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

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.