At this point in CBA negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA, it appears there are two big issues left to resolve before the league gets back on the ice where it belongs.
The first is economics. The league wants the union to quit making proposals that guarantee the players a certain amount of money. Instead, it wants things to work as they did under the last CBA, with the players getting a fixed percentage of league revenue, whatever that league revenue ends up being.
The second is player contracting. The league wants to end back-diving deals, cap contract lengths at five years and for players to become eligible for unrestricted free agency a year later than under the last CBA. The union, meanwhile, wants things to stay more or less the same.
Unfortunately, it seems each side is afraid that if it offers concessions on one issue, the other side will refuse to budge on the other issue. Which doesn’t say much about the level of trust in these negotiations.
So how does a deal get done?
The consensus best guess involves the players moving on economics and the league softening its player contracting demands.
Which brings us to the report that the NHLPA is working on a new proposal that could be presented Wednesday.
If TSN’s Darren Dreger is right and there is indeed “a sense of urgency coming from the players,” then perhaps that proposal will address some of the NHL’s concerns. At that point, the ball would be back in the league’s court to address some of the players’ concerns.
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
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