Bill Daly and Gary Bettman

Report: NHL wants total control over realignment, scheduling and playoff format


The New York Post has learned that the NHL wants a “management rights” clause in its new collective bargaining agreement with the NHLPA.

According to the Post, the clause would give the league “unilateral power over issues including realignment, scheduling and playoff format.”

You’ll recall in early January when the union refused to approve the NHL’s drastic realignment plan. Under the soon-to-be-former CBA rules, the NHLPA couldn’t “unreasonably” withhold their consent to a change like that.

Just one problem: it wasn’t written anywhere what constituted the unreasonable withholding of consent. (Presumably that would be left to an arbitrator to decide.)

Ultimately the NHL decided to put realignment on hold, but it did accuse the union of acting unreasonably.

Thus, the league’s reported desire to have “unilateral power over issues including realignment, scheduling and playoff format.”

If the report is accurate, expect the PA to argue that such a clause doesn’t exactly constitute a partnership.

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

Mike Richards
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The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.

You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:

If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.

The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
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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?