Gary Bettman, Bill Daly

Would the NHL ever consider a luxury tax?

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The idea of a luxury tax has been floated by myriad media members as the NHL lockout has worn on. And while there’s no hard evidence that one’s about to be put on the table, a report that the NHLPA is working on a “radically different” proposal got us wondering if the league would ever consider such a system.

In its most basic form, a luxury tax allows a team to exceed the salary cap by paying a tax on the amount it exceeds said cap by. The tax that’s collected is then distributed to the needy franchises.

The NBA has a luxury tax. Starting next season, teams will have to pay $1.50 for every dollar up to $4.99 million over the threshold, $1.75 for every dollar of the next $5 million, $2.50 per dollar of the next $5 million, and $3.25 per dollar for the next $5 million.

Now, the most obvious consequence of the NHL implementing a luxury tax would be a decrease in parity. No, the big spenders don’t always win. But more often than not they do.

In the NBA, there are numerous teams with practically zero shot at winning a championship. To illustrate, Bodog lists 13 sides with odds of 100/1 or more. For the NHL, Bodog has just one team over 100/1 (Columbus, 150/1).

That’s not to say a luxury tax would turn the NHL into the NBA. One basketball star has considerably more of an impact than one hockey star, since that one basketball star can play almost the entire game (if not the entire game).

There are also benefits for leagues when the big-market teams have a competitive advantage over the small-market ones. For example, which match-up do you think would get better TV ratings – a Rangers-Red Wings final, or Lightning-Predators?

And for big-market teams, a luxury tax that allows them to gain a competitive advantage might be more palatable than simply forcing them to cut a revenue-sharing check and getting nothing for their money.

The risk, of course, is that fan interest drops for teams that can’t afford to pay luxury tax.

There’s also the more considerable risk that owners who can’t afford to pay luxury tax still end up paying luxury tax. As we all know (and the NHL freely admits), some owners have trouble controlling themselves.

For that last reason, if the NHL were to even consider a luxury tax, there would have to be stopgaps that would ensure some semblance of cost certainty.

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

(Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

“He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

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The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

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Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.