Steve Bartlett doesn’t think the sky is falling. The veteran player agent that represents the likes of Ryan Callahan and Erik Cole believes the NHL lockout will be solved in a matter of weeks, not months.
Because unlike the last labor dispute that resulted in the cancellation of the 2004-05 season, the two main counterparts – commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr – have so far been respectful of each other, relatively speaking.
“Gary Bettman and (former union chief) Bob Goodenow hated each other,” Bartlett told the Edmonton Journal. “There’s no throwing of spears now. Nobody’s saying the other side are a ***holes.”
Bartlett believes the “tipping point” of the negotiations will be the Thanksgiving Showdown, NBC’s first nationally televised game on Nov. 23. (The same assertion has been made by a handful of players.)
Bartlett also knows it will be the marginal players that feel the real pinch of missed paychecks.
“The star players will be fine, but the third- and fourth-liners will feel the pain,” he said. “It’s more mental anguish for the stars.”
Related: A lockout will hurt some players more than others
There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.
The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.
That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.
In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.
Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.
The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.
The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.
Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.
The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.
He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.
The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.
The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.
The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.