Fehr

Fehr: Latest offer rejections sign of “fairly long road” ahead

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NHLPA boss Donald Fehr presented the NHL with three proposals in response to the league’s most recent CBA offer. It turns out that the league’s offer was, in Fehr’s words to the players, essentially a “take it or leave it” deal.

The union could offer tweaks, but the NHL wasn’t interested in going much beyond that.

Since then, QMI Agency has spoken to Fehr and asked him if the NHL’s quick dismissal of the league’s offers made him upset.

“I don’t get upset. I don’t get excited. It’s just another indication that this is going to be fairly long road,” Fehr said based on the Ottawa Sun’s transcript.

He said that the players might consider and evaluate a number of options if the league doesn’t eventually back down from their current stance and we end up in greater jeopardy of losing the entire season, but he didn’t go into details. However, he has previously implied that he might fight the salary cap itself if the lockout drags on.

Fehr also sidestepped the question of if the players are willing to lose this season if they feel it’s necessary to get a deal that they are comfortable with.

“Players will make all of those decisions and I never speculate about stuff like that,” Fehr said. “I have never my entire career. I think it’s counter-productive … You can judge the level of the resolve just by talking to the players and listening to them. I’m not concerned about the unity and resolve of the players.”

As it stands, Fehr says that while the union is still available to resume the negotiations, he claims “where the commissioner left it was: (Don’t call) unless you’re prepared to tell me you’ll accept everything that’s on the table.”

He says the exception is if the players want to entertain a “make whole” provision, which Fehr describes as “players paying players for the reduced salaries in the first two years.”

So to sum it up, we’re back in limbo, but we can hope that the players and owners latest offers brought them closer together in the long-term, even if it has divided them further in the short-term.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.

Islanders believe Boyle should be suspended for hit before OT goal

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Thomas Hickey is involved in a controversial hit, yet the greater debate may revolve around the one he received rather than the one he delivered.

In the second period, the New York Islanders defenseman connected for a thunderous hit on Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin, which sidelined Drouin for a chunk of Game 3.

Many believe that hit was legal:

The Islanders are upset about the Brian Boyle hit on Hickey in overtime, which came moments before Boyle scored the game-winning goal. You can see the full sequence here, with the hit happening around the 50-second mark:

Islanders head coach Jack Capuano believes that it was a suspension-worthy hit.

You’re not going to believe this, but the Lightning disagree.

Boyle clearly didn’t receive a penalty on that sequence, yet one would imagine that the league will at least take a look at that hit.

Lightning take dramatic OT win vs. Islanders, go up 2-1 in series

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Brian Boyle was part of the fight before Game 3 even started … and then he ended it in overtime.

In a Tampa Bay Lightning win in which they just kept rolling with the New York Islanders’ punches, it only seems fitting that Boyle battled to land a big hit and then score the clinching goal for a 5-4 overtime victory.

This gives the Lightning a 2-1 series lead heading into Game 4.

Also fitting? Boyle landed a big hit on Thomas Hickey, the guy who sidelined Jonathan Drouin for a chunk of this contest.

That sequence prompted a brief goal review, but it ultimately stood:

(Was that Boyle hit on Hickey dirty, by the way?)

Drama was in the air from the beginning, yet Drouin really stole the show when he came back from what some believe was a concussion to assist on Nikita Kucherov‘s last-minute goal, which sent the game to overtime.

In some ways, this win feels like a microcosm of the Lightning’s season. They keep getting hit in the mouth with injuries and near-injuries, yet they just won’t stay down.

The Islanders saw three leads disappear in this contest, but one would think that they won’t roll over, either.