There have been a lot fewer media leaks about the substance of the recent talks between the NHL and NHLPA, which most are interpreting as a good thing. But there are a few details out there about what the league and PA may have already agreed to and how the NHL may be proposing the salary cap calculations be tweaked.
After reading both the Puck Daddy articles and the original articles in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Globe & Mail, I'm a little unclear on if these are things that have officially been agreed to or if it's speculation as to what the players might be looking for, but it is definitely intriguing to look at what the PA might be able to pitch to its members as perks.
Many of those perks involve medical care, include a health and safety committee, access to second medical opinions at club expense and establishments of standards of care for team doctors. Most of these can be traced to the mishandling of the Derek Boogaard prescriptions and perhaps the Sidney Crosby concussion mismanagement.
The drawbacks, depending on who you ask, involve including the salary of the highest-paid AHL players against the salary cap and not including rookie performance bonuses, which can act as potential cap-floor inflators for cash-strapped teams.
The new cap calculations will likely rankle two groups (and if you look at the Globe & Mail article, check out the auspicious picture of the owner in the top left corner):
This alarmed two groups. One is a lot of NHL owners, many of whom were considered moderates, who are not happy that under this proposal they could no longer include on their payroll bonus money that would likely never be paid in order to get to the salary floor, which was $48.3-million in the 2011-12 season. This means they will have to pay real cash to get to the floor, a daunting prospect for clubs operating on razor-thin margins.
The other unhappy group is all of the players in the AHL, who would effectively see their salaries capped at $105,000 under Bettman's offer. This is alarming because a veteran can make as much as $300,000 on an AHL contract, which is currently not included in the NHL team's cap payroll.
- This is a fascinating article about Jaromir Jagr and his perspective on the lockout after a year as the owner of HC Kladno. You get a real sense of the affection he has for his hometown team and his overall intelligence as he skillfully manages to acknowledge that both sides are right in some aspects while not insulting either. Well done. [Yahoo Sports]
- I'm not sure the mayor of Dallas has the most accurate finger on the pulse of the lockout negotiations, but this story is a nice reminder that the AAC being dark on the night of scheduled Stars games has an impact on more than just hockey people. [KRLD]
- We've touched on most of these players recently, but it's worth noting again that two Stars draft picks had very productive weekends in their respective junior leagues. Gemel Smith might have had his point streak stop at 11 games, but he still racked up seven points in three weekend contests to be named the Attacker of the Week for the Owen Sound Attack. Not to be outdone, Brett Ritchie scored an eye-popping 10 goals and three assists for the Niagra IceDogs and was named the OHL's player of the week. [Bay Shore Broadcasting/OHL]
- Brandon wrote an article touching on this already, but it's worth repeating. Although Tom Gaglardi has been brought up as one of the "hardline" group of owners, there are reasons those around here have some doubts. [The Hockey Writers]
- In the realm of former Stars owners and financial shenanigans, Tom Hicks claims about the amount of money he sunk into the Texas Rangers and Stars are under scrutiny in court. [DallasNews.com]
- The less we hear about the negotiations tomorrow and this week, the better in all likelihood. [ProHockeyTalk]
- The more things change, the more they stay they same. Even without an NHL season, Rick DiPietro has managed to pull his groin. Shocker. [Eye on Hockey]
- As a professional sports writer for the better part of a decade, I ran into all sorts of personality types among athletes. I can assure you, and the father who wrote the article that Justin Bourne so rightfully criticizes here, that the sport they played had almost nothing to do with their personality. [Backhand Shelf]
- Alex Chiasson is settling in for his first full season of professional hockey, and the Texas Stars had a camera crew following him around this weekend to document his progress.