On Tuesday, when the players and owners met without NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, there seemed to be a sense of optimism about the talks, at least based on Bettman’s and the owner’s recent statements.
Then the mood quickly changed and now one player seems to be blaming Fehr.
“We were ready to play again,” the player said, according to Denver Post and SI.com writer Adrian Dater. “But Don came in (Wed.) and told us we could get more and to hold out.”
Dater asserted that the source was a depth player. He further claimed that there are more like him, but the top players are still siding with Fehr.
“Bottom line here: Players say they are unified, but not what I’m hearing from this depth player,” Dater said. “They’ll deny that publicly, but privately, they are feeling powerless as the Ryan Millers and Brad Richards of the world pretend this is a sacrifice for them.”
Logan Couture was quick to voice his “100% agreement” with Fehr following tonight’s events.
This anonymous player’s remarks are rare, but not groundbreaking.
Michal Neuvirth previously argued that “this lockout is not about majority of players, I think. It is about several superstars with big contracts.”
His statements led to a backlash from his fellow players and Neuvirth later apologized.
Owners react to roller coaster week of CBA talks
Bettman: “We’re at a loss to explain what happened” (updated with video)
Not good enough: NHL rejects latest NHLPA offer
CBA meeting ends quickly, NHL to meet internally
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.
The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”
The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.
The NHLPA released a similar statement.
It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.
We’re starting to find out some details now:
How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?