NHLPA sends letter to Member of Parliament in Canada

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Exactly why the NHLPA sent an update on the CBA negotiations to a Member of Parliament in Canada isn’t clear, but ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun has published the entire letter, which is dated Monday.

Update: According to the Globe and Mail, the letter “was believed to be in response to a member of parliament threatening Canadian government intervention into the lockout and demanding an update on the situation on behalf of angry constituents.”

The content of the missive is nothing new for those who have been following the NHL’s work stoppage – the union makes it clear that “the lockout was a unilateral decision taken by the owners” and that “negotiations could have continued while games were played.”

It’s also not clear if the letter was sent to one Member of Parliament or more (it’s simply addressed to “Member of Parliament”).

For PHT’s American readers who may not be familiar with federal politics up north, Canada is led by a majority Conservative Party government that doesn’t get a whole bunch of support from organized labor.

Update:

According to the Globe and Mail, the letter “was believed to be in response to a member of parliament threatening Canadian government intervention into the lockout and demanding an update on the situation on behalf of angry constituents.”

Bettman says NHL will call more slashes next season

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Commissioner Gary Bettman says the NHL will look to enforce slashing penalties more next season.

Following the league’s board of governors meeting, Bettman said pointless slashes to players’ hands will be called more. Ottawa’s Marc Methot and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau were among the players to miss time last season with hand injuries from slashes.

Related PHT coverage:

Gaudreau (finger) out six weeks, Treliving says Staal slash the culprit

— Flames made ‘mountain out of a molehill’ over Gaudreau slash

— Methot ‘out for weeks’ after suffering a shattered finger from Crosby slash

— Melnyk blasts ‘whiner’ Crosby, who won’t face hearing for Methot slash

Report: Vegas sends Trevor van Riemsdyk to Hurricanes

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Here. We. Go.

According to Frank Seravalli of TSN, the Vegas Golden Knights have sent defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Van Riemsdyk was among 15 defensemen taken by the Golden Knights in Wednesday’s expansion draft, however, general manager George McPhee made a point of saying that, as a result of having this sudden surplus at the position, he was going to have to move some of those blue liners.

McPhee has been busy over the past few days, making deals with a number of teams ahead making his expansion selections, stockpiling draft picks, including three in the top 15 of the first round.

More to come.

Stars add Barnes and Wilson to Hitch’s staff, retain Fraser

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Dallas filled out Ken Hitchcock’s coaching staff on Thursday, with a host of familiar faces.

Hitchcock’s longtime assistant, Rick Wilson, has come aboard, as has former Stars forward Stu Barnes. In announcing those hires, GM Jim Nill also revealed the club would retain the services of assistant Curt Fraser, who has been with the club since 2012.

“The three have a unique familiarity with the club from the time they spent here,” Nill said in a release. “We’re excited for the wealth of knowledge and experience they will add to our coaching staff.”

Wilson, 66, worked with Hitch in Dallas from 1995-2002 and, together, captured the Stanley Cup in ’99. He also worked with Hitchcock in St. Louis over the last few years.

Barnes, 46, finished his 17-year NHL career in Dallas, then quickly transitioned to the coaching side of things in 2009, spending two years as a Stars assistant under Marc Crawford.

‘We will be aggressive’ — Panthers GM looks to add scoring in free agency

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The Florida Panthers cleared up some cap space with yesterday’s moves in the expansion draft, but now they’ll need to find a way to replace the offensive production Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith were responsible for.

Marchessault broke out last season for 30 goals on a very affordable contract and while Smith’s goal total (and shooting percentage) were down last year, he’s still a two-time 20-plus goal scorer. Both are now gone from the Panthers lineup following yesterday’s expansion draft chaos.

Already among their offseason signings was a two-year entry-level deal with Henrik Haapala, who stands in similar stature to Marchessault at 5-foot-8 and led Finland’s top professional league with 60 points this past season — his fifth in SM liiga.

Beyond that, Panthers general manager Dale Tallon has made his intentions known that he plans to be aggressive when the free agent market opens up.

“We have some flexibility long term. Our goal is to win multiple championships and these moves we’re making are looking to the present but also to the future,” said Tallon, per the Miami Herald.

“We will be aggressive moving forward in free agency. There’s a plan in place and we’re going to stick to it.

“This is not, necessarily, the team we will have in three months. We have plans in place to make this team exciting.”

The Panthers now have about $20.1 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly. They have about $27.665 million committed to eight forwards. They also have two restricted free agent defensemen — Alex Petrovic and Mark Pysyk — in need of new contracts, and Tallon has told reporters he’ll re-start talks with the 45-year-old Jaromir Jagr, who is a pending unrestricted free agent.

It will be interesting to see what is available at forward when free agency begins. The list of pending UFA forwards right now includes the likes of T.J. Oshie, Radim Vrbata, Alex Radulov, Patrick Eaves, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Martin Hanzal, among others, so there may be options if the Panthers choose to go in search of scoring on the open market.