Gary Bettman; Bill Daly

NHL gave owners/GMs specific guidelines to answer player inquiries


Much to the NHLPA’s chagrin, the NHL granted owners and general managers a 48-hour window to speak to players last week after the league tabled its 50-50 offer to the union.

The window was clearly an attempt by the league to convince players that the offer was a good one. But until now, we didn’t know any specifics.

According to an source, the league sent a legal memo to owners and GMs outlining what could and couldn’t be discussed.

In the memo, the league strictly prohibits its general managers from negotiating with players, making coercive statements, undermining the NHLPA or soliciting feedback on “their sentiment about collective bargaining matters,” a source that received the document told

It does allow, however, for general managers to answer certain inquiries from players.

According to the source, the memo includes a sample question-and-answer portion that gives executives suggestions on how to answer questions such as — “What do you think we should do?,” “What happens if the union doesn’t accept this proposal?” and “Why did the league take so long to make this offer?”

Sounds like a scene from Boiler Room.

Even if the 48-hour window was opened with the genuine goal of striking a deal, the move has the potential to backfire for the NHL.

NHLPA leaders clearly feel the league went behind the union’s back in this case, and that probably won’t alleviate the trust issues many players have with the owners.

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

Torres apologizes to Silfverberg and Sharks


A statement from Raffi Torres:

“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”

A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:

“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”

Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.