Remember when the players overwhelming voted to give the NHLPA board the authority to file a disclaimer of interest?
Today’s reportedly the deadline for the union to do just that, but with negotiations ongoing and progress being made, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he’s not focused on the possibility of the union exercising its recently authorized powers.
He might be right to have his mind on other things, especially seeing as it sounds like the union doesn’t really have to make a long-term commitment today.
“The players have authorized the NHLPA to disclaim interest by tomorrow; however if NHLPA doesn’t it can do it later – no real deadline,” TSN sports legal analysis Eric Macramalla tweeted Tuesday night. “NHLPA will only disclaim interest if it believes the sides are too far apart; Fehr has said they are close – so would be a surprise to see it.”
Macramalla thinks you would probably hear lines like “we are just too far apart” and “this just isn’t going to get done” from NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr before the union would actually disband. Given that the NHLPA hasn’t been saying that lately, a disclaimer of interest might not be imminent.
He also warned that if the union decides to dissolve into a trade association, it might stay that way permanently rather than simply revert back at a later date.
“This may not be same as NBPA and NFLPA,” Macramalla said.
Of course, this all could prove to be moot if the two sides continue to make progress towards a new CBA.
Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.
Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.
“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.
The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.
Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.
There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.
The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.
That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.
In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.
Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.