Jason Chimera

Chimera: Players want their opinions heard in realignment talks


On Friday, the New York Post reported that the NHL and NHLPA would this week be discussing realignment for the 2013-14 season.

Today, Capitals player rep Jason Chimera underscored the importance of the league and union working together to find the best solution to a fairly complex issue.

“That’s all you ever want. As a player, when you play hockey you want a voice, you want to, you know, voice your opinions,” Chimera said, per the Washington Post.

“They realigned everything without our consent, so that was the biggest thing. I think it’s supposed to be a partnership and you want to have some say in some things and they just kind of threw it at us and said, ‘Here it is.’ And we didn’t have no say in it, so I think they’re working together on it now, which is good, and I think – you know, everything, like you said, this game we should be building things together now.”

The NHL announced its “radical” realignment plan in December of 2011. The union, however, withheld its consent of the changes, citing concerns over travel as well as the fairness of the proposed playoff qualification system.

A looming labor battle also likely played a role in the union’s choice to block the league’s unilateral decision to split the NHL into four “conferences.”

How the two sides plan to address the fairness issue is unclear. Under the NHL’s plan, the top four teams in each conference would make the postseason. The problem is, two conferences have eight teams and the other two only have seven.

“We expect to talk with the league on the subject this week,” NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr told the Post. “A year ago, when we raised the issue of increased travel for teams, the league did not have mock schedules for us to review that might have alleviated our concern.

“And we had an issue with the fact that teams would either have a mathematical advantage or disadvantage of qualifying for the playoffs depending upon whether they’d be in a seven-team or eight-team conference.”

The four proposed conferences are as follows:

—- New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Washington and Carolina

—- Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay

—- Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg

—- Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
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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:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

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.