Around The NHL: As Lockout Continues, Players Considering Options
By Stephen London
Fehr And Daly's Comments
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr has a lifetime of experience dealing with labor disputes in sports. Because of Fehr's experience, it was troubling to hear some of his comments in a USA Today article.
"I think baseball owners now have a different perspective than hockey owners now," Fehr said. "But if you want to look at in comparison to baseball owners a couple of decades ago, when we were dealing with collusion and so, it might be more similar."
Another noteworthy Fehr quote from the article was: "What has puzzled me about this negotiation from the beginning is when you look at [the owners'] original proposal, it was essentially to say we know players made enormous concessions last time, billions of dollars over the life of the agreement, and then they say we still have some trouble. Then they say everything is perfect except for the players' share numbers, and those two don't go together."
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly responded to Fehr's comments.
"I never downplay or understate the sacrifice and concessions players made in 2004-05, but I don't know what that has to do with this negotiation," he said. "Fifty-seven percent is too much, and it has probably always been too much."
Because Daly's job is to reduce costs, such as players' salaries, it makes sense that he would hold those opinions. But his response is not convincing. The owners were preaching how much money the league has been generating the last two years. If the league is growing in interest, revenue and viewership, why do the owners feel no obligation to the fans to make sure there is a season?
As of right now, there is no resolution in sight between the owners and players.
Brouwer, Carlson Re-signed
Just before the lockout, the Washington Capitals re-signed winger Troy Brouwer to a three-year, $11 million deal. A 27-year-old Vancouver native, Brouwer helped the Caps beat the Boston Bruins during the first round of the playoffs last year, scoring two key goals during Games 2 and 5. Brouwer received the assistant captain title for his hard work, tenacity and leadership. He finished the 2011-12 campaign with 18 goals and 15 assists (33 points).
Brouwer was not the only one to ink a new deal before the lockout. Defenseman John Carlson also received a big contract, signing a six-year, $23.8 million extension. The 22-year old blue liner scored two goals and had three assists during the postseason last year. Carlson's potential is limitless because of his 6-foot-3 frame and rare ability to both handle the puck and score.
Players' Mass Exodus
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said in the Washington Post that if the owners didn't change their demands, the lockout would last the entire season. If so, Ovechkin said, he plans to sign with a KHL team, but he has yet to do so.
Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Illya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils have already found places to play overseas during the lockout, just like the most of the European- and Russian-born players. As for the North American players, it might take a while before they jump across the Atlantic Ocean.
Rick Nash of the New York Rangers and Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks both decided to play in Davos, Switzerland, where they spent time during the last lockout.
Sidney Crosby of the Penguins, Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks, Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers and Logan Couture of the Sharks have already hinted that they are starting to look at the possibility of playing overseas in the near future.
Posted Sept. 18, 2012