|Gary Bettman: Hard to prove whether a team exploits playoff cap loophole||02.24.15 at 10:45 pm ET|
In an interview that will air on this week’s episode of Sunday Skate, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman shed some light on the possibility of teams sitting players for the rest of the regular season in order to go over the salary cap come playoff time.
This situation applies to the Bruins and how they could handle things with David Krejci, who they recently announced will miss four-to-six weeks with a partially torn MCL. Because there is no salary cap in the playoffs, the Bruins could, in theory, sit Krejci for the rest of the regular season, put him on long-term injured reserve and exceed the salary cap by his $5.25 million cap hit (as well as Kevan Miller’s $800,000 hit).
Such action, whether done by the Bruins or another team, could mean teams sitting healthy players for longer than they are injured and using LTI space by dishonest means. Asked whether the league would take issue with such maneuvers, Bettman said that while the NHL “frowns upon the use of loopholes,” the league would have a tough time proving teams were doing it.
“You can only ice a certain number of skaters,” Bettman said, “and the fact of the matter is, who’s to say how severely the injury will impact his play longer term, what kind of shape he’s been in? These are all speculative kinds of questions, and I’m not trying to duck them. It’s just simply, let’s wait to see what happens before we try to draw any conclusions.”
Added Bettman: “We frown upon the use of loopholes, but I don’t think an injury was sustained in order to create a loophole,” he said. “The rules are the rules. They’re competitive. The collective bargaining agreement tends to be fairly clear and we try to enforce it pretty consistently across the board.”
For the rest of the interview, tune in to this week’s episode of Sunday Skate at 8 a.m.
|NHL commissioner upholds Shawn Thornton’s 15-game suspension||12.24.13 at 12:39 pm ET|
Thornton, who has missed eight games since the incident, appealed the original decision by NHL senior vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan that was announced on Dec. 14. He met with the commissioner in New York on Friday, along with his agent, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and three representatives from the NHL Players Association.
The NHLPA argued for a suspension in the range of 10-12 games, noting that Thornton had never previously been suspended and the punishment was not consistent with previous penalties for similar actions.
Wrote Bettman in Tuesday’s announcement: “I have no trouble concluding that a very lengthy suspension is warranted and that the decision to impose a 15-game suspension is supported by clear and convincing evidence. In fact, in light of all the circumstances relating to the underlying conduct, it is certainly possible to argue for a more severe punishment, but I am comfortable relying on Mr. Shanahan’s judgment.”
Added Bettman: “The objective evidence makes it clear to me that Mr. Thornton’s conduct was premeditated and an act of retaliation, and I do not believe that any person with experience in the game could conclude otherwise.”
Thornton, who can appeal the decision to a neutral arbitrator as per the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, will forfeit $85,615 in salary. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
|NHL cancels games through Nov. 1||10.19.12 at 2:17 pm ET|
The NHL announced Friday that it has cancelled games through Nov. 1. Games through Oct. 24 had already been cancelled previously.
The news comes a day after negotiations between the league and NHLPA for a new collective bargaining agreement took “a step backward,” according to commissioner Gary Bettman. On Tuesday, the league offered a proposal that would include an 82-game schedule this season that started on Nov. 2, but the NHLPA countered with three proposals that the league did not find acceptable.
With the new cancellations, 10 Bruins games this season have now been cancelled.
|Negotiations between NHL and NHLPA take another turn for the worse||10.18.12 at 4:09 pm ET|
Nobody would have been surprised if negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement were to take a turn for the worse, and that’s exactly what happened between the NHL and NHLPA Thursday in Toronto.
After a negotiating session between the two sides that lasted just over an hour, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters that the two sides are “not speaking the same language” and called the meeting a “step backward.”
During the session, the NHLPA submitted three counter-proposals to Tuesday’s offer from the league. The league’s offer had included a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue, with Bettman telling reporters after Thursday’s meeting that none of the three counter-proposals “even began to approach 50-50.”
The league has already cancelled games through Oct. 24. If the NHLPA was to have accepted the offer submitted by the league within the next week, an 82-game season would be able to start on Nov. 2, though that seems a longshot considering that the sides are still apart in negotiations.
|NHLPA makes counteroffer to league||08.14.12 at 4:15 pm ET|
Exactly a month after the league made it’s first proposal in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, the NHL Players’ Association finally submitted its counteroffer.
While commissioner Gary Bettman did not disclose the details of the NHLPA’s proposal, he did say that it was apparent that the players and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr had used the last month well.
“It’s clear to me (the NHLPA) didn’t put (the proposal) together in an hour or two,” Bettman told reporters.
According to reports, the counterproposal does include a willingness on the players’ part to get a smaller piece of the pie when it comes to hockey-related revenues. The league’s first proposal called for the players to give back 11 percent, which was perceived nationally as being unrealistic.
Thus far that’s the biggest detail to emerge regarding the counterproposal, and it seems that Fehr and the players are trying to come off as the more reasonable ones early on. The league’s first proposal also asked for a five-year limit on contracts and the end of salary arbitration, among other things.
The league’s current CBA will expire on Sept. 15. If a new CBA isn’t reached by then, there will almost surely be another lockout.
|Ugly CBA negotiations? The NHL? Get out of town||08.10.12 at 4:40 pm ET|
Negotiations for new collective bargaining agreements tend to get messy, and NHL CBA negotiations (at least recently), tend to result in lockouts. Unfortunately, the news is that there haven’t been any surprises thus far.
Earlier this week, NHL Players’ Association head Donald Fehr said that a counterproposal to the league’s first offer was forthcoming, with it later being determined that folks can expect it to be delivered next Tuesday. The counterproposal is highly anticipated, as the league’s first offer was shocking — it called for an 11-percent giveback of hockey-related revenue on the players’ part, the end of arbitration, and a five-year limit on contracts, among other stipulations. When the NHLPA asked for more financial particulars before countering, the league buried them with some 76,000 pages of documents from the various teams.
Games technically could have been played if a new agreement wasn’t reached by Sept. 15, the expiration of the current CBA, but on Thursday commissioner Gary Bettman crushed the dreams of any fans hoping for that.
“We reiterated to the union that the owners will not play another year under the current agreement,” Bettman told reporters Thursday. “I re-confirmed something that the union has been told multiple times over the last nine to 12 months. Namely, that the time is getting short and the owners are not prepared to operate under this collective bargaining agreement for another season so we need to get to making a deal and doing it soon. And we believe there’s ample time for the parties to get together and make a deal and that’s what we’re going to be working towards.”
The players didn’t exactly dig any of that chatter. Here’s Henrik Lundqvist‘s reaction, via twitter:
“The @NHL says they won’t play past Sept 15th under current deal. Apparently they don’t like the deal they designed. #CBA #nhlpa2012″
And Brandon Prust‘s:
“Disappointed the League is talking about a lockout before we even give our @NHLPA counterproposal”
The bottom line is that nothing — neither Bettman’s comments or players’ reactions — should be surprising. No CBA by Sept. 15 equals a lockout . The only thing learned thus far is that this will get messy. Unfortunately with the NHL, everyone should have already known that.
|Agent: Lawsuit coming if Savard’s deal with Bruins is nixed||09.02.10 at 1:01 pm ET|
Larry Kelly, the agent for Marc Savard, made the most notable noise from the Savard camp Thursday since news broke this month that the center’s contract with the Bruins was being investigated.
Savard signed a seven-year, $28.5 million extension with the Bruins in December, but its front-loaded nature has led to its investigation. The NHL is willing to grandfather such deals if the NHLPA agrees to a new way of calculating salary cap hits, but if the players association declines the terms, Savard’s deal could be voided.
That’s where Kelly comes in. Appearing on Team 1200 radio in Ottawa Thursday, the agent said that legal action would be taken against the NHL if such a scenario to play out. If the deal were to be voided, Savard would become a free agent to sign with any club. The problem is that the prime free agency has passed, and many teams have already made their plans for the coming season, thus not having the cap space to sign a top player. Thirteen teams have less than $4.007 (Savard’s anticipated cap hit this season) freed, so such a signing would be made difficult at this time.
“I haven’t heard anything from the league, but I feel the contract is fine. It was not rejected on its face. It was registered. I’m not expecting any major problem. If the league were to arbitrarily do something, it would be a very, very serious issue. Marc Savard had a very serious concussion last year. He came back in the playoffs to try and help his team. He was not anywhere near the player he had been. If Marc is without a contract and is a so-called free agent after missing the free agency period, you can imagine the lawsuit that would ensue,” Kelly said.
Kelly also expressed a desire for commissioner Gary Bettman to take the side of players more often.
‘I’d really like to see a true commissioner-style , someone who has the best interest of the game in mind rather than the situation they have now. Bettman is [more like] the president of the league and he clearly is on the owners side on every issue. I really think it should be a commissioner. With a commissioner you have somebody who is totally independent and I think it would be a much less acrimonious situation,’ Kelly said.
[Props to sportsnet.ca]
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