What should (or could?) be done about messy no-trade clauses?

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for oopsburke.jpgWhen someone is about to sign a contract, there’s often that thought: you better check the fine print.

Sure, it’s easy to follow dollars and cents, whether it’s a players salary vs. their cap hit. But what about some of the more nuanced elements of a contract? A lot of times deals get complicated when you start throwing in player/team options, incentive-laden bonuses and one particular thing that sprouted up this weekend: a no-trade clause.

It’s a prickly issue, especially in the salary cap era, as a player who seems essential one season can turn expendable a couple years later. Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy discussed Brian Burke’s emphatic stance not to trade a player (such at Tomas Kaberle) who has a no trade clause today.

The way I see it: There’s no harm in asking. Fans have every right to be upset when a player doesn’t waive one for the “betterment of the team” or his own career — hello, Mats Sundin(notes) — but at the end of the day, the team agreed to the no-trade provision, usually because the player made a concession on money or years. So you can’t kill a guy for playing one of the few cards the players still hold with regard to their career paths.

Jeff Marek of CBC Sports sided with Burke’s philosophy because (a) no-trade clauses are usually negotiated as part of a player contract in lieu of additional money and (b) you can’t compensate a player for waiving that no-trade clause.

But in thinking about Burke’s philosophy, what about this proposal: Should the next CBA allow players and their teams to negotiate a no-trade clause buyout, in which a team can remove the NTC for given amount at any point in the contract?

It would be an option, not mandatory, for players seeking no-trade clauses. Maybe there’s even a way to open that provision up for in-season negotiation, rather than a “trigger” price; although whether it’s a pre-determined amount or a negotiated sum, one imagines there’d have to be some kind of salary cap implication for the NTC buyout.

Thumbnail image for kaberleshovesthrasher.jpgTeams have all sorts of “rights” when it comes to moving players around. They can send a reasonably decent player to the minors simply for salary reasons – just look at Michael Nylander’s situation in Washington. He wasn’t necessarily the best fit for coach Bruce Boudreau’s attacking style, but at a more reasonable price, he’d be a no-brainer for another NHL team. Yet he’s stuck in foreign league/AHL limbo because of his costly contract.

The next Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations could be looked at in two distinctly different ways. You could either see it as a harbinger of doom if you subscribe to the (frightfully reasonable) notion that the league is heading for another crippling lockout. On the other hand, you may look at it as an opportunity for the NHL to clean up the messy loopholes and blunders of their first post-lockout labor agreement.

I cannot say for sure what the best way to handle NTC’s would be … except for the numbly obvious suggestion that teams avoid them altogether. What do you think, PHT readers?

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.