Roundup of the latest NHL CBA news, Devils owner to retain control of the franchise, updates on Tomas Holmstrom and Justin Abdelkader, and Raffi Torres acknowledges he must change his ways.
TSN.CA: Representatives from the NHL and NHLPA held a pair of informal discussions yesterday in New York aimed at finding a way to re-start stalled CBA negotiations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on if there will be further discussions – formal or informal – but as long as the two sides are talking, there’s hope for a resolution.
NATIONAL POST: Player agent Allan Walsh believes the NHL’s proposal to extend amount of time players must spend in the league before becoming eligible for UFA status would be akin to bringing back the “C form”, the league’s version of the reserve clause, tying a player to a team for ten years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league is seeking not only five-year term limits on contracts, but also increasing the term on entry-level contracts to five years. In other words, depending on when a player joins the NHL on an entry-level contract, they might have to wait until they’re between the ages of 28 to 34 to become eligible for UFA status.
While I understand Walsh’s complaint, it must be remembered the eligibility for UFA status under the old CBA was 31, and I don’t recall many complaints from the PA or the agents over that at the time, nor did the players seem hard done by. Furthermore, under the current CBA, most quality players are being re-signed when they come out of their entry-level deals to lengthy contract extensions, tying themselves – willingly – to their respective teams until their late-twenties to early-thirties.
SPORTSNET.CA: Michael Grange wonders if NHL Commissioner Bettman may be under-estimating NHLPA director Donald Fehr, while Mark Spector notes the pros and cons for NHL players considering the KHL as an option in the event of a lockout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For Russian players, going to the KHL is going home. For other European players, the culture shock isn’t that difficult. For North Americans, however, it can be like stepping into another world. Some embrace it, others struggle with it.
NEW YORK POST: Embattled New Jersey Devils owner Jeffrey Vanderbeek has finalized a deal with the team’s lenders allowing him to retain control of the franchise for two years.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Tomas Holmstrom intends to take his time reaching a decision on his future plans, but if he opts to return to play, it’ll be with the Red Wings only. RFA forward Justin Abdelkader, meanwhile, anticipates finalizing a new contract with the club either this weekend or next week.
CSNCHICAGO.COM: Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres acknowledged he’ll have to change his style when he returns from his 21-game suspension for injuring Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa with a high hit during the 2012 playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’d better, or he can forget about continuing his NHL career. Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke, once the dirtiest player in the league, was one of the cleanest last season after speaking with league and team officials over his style of play. In other words, clean up your act, or you’re gone.