With only nine days to go before the current collective bargaining agreement expires and no formal negotiations currently planned between the NHL and NHLPA, a lockout seems unavoidable, and recent reports offer a grim picture.
All the while, though, players continue to work out at rinks in preparation for training camps that likely won’t start on time. At KCI on Thursday, 11 Capitals took part in an informal session. They were: Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Ribeiro, Wojtek Wolski, Marcus Johansson, Matt Hendricks, Mike Green, John Carlson, Michal Neuvirth, Dmitry Orlov, Stanislav Galiev and Mattias Sjogren.
Here’s a roundup of some of the latest news on all things CBA-related:
— NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly talked with Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune about the negotiations thus far. Daly also noted that while a Board of Governors meeting is scheduled for next week in New York, Commissioner Gary Bettman doesn’t need to gain approval of a lockout in that session.
From Russo: “Gary really already has authorization of the Board to lock out. I’m not sure he needs another vote of the Board,” Daly said. “It’s to update the Board on collective bargaining and we’ll see what they have to say.”
— The NHLPA will hold two days of meetings next week, with more than 200 players expected to attend, but the union has already sent out a memo to players about how the work stoppage will impact them.
USA Today obtained the memo, which states that injured players would still receive paychecks during a lockout. Signing bonuses, buyout payments and escrow funds will also be paid. There was also information on playing in other leagues.
The memo also explains that players can sign to play in other leagues when they are locked out, but could face problems with their current NHLteam should they be injured while playing elsewhere.
”We expect that your NHL club would suspend you without pay until you are fit to play,” the NHLPA memo said. “There also is a possibility that the club might take other disciplinary action. The NHLPA may be able to dispute such suspensions and disciplinary actions under the grievance and arbitration procedure.
”If you intend to play for a club in another league during a lockout, we recommend that you ask that club to insure the value of your SPC (standard players’ contract) against injury. If the club is unwilling to do so, we recommend that you purchase disability insurance on your own.”
The 20 Russian KHL teams are limited to only five non-Russian born players per team. The six KHL teams that reside elsewhere do not have a limit. Via Chesnokov, here is how KHL President Alexander Medvedev explained part of the signing limitations:
First of all, any KHL team will be allowed to sign up to three players from the NHL for the duration of the possible lockout in the NHL. Of the three, one may be from any country other than Russia.
— Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that the NHL is seeking to take sole control of decisions regarding league scheduling, playoff format and realignment.
— Earlier this week you read Alex Ovechkin’s candid comments about the labor unrest. He’s far from the only player to voice concerns as Sept. 15 nears. Tampa Bay veteran Martin St. Louis said that the players are prepared to wait out a deal that is beneficial to both parties.
“For us, we have great leadership and I’m very comfortable in how we have handled things and how we have moved forward so far,’’ St. Louis said. “Last time we lost an entire season to turn around and give them their deal, so if we have to sit, we’ll sit.
“That’s how I feel. It’s frustrating and we all want to play, but we are not going to play just on their terms. We did that last time.’’