Fehr and Bettman

Report: NHL feels Fehr’s memo didn’t fairly portray their offer to players

33 Comments

The NHL thinks Donald Fehr’s recent memo didn’t do a fair job of portraying their latest proposals to the players, according to multiple NHL sources that spoke to the Star Tribune.

In the memo, Fehr suggested that a “significant gap remains” in terms of the NHL’s “make whole” proposal, but the league believes it’s latest offer is essentially what the players have been demanding.

In exchange for immediately shifting hockey-related revenues to 50-50, the owners are willing to make deferred payments with interest to players for the money they’d be losing over Years 1 and/or 2 as a result of the change. That money will be given to the players in Year 3.

Those payments “would not go against their share and the league is guaranteeing it no matter where the revenue of the league goes,” a league source said.

It looks like the league’s logic is that by Year 3 the players will be getting the amount they signed for pre-lockout even after the reduction in their share of HRR because of an increase in league revenues.

In other words, NHL reportedly thinks that it has presented the league with a solution that would reduce HRR to an even split while still honoring the existing contracts.

Fehr also listed off in his memo a number of issues involving “crucial individual contracting rights,” which he said that the NHL is demanding that the union must agree to.

The league sources said that’s not true and that the NHL is willing to negotiate points like salary arbitration and unrestricted free agency eligibility. However, the NHL wants measures in place to limit each team’s ability to front-load contracts because it feels that teams have been using that tactic as a means to reduce their salary cap burden.

Another key sticking point right now is how much money the players would earn if the lockout were to end today. The NHLPA reportedly wants the players to get 100% of their 2012-13 salaries but, because of the lockout, the players won’t be doing 100% of the work and the league won’t generate the same amount of revenue. The NHL wants to give the players a prorated amount, so they would theoretically make 60 games worth of pay if the 2012-13 campaign is 60 games long.

That’s a lot to digest, but if it’s all accurate, it could be an indication that the sides are potentially closer than it appears. However, it still looks like there is plenty of work to do.

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

1 Comment

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

7 Comments

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

18 Comments

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.

***

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

11 Comments

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.