Gary Bettman; Bill Daly

Daly: expectations “low” for today


As optimism once again turns to pessimism, the NHL’s expectations are “low” heading into today’s CBA negotiations (if they even occur), writes deputy commissioner Bill Daly in an email to

Daly’s assertion comes as no shock given what happened yesterday in New York.

From CBC’s Elliotte Friedman:

The players were angered [Thursday] because the HRR package received from the NHL was “missing” some key language. The critical part involved penalties for teams hiding HRR. In 2011, the two sides had a dispute over what was reported by Washington and Nashville, and with such erosion of trust right now, you can imagine the reaction to this. 

To put it another way, the players accused the NHL of trying to pull a fast one that would lessen penalties for pulling a fast one. (Call it mistrust squared.)

Yesterday also saw NHLPA call for a re-vote by the players to authorize its executive board within 48 hours to file a disclaimer of interest that would dissolve the union and push the lockout into uncharted waters.

Then, late last night, the Winnipeg Free Press published the following report:

A veteran member of the NHL’s board of governors says commissioner Gary Bettman is prepared to cancel the season on Thursday if a deal has not been reached or appears to be imminent.

The chill that has settled on NHL labour negotiations is all part of a Don Fehr plan to push commissioner Bettman into a corner for one last squeeze and there could be unfortunate circumstances for hockey fans, said the governor who requested anonymity.

The league believes Fehr is unwilling to do a deal until after Bettman has cancelled the NHL season and the union leader is now slowing the process one last time to increase pressure on the commissioner, said the governor late Thursday night.

That report, of course, was met with a good deal of cynicism. Was the threat real or empty? The union will probably go with the latter.

This morning, the two sides are meeting separately with a federal mediator, after which they may or may not get together in the same room.

Larkin will start season with Red Wings

Dylan Larkin
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Dylan Larkin — despite being just 19 years old — will begin the season on the Detroit Red Wings, a team not normally accustomed to having teenagers in the lineup.

Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed the news this morning. Larkin could apparently start on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.

Larkin, the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft, had three goals and one assist in five preseason games. A natural center, he’s shown the potential to one day step into the kind of “big-time” role that Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have played for so long in Detroit.

“You have to give our scouts credit,” former coach Mike Babcock told ESPN in May. “We got a great pick where we picked. How high end is he? How soon?”

Related: Coaching change ‘one of the reasons’ Larkin signed with Wings

Preseason stats: Five goalies with good numbers, five goalies with…not

Anders Nilsson
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Yeah, yeah, it’s a small sample size and it’s just the preseason, but here are some goaltending stats anyway.

Five goalies with good numbers

Anders Nilsson, Edmonton — zero goals on 53 shots. His solid play a likely factor in the decision to waive Ben Scrivens, who actually wasn’t that bad in the preseason (4 goals on 56 shots).

Martin Jones, San Jose — three goals on 100 shots. The Sharks are rolling the dice on a couple of cheap goalies. Jones and Alex Stalock have a combined cap hit of just $4.6 million.

Jacob Markstom, Vancouver — three goals on 79 shots. Can he finally get over the NHL hump? If so, he could make it a real competition with Ryan Miller.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus — five goals on 122 shots. The Blue Jackets have scored a ton of goals in the preseason, but there remain questions about their blue line. Bobrovsky has the ability to make a so-so defense look good.

Anton Khudobin, Anaheim — two goals on 67 shots. A good early sign for the Ducks, who have Frederik Andersen in the starting role and want to give young John Gibson more time to develop in the AHL.

Five goalies with bad numbers

Thomas Greiss, Islanders — 14 goals on 94 shots. Has to be a bit of concern in Brooklyn. The Isles got below-average backup play last season from Chad Johnson. They wanted to fix that with the Greiss signing.

Robin Lehner, Buffalo — 11 goals on 95 shots. Tim Murray paid a hefty price to get the 24-year-old out of Ottawa. With the aforementioned Johnson in the backup role, the goaltending story is worth watching.

Jeff Zatkoff, Pittsburgh — 11 goals on 74 shots. Granted, Marc-Andre Fleury and Matthew Murray weren’t particularly sharp either. The Penguins conceded 28 goals in eight games.

Kari Lehtonen, Dallas — 15 goals on 84 shots. For a Stars team that desperately needs better goaltending, that has to be worrying. Antti Niemi wasn’t a whole lot better either, allowing eight goals on 65 shots. Fair question to ask — how many of all those goals were attributable to poor defensive play?

Pekka Rinne, Nashville — 12 goals on 91 shots. Has earned the benefit of the doubt, but thought we’d point it out anyway.