George Cohen

Report: NHLPA requests federal mediation…again


Nine days after the NHL and NHLPA first met with federal mediators, the topic of mediation has been re-introduced.

That’s the word out of New York on Thursday as Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports the NHLPA has requested the return of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the group that met with the league and players’ union over a two-day stretch in late November.

As for how that request was received? Uhh…

NHLPA has asked NHL to bring mediators back into the process. League has not agreed to this point…

— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 6, 2012

Yeah, clear as mud.

On Nov. 28, the NHL and NHLPA met with a panel of mediators assigned by FMCS director George H. Cohen, comprised of FMCS Deputy Director Scot L. Beckenbaugh (acting director of the FMCS during the NHL’s last lockout), Director of Mediation Services John Sweeney and, for a brief moment, a mediator named Guy Serota — who was quickly removed once it was learned he had a super creepy Twitter account.

After two days of mediation, talks broke off and both the NHL and NHLPA released statements claiming “no progress” had been made.

Update: From Mullen, here’s NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, who confirmed the NHL is supposed to meet with the NHLPA this afternoon…

After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

Jimmy Hayes, Damon Severson
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Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.

“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”

Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.

Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.

Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.

“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”

Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

Jake Virtanen
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Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.

“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”

Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.

The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.

If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.