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Daly: the system works, the split doesn’t

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Say what you will about the NHL, but at least you know exactly where the league stands in its labor dispute with the NHLPA. It’s real simple – the owners want a higher share of the league’s revenue. And they’re not going to apologize for it.

Even though league revenues are at an all-time high?

Yes.

Even though it’s the owners who are signing the players to enormous contracts?

Yes.

Even though the last CBA – the one that cost the NHL an entire season – was supposed to fix the league’s problems?

Yes.

Can’t you see how that would upset the players and the fans?

Yes.

Wait, why are you locking out the players again?

“The system itself is something we think has worked very, very well,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly Monday on FAN 590 in Toronto. “I think it’s made our league more competitive than it’s ever been, and I think the product is as good as it’s ever been. I think the revenues we’ve been able to generate are a testament to the fact the system itself works very, very well.”

But?

“As it’s turned out, 57 percent of the revenues going to the players is too high.”

Daly understands how it looks when owners shell out millions in contracts then in the next breath ask the players to make concessions. But that’s what happens when teams are competing with each other on the ice.

“It’s the individual mindset versus the collective mindset,” he said. “It’s the league’s job to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement that’s going to work for all of us.

“As long as you have a current system and ‘we’re entitled to do this and it’s going to make us more competitive and may lead to competitive success,’ they’re going to do what they’re going to do under the current rules.”

Daly does, however, deny it’s just a handful of teams that are in financial trouble due to player salaries.

“Our issue is we’re paying too much, as a league, to the players as a whole,” he said. “This is not a four- or five-team issue, and that’s what the players’ association would want you to believe.”

Fortunately, Daly believes the two sides are closer than they were prior to the 2004-05 lockout.

“It’s a totally different negotiation,” he said. “We hadn’t really negotiated over anything in 04-05 at this point. The issue was a cap system or not a cap system. Until one side or the other agreed to the other’s position, there was no negotiation really.

“At least at this point the players’ association has said they’ll maintain the cap. It’s an economic negotiation. In my view, on that front, it’s a much simpler negotiation.”

You can listen to the full interview here.

Related: Don’t blame owners for trying to win

Lehner (forearm contusion) to miss preseason game versus Maple Leafs

Matt Puempel, Alex Chiasson, Robin Lehner
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The Buffalo Sabres will not have goalie Robin Lehner in their lineup Friday versus the Toronto Maple Leafs.

As per the Sabres, Lehner is dealing with a forearm contusion and will not dress for this preseason game. Jason Kasdorf will start in net for Buffalo.

Members of the media in Buffalo have noted that if this were a regular season game, Lehner would be able to play.

Lehner had ankle surgery in March, ending his 2015-16 season. His ankle issues dated even further back, to the beginning of last season when he suffered a high-ankle sprain.

The Sabres have some exciting young players on their roster, especially up front, but they need Lehner to be healthy if they are to take a run at a playoff spot this season.

Behind him sit Linus Ullmark, Anders Nilsson and Kasdorf, who have a combined 73 games of NHL experience between them all.

Matthews to sit out preseason tilt versus Sabres, as Maple Leafs give him ‘a little break’

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Auston Matthews poses for a portrait after being selected first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in round one during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)
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The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. But No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews won’t be in the lineup, according to multiple reports.

“Sooner or later, he’s going to get in, but not tonight,” said assistant coach Jim Hiller, as per the Toronto Sun.

“The lineups are day by day. They (World Cup players such as Matthews, Milan Michalek, Leo Komarov and James van Riemsdyk) went through a solid three weeks. It’s a little break, a little down time. There are tons of games coming. They’ll get a lot of ice time. They’ll get in shortly.”

(The report also notes that Matthews is not dealing with a health issue, which is obviously good news for the Leafs.)

On a night when the No. 2 overall selection Patrik Laine is slated to make his preseason debut for the Winnipeg Jets, fans wishing to see Matthews don a Maple Leafs jersey in his anticipated debut will have to wait.

Matthews played for Team North America at the World Cup held in Toronto. He had two goals and three points in three round robin games, but the young North American team was unable to advance to the semifinal round.

The Maple Leafs play the Montreal Canadiens at home on Sunday.

McLellan: Maroon’s lower-body injury not considered serious

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It appears Patrick Maroon‘s injury from Wednesday’s preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks looked worse than it is.

The Edmonton Oilers forward was in obvious pain immediately after he went hard into the boards from an awkward hit delivered by James Sheppard just past the midway point of the third period. Maroon needed help to the bench and was unable to put much, if any, pressure on his left leg.

He left the game and didn’t return.

Good news, however, from the Oilers: Head coach Todd McLellan told reporters on Friday that the injury — lower body — is not serious, as per the team’s Twitter account.

According to Mark Spector of Sportsnet, the 28-year-old Maroon is expected to be ready for Edmonton’s season opener against the rival Calgary Flames on Oct. 12.

The Oilers acquired Maroon at last season’s trade deadline, a move that certainly added size and an element of grit to their group of forwards.

In 16 games with Edmonton, he scored eight goals and 14 points. In 56 games with Anaheim that same season, he registered only 13 points before the trade.

Patrik Laine to make highly anticipated preseason debut for Jets

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Patrik Laine gives an interview after being selected second by the Winnepeg Jets during round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images)
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Anticipation has been building since the Winnipeg Jets officially took Patrik Laine with the second overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft.

On Friday, Laine, the highly coveted Finnish forward, will make his preseason debut for the Jets when they play the Edmonton Oilers in Winnipeg, as the home fans get the chance to take in the occasion.

The Jets have done a nice job of amassing good young forwards in their organization. Laine, who has the gifts to be a prolific scorer in the NHL, is at the top of that prospect list.

Winnipeg’s roster tonight also includes forward prospects Kyle Connor, Nic Petan and Brandon Tanev, not to mention more NHL experienced forwards like Alex Burmistrov, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele.

Laine enters this season with high expectations placed on him from fans and media, after coming to the NHL following a standout career in Finland as a teenager. He’s aware of the expectations, but toned down the hype with the usual statements of just playing his game.

“Just be brave on the ice and show everybody I will earn my spot on the team,” he told reporters.

Laine has already seen game action this month. Not with the Jets, but with Finland’s entry at the World Cup of Hockey.

Following offseason knee surgery, Laine wasn’t happy with his performance in Finland’s first pre-tournament game. In three tournament games, Laine failed to register a point, despite a team-best 10 shots on goal, as Finland was quickly eliminated in the round robin.

Related:

Looking to make the leap: Patrik Laine