NHL Off-Season Main Goal: Knock out the Lockout

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While speculation is at an all-time high about the NHL’s CBA negotiations, one thing is for sure; if an agreement is not made by September 15th, the NHL players will be locked out. If this happens, it will be the 3rd time Bettman has allowed the NHL to go into lockout. The only thing that seems to be agreed upon by Don Fehr (NHLPA) and Gary Bettman (NHL) is that there is a ‘ wide gap ‘ or ‘ meaningful gulf ‘ between the sides.

So what does this mean for NHL fans? Well, if an agreement isn’t made, it means no hockey for a while. This also means decreased revenue and excitement around hockey, which has been growing exponentially the last 5 years. If the NHL has a lockout it will be horrible for the expansion of the game both in North America and abroad (global preseason games have already been cancelled)…

Don Fehr has suggested that the game should continue until an agreement is made. “Under the law, if an agreement expires, that may give someone the legal ability to go on strike or in this case to impose a lockout,” he said. “There’s no requirement that they do so and if nobody does anything you (can) continue to work under the old conditions.” But Bettman and the NHL owners do not have any intentions of operating under the current CBA, even if it means no 2013 season. According to Bettman, “We reiterated to the union that the owners will not play another year under the current agreement”. If the CBA is not finalized by September 15th, there is a good chance a lockout is imminent.

But what is everyone even arguing about anyway? Well, the league wants to make sure the owners are protected. They are trying to lower salaries for players and essentially put that money back into the owners’ pockets. According to Don Fehr on NHL’s proposal, “Seems to us that all of the revenue-sharing payments would be paid for by player salary reductions.” Revenue sharing is definitely the biggest issue at hand. The NHL’s current proposal includes an 11% cut of hockey-related revenues going to players (changing from 57% to 46%). Do the players or the owners really need this money? No, probably not. But they definitely want it and they will fight ’til the death (or until September 15th) to come to a compromise.

Personally, it seems that both sides are hard-lining. I mean, yesterday’s meeting lasted less than 2 hours. But hey, isn’t that what negotiations are about? Ask for more than what you want, and don’t let up until the very last second. And we aren’t at the very last second, not yet. I am pretty optimistic that the NHL and NHLPA will work out an agreement, because if they don’t they are hurting virtually all of their stakeholders (players, owners, league, agents, and the fans). Don Fehr and the NHLPA are expected to give their first counterproposal to the NHL on Tuesday 8/14. And hopefully in the meantime, fans don’t attack Gary Bettman and demand hockey. For now those fans will have to wait patiently… or make aggressive memes.

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Torres’ Hit on Hossa: How does it live up to other big NHL Suspensions?

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Here is a video of Torres’ nasty shoulder hit on Hossa in the Coyotes vs. Blackhawks 4/17/12 playoff game . Torres got a 25 game suspension for this hit. Even though this is a injury-causing shoulder hit, 25 games is a long time. This ensures that Torres will not play until part of the way into next season (and he will definitely miss the rest of the playoffs this year).

I was left to wonder if I have ever seen such a long suspension in the NHL. I did some research and there were some (but not many) suspensions that were for 20+ games (only 5 in total that were for 25+ games). Needless to say, the video footage is hard to watch. I was surprised to see how much these suspension-causing penalties differed. Torres got in trouble for throwing his shoulder into an illegal hit, but some of these other suspensions were caused by punching, cross-checking, slashing to the face, and even an attack on a referee.

Check out the hit that ended Steve Moore’s career and got Todd Bertuzzi suspended from March 2004 until August 2005. 

30 games is the highest number of games a player has ever been suspended for. That record goes to Chris Simon of the NY Islanders for stomping on the leg of Jarkko Ruutu.  

Chris Simon also got a 25 game suspension for slashing Ryan Hollweg in the head. This might be the worst one to watch. Ouch. 

And lastly, the only player who was suspended from the NHL for life was Billy Coutu of the Boston Bruins in 1927. He started an all-out bench-clearing brawl in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final when he attacked two of the referees (yes, tackling was involved). The NHL ban was dropped after a couple years, but Coutu never played again. Unfortunately for all of us hockey fans, there is no footage of this event (considering it was in 1927). And just to put that in perspective, that was 2 years before there were any rules about off-sides in the NHL.

Do you think the Torres suspension was fair? Should he have received 25 games? Now we just have to wait and hear if Torres is going to appeal his suspension.

Bleacher Report Article: Why Pens vs. Flyers is the Series to Watch

Check out my newest Bleacher Report article on the crazy Pens vs. Flyers series. It was featured on the Pens page of B/R last night (see below pic and link)!

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1151570-penguins-vs-flyers-why-it-is-the-series-to-watch-for-any-nhl-fan

Pittsburgh Penguins: 5 Keys for Pens Making a Deep Run in 2012 NHL Playoffs

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Check out my second Bleacher Report article here:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1133476-pittsburgh-penguins-5-keys-for-pens-making-a-deep-run-in-2012-nhl-playoffs

It was really great to write about the Penguins. I am headed to the Pens vs. Rangers game tonight so that should be a good preview for what might be the Eastern Conference championship this year.

More articles specifically for FiveforBoarding soon, I think I am going to write about who should win the Calder Memorial Trophy for Rookie of the year. Keep an eye out!

Bleacher Report Article

I thought would link everyone to my first article for Bleacher Report. I just got selected for the opportunity to write for them earlier this week. My first article is about the Caps, their shootout win against the Canadiens, and what it means for their playoff chances.

Check out the article here:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1127159-caps-shootout-win-does-it-mean-playoffs-in-the-future