Tampa Bay forward B.J. Crombeen — one of the 31 players on the NHLPA’s negotiating committee — is showing a strong sense of optimism in the face of CBA talks.
Yes, even after what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said on Thursday.
Crombeen told the St. Petersburg Times he’s hopeful the NHLPA’s counter proposal, to be presented on Tuesday, will go a long way in getting a new CBA.
“Our proposal is a good proposal,” he said. “With our proposal we feel we’ll be closer to getting that agreement done.”
Yesterday, Bettman said owners wouldn’t play another year under the current collective bargaining agreement, eschewing NHLPA boss Donald Fehr”s remarks that play could continue under the existing CBA while the two parties worked on a new deal.
Translation: No deal by Sept. 15? Lockout.
Crombeen said Bettman’s comments were “something you don’t want to hear,” but was “confident there’s still a lot of time left to get a deal done.”
“With Gary’s comments, they feel strong enough that they don’t want to continue under this agreement and want further concessions from the players,” Crombeen explained. “We’re trying to make sense of what they need and what they want.”
Bettman: “We need to be paying out less in player costs”
Fehr: NHLPA counteroffer expected on Tuesday
Hartnell on proposed revenue cut: “It’s very frustrating”
Fehr on CBA negotiations: “Sept. 15 is not a magic date unless someone wants to make it so”
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?
News and notes from around the crease…
Jones goes for San Jose
Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.
Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.
For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.
Markstrom out for Vancouver
Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.
Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.
For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.
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