Paul Kelly didn’t run the NHLPA for very long – something he expressed regret about (whether it was his fault or not) – but his connection with the players association still gives him deeper insight on the upcoming CBA negotiations. TSN legal analyst Eric Macramalla spoke with Kelly about a wide variety of those subjects and the general takeaway is that it’s “too early” to worry about a lockout.
“I do think it’s too early to start worrying we won’t have hockey come September,” Kelly said.
When asked if the NHL could afford to lock out, Kelly echoed the common belief that a “large number of fans would turn away in disgust.”
“[The] NHL is not going to be out to recreate the CBA,” Kelly said. “It’s not broken. [It doesn’t] need a radical fix.”
I can’t help but agree with that standpoint. Last time around, the NHL proposed an absolutely radical change in the form of a newly instituted salary cap. Sure there are some big potential changes – most notably a possible realignment – but not on that same (extremely contentious) level.
That’s not to say that some teams won’t be strongly proposing much-needed alterations, though. Kelly backs up the belief that lower-budget teams might want the salary cap floor to be relaxed, even saying that 8-12 teams would have had “significantly lower” salaries if not for the minimum.
Kelly had glowing things to say about leadership for the NHLPA, praising Donald Fehr’s experience and Mathieu Schneider’s goals to protect players. The general message is that the players are in “good hands” going into the next CBA.
There’s nothing necessarily “groundbreaking” in what Kelly says, but it’s nice to hear some mostly-reassuring things from a person once on the inside. That doesn’t mean it’ll be an easy process, although it’s a sign that we shouldn’t lose sleep about Lockout 2.0 just yet.
GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: