Fehr and players

With lockout looming, Fehr lays out union’s position


“What would your reaction be in similar circumstances?”

That’s the question NHLPA boss Donald Fehr has for anyone who wonders why the players are refusing to accept what the owners are offering them.

Thursday in New York – with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Henrik Lundqvist and Zdeno Chara standing symbolically behind him – Fehr detailed the union’s argument:

—- The players made “enormous concessions” to end the 2004-05 lockout. Since then, league revenues have grown 50 percent to $3.3 billion. And now the owners want to “see what else they can get.”

—- If the owners are intent on cutting expenses, there needs to be “shared sacrifice.” In other words, it can’t just be player salaries. (When asked what other expenses could be cut – coaching salaries? travel? – Fehr wouldn’t provide specifics.)

—- The players are willing to accept a diminishing share of revenues, but they want their current compensation protected. Translation: no pay-cuts.

—- Not only have the owners demanded salary concessions, they also want the players to surrender certain contractual rights (e.g. arbitration). “Less money, fewer rights” is how Fehr put it. So what’s in it for players? he wonders.

—- The players want a deal that “stabilizes this industry” and “gets us out of the cycle” of labor disputes. For that, the union believes there needs to be more revenue sharing. Fehr pointed to Major League Baseball as an example of a league that implemented extensive revenue sharing and hasn’t had a work stoppage since the 1994-95 strike. As such, he was “a little bit surprised” and “significantly disappointed” that the NHL hasn’t shown a willingness to go down that route.

Fehr said there have been no further developments since yesterday and, until one side has something new to say, talks aren’t likely to be productive.

The current CBA expires Saturday at 11:59 p.m. ET, after which the owners have said they’ll lock out the players.

Here’s the full presser:


Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning

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Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.

Slump busters: Simmonds, Couturier end long scoring droughts in win over Rangers


It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.

The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.

It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.

Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.

Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.

Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.

The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:

The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.

Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.

The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.