NHL commissioner dismisses notion of working under current CBA, NHL CBA talks affect AHL players, Jonathan Quick undergoes back surgery, Devils sign Bobby Butler, predictions for the upcoming season, and an update on Dominik Hasek.

TSN.CA: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman dismissed the possibility of the league continuing to operate under the current CBA if a new one isn’t in place by September 15th, the expiry date of the present one.

“I re-confirmed something that the union has been told multiple times over the last nine to 12 months,” Bettman told reporters after a two-hour meeting. “Namely, that time is getting short and the owners are not prepared to operate under this collective bargaining agreement for another season, so we need to get to making a deal and doing it soon. And we believe there’s ample time for the parties to get together and make a deal and that’s what we’re going to be working towards.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And on cue, the headlines making the rounds this morning is “Bettman/NHL threatens lockout”. In other news, the sun rose in the east and set in the west yesterday. Look, Bettman isn’t saying anything new here. When the league informed the PA nearly six months ago of its intent to terminate the current CBA on September 15th and negotiate a new deal, that was the official word the team owners weren’t prepared to continue to operate under the current agreement.

All Bettman is doing here is dispelling the notion, floated by NHLPA director Donald Fehr, the two sides could continue working under this CBA while they negotiate a new one. No way in hell the league was going to do that, as it would rob them of leverage over the players. Maybe there will be a lockout, maybe there won’t, but Bettman isn’t saying anything we didn’t already know with his statement yesterday. 

DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE: The NHL CBA negotiations are having an effect upon AHL players awaiting new contracts, like Derek Whitmore of the Rochester Americans, the farm team of the Buffalo Sabres.

Quick underwent minor back surgery.

LA KINGS INSIDER: Kings goalie Jonathan Quick underwent “a “minor surgical procedure” today to repair a disc frament and an inflammatory cyst that had formed in his back.” Expected recovery time is six weeks.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils yesterday signed former Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Butler to a one-year, two-way contract. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

USA TODAY: Kevin Allen weighs in with ten bold predictions for the upcoming NHL season, provided it isn’t shortened significantly by a lockout.

PUCK DADDY: Former NHL star Dominik Hasek begins training with Czech club Pardubice as he still seeks an NHL contract.