League gives NHLPA time to approve rule change

Nearly 24 hours after it seemed the NHL and the Player’s Association
would get locked in an ugly political battle o
ver what in reality is a
needed and simple rule change, both sides have come to their senses and
the new rule should be in place by tomorrow. From Ira Podell of the
Associated Press:

“We have deliberated and endorsed to
the NHLPA Executive Board the
League’s proposal to implement supplemental discipline this season for
blindside hits to the head,” the six players on the committee said in a
statement. “Our Executive Board will vote on this recommendation and we
will respond back to the League with a decision in the next 24-48
hours.”

It’s an interesting turn of events.
Originally, the players were dragging their feet a bit and wanted to
submit their own counter proposal of a temporary ‘band aid solution’,
somewhat expected but still a bit of a power play by the NHLPA. After
word came down that the league went ahead and passed the rule anyways,
the Association decided that it’s perhaps best to give their blessing of
the new rule.

According to Bill Daly, NHL deputy commissioner,
the PA asked for some extra time to vote on the change.

“Following discussions today between the NHL and the NHLPA, including
player members of the Competition Committee, the NHLPA has requested
additional time to secure the approval of its Executive Board prior to
proceeding with the implementation of the proposed new rule regarding
hits to the head,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Wednesday
night in a statement. “In response to the Union’s request, the League
has agreed to wait until tomorrow before proceeding with implementation.

“Our strong preference remains to proceed on a cooperative basis with
the players on this important issue.”

That last part is most important, as it seemed that we were on the
verge of yet another nasty back and forth between the league and NHLPA.
Instead, cooler heads have prevailed and the NHL can move on with a very
important change in place. Expect for the change to be officially
adopted sometime Thursday.

Remember, it’s not an actual change to add any penalties to the
rule book that is being voted on. The change has to do with the NHL’s
ability to punish players for blind side hits to the head. Still not
exactly where we need to be, but at least it’s progress.

Now
about that useless trapezoid behind the goal….

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    Report: Blue Jackets RFA Anderson in contact with Hockey Canada about 2018 Olympics

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    The preseason is well underway and Josh Anderson is still without a contract.

    Anderson, who scored 17 goals and 29 points last season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, is one of two remaining restricted free agents without a new deal. The other is Andreas Athanasiou of the Detroit Red Wings.

    While there were reports this summer about Athanasiou potentially going to the KHL for this season, John Shannon of Sportsnet reported on Thursday that Anderson’s representatives have reached out to Hockey Canada’s staff about the 2018 Olympics. 

    Anderson’s entry-level contract, with an AAV of just over $894,000, expired at the end of last season.

    Meanwhile, here is the latest on this ongoing contract situation.

    Making an impression: Sergachev has ‘NHL written all over him’

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    Mikhail Sergachev has, over the summer, stated his belief he can play in the NHL this season.

    He had a small taste of NHL action last season, appearing in four games for Montreal — the team that selected him ninth overall in 2016 — before getting sent back to junior and then being traded in June to Tampa Bay, as part of a blockbuster involving Jonathan Drouin to the Habs.

    Well, Sergachev made a statement Wednesday in his preseason debut for the Lightning.

    He scored once. He also played more than 22 minutes, which led all Lightning players on the night. That included time on the power play and penalty kill. If he was looking to make a favorable impression, to show that he belongs at the NHL level when the regular season begins, this seems to be another step in that direction.

    “You watch this kid skate, shoot, stickhandle, he’s got NHL written all over him,” Tampa Bay’s associate coach Rick Bowness told the Tampa Bay Times. “Now we’ve got to give him experience. How much can he handle?”

    There is competition on the blue line, with eight defensemen under contract in Tampa Bay for this season. That includes Sergachev, who is still only 19 years old. After getting sent back to junior last season, he recorded 43 points in 50 games with Windsor and then won the Memorial Cup that spring. That said, he’s made it a point of saying going back to junior “is not an option” for him.

    Related:

    Looking to make the leap: Mikhail Sergachev

    Report: Lupul will have ‘independent medical exam’

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    Joffrey Lupul issued a statement Wednesday, saying he wouldn’t seek a second medical opinion after the Maple Leafs announced he didn’t pass his training camp physical.

    A day later, reports have surfaced that the 33-year-old forward will, in fact, undergo another, independent medical test.

    That is according to James Mirtle of The Athletic:

    Earlier this week, Lupul made accusations against the Maple Leafs on Instagram.

    “I’m ready … just awaiting the call,” Lupul wrote in the comments section of the Instagram post, per a screen grab. “haha failed physical? They cheat. Everyone lets them.”

    Lupul, who didn’t pass his physical for a second year in a row, issued an apology yesterday. But those comments — which have since been deleted — seem to have grabbed the attention of the league.

    Darren Dreger of TSN added to that, saying it’s the NHL pursuing a second medical opinion on this matter.

    “The National Hockey League has that right to pursue the second opinion. That’s exactly what they’re engaging in right now,” Dreger reported Thursday.

    “The reasoning behind it is because of the comment that Lupul made on social media. I’ll go back a year ago. The league didn’t step in a year ago but Lupul stayed quiet at that point. So they want to make sure — ‘They’ being the National Hockey League — that the medical evaluation from the Toronto Maple Leafs is 100 per cent above the board.”

    Team USA won’t include NHL draft-eligible prospects at 2018 Olympics

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    BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) General manager Jim Johannson has ruled out the possibility of the U.S. men’s hockey team having NHL draft-eligible prospects competing at the Winter Olympics in February.

    Johannson tells The Associated Press he doesn’t view anyone from the 18-and-younger pool of prospects capable of cracking the projected lineup of non-NHL players, many of whom are opening this season playing in Europe.

    USA Hockey’s assistant executive director says he’s also targeting a number of established college players, and would not rule out keeping a spot or two open for members of the U.S. team competing at the World Junior Championships this winter.

    Johansson spoke in Buffalo, New York, on Thursday, where he is attending USA Hockey’s sixth annual All-American Prospects game. The game features the top 42 U.S.-born players eligible to be selected in the NHL draft in June.