Donald Fehr, Kevin Westgath, George Parros

Just like that, all the pressure’s on the NHLPA


Forget focus groups. Turns out the best way for the NHL to win over the public was to make the NHLPA a new proposal.

And not just any proposal. The one the league presented Tuesday in Toronto called for a 50-50 split of revenue between the league and players – a split that’s right in line with recent labor agreements in the NBA and NFL.

Of course, in comparison to the last CBA, which gave the players 57 percent of HRR, the offer still represents a better deal for the owners. But if the NHLPA dismisses this proposal without some sort of reasonable response, it better have a great excuse.


—- Most observers figured the NHL and NHLPA would ultimately settle on a 50-50 split. Well, there it is. And if, as commissioner Gary Bettman maintains, the offer “addressed the concern that players have about what happens to their salaries as a result in this year of reducing the percentage from 57 to 50%,” how can the players ask for much more?

—- The league made the offer, not the players. After weeks of posturing and spinning from both sides, the NHL’s willingness to move the process forward will earn it points.

—- According to the NHL, a full 82-game season can still be saved. But not if this thing drags on any longer. So do the players “just want to play,” as they’ve said over and over? If they do, then they’d be wise to show it, not just say it.

Your move, NHLPA.

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.