannot agree to a new deal by that date. After negotiations are completed, new terms may be put in place to govern the salary cap and the salary floor, meaning these numbers could and likely will change for the 2012-13 season.
In the meantime, these are the numbers that will govern league business until mid-September. That means free agency, which opens Sun., July 1, will operate under this team payroll range.
The NHLPA wrapped up three days of meetings this week in Chicago in preparation for negotiations with the league on a new collective bargaining agreement. The players have refused to divulge exactly what they're after in these negotiations, but we do know they will begin Friday in New York City.
The NHLPA announced Wednesday a 31-player committee that will play the largest role in negotiations.
"It's great to see that so many players have chosen to participate in bargaining and get involved in the important work ahead for their Association," said Donald Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director, in a press release. "I'm certain this group of players and all players who will be attending bargaining sessions will do a great job."
All bargaining sessions are open to all players, but this group of 31 players will do much of the work on behalf of the entire union membership.
The NHL's salary cap will be temporarily set at $70.3 million for the 2012 offseason, but that could change for the 2012-13 season depending on collective bargaining agreement negotiations.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA director Donald Fehr each confirmed Wednesday that they're set to begin talks on a new CBA and that those talks will begin in the coming weeks.
The NHL and NHLPA went through a formality this week, as the league told the union that it wishes to modify the current CBA. You can allow lockout fears to consume you if you want, but it's really not time for that just yet.
The NHL has told its broadcast affiliates not to mention or discuss the ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations during coverage of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Playoffs, according to Andy Strickland of TrueHockey.com. The league formally informed the NHLPA on May 15 that it wished to "terminate or modify" the current CBA, which is set to expire on September 15, 2012. It's a huge story in hockey off the ice this month, but the league does not want the labor issues becoming a part of the playoffs, via @AndyStrickland:
The Stanley Cup Final will go into mid-June, but don't expect to hear much about the expiring CBA on NBC, CBC, or TSN until after the season.
For more on the pending drama involving the NHL's collective bargaining agreement, stick with our StoryStream.
It was a foregone conclusion, but as required by the current collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association, the league has informed the union that it wishes to "terminate or modify" the current deal, according to a report from Sports Business Journal. It officially expires on Sept. 15, 2012.
Either the league or the NHLPA had to notify the other side of their desire to renegotiate the deal by May 15, 2012, or 120 days before the scheduled expiration. Had neither party taken that action, the current CBA would have been extended for another season.
It's just a formality, really. We've known for some time that the NHL and its players had planned on negotiating a new deal, and the league has said it's been ready to begin those talks for months. The Players Association, meanwhile, has been busy getting organized under new director Donald Fehr, and it appears as though talks will finally begin after the current season ends in late June.
For more on the pending drama involving the NHL's collective bargaining agreement, stick with our StoryStream.
If NHL CBA negotiations don't begin until this summer, lots of NHL teams could be spending lots of money on July 1 just to get to a possible $56 million cap floor.
The NHL has canceled their season-opening overseas games because of uncertainty over a new collective bargaining agreement.
We don't know what the NHL collective bargaining agreement will look like next season. In the worst case scenario, we don't even know if there will be a season next year thanks to the lack of a CBA between the league and the NHL Players' Association.
That shouldn't stop teams around the league from operating normally this summer, however. At least, that's what Gary Bettman says. Via Yahoo! Sports:
"I'm not going to comment as to what the next CBA may look like," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said as the GM meetings concluded at the Boca Beach Club. "But the CBA that we currently have is in effect until Sept. 15, and we told clubs to continue to operate under the CBA. Business as usual."
Technically functioning under the current CBA and actually acting as though the current CBA is not expiring are two different things, and it's unclear if it will truly be business as usual throughout the summer. There's still the big question of the salary cap and where it will sit, plus whatever other changes could come in a new collective bargaining agreement.
Bettman may say it's business as usual, but if there's CBA uncertainty, it's hard to imagine that will be the reality.
The collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA expires in September, and as the 2011-12 season winds down, worries of a potential labor stoppage increase. Months back, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman claimed that labor talks would begin with the union at some point around the 2012 All-Star Game.
The All-Star Game has come and gone, and labor talks have yet to begin. Why not, and should we be concerned? Via USA Today:
"I'm not prepared to tell you when we'll begin formal negotiations," [Bettman] said. "That's a call that we pretty much left up to the players association. We're ready and we have been ready, but the union has some work to do."
So what about it, union? Here's Donald Fehr, NHLPA executive director, via the same USA Today story:
"There is this view that somehow to have a big formal meeting you ... have to have a dozen or two, or six dozen people sitting around a table like the auto workers used to do," Fehr said. "That's largely untrue. We'll get to that at the appropriate time."
The biggest worry comes at the foot of Fehr, who presided over the MLB Players Association and that league's 1994 lockout. The NHLPA's rejected of the league's proposed realignment plan seemed like the first salvo in these labor talks, but everything said publicly by the two parties thus far has been rather cordial.
There's no reason to panic or worry just yet, but that doesn't mean it'd be nice to have formal talks take place sooner than later.
The National Hockey League announced today that it will not move forward with implementation of the Realignment Plan and modified Playoff Format recently approved by the NHL Board of Governors for the 2012-13 NHL season.
The NHLPA has refused to provide its consent to the deal, which signals what is likely the first battle in CBA talks between the league and the players. The current CBA expires after this season.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly commented on the ordeal:
"It is unfortunate that the NHLPA has unreasonably refused to approve a Plan that an overwhelming majority of our Clubs voted to support, and that has received such widespread support from our fans and other members of the hockey community, including Players."
"We have now spent the better part of four weeks attempting to satisfy the NHLPA’s purported concerns with the Plan with no success. Because we have already been forced to delay, and as a result are already late in beginning the process of preparing next season’s schedule, we have no choice but to abandon our intention to implement the Realignment Plan and modified Playoff Format for next season."
"We believe the Union acted unreasonably in violation of the League’s rights. We intend to evaluate all of our available legal options and to pursue adequate remedies, as appropriate."
As a result of decision, the NHL will maintain its current alignment and Playoff Format for the 2012-13 season. Sorry about that, Winnipeg Jets.
For more on NHL realignment, keep up to date with this StoryStream.
The value of NHL teams has risen over the last calendar year, but rising player costs are still a concern that could lead to contentious labor negotiations between the league and the NHL Players Association. The current collective bargaining agreement between the groups expires after the current season, and new talks are expected to begin early in 2012.
According to Forbes' Magazine, the average NHL team is now worth $240 million, up 5 percent from a year ago. That's thanks in part to the NHL's new American television deal with NBC, which helped along a 5 percent increase in average revenue per team.
Since the NHL lockout in 2005, according to Forbes, the average NHL team has seen a 47 percent rise in their value, which signals that the changes made during that lockout are certainly working. It's evident that things are not quite perfect though, with the few huge market teams in the league still controlling the pie, and with player salaries still out of whack in comparison to other professional leagues in North America.
Via the Forbes report:
The league's salary cap, set at 57% of revenue, is too high for some teams to be profitable. As a result, expect the National Hockey League to undergo a cantankerous labor negotiations when the owners and players union begin to hammer our a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the current six-year deal that expires in September.
During their lockout prior to the current season, NFL players agreed to 48 percent of revenue. In the NBA deal reached the other day, owners and players agreed to a 50-50 split.
NHL players aren't likely to back down from the 57 percent that they're currently receiving for obvious reasons, but it is evident that many NHL teams can't compete under the current model. This is the foundation of NHL labor negotiations that will take place in the coming year, and the hope is that no games are missed because of this.
It's been just six years since the NHL canceled their entire season following the 2004 NHL Lockout. With that in mind, the league and the NHLPA will begin negotiations on a new labor deal early in the new year.
When they do, the NHLPA will have the NHL's calculation of hockey-related revenue in mind, since it's something they think is being miscalculated.
The miscalculation of hockey-related revenue could end up causing delays in return of millions in escrow to players and could lead to an arbitration if the issue isn't remedied to the player's liking.
It could also mean there's a lot more money out there that the players deserve but the league is pocketing.
In other words, if you're looking for an issue to kick-off negotiations in 2012, you've just found it. NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr (yes, THAT Donald Fehr) is expected to start making noise on this and many other issues starting...now.
For more news on the NHL labor discussions, keep an eye on this stream.
The NHL and the NHLPA have some negotiating to do, and according to players' union chief Donald Fehr, those negotiations should begin sometime after the NHL All-Star Game.
An entire hockey season was lost just six years ago thanks to rising player costs and a stark disparity between the rich and poor. Now, as the NHL salary cap increases again, are we heading down the same path of destruction?
The NHL has experienced a ton of success in recent years, growing exponentially each year since the lockout and the lost season in 2004-05. As a result, the league's salary cap continues to increase along with revenues, and next season, it'll be larger than it's ever been.
As first reported by Bob McKenzie of TSN, the NHL salary cap is expected to rise by about $5 million for the 2011-12 season, up from $59.4 million to around $64 million. The salary floor will rise right along with the cap to $48 million. By comparison, the original cap in 2005-06, the first season back after the lockout, was just $39 million.
Five years after the lockout, the salary floor has risen $9 million above the original cap. That's obviously good news for the league as a whole -- the cap is tied directly to league revenues, and as revenues rise, the cap rises. It's also good news for the large market teams that would spend over the cap if they were allowed. For them, the cap is only a hindrance.
But for small market clubs that already have trouble reaching the floor, it's certainly not good news. It's more expense that those teams have to add, by NHL law, to their books.
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