Among today’s collection of notable NHL lockout headlines: NHL & NHLPA to begin three days of talks on non-core economic issues today, remainder of NHL pre-season cancelled, updates on Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk and Valtteri Filppula, John Davidson leaves the Blues, and hockey history was made 40 years ago today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some are hoping these meetings could lead to “traction” toward a resolution to the lockout. Time will tell…
CBC.CA/THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Elliotte Friedman wondered if comments made last week by Detroit Red Wings executive Jimmy Devellano regarding an “unwritten rule” about not signing players to offer sheets might be used as leverage by the NHLPA to cite collusion by NHL owners. Sean Gordon, however, doubts those comments are evidence of collusion.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve often said throughout the course of the recently-expired CBA, collusion is easy to say but almost impossible to prove. In the case of Devellano’s remarks, several factors work against using those as proof of collusion. For one, players salaries continually increased over the course of the recent CBA. For another, offer sheets may have been infrequent, but they were made, most recently this summer by the Flyers unsuccessful bid for Nashville’s Shea Weber. Ultimately, as Friedman and Gordon both noted, the language in the CBA is what made offer sheets difficult in the first place, as teams had the right to match, and if they didn’t, the gaining team paid a considerable price in draft picks. Offer sheets were ultimately an expensive, fruitless enterprise. While Devellano’s comments hint at collusion, they aren’t proof there’s an agreement – unwritten or otherwise – among NHL owners not to sign players to offer sheets.
ESPN.COM: Though Wade Redden has spent the past two seasons in the minors, his NHL contract has him locked out. Redden could sign an AHL contract, but if he got injured, he’d risk being suspended without pay by the Rangers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That expensive, lucrative contract Redden signed with the Rangers turned out to be a millstone. Sure, he’s well paid, but it’s also ensured he won’t get back into the NHL again.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Pavel Datsyuk had two assists for Moscow CSKA Dynamo in their 4-3 loss to Traktor Chelyabinsk in KHL action. Ilya Bryzgalov suffered the loss in goal for Dynamo. Valtteri Filppula scored a shootout goal as Jokerit Helsinki down Ilves in Finnish Elite League play.
KHL.RU: Evgeni Malkin scored his first KHL goal and tallied two assists, powering Mettalurg Magnitigorsk to a 6-1 victory over Prague in his first home game.
STLTODAY.COM: John Davidson has accepted a contract buyout and has stepped down as president of the Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation has Davidson linked to the Calgary Flames and Columbus Blue Jackets. He’s unlikely to be unemployed for long.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Former Phoenix Coyotes head coach Bobby Francis is dealing with the on-set of early dementia, likely brought about from concussions during his playing days, and exacerbated by alcoholism.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis, winner of the Jack Adams trophy as NHL coach of the year in 2002, once appeared to have a bright future in coaching. Best wishes to him in his attempt to overcome his current condition.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Forty years ago today, Paul Henderson scored what is consider hockey’s greatest goal, as Team Canada downed the Soviet Union 6-5 to win the 1972 Summit Series.