Fehr: Owners got “enormous concessions” from players last time, didn’t fix issues

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After Gary Bettman offered his take on the NHLPA’s collective bargaining proposal, union boss Donald Fehr followed with a stance of his own.

“Think about something — I just leave you with this,” Fehr told reporters. “This is an industry in which the owners insisted upon and got enormous concessions from the players last time, with the stated expectation it would fix things.

“Their position now is it didn’t fix things. Okay…so the question then becomes, ‘What do you do about that?’ And from the players standpoint, it doesn’t necessarily follow ‘Well okay, players get paid a lot less.'”

It was a telling quote, mostly because the NHLPA’s proposal was lauded for its concessions, especially when it came to hockey related revenue.

But is that really the case?

Consider this piece from Sportsnet’s Michael Grange. He took a deeper look at the NHLPA offer and referred to it as a wolf in sheep’s clothing:

By having the deal the players are proposing reset, whereby in the fourth year of it the CBA “snaps back” to what they have in place now — a 57 per cent share of HRR — that number becomes the starting point for negotiations four years from now, which is far better than the 43.3 per cent they’d be trying to protect next time around if the owners get their way.

It’s a clever mechanism to maintain the status quo, and Fehr should be congratulated for thinking outside that ever-shrinking box.

Unfortunately, the owners want that box to keep shrinking and they want to cut their No. 1 expense: player salaries.

Fehr’s proposal doesn’t do that in what the owners would define as a meaningful way and sets the stage for player costs staying much higher than the owners want for the foreseeable future.

From where the owners are sitting, the deal the players are offering comes cloaked in the spirit of compromise but has some very sharp teeth.

Gary Bettman will cry “wolf,” and he will be right.

If nothing else, today’s meeting suggested negotiations are now truly underway.

With just a month left ’til the CBA expires.

Related

Bettman on NHLPA proposal: “The sides are far apart and have different views of the world”

Stamkos on CBA negotiations: “We just want a fair deal”

Report: Blue Jackets RFA Anderson in contact with Hockey Canada about 2018 Olympics

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The preseason is well underway and Josh Anderson is still without a contract.

Anderson, who scored 17 goals and 29 points last season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, is one of two remaining restricted free agents without a new deal. The other is Andreas Athanasiou of the Detroit Red Wings.

While there were reports this summer about Athanasiou potentially going to the KHL for this season, John Shannon of Sportsnet reported on Thursday that Anderson’s representatives have reached out to Hockey Canada’s staff about the 2018 Olympics. 

Anderson’s entry-level contract, with an AAV of just over $894,000, expired at the end of last season.

Meanwhile, here is the latest on this ongoing contract situation.

Making an impression: Sergachev has ‘NHL written all over him’

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Mikhail Sergachev has, over the summer, stated his belief he can play in the NHL this season.

He had a small taste of NHL action last season, appearing in four games for Montreal — the team that selected him ninth overall in 2016 — before getting sent back to junior and then being traded in June to Tampa Bay, as part of a blockbuster involving Jonathan Drouin to the Habs.

Well, Sergachev made a statement Wednesday in his preseason debut for the Lightning.

He scored once. He also played more than 22 minutes, which led all Lightning players on the night. That included time on the power play and penalty kill. If he was looking to make a favorable impression, to show that he belongs at the NHL level when the regular season begins, this seems to be another step in that direction.

“You watch this kid skate, shoot, stickhandle, he’s got NHL written all over him,” Tampa Bay’s associate coach Rick Bowness told the Tampa Bay Times. “Now we’ve got to give him experience. How much can he handle?”

There is competition on the blue line, with eight defensemen under contract in Tampa Bay for this season. That includes Sergachev, who is still only 19 years old. After getting sent back to junior last season, he recorded 43 points in 50 games with Windsor and then won the Memorial Cup that spring. That said, he’s made it a point of saying going back to junior “is not an option” for him.

Related:

Looking to make the leap: Mikhail Sergachev

Report: Lupul will have ‘independent medical exam’

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Joffrey Lupul issued a statement Wednesday, saying he wouldn’t seek a second medical opinion after the Maple Leafs announced he didn’t pass his training camp physical.

A day later, reports have surfaced that the 33-year-old forward will, in fact, undergo another, independent medical test.

That is according to James Mirtle of The Athletic:

Earlier this week, Lupul made accusations against the Maple Leafs on Instagram.

“I’m ready … just awaiting the call,” Lupul wrote in the comments section of the Instagram post, per a screen grab. “haha failed physical? They cheat. Everyone lets them.”

Lupul, who didn’t pass his physical for a second year in a row, issued an apology yesterday. But those comments — which have since been deleted — seem to have grabbed the attention of the league.

Darren Dreger of TSN added to that, saying it’s the NHL pursuing a second medical opinion on this matter.

“The National Hockey League has that right to pursue the second opinion. That’s exactly what they’re engaging in right now,” Dreger reported Thursday.

“The reasoning behind it is because of the comment that Lupul made on social media. I’ll go back a year ago. The league didn’t step in a year ago but Lupul stayed quiet at that point. So they want to make sure — ‘They’ being the National Hockey League — that the medical evaluation from the Toronto Maple Leafs is 100 per cent above the board.”

Team USA won’t include NHL draft-eligible prospects at 2018 Olympics

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) General manager Jim Johannson has ruled out the possibility of the U.S. men’s hockey team having NHL draft-eligible prospects competing at the Winter Olympics in February.

Johannson tells The Associated Press he doesn’t view anyone from the 18-and-younger pool of prospects capable of cracking the projected lineup of non-NHL players, many of whom are opening this season playing in Europe.

USA Hockey’s assistant executive director says he’s also targeting a number of established college players, and would not rule out keeping a spot or two open for members of the U.S. team competing at the World Junior Championships this winter.

Johansson spoke in Buffalo, New York, on Thursday, where he is attending USA Hockey’s sixth annual All-American Prospects game. The game features the top 42 U.S.-born players eligible to be selected in the NHL draft in June.