BJ Crombeen

Crombeen: It’s “mind-boggling” that NHL broke off talks


B.J. Crombeen is a part of the NHLPA’s negotiating committee and described the dramatic collapse of the CBA talks on Thursday as “mind-boggling,” based on a Tampa Bay Times report.

The owners offered the players an additional $100 million in the hope that the players would concede to the NHL’s demands in three key areas. Talks broke down after the players came back to the owners with a counter-offer rather than the yes or no response the owners were looking for.

As far as Crombeen is concerned, the league was employing a “bully tactic.”

“The deal is right there in front of them,” Crombeen said Friday. “It’s pretty simple for them if they want to make a deal, but they made it very clear to us that they don’t. They’re trying to squeeze five more cents out of a deal that can be done, and we can be back playing hockey sooner.”

Crombeen argues that there’s only a “minimal” difference between what the players are offering and the owners are asking for.

“They’re just saying it’s our way or the highway. It’s the wrong way to go about it,” Crombeen said. “They can say how much they’re giving up and how much they’re going beyond what they’re supposed to, but you look at the deal we’re giving up and the deal we’re going to get and in every single aspect of it we’re giving up.”

The CBA that the players were offering contains conditions less favorable to them than the CBA that expired. That being said, the league would argue that they’ve altered their stance significantly since the lockout began.

“We moved drastically in almost every area we had and their big gift was to give us back free agency and salary arbitration and entry-level contracts to what they are right now,” Crombeen said. “It’s mind-boggling that they expect us to think that’s a fair and equitable deal.”

The NHL stated Thursday night that the concessions they made over the week are now off the table. In addition to that, they are no longer offering the Make Whole proposal.

It remains to be seen when talks will resume again.


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Hainsey blames “miscommunication” for breakdown in CBA talks

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.