NHL apparently gives approval to Chris Pronger's seven-year contract extension

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prongerflyers.jpgWhile we’re here today splitting hairs over whether or not we consider the differences between “ultimatum” and “negotiation” regarding the situation between the NHL and NHLPA over the Ilya Kovalchuk situation, the originator of the report, Larry Brooks of the New York Post, hits us with some new information.

While the NHL rounded up a group of players in the wake of winning the grievance case with the NHLPA over Kovalchuk’s first 17-year, $102 million offer with New Jersey, Brooks finds out that one of the players hand-picked by the NHL to look over their contract even further has been given the full approval of the NHL.

The league has informed the union that it has accepted Chris Pronger’s year-old, front-loaded, seven-year, $34.45 million contract with Ed Snider’s Flyers under which the defenseman will earn $1.05 million over the final two years of the deal.

The status of Marc Savard’s year-old, seven-year, $28.05 million contract with Jeremy Jacobs’ Bruins under which the center will earn $2.55 million over the final three years, is unclear.

If that proves to be true, we can cross Pronger off the list. We can also throw some fuel on to some conspiracy theories as Flyers owner Ed Snider is a long-time league loyalist. Seeing Pronger’s contract get the blessing of the NHL also muddies up some cases centering around age at the end of contracts.

Meanwhile, Marc Savard’s agent Larry Kelly says he’ll sue the league if they void his client’s contract. Kelly also went on the offensive against commissioner Gary Bettman.

“I’d really like to see a true-commissioner -style , someone who has the
best interest of the game in mind rather than the situation they have
now,” Kelly said. “Bettman is (more like) the president of the league
and he clearly is on the owners side on every issue. I really think it
should be a commissioner. With a commissioner you have somebody who is
totally independent and I think it would be a much less acrimonious
situation.”

Stern words for sure. Meanwhile, as for Pronger, his seven-year extension with the Flyers goes until he’s 42 years-old and considering that age was a sticking point in Kovalchuk’s first offer, this just raises more questions about the consistencies of the NHL as well as questions about potential favoritism being given to a guy like Snider and his team.

Then again, the Flyers also thought that Pronger’s deal wouldn’t have counted as a 35+ contract, which it does. Obviously the Flyers attempted to get by the cap with the deal structure but the rules of the CBA spank them regardless. This is a lot of fun to talk about. By the end of all this, we’ll all be full-fledged conspiracy theorists, let’s just hope no one goes full-on Mel Gibson once everything is settled.

Blues have ‘wiggle room’ after locking up Parayko

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The St. Louis Blues didn’t break the bank to keep Colton Parayko for five more years, and that’s important since they don’t believe the NHL’s salary cap will rise significantly in the next little while.

Parayko’s cap hit came in at a manageable $5.5 million, as the two sides narrowly avoided an arbitration hearing that was scheduled for today.

“You like to have as much wiggle room as possible,” GM Doug Armstrong said, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Now we view the cap will stay flat for the foreseeable future. We’re content with the space we have. We’ll move forward and get ready for training camp.”

The Blues now have a number of key players locked up long term, including Parayko, Alex Pietrangelo, Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Steen, Jaden Schwartz, Patrik Berglund, and Jake Allen.

For Armstrong, the next big decision could involve Paul Stastny, the 31-year-old center who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

But a decision on Stastny doesn’t need to be made now, or even before the season starts. It’s the trade deadline that could be the real pressure point, akin to the Kevin Shattenkirk situation this past year.

Per CapFriendly, the Blues have just over $3 million in cap space, with one roster spot left to fill.

‘Highly unlikely’ Suns will pursue shared arena with Coyotes

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The Arizona Coyotes appear to be on their own in pursuit of a new arena in the Phoenix area.

That’s because Robert Sarver, the owner of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, says it’s “highly unlikely” he’ll pursue a shared arena with the Coyotes.

Instead, Sarver is focused on upgrading the Suns’ current home (and Coyotes’ old home) in downtown Phoenix, Talking Stick Resort Arena.

From the Arizona Republic:

Sarver said building a new arena would have “maybe made more sense” four or five years ago when the cost estimate was $450 million to $500 million. The costs now, Sarver said, are “significantly higher.” Thus his focus on upgrading Talking Stick, which soon will be the second-oldest arena in the NBA.

“I think it’s the most economically viable alternative for the city and us,” he said. “I like downtown Phoenix. That’s my first preference. I think the NBA is more of an urban game. That’s our demographic.”

Talking Stick Resort Arena, formerly called America West Arena when the Coyotes played there, was designed for basketball and isn’t ideal for hockey. In that way, it’s a lot like Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which hasn’t been a great fit for the Islanders.

The Coyotes recently hired a new president and CEO, Steve Patterson, whose top priority is finding the team a new home in the Phoenix area.

Crosby to celebrate 30th birthday with Stanley Cup in Nova Scotia

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HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) Sidney Crosby will mark his 30th birthday by once again parading the Stanley Cup in his province.

In tweets sent out by the Sidney Crosby Hockey School, Crosby said he would hoist the trophy in the streets of Halifax and Dartmouth as part of an annual civic parade.

“Get ready, the Stanley cup is coming to town!” Crosby confirmed in the tweet sent late Tuesday night. “I will be taking Lord Stanley to the streets Monday August 7th in the Halifax-Dartmouth Natal Day parade.”

The parade, part of annual events that celebrate Halifax’s birthday, also happens to fall on the Pittsburgh Penguins captain’s 30th birthday.

Natal Day chairman Greg Hayward said he expects another 25,000 people will be lining the parade route on top of the roughly 40,000 usual attendees.

“It’s extremely exciting to think that we’re going to have Sid and the Cup in our Natal Day parade,” Hayward said Wednesday.

Crosby has shown off the Stanley Cup twice before in his hometown of Cole Harbour, just outside Dartmouth, in 2009 and 2016.

Last July, Crosby carried the Cup in the back of a pickup that made its way to an arena in Cole Harbour as thousands of cheering fans looked on in sweltering heat.

Arbitration hearing looming for Arvidsson, who broke out in big way last year

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Viktor Arvidsson wants a one-year deal worth $4.5 million, while the Nashville Predators are countering with a two-year deal worth $5.5 million ($2.75 million AAV).

That’s the situation with an arbitration hearing scheduled for Saturday, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

The two sides could still reach a deal before each case is heard.

Arvidsson, 24, broke out in a big way last year, scoring 31 goals during the regular season, then helping the Preds to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

But Nashville needs to be careful with its cap situation, because Ryan Johansen also needs a new contract, and he won’t be cheap to re-sign.

Arvidsson just wrapped up his entry-level contract.