Updates on the soon-to-be ratified NHL CBA, the latest on the Flyers and Panthers, plus updates on Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrick Kane, Nathan Horton and more.
NHLPA: released some “quick facts” on how the upcoming ratification of the new NHL CBA by the players will be conducted.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Janet McFarland and David Ebner report how the new CBA will improve the pension plan for average NHL players, while Allan Maki reports NHL teams in the United States have begun offering discounts to their fans, but Canadian teams are slow to offer the same to theirs.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: The Penguins have begun offering concession vouchers and discounts to their fans.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As ticket prices are determined by market, so too will discounts. American-based NHL franchises appear to have more concern about wooing back disgruntled or casual fans than Canadian teams, as there’s apparently been no noticeable lack of demand for NHL tickets by Canadian fans..
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Luke DeCock reports it remains to be seen if this new CBA will help a club like the Carolina Hurricanes become competitive and stable, now and in the future.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I hate to say it, but no, the new CBA won’t help struggling US markets become competitive and stable. There was minimal improvement to revenue-sharing, and if NHL revenue grows by an average of five percent over the life of this CBA, the salary cap by the eighth year of the ten-year deal will be over $80 million, while the cap floor will be pushing $60 million. The NHL kicked the can down the road on this issue, which could become serious in the final years of this new CBA.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance reports the issues of divisional realignment and NHL participation in the Winter Olympics still linger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both issues weren’t addressed in this CBA but were set aside as separate issues. It’s believed realignment will be implemented this summer, while the NHL and NHLPA is expected to meet soon with the IIHF and IOC to discuss NHL participation in the Olympics beyond the 2014 Sochi games.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Some fans are planning to boycott the Flyers; some for the remainder of the season, some for one game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While I understand the motivation behind the boycott talk, the fact remains they will have little – if any – impact upon Flyers attendance.Same goes for attendance around the league.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon is expecting good things from his club this season. “We gave [the fans] good value last year and that’s what we hope to do this year,” Tallon said. “We believe in them, hopefully, they believe in us, and we’re going to win some hockey games and win a championship.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While it’s unlikely the Panthers will contend for the Stanley Cup this season, they appear in good shape to compete for a playoff berth. Tallon’s comments are obviously aimed at wooing back casual fans, as well as those unhappy over the lockout.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Ilya Kovalchuk would love to finish this season with SKA Saint Petersburg, but admits his contractual obligations to the New Jersey Devils makes that unlikely.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kovalchuk’s saga continues to be an interesting one. So far it’s believed he’ll play in the KHL All-Star game on January 13, then return to the Devils early next week. Stay tuned…
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks star Patrick Kane feels his playing in Switzerland during the lockout will be to his benefit when the NHL season opens.
BOSTON HERALD: Bruins star Nathan Horton claims he’s fully recovered from the concussion he suffered last January and is looking forward to the start of this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Horton can avoid further concussion injuries.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Former Minnesota Wild stars Brian Rolston and Andrew Brunette could be facing retirement.