Donald Fehr

NHLPA talks about specifics of NHL’s offer in latest CBA meeting

The NHL and players’ union met again on Thursday and a big topic of discussion was the NHL’s initial proposal. On Wednesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said that what the NHL put forwarded needs “serious consideration for us to move forward.”

It would be surprising if the NHLPA actually accepted the NHL’s initial offer, but, as Jesse Spector of the Sporting News reported, they want to at least find out more about it before taking the next step.

“We feel like we are making progress,” Canucks forward Manny Malhotra said. “If we want to know what to counter with, we have to know where they’re coming from, and why they’re coming up with these certain aspects of their proposal. It’s wanting to understand their proposal a lot more, and perhaps shape our counter.”

With that in mind, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr probed the NHL for further details about specific scenarios that would be risen under the current proposal.

“If you have something that says we’re going to change the entry-level system, we’re going to change salary arbitration, we’re going to modify this, we’re going to change that, you can identify individual players and say,” Fehr said, “in the old system, this might have happened, in the system you’ve proposed, something else might have happened, and in a third system we might envision something else might have happened.

“What you’re engaged in, if you represent players, is sort of two things. You want to know what the aggregate produces, but you also want to know how it affects individual players.”

In case you’re wondering, yes, the Philadelphia Flyers massively frontloaded 14-year offer sheet with Shea Weber was brought up, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly claims that it was mentioned in a “lighthearted way.”

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
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Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen