The NHLPA has taken the first step to dissolving the union and steering the NHL lockout into uncharted waters.
As reported by TSN.ca, the executive board of the players’ association voted Thursday to let members vote on whether to give the board authorization to file a disclaimer of interest.
If the union does ultimately dissolve (it’s possible this is just a bluff), the NHL has said it would likely lead to the end of the season (also possibly a bluff).
For fans, the hope is the potential consequences (aka oblivion) scare the two sides into making a deal, a la the 2011 NBA lockout.*
Last Thursday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the issue for reporters.
“A lot has been written about decertification,” said Bettman. “For those of you who are actually writing about it, you almost might want to look into something called disclaimer, which is probably more likely to happen if it happens. The [NHL board of governors] was completely and thoroughly briefed on the subject on Wednesday. And we don’t view it in the same way in terms of its impact as apparently the union may.”
Translation: we’re ready if you are.
*NBA commissioner David Stern on Nov. 14, 2011 after the NBPA filed a disclaimer of interest: “It looks like the 2011-12 season is really in jeopardy. It’s just a big charade. To do it now, the union is ratcheting up I guess to see if they can scare the NBA owners or something. That’s not happening.”
Stern on Nov. 26, 2011: “We’ve reached a tentative understanding that is subject to a variety of approvals and very complex machinations, but we’re optimistic that will all come to pass and that the NBA season will begin Dec. 25.”
Related: Spurs’ Bonner cautions NHLers, says decertification “throws everything into chaos”
The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.
Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.
Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.
“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”
Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:
- He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
- Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
- The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.
Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.
Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?
Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.
Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.
Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).
A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:
Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.
It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.
After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.
Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.