Report: NHL willing to budge on some contracting issues


NHLPA head Donald Fehr claims that the owners provided zero “reciprocity” after Wednesday’s talks ended, but ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun received some anonymous information outlining some of the areas where the league might budge.

First, that unnamed source outlined 10 “major” points of potential compromise. Click here for all of them, but here are some of the highlights:

  • Entry-level contracts would stay at three years; owners originally asked for two.
  • They didn’t totally give up on moving unrestricted free agency age to 28 and didn’t budge on five-year maximum deals. They did, however, show “willingness to be flexible” on year-to-year salary variation maxing out at five percent. (Whatever “flexible” means.)
  • Interestingly, the cap floor would be determined by “a percentage of the midpoint” instead of just being $16 million less than the ceiling.
  • They agreed to eliminate re-entry waivers.

There are more interesting bits in that “main” area, but there were also nine “system-related” matters. Again, some highlights:

  • The union would “get more say” in setting the escrow rate.
  • Minimum salaries would continue to increase during the CBA.
  • Perhaps most interestingly, the cap would be at $60 million in the first year (although with that $70M+ transition exception in mind) and, interestingly, a guarantee to keep it at $60 million in the second year even if the formula would call for a lower cap ceiling.

Again, these offerings aren’t official out there – like, say, the NHLPA’s proposal – but they might indicate that Gary Bettman’s claims about “momentum” are more accurate than some believe.

(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)

Vatrano presence: Bruins edge Red Wings in overtime

Frank Vatrano David Krejci
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The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.

In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).

Here’s his first goal of the night:

While this is his overtime game-winner:

It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.

The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.

October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.

November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.

Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.

More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.

Crosby roars, Malkin scores in OT for Penguins win

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Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.

Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:

… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.

(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)

Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.

You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.

Fight video: Claude Giroux vs. Nick Leddy

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Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.

Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.

You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.

It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.

Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.

Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.

Carter Hutton gets flipped, stays in game

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Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.

Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:

Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.

If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.

Check out this incredible shot of that moment:

Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.