More details emerging from the new NHL CBA, plus the latest on Marian Gaborik, Ryan O’Reilly, Lubomir Visnovsky, Andrej Meszaros and more.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Chris Johnston of Canadian Press reports a 48-game schedule beginning January 19 appears more likely as the NHL and NHLPA scramble to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement. The NHL Board of Governors is scheduled to meet Wednesday in New York to vote for ratification, while it could take until this weekend before a vote of the 740-member NHLPA to be completed, as a number of players are currently returning to their respective teams. James Mirtle and Sean Gordon, meanwhile, explain the gulf between the rich and poor NHL teams will only widen during this new CBA.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Put simply, the increase in revenue sharing from $150 million to $200 million won’t do much to alleviate the problems facing the money-losing franchises. Also, the salary cap remains tied to revenues, meaning if, as Mirtle noted in an earlier column, the league see an average five percent growth in revenue between the first and eighth year of this new CBA, the salary cap ceiling could reach $80 million, and the cap floor close to $64 million.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports on some more details emerging from the new CBA. One is teams will be allowed to absorb up to 50% of a player’s salary and cap hit to facilitate a trade. “Also, only up to 15 percent of your upper limit cap amount can be used up by the money you have retained in trades”, write LeBrun. Also, in what’s now being called “The Luongo Rule” (referring to the trading of a player on a heavily front-loaded contract), “for any contract in excess of six years, both teams involved in a trade on a contract like Luongo’s would be penalized if he retired before the end of his deal.” Also, if those players are never traded but retire before the end of their contract, ”their current teams get charged the cap savings spread evenly over the remaining years of the deal.” There will also be a UFA interview period, starting from the end of the NHL entry draft up to June 30th, allowing potential UFA players to meet and interview with interested clubs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can feel the fingerprints of Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke all over the trading of salary and cap space and in the penalties for teams moving players with heavily front-loaded contracts…though it would be ironic if he traded for Roberto Luongo, whom the rule is named after. I like the idea of an interview period for pending UFAs. It could cut down on the number of bad signings made in the free agent market, and help players find the right fit.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman goes into great detail explaining “the Luongo rule”, aka “the cap recapture system”. (Caution, math ahead!)
NATIONAL POST: Craig Wong of Canadian Press suggests the lockout could change how sponsors conduct their business with the NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: One reason the NHL insisted on a ten-year CBA was to try to soothe the nerves of those sponsors upset over yet another lockout. It remains to be seen what impact the lockout, and the period of the next CBA, has upon sponsors, both existing and those the league hopes to woo.
BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reports the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks were among the teams “leading the charge” against lengthy, heavily front-loaded contracts. One player agent wondered why the league didn’t push harder for reforms in other areas, such as “no-trade” clauses and the age level for free agency. Dupont also noted the owners didn’t attempt to eliminate or amend guaranteed contracts. The same agent believes league commissioner Gary Bettman “ignored the input of hockey people”, especially the general managers. Dupont also muses on Bettman no longer being commissioner when the new CBA expires, possibly stepping aside for deputy commissioner Bill Daly, and cited a league source saying there will be some members of the Board of Governors who won’t be happy with this new agreement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The new CBA requires approval of 16 of the 30 members of the BoG for ratification. That’s not expected to be a problem, for while there may be those unhappy with the agreement, they’re not going to scuttle it. As for those areas where the NHL didn’t push for reform, expect those points to become hot button issues in eight-ten years time.
DETROIT NEWS: Gregg Krupa also sees issues emerging from this new CBA (revenue-sharing, rising salary cap floor, lack of a long-term business plan) which could threaten another lockout in 8-10 years time.
PUCK DADDY: Greg Wyshynski reports NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed there won’t be any expansion of the NHL playoff format for this season, and doesn’t think it is being contemplated beyond this season.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings are looking forward to their season opener, where they’ll raise their first Stanley Cup championship banner. They could be doing it without Anze Kopitar in the lineup, who recently suffered a sprained right knee during a game in Sweden on Saturday. Goaltender Jonathan Quick, who underwent off-season back surgery, is expected to be ready to go for the season opener.
MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings may have to wait until next season to retire Nicklas Lidstrom’s number 5.
NEW YORK POST: Marian Gaborik claims he’s fully recovered from off-season shoulder surgery and will be ready to go for the NY Rangers season opener.
THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche must not waste time re-signing RFA center Ryan O’Reilly.
PHILLY.COM: It remains to be seen if Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who’s recovering from surgery on his right Achilles tendon, will be ready to go for the start of this shortened season. Forward Daniel Briere, who suffered a bruised bone and sprain of his left wrist playing in Germany, hopes to be ready to play for the opener.
NEWSDAY: NY Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky said he wants to remain in his home country of
Slovenia Slovakia and play in the KHL for the remainder of the season, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the KHL and NHL have a transfer agreement which must be honored.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out soon enough if the KHL intends to honor it. If they do, Visnovsky has no choice but to return to the NHL. The KHL has honored that agreement since it was implemented after the Alexander Radulov fiasco over four years ago.
PHOENIX BUSINESS JOURNAL: Greg Jamison, prospective buyer of the Phoenix Coyotes, seeks possible NHL financing to complete the purchase of the club before the end of January.