Derek Fisher

Derek Fisher to NHLPA: “Stay together”


National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher knows a thing or two about work stoppages, having led his union through choppy lockout waters a year ago.

As such, he’s got some advice for the NHLPA as the NHL lockout drags on:

Stay together.

“The one thing I would offer is, the quickest way to resolution and getting something done is to stay together,” the Mavericks guard told A. Sherrod Blakely of “You don’t get anything done by becoming individuals and starting to separate. It doesn’t mean it has to take longer.

“But the most efficient way … is to really stay together, try to make sure you have one voice and one general focus in terms of how you’re trying to get things accomplished as a group.”

The 2011 NBA lockout went from Jul. 1-Dec. 8 and shared many similarities with the NHL work stoppage, including the most recent hurdle for hockey negotiations — contract length. (The NBA eventually settled on a five year max.)

What NHL fans are hoping won’t be similar, though, is the dissolving of the players’ union. On Nov. 14 of last year, the NBPA dissolved into a trade association and subsequently filed antitrust lawsuits against the NBA in California and Minnesota federal courts.

The NHL has warned against similar action from the NHLPA, with deputy commissioner Bill Daly saying that decertification would “likely lead to the end of the season.”

Fisher said that all aspects of reaching a new labor agreement is tough, but that solidarity and trust will see things through.

“It is tough, it is challenging,” Fisher said. “But at the end of the day, for the most part the people in the power positions from a players perspective, are trying to do the right things, trying to do right by what they were elected to do, and that’s to get the best deal they can get.

“If guys can trust that, most of the time things are OK.”

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

Torres apologizes to Silfverberg and Sharks


A statement from Raffi Torres:

“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”

A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:

“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”

Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.