Thoughts after the roller coaster week that was the NHL-NHL Players' Association negotiations.
-As if Sidney Crosby's resume could grow any more in his NHL career, it did this past week.
So what had you done by the time when you were 25?
--I love and respect the passion of the majority of the NHL players who play the game so passionately at that very high level. I have been impressed how many of them have used that passion to get involved in many charitable endeavors throughout the lockout. That's not meant as a knock at the other sports, but we truly do have the "best" people playing our game.
--Is it just me or every time you turn around does it not seem that PK Subban is "in your face?" The Montreal Canadiens defenceman has been front and centre for everything! On the other hand, where are any of the Toronto Maple Leafs? What are they doing? What are they up to? How come none of them are involved in the negotiations? How come they don't seem to be involved as much in these types of endeavors as players from other teams? Give Leafs majority owner Larry Tannenbaum and general manager Brian Burke credit for being involved in the talks at times. For Leafs fans, maybe this lower profile of the players yields higher results in the standings when the team comes back to play.
--I guess the NHL lockout has now affected Christmas. My nine-year-old son no longer wants hockey equipment and/or pictures of his favorite NHL players. Instead, he wants a miniature NHL podium, the same sweater (child's size) that Steve Fehr was wearing last Thursday night in New York, Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr trading cards and the kids version of the NHL Salary Cap card game. It's a blackjack-style game in which you draw cards until either hitting or coming as close to 50 on the owners' side. The player on the players' side then tries to do the same, to get as close to 50, but can go as high as 57. The game tells you, in no uncertain terms, the rules could change momentarily. He also wants his parents to keep some "transitional money" to buy gifts early in the New Year.
--I abhor the players claiming that they were "screwed" with the 2005 collective bargaining agreement. They weren't and that is insulting to the average, hard-working person. I do see where they're concerned that the owners will continually "grind them for more concessions" each and every time in the future that the CBA has expired. I see that as a legitimate statement and concern.
--I don't understand why the players are arguing for a shorter term for the CBA. Since the assumption is that the owners will "grind them for more concessions" when it expires, wouldn't the longer the term be better for the players?
--Length of contracts is something that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman should take issue with New York Islanders owner Charles Wang about for giving goaltender Rick DiPietro a 25-year contract. Then, he should take issue with the owners and GMs who set a precedent with front-loaded contracts. Daniel and Henrik Sedin have their salaries spread equally over their current five-year agreement with the Vancouver Canucks. If it's good enough for the Sedin twins, why not for everyone else?
--I do think that a smart provision -- and a bit of a compromise at the end -- will be the "free" buyout of an existing NHL contract, wherein the player will get the full buyout money he is owed, but it won't count against the team's salary cap.
--I have a hard time really believing that the owners expected -- and inferred to the players -- that NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr not return to the room to lead their negotiations. I could believe that line of thought 40 years ago, not today.
--Some of the best tweets last week:
"At least it is good to know there is someone on the Bruins that Miller isn't afraid of" -- regarding the alleged yelling match between Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs.
"Trying to get confirmation that mediators will need to clear re-entry waivers in order to rejoin the talks" -- after NHLPA requested mediators be brought back into the talks.
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