Even though Christmas and New Year’s Day is coming up in the next two weeks, Donald Fehr wants everyone to know that won’t stop them from hitting the negotiation table.
In an interview with TSN Radio 1050 yesterday, Fehr made it clear that the NHLPA will do what’s necessary to get a deal done.
“I’ll make the following assumption,” Fehr told TSN, “we’re involved in serious negotiations. We’ve got to try to find a way to make an agreement and for my part and my staff we’ll make whoever needs to be available available in order to get the job done.”
I suppose that’s cool for hockey fans to know they’re willing to go to those lengths, although the friends and families of those staffers may not be too thrilled about possibly getting called into work on Christmas.
The union opting to take this approach is a bit different than what they had cooking this summer when talks didn’t start happening until late August due to the union taking their time getting things together. Perhaps sacrificing Christmas or New Year’s can help get a deal done.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:
Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?
While lineups are obviously subject to change, CSNPhilly.com notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.
Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.
That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”
The CSNPhilly.com quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.
Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.
It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.