NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2012.

Reaction as the NHLPA balks on NHL realignment plan…Is Sidney Crosby finished for the season?…Time for a new coach for the Blue Jackets…Devils Patrik Elias comes through on 1000th NHL game…The Avalanche win their fourth in a row…Bruins prepare for rematch with Canucks…Simon Gagne still bothered by concussion symptoms…How hockey can give up fighting without giving up the fight…Is the NHL tough enough on racism?

TORONTO SUN: The NHL’s realignment plan, slated for next season, is on hold after the NHLPA rejected it last night, with league deputy commissioner Bill Daly saying this delay mean it won’t be implemented for 2012-13.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: NHLPA director Donald Fehr issued a statement regarding the reasons for the PA’s rejection, citing concerns over playoff structure and travel, and the league’s unwillingness to consult with the PA before putting the realignment plan to a vote before the league board of governors.

ESPN.COM‘S Scott Burnside, YAHOO! SPORTS’ Greg Wyshynski, THE GLOBE & MAIL’S Eric Duhatschek, and the TORONTO STAR‘S Damien Cox weigh in with their opinions as to the PA’s motives behind this move.

WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe on how this will impact the Jets, whose recent relocation from Atlanta was the incentive behind the realignment.

MIAMI HERALD/COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Florida Panthers PA rep Mike Weaver and Columbus Blue Jackets PA rep Marc Methot explain why they voted against accepting the realignment plan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty more reaction to this in the MSM as well as the NHL blogosphere today, with the consensus being this is the first shot in what could be another labor war between the NHL and the NHLPA. I’ll have my opinion on this in my Sunday Soapbox, but in the meantime, my advice is everyone take a breath and relax. Nobody believed CBA talks would be pleasant, and there’s going to be lots of posturing and politicking on both sides until a new deal is agreed upon, hopefully without jeopardizing the start of next season. Long way to go yet, folks. Start worrying if there’s no deal in place by September 15th, when the current CBA expires.

Is Crosby's season over?

SPORTSNET.CA: Nick Kypreos believes Sidney Crosby’s season is over, based on his long-term health and upcoming contract negotiations. Penguins GM Ray Shero and Crosby’s agent Pat Brisson say otherwise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby is reportedly working out again and hoping to return later this season. Kypreos does however raise an interesting point about how Crosby’s injury status could have an impact upon his contract talks with the Penguins.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Michael Arace believes it’s time for the Blue Jackets to find a replacement for Scott Arniel as head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Probably should’ve happened weeks ago. Too late now to make a difference for this season.

NEW YORK POST: Patrik Elias made his 1,000th NHL game more memorable, leading the Devils to a 5-2 win over Florida with a goal and two assists.

DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche won their fourth in a row, shutting out the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Is this recent surge up the standings by the Avalanche for real, or just another twist in their rollercoaster season?Enjoy the ride, Avs fans.

BOSTON GLOBE: The Bruins prepare for their game today against the Vancouver Canucks, their first since defeating the Canucks in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt this tilt will be a dull one. The Canucks will be starting Cory Schneider instead of Roberto Luongo, adding more fuel to the “goaltender controversy” talk in Vancouver.

LA KINGS INSIDER: It’s not looking good for Kings winger Simon Gagne, who remains plagued by post-concussion symptoms.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Guest columnist and hockey legend Ken Dryden on why hockey can give up fighting without giving up the fight, while David Shoalts wonders if the NHL is tough enough on racism.


  1. Just a great way for the PA to get things started smoothly.
    There is a reason MLB dumped that moron Fehr out on his ass.
    He pretty much just guaranteed some kind of stoppage.
    You do not piss off the owners before bargaining even starts as now they will want more than just a pound of flesh.

  2. Actually, TRC, MLB didn’t “dump” Fehr. He stepped down, and named his own successor. You’re also overlooking that he was in part responsible for the ongoing labor peace in MLB following the 1994 shutdown. Don’t be so quick to assume he’s seeking some kind of stoppage. This is merely posturing, which is what the league was also doing by claiming they didn’t need the PA’s approval to implement the realignment plan.

  3. Gehrig gets the players to vote against the realignment, CBA talks start, owners will concede something to players for the go ahead with realignment. Makes plenty sense

  4. Fehr not gehrig. Dang iPhone

  5. Lyle,
    Fehr is an old school union guy that has already stated the players gave too much last time and must take a stand this time.
    He is not a guy for the present times and the NHL is not MLB.
    In the USA hockey is still way down the list of things they like and many franchises are still hurting and showing little sign of that changing.
    In Canada we would freak out over another stoppage but the NHL is way more worried about the USA.
    If Fehr tries to go old school here the owners will again sit for as long as it takes because the USA team owners will want that and the USA fans will say go ahead who cares it is only hockey.
    If Fehr was still calling the shots in MLB it sure as hell would not have been all done as smoothly as it was in this present negotiation.
    Bettman is bad but Fehr is worse.
    This is not the guy that is good as a present day leader for a league low down the sports ladder but will represent it like MLB which has a much bigger sports influence but still had a stoppage back in his day.

  6. TRC: You’re basing this assumption that Fehr is worse on what? The players strike of 1994 in MLB? The situation between the MLB owners and the players back then was completely different compared to what’s happening between the NHL and NHLPA right now. Yes, there was a work stoppage on his watch in 1994 in MLB. There hasn’t been one since, for which he deserves his fair share of the credit, including the continued smooth relationship between the players and owners, thanks to his hand-picked successor.

    The PA hired Fehr to get the best deal he can for them. That means they’re not going to just roll over and accept whatever the league tells them to take. We’re a long way from September 15th. Let’s not panic in January based on this bit of posturing, OK?

  7. Spector: The biggest difference between MLB negotiations vs NHL negotiations is that the owners concede to the union, each time. No cap, liberal free agency. No concern for a game that has been ruined. (The courts also helped) . THAT is why they didn’t have stopages on his watch. The owners just rolled over. And you’re right, that union loved Fehr.

    Small market teams in the MLB are just along for the ride. They must do a near perfect job, to be able to compete in a very small window (2-4 years). At that point. they loose their stars to the big boys and start over, with years of futility. This is what scares me about the current union. Posturing this early….scares me. I do have faith in the NHL owners though.

  8. lyle,lets just say i consider the move to block the realignment a bad move and will ruffle feathers without good cause.
    this would have been a very good time for everyone to make nice and get off on the right foot rather than the wrong one.
    instead of pissing off the owners they could have said we agreed quickly and smoothly with realignment so now it is your turn to chip in.
    starting off talks with what is really a slap in the face is a very bad start and instead of all smiles and good mornings both sides start out digging in their heals.
    i have no faith in Fehr whatsoever but it does help that you seem to think he will get it done without a stoppage.
    for sure i hope you are right on this one,but i would not bet on it.

  9. Sounds like you really understand negotiation TopRight.

  10. I’m just happy my team still has the same chance to make the playoffs next season, as little as that may be or not.

  11. yes Guerin i have had some experience in this area and it gets ugly pretty fast.
    one really bad move to piss off the other side and all hell can break loose.
    i kid you not when i say it is the same as an argument with your wife when both of you will not budge an inch and it just gets worse and worse and even when settled there are still hard feelings.
    i am sure you know what that is like even when you look back and wonder how it ever got that bad.

  12. Realignment was a calculated opening play by the league. They created a no-win situation. Either the PA would look weak by rolling over, or they would look like they were blocking something the fans wanted. The league took the first shot, and Fehr, this being his first challenge, had to answer by showing strength. The negotiation and PR war is underway.

  13. The PA will concede on the realignement if the owners take out the escrow in the next CBA. That is my take on the postering. The league won’t respond right away on this, not publicly, will most likely take it in to consideration. With the tv contracts signed in the US, both sides cannot afford to put that in jeopardy with any kind of work stoppage.

  14. As far as Crosby goes, I believe both sides will take in to account the person and not only monetary implications. Both Crosby and his agent will take in to consideration that the Penguins have treated him very well and he will do is best for the team and for himself. If that means, 5 million a year for 3 years, instead of 9 or ten million a year for 5 years. He won’t care if the PA likes it or not. It’s his life and career.