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The Penguins have a large constituent on hand in New York hoping to end the lockout and bring labor peace.
The NHL and the Players Association will resume labor negotiations Wednesday, according to Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Members from both sides spoke on Monday and Tuesday, Yohe reported. No negotiations took place Tuesday, however.
Former Penguins forward Ryan Malone commented on the lockout, saying "the whole thing is crazy":
"If we lose another entire season," said Tampa Bay left wing Ryan Malone, "then shame on all of us."
"This whole thing is crazy," said Malone, who has already missed one season because of a labor dispute. "You just kind of keep waiting for good news."
A new proposal might not be pitched Wednesday, Yohe reported, despite internal meetings the last two days. Monday's meeting involved "economic issues and contracting."
Penguins star Sidney Crosby has been one of the most vocal players opposed to the lockout. He said last week he didn't want a break in the talks, saying, "I don't see how that's going to help anything."
The current lockout started Sept. 15, which was less than a month before the scheduled start of the season. It is the NHL's third lockout since 1994.
Many of the NHL's biggest stars have signed contracts with teams overseas to keep working through the lockout.
Despite their on-ice rivalry, there seems to be some thinking that the Flyers are interested in teaming up with the midmarket but high-revenue Pittsburgh Penguins to sway more governors toward a swift resolution. The Rangers are also viewed as anti-lockout.
The idea is that, if the Flyers' outlook on the lockout is evolving, it could come to an end more quickly. And as the lockout drags on, it poses greater problems for teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets or Florida Panthers, which might be unable to recover from the fan discontent the lockout is causing.
The article also mentions that someone like former president Bill Clinton could help negotiate the end of the lockout, although that seems unlikely for all kinds of reasons. In any case, it doesn't sound like anyone is particularly happy that it's mid-November and there's no end in sight.
Via The Pensblog.
Sidney Crosby has expressed disapproval at the idea of a two-week break in talks between the NHL owners and the Players' Association. The two sides have not met since a 90-minute session on Sunday, and commissioner Gary Bettman suggested that negotiations were at a stalemate. He and the NHL's top officials think that some time off would give both sides time to reassess their positions.
But Crosby disagrees, saying: "I don't see how that's going to help anything. If that's the way he feels ultimately that's up to them. I don't really see that being the best way to find a resolution."
On the negotiations thus far, Crosby seems equally discouraged: "I think the whole way it's been played out is the frustrating part. It hasn't been as productive maybe as it could have been."
Friday is Day 62 of the lockout. The Players' Association has not yet responded to Bettman's request for a break.
Adams said Tuesday there is still time to get a 2012-13 season in:
"We aren't there yet," Adams said. "Obviously, there is a deadline where we won't be able to have a season. We aren't going to start a season in March. But that stuff is up to the schedule makers and the league. We aren't there yet."
Adams said "the meetings in New York were productive" and the two sides made progress. However, he also said the NHL "has been unwilling to partake in legitimate negotiations."
Yohe reported that NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said via email "the NHL is not currently considering canceling more games."
Earlier this month, the NHL cancelled its marquee game, the Winter Classic. The game was scheduled for Jan. 1, 2013. The Detroit Red Wings were slated to play the Toronto Maple Leafs at the University of Michigan's Michigan Stadium.
Pittsburgh Penguins' captain Sidney Crosby discussed the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA after an informal practice on Monday, and expressed that he is frustrated by the process.
With the two sides meeting for four consecutive days last week, in addition to an abbreviated meeting on Sunday, the reports emerging from the talks have been largely negative in nature. With each still at odds over core issues, several outlets have reported that the two sides are having a difficult time finding traction in talks.
Crosby stated that he believes the owners are not as willing as the players are to make concessions. He noted that contract issues have become a new sticking point, with the owners attempting to reform the process. According to several reports, the owners are looking to limit contracts to five years, cut entry-level contracts to two-years and push back a players' eligibility for unrestricted free agency.
To Crosby, this is a one-sided point of view by the NHL. Regardless, he just wants a deal to get done, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
"It's just frustrating. You kind of hear the same things coming out of the meetings all the time. Just waiting to hear something new from their side. It's almost to the point where you don't want to ask because you know you're going to get the the same answer you got a week before. There's no reason we can't figure something out. I really want to be optimistic. It's not easy right now. It's just a roller coaster ... I don't know what's going to happen."
Crosby left the practice after an hour with club union rep Craig Adams and explained the move as a last-minute decision as he originally stated on Monday that he would not attend the meeting. He had originally planned to host several Penguins players and their significant others in a luxury box at Consol Energy Center for the Madonna concert on Tuesday night.
On Monday afternoon, the NHLPA held a conference call that persuaded Crosby and Adams to alter their plans.
As of this time, nothing has been made public in regards to what the meeting is about as the two sides are looking to avoid any kind of media distractions in the hopes of gaining traction in talks. It is assumed that talks will concentrate on core issues such as the guaranteeing of current contracts.
The two sides will be meeting at 3 p.m. ET, and commissioner Gary Bettman is not expected to address the media unless a significant development occurs.
Both the Pittsburgh Penguins' NHLPA representative and the team's best player will probably skip Tuesday meetings between the league and its players' association, as reported by Rob Rossi for the Tribune-Review.
The league and the NHLPA are meeting on a large scale somewhere in New York City. While Penguins' rep Craig Adams said that he was looking for a way to get to the city, he said he hadn't fully decided whether he would attend. And Sidney Crosby, who has attended several such meetings already, declined -- instead he'll be at Madonna's concert at the Penguins' arena, having invited several other players and their significant others to attend with him in a private suite at the Consol Energy Center.
Crosby said he wasn't sure if he was "invited" to the players' meeting. Several Penguins players, including Crosby and Adams who have not agreed to overseas deals continue to meet at the team's training facility in Southpointe to practice while the lockout continues.
With the NHL having already canceled all games through Nov. 30 in addition to the 2013 Winter Classic, Crosby believes that the next round of discussions set to begin on Tuesday will determine whether anything close to a full season will be played, via Dave Molinari:
"It's definitely an important time, considering the timing of everything, knowing in the back of our minds that it's probably the last chance to get anything close to a full season."
After engaging in discussions via phone and e-mail last week, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr met all day on Saturday, ending their meeting around 1 a.m., ET. The talks were beneficial enough, that the two sides determined a round of negotiations should resume in New York City on Tuesday.
As of this time, it's unclear whether NHL commissioner Gary Bettman or NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr will attend the session on Tuesday.
The NHL is reportedly notifying sponsors that it plans to cancel the 2013 Winter Classic, according to Nick Kypreos. Kypreos expects an official announcement to come on Friday afternoon, perhaps as early as 2 p.m. Friday is Day 48 of the NHL lockout, and November games have already been eliminated. Reports earlier in the week suggested that a cancellation of the Winter Classic was imminent.
Meanwhile, members of the Pittsburgh Penguins continued to practice on Friday at Southpointe, according to Rob Rossi. Sidney Crosby, Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Tyler Kennedy and club union rep Craig Adams were all in attendance. Twenty-three Penguins games have already been wiped off the schedule. Crosby told the media that the next three weeks will be crucial to avoiding another lost season.
The NHL officially announced on Friday that the league had canceled all regular season games through Nov. 30 due to ongoing collective bargaining negotiations with the NHL Players Association.
In total, 326 games (26.5 percent of the regular season schedule) have been canceled from Oct. 11 through Nov. 30. In addition, it means that the prospects of playing a full 82-game schedule are unlikely.
Following the passing of Thursday's deadline, it became apparent that the league was going to cancel more games. The NHL presented the union with a new proposal last Tuesday, which included a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue with no salary rollbacks. After the players decided not to accept the deal, the owners withdrew the offer because it was made in the hopes of starting a condensed regular season on Nov. 2.
As of this time, no future negotiations are scheduled.
Sidney Crosby, who has joined about 25 other NHL players for a week of training in Plano, Texas, had said he would "have to seriously look at" his European options if the entire November schedule was whacked.
"It would force me to think about it much differently," he said. "If they say they're going to end talks for a while, I'm going to have to think about things."
The NHL lockout is costing the city of Pittsburgh an estimated $2.2 million per home game, according to a report published by the Pittsburgh Business Times on Friday.
That amount is based on lost revenue from businesses such as hotels, restaurants and other establishments that benefit from Pittsburgh Penguins games. However, that total does not include the estimated $15.2 million that was lost from the four preseason games that were canceled earlier this year.
As of this time, the NHL and NHL Players Association still remain at odds over key issues in collective bargaining negotiations. In fact, the league formally announced on Friday that all games through Nov. 30 have been cancelled. This means that it is unlikely that the league will be able to play 82 games this season.
There have been no announcements regarding future negotiations and reports have already surfaced that more cancelations could come as early as next week. It is believed that the Winter Classic is going to be the next casuality of the lockout.
The NHL has informed its teams that the league plans to cancel all regular season games through Nov. 30 as part of the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations with the NHL Players association, according to Elliotte Friedman of CBC.
The official announcement is expected to come later on Friday afternoon.
This decision is no surprise as the NHL had set a deadline for Thursday, Oct. 25, to have a new CBA agreed upon. In an attempt to accomplish this, the league presented the NHLPA with a new proposal last Tuesday, which included a 50/50 split of hockey related revenue without salary rollbacks. If the players agreed to the proposal by the deadline, the league planned to play a condensed 82-game schedule, which would have begun on Nov. 2.
However, the players association was not pleased with the proposal and countered with three new proposals of their own last Thursday, which the NHL quickly rejected.
As of this time, no future negotiations are scheduled.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly already stated that the NHL All-Star Game will not be canceled as part of this next block of cuts, according to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch. However, it is believed that the Winter Classic could be canceled as early as next week.
President Barack Obama took a question about the NHL lockout on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno this week, and he gave a common-sense, populist answer, albeit not a particularly deep one.
I do have a comment on this, and ... Every time these things happen, I just want to remind the owners and the players: You guys make money, because you've got a whole bunch of fans out there who are working really hard, they buy tickets, they're watching on TV. Y'all should be able to figure this out.
Of course, it's easy to get frustrated with a bunch of rich people arguing about money, but that doesn't mean that the players should be willing to take an unfairly small share of the revenue just because. And I'm not sure what he means about the fans "working really hard," but I'm guessing that's just a bit of detritus from the campaign. Anyway, Obama is really more of a basketball fan. It's always amazed me that, as President of the United States, you really have to have opinions about everything.
Two of the most popular events of the NHL season might be cancelled in the coming days, as the league prepares to get rid of the annual Winter Classic and All-Star Game, according to Rob Rossi of the Tribune-Review.
With both sides prepared to move on from the idea of holding an 82-game season in the coming days and the likelihood that several weeks of games will be cancelled if an agreement between the league and NHLPA don't reach an agreement imminently, it seems the two prominent events could be eliminated from the schedule. Rossi details the situation:
The Classic and All-Star Game have been the highest-rated regular-season games since the Classic’s debut in 2008. Reasons to cancel the signature events include: protecting local businesses such as hotel and restaurants; refunding tickets; and eliminating the lucrative games as possible bargaining chips during labor negotiations.
The Tribune-Review first reported earlier this month that NBC, the NHL’s national broadcast partner, had started planning for programming to replace the Classic. HBO, which had produced the "24/7: Road to the Winter Classic" series each of the past two Decembers, must know by mid-November if that program can go off as planned.
This year's Winter Classic is scheduled to be held New Year's Day between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., while the All-Star Weekend is slated for Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 26-27. The league's current offer to the NHLPA is contingent on a full season being played this year, but the league says that if an agreement isn't reached by Friday, there won't be an 82-game season.
Rossi reports that Penguin players expect at least two weeks but possibly more than a month of games to be cancelled this weekend.
As the NHL Lockout hits Day 38, the league and players' union are not on meeting terms, as no talks are scheduled for this week.
The NHL had proposed to open training camps this Friday, but that seems unlikely if the two sides don't resume discussion. Monday marked the fourth day the two sides did not meet. Although both the league and players' association want a 50-50 split of revenue, there are still a variety of issues that need to be sorted out that are preventing the two sides from reaching an agreement.
Rob Rossi of the Tribune-Review summarized the situation while also providing an update on the whereabouts of various Pittsburgh Penguins players. A new low of five Penguins players showed up to an organized workout session in Southpointe Monday, including the team's union rep Craig Adams while Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, and James Neal headed to Plano, Texas, for a separate workout session.
While negotiations have been ongoing in an attempt to end the NHL lockout, insufficient progress was made to prevent more of the season from being lost. The league announced another week of cancellations, wiping out the schedule through November 1. Combined with previous cancellations, nine Pittsburgh Penguins games have been canceled thus far. Among the lost games were the first matchup of the season with the Philadelphia Flyers, as well as a Halloween showdown with Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. In total, 135 games have been canceled throughout the league.
The NHL has said that if a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached by next week, that the season could begin on November 2, and the schedule reconfigured to include a full 82-game season. The lockout enters its 35th game on Saturday, and the next round of negotiations is currently not scheduled. After the owners quickly rejected three union counter-proposals earlier this week, Penguins star Sidney Crosby said that "it doesn't look good" in regards to a resolution.
Sidney Crosby takes part in an extensive interview.
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik expressed that the he and the rest of the NHL Players Association were not impressed with the NHL's most recent collective bargaining proposal, which was presented on Tuesday.
The offer included a 50/50 split of hockey related revenue without salary rollbacks on players' contracts and a condensed 82 game schedule. While the initial concept of an 'even' split was favorably received amongst fans, Orpik and the NHLPA hope that they will realize that you can't judge a book by its cover.
It was exposed on Monday by Deadspin that the NHL recently employed Republican strategist Frank Luntz to help the league craft a public relations plan moving forward. In Orpik's mind, the latest proposal was a move by the league to gain some positive press with the fans, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
"I think that might have been the goal of the league - to generate that excitement and make it seem like everything will be done soon. There weren't a lot of details leaked out yesterday. 'Oh, it's a 50-50 split across the board. We know it's important to honor players' contracts.' But they didn't say how those contracts would be honored. I think that's why they generated excitement. People didn't care [about the details]. Everything sounded great."
The NHLPA is expected to provide the league a counterproposal some time this week.
The NHL and the players will resume talks Tuesday in Toronto to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement and the division of revenue between the two parties, according to Rob Rossi of TribLive.com.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly hopes the two sides can establish common ground on this issue and, from this point, "move forward." Daly, along with commissioner Gary Bettman, will represent the NHL in Tuesday's talks.
The players made 57 percent of league revenue under the old collective bargaining agreement, and the owners now want to shift that number more in their favor. Several other issues must also be resolved before a new collective bargaining agreement can go into effect, but the splitting of revenue remains the primary point of contention.
According to Rossi, if no progress is made in Tuesday's talks, the NHL is expected to cancel more regular-season games by Thursday. A number of games have already been canceled.
While the players and owners are locked in a vicious game of tug-of-war, Crosby remains on the outside, waiting for hockey to resume instead of seeking it out overseas.
When Josh Yohe asked Crosby whether his routine of working out at Southpointe would be the same next week, he got the following answer:
"Yeah," he said, "I don't really have much else going on right now."
Yes, Crosby is bored. Incredibly bored. He's an intelligent kid and has other interests, but his whole life is a giant ice rink. Imagine being the very best at what you do, but being unable to perform. Crosby is more disgusted with this situation than most people realize. He just wants to play.
The labor situation remains murky, with the two sides scheduled to talk more this week.
As the NHL lockout drags on, another member of the Pittsburgh Penguins is packing his bags and heading for the professional leagues of Europe. This time, its defenseman Deryk Engelland, who will take his talents to the fjords of Norway this winter. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
The Penguins' Deryk Engelland has signed with RIHK in the top league in Norway, according to that club.
The rugged defenseman will join Florida forward Jack Skille, who signed Thursday with RIHK, which stands for Rosenborg Ishockeyklubb Elite. It's in the Get-ligaen.
Engelland, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, he has played in most of the Penguins' games the last two years. He had said from the beginning that, if the lockout were to drag on, he would play elsewhere, according to the Post-Gazette. Engelland is the third Penguin to go to Europe for the lockout, following Evgeni Malkin — who will be playing in the KHL — and Dustin Jeffrey, who will play in Croatia.
Sidney Crosby addresses the rumor that the NHL has a secret deadline in November to end the lockout.
Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby is still weighing his option on whether or not to play overseas, Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Crosby is currently just taking part in informal workouts at Southpointe.
The Pens' star is hanging around hoping the league and players union can soon reach a new collective bargaining agreement, so he can return to work. If that doesn't happen soon, Crosby maybe forced to go play in Europe like many other NHL players. The Post-Gazette writes:
Crosby's desire to see the lockout conclude isn't the only thing he has in common with a lot of co-workers, because he is at least considering the idea of playing in Europe until labor peace returns to the NHL.
However, Crosby's decision to play in Europe may not be that easy, says Molinari, because a European team will need to take on the large financial burden a player like Crosby will ask for.
Crosby's agent, Pat Brisson, told a Canadian radio station recently that insuring a significant amount (though not all) of Crosby's future earnings -- he is scheduled to be paid $7.5 million in 2012-13 before a 12-year, $104.4 million deal kicks in -- could cost between $200,000 and $400,000 per month.
The Pens' star is still holding out hope that the NHL lockout will be lifted soon and a decision to play or not play overseas will be made for him.
Currently, the Penguins' first regular-season game is schedule for Oct. 25.
Dustin Jeffrey becomes the second Pittsburgh Penguin to sign with a foreign squad during the NHL lockout.
The NHL officially canceled the first two weeks of the regular season Thursday. The decision means the Pittsburgh Penguins' first six games are now canceled, including the season opener, Oct. 12, against the visiting New York Islanders.
"Right now,” Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen told the Trib's Josh Yohe, “this whole thing just stinks. It totally stinks.”
According to the Penguins' official website, Pittsburgh's new season-opener will now be played against the visiting New York Rangers on Oct. 25. The Penguins' next six games, a span from Oct. 26-Nov. 7, would be played on the road.
However, there are no signs that a new collective bargaining agreement between the owners and players will be finalized anytime soon. The two sides are still unable to work out how to split up $3 billion in hockey-related revenues. This means another round of cuts to the regular-season schedule could be coming.
The league was scheduled to begin regular-season play next Thursday night with four games. It's still unclear how the league will handle a shortened season.
“We’re just hoping for the best right now,” Niskanen said. “But right now, it’s not looking good. We’d be at the end of training camp right now in a normal season. It’s just a bad situation for everyone.”
The NHL is expected to officially announce the cancellation of regular season games on Thursday afternoon due to the ongoing collective bargainning negotiations between the NHL and NHL Players Association.
With the regular season scheduled to begin on Oct. 11, time has become an issue in relation to the negotiations. Even if the two sides were able to come to terms on a new agreement in the near future, it likely wouldn't give the players enough time to return to North America, especially considering how many are currently playing overseas.
However, the last round of negotiations were tumultuous with little progress being made, making a swift resolution to this conflict unlikely. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly stated that the discussions weren't overly encouraging and the NHLPA expressed a similar sentiment. The two sides remain at odds over key issues including core economics and defining hockey related revenue.
According to multiple reports, the next set of negotiations are expected to occur sometime next week.
Russia's Kontinental Hockey League announced on Tuesday morning that the league has come to an agreement with ESPN to broadcast KHL games on the network's digital channel ESPN3 throughout the course of the 2012-13 season. ESPN3, also known as Watch ESPN, is available solely on digital platforms such as computers, smart phones, tablets and other streaming devices.
This will allow hockey fans in the United States to watch NHL players such as Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Alex Ovechkin while they are locked out by the league as part of the on-going collective bargaining negotiations, via the KHL's official website:
The Kontinental Hockey League has reached an agreement with the US sports TV channel ESPN to broadcast games in the 2012/2013 KHL Championship. The games will be shown on the ESPN3 channel in the United States, Territories of the United States, and also in Great Britain.
ESPN3 reaches 73 million American households and devotes most of its output to live broadcasts of events, including college football, college basketball, the NBA, MLB, ICC (International Cricket Council) competitions and qualifying matches of FIFA tournaments.
Broadcasts are scheduled to begin on Wednesday, Oct. 3.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Yahoo!'s Dmitry Chesnokov tweeted that his sources had informed him that the KHL is actively pursuing a broadcasting deal with Canadian markets.
Pittsburgh Penguins NHLPA representative Craig Adams was in New York last weekend for the labor negotiations, and according to a report by Josh Yohe of the Tribune-Review the Penguins right winger wasn't encouraged by his experience.
"It’s very frustrating right now," Adams said to the Tribune Review. "We’re not making a lot of progress."
Adams' comments come almost a month since the NHL owners locked out its players, Sept. 15, as neither side could reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. Though, Adams admits there has been small progress on some issues -- drug testing, player health and player safety -- the owners don't seem to want to talk about the larger ones -- the division of future league revenues.
"I don’t know who suggested it to who that we only discuss the smaller things," Adams said. "But, of course, both sides know it needs to get done at some point and that we need to talk about the big issues."
Adams said the NHLPA is wants to negotiate a new labor agreement, as the NHL regular season is scheduled to begin in 10 days, but he's feeling all the league wants to do is stall and isn't interested in talking.
"Absolutely I feel that way," Adams said. "I really do."
Negotiations between the NHL and its players could go on for up to three days in New York this weekend in a possible sign of progress, according to 'numerous sources' in a report by Josh Yohe of the Tribune-Review.
The meetings on Friday, according to the report, will be discussing issues such as player safety issues, realignment possibilities and player discipline issues.
Craig Adams, player representative for the Pittsburgh Penguins, told Yohe in the report that any progress that could be made in these topics of discussion may serve to provide a boost of momentum to the lockout negotiations as a whole and open the door for "serious progress," as the report says, to be achieved.
The previous collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players expired on Sept. 15, beginning the lockout on Sunday, Sept. 16. Earlier today, the league announced the cancellation of the entire 2012 preseason. The regular season is currently slated to begin on Oct. 11.
The NHL lockout has been in place for 11 days, but at least a small bit of good news is rolling in.
For the first time since the players were locked out on Sept. 15, the two sides will meet to discuss their differences on Friday, with Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr expected to be present.
While it's not on the schedule to talk about the main economic issues such as salary rollbacks for players and the percentage each side will get from the total financial pie, progress could still be made.
The NHL has already lost all of its September preseason games and, according to triblive.com, could announce the loss of the remaining preseason contest as early as Wednesday.
If the lockout drags on much longer, it would be fair to reason that the NHL's regular season will start to feel the impact. The season opener is scheduled for Oct. 11, something that seems almost implausible at the moment.
Pittsburgh Penguins wing Evgeni Malkin will play for his original Russian team on Thursday. A standing room only crowd of 8,000 at Arena Mettalurg are expected to watch Metallurg Magnitogorsk play Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
For Magnitogorsk fans, this is equivalent to when Mario Lemiuex returned to the Penguins in 2001. However, this return has the context of one a messy team-player divorce. Its a topic that Malkin rarely talks about.
In 2006, Malkin was basically coerced into re-signing with Magnitogorsk, who were trying to prevent him from signing with the Penguins in the NHL. Club officials actually stayed at his parents house until 3 a.m., leaving only when Malkin signed the extension.
Malkin's agent J.P. Berry discovered a loophole in the Russian work code that could get him out of his contract. During a training trip in Finland, with the help of a Finnish security company, Malkin was able to separate himself from his team and wait for a visa at the U.S. Embassy. That enabled him to get to America and start his career with the Penguins.
The bad blood between Malkin and Magnitogorsk waned after his rookie season.
The first loss of NHL games for the 2012-13 season was officially announced on Wednesday, with the cancellation of all preseason games through Sept. 30.
The announcement is, of course, caused by the current NHL lockout that started less than a week ago.
The NHL previously stated it was ready and willing to lock out the players' association if there wasn't an agreement on a new CBA by their deadline of Sept. 15. As known now, no significant progress was made -- which has lead to the stalemate we have today between the two sides.
Also according to NHL.com, the Kraft Hockeyville preseason match scheduled for Oct. 3 in Belleville, Ontario has been postponed.
It's unclear how long it will be before either side will blink. However, with the regular season slated to start in less than a month, time is certainly not a friend to the fans.
Under Gary Bettman's tenure as commissioner of the NHL, this is the third work stoppage. The NHL is the only North American league to ever miss an entire season due to a labor dispute, back in 2005.
The NHL officially locked out its players last week, and it appears the league is digging in for a prolonged work stoppage. The NHL informed staff on Wednesday that as of Oct. 1, it will be scaling down to four-day weeks and reducing pay by 20 percent, according to Chris Botta of the Sports Business Journal. Botta also reported that, for now, there will be no layoffs.
The potential for a lengthy lockout has a number of Pens players considering overseas options. Defeseman Kris Letang has indicated he'll consider playing in Europe and there has been speculation about Sidney Crosby signing up to play in the KHL. Reigning Hart Trophy winner, Evgeni Malkin, has reportedly already agreed to a deal with his former Russian club, Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
There is hope that the ongoing NHL lockout won't be a long work stoppage. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Rob Rossi argues that this lockout shouldn't be anything like the one that wiped out the 2004-05 NHL season, because that dispute was about economic structure and this one is simply about economics. Rossi spoke with former Pittsburgh Pirates legal counsel Larry Silverman:
"This is a battle for hockey revenue, and if it’s just about that, there shouldn’t be a long stoppage," said Larry Silverman, the Pirates’ baseball legal counsel from 2002-11. "Long stoppages occur when there are fundamental structural differences between parties."
Silverman said the issues in the NHL lockout more closely mirror those of the 2011 NFL lockout than they do those of the 04-05 NHL lockout or the 2011 NBA lockout. The main issue in the ongoing NHL lockout is the distribution of hockey related revenue, a figure that was roughly $3.1 billion last season. In the past collective bargaining agreement the players collected 57 percent of that revenue, a number the owners would like greatly reduced. The most recent NHL proposal had owners collecting from 51-53 percent of revenue.
The National Hockey League is officially in a lockout once again, meaning many of their star players will look into playing in leagues back in their native countries. 25-year-old Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is one of many considering a move back to European hockey for the upcoming year.
Here is the latest from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Letang, on considering Europe: "I worked hard in the summer to get in shape, and it wouldn’t be right for me just to sit at home and wait."— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) September 17, 2012
Many who are working closely with the NHL during their labor negotiations have said the season might not begin anytime soon, so it only makes sense for these players to consider playing outside of the United States. Letang is one of the better young defensemen around and is looking to build off a year when injuries limited him to 51 games. He tied a career-high with 10 goals, and recorded 42 points.
For more on Letang, his possible move to Europe and the Penguins, be sure to check out PensBurgh.
With the NHL currently locking out the players, it's interesting to think about what the stars of the game will do with all of their free time.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL has already signed Malkin and ex-Penguin Sergei Gonchar. The franchise certainly wouldn't mind the addition of Crosby, who has stated he would be open to playing overseas if the NHL was missing games.
The Penguins' brass might have some trepidation with the idea, considering Crosby's vast concussion history. However, they don't have a say in the matter with the CBA resolution seemingly running in place.
On the injury front, Crosby did recently say he's feeling great once again.
"It's been really good," he said. "Nothing. I've been feeling 100 percent. It feels good to not have to think about that, and to work as hard as you want. It's been really good."
The NHL is entering the second day of its lockout as of Monday morning.
Malkin had previously said in an interview at the end of August that he would sign with Metallurg if the NHL Lockout came to pass. The NHL officially locked out players early on Sunday. Malkin, 26, has signed with the Russian team through the 2012-13 season. He will join another NHL player, Ottawa Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar, on Metallurg.
Malkin has played in the NHL for six years, all with the Penguins. Malkin has tallied 208 goals and 319 assists in his NHL career. Malkin scored a career-high 50 goals last season in 75 games. His hockey career began with Metallurg in 2003. Malkin played in the KHL until he was selected 2nd overall in the NHL's 2004 entry draft.
Penguins' defenseman Matt Niskanen expressed confidence that negations concerning the NHL lockout will pick up around Sept. 21, when training camps are scheduled to start. In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he said,
"There hasn't been much movement on either side. There's nothing really going on. No one's really losing anything. No one has anything to risk. If the lockout were to start tomorrow, nobody's missing anything until (Sept. 21, when training camps begin). Then that's when you'll get your serious negotiations going on."
In other words, neither side has made a concession yet because they have nothing to lose until Sept. 21. Niskanen has expressed this view despite the fact the an official lockout will commence on Saturday, Sept. 15 at midnight if the NHL and its players cannot agree on a new CBA.
The Penguins are scheduled to begin the regular season in less than a month.
Gary Bettman and the NHL's board of governors met in NY on Thursday, and after the meeting Bettman had some comments for the media. The commissioner confirmed that all 30 teams voted in favor of locking out the players if an new agreement hasn't been reached by 11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Bettman pointed out the the player's share of the revenue is the major sticking point at the moment, and also noted the results of recent agreements between the NBA, NFL and their respective players in an attempt to paint the league in a better light. Both the NBA and NFL players agreed to a reduced share of their league's revenue in their most recent labor agreements.
Bettman stated that the league has been actively altering their proposal in hopes of coming to an agreement with the players, but accused the players of failing to budge in their negotiations. According to Bettman, any other meetings between the sides before Saturday would be dependent on the players.
Pittsburgh Penguins' center Sidney Crosby isn't optimistic about the NHL playing a full schedule this upcoming season, as he told Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi Thursday, "Right now its not looking great." The comments were in support of the NHL union which is trying to negotiation a new collective bargaining agreement with the league before Saturday's 11:59 p.m. deadline.
"Basically when you look at things, it’s a partnership," Crosby told the media after Day 2 of meetings in New York. "If you look at the key principles of everything, we’re showing we’re willing to move, to sacrifice things.
"If you look at (the NHL) proposal, it’s not really the same type of feeling."
Crosby is currently one of 283 union players that are looking to negotiate a deal which would prevent a lockout. But things are not moving in the right direction and Crosby mentioned he's considering playing someplace else if the NHL does not have a season.
"I think everyone has a different opinion on that," he said. "Mine is that I’m a hockey player. It’s a competitive business. Would I look forward to possibility of taking someone’s job? No. But at the end of the day I’m a hockey player. At the end of the day I don’t see anything wrong with that."
Some of the biggest names in the NHL will converge in New York on Wednesday and lend their presence to the current labor negotiations. Some of the names include Pittsburgh Penguins CEO David Morehouse, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, players union representative Craig Adams, Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury, according to a TribLive.com report.
Both the players and the league have yet to reach a new collective bargaining agreement in order to avoid the first work stoppage the league has seen since 2004. If an agreement is not reached by this Saturday at 11:59 p.m ET., the NHL will implement a lockout of the players.
With training camp set to begin on Sept. 21 and the puck set to drop for regular season games Oct. 11, there isn't much time for the two sides to end their impasse.
Currently at issue is the distribution of hockey-related revenue and a move toward an eventual 50-50 split with the players and a $58 million salary cap beginning next season.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby joined his teammates for informal workouts on Tuesday morning and appeared to be in tremendous shape, according to Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
After battling the lingering effects of a concussion last offseason (which carried into the regular season and forced him to miss all but 22 games), Crosby has jumped at the opportunity to take advantage of this offseason. Despite his struggles to consistently stay in the lineup, the 25-year-old superstar still managed to register eight goals and 29 assists for 37 points, which leaves to the imagination what he could do with a full, injury-free year.
While Crosby may be primed for the 2012-13 season, the issue of a potential lockout may force him to play in another abridged regular season.
However, teammate Evgeni Malkin has already expressed interest in recruiting Crosby to play in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League in the case of a lockout. Crosby was non-committal when the topic was brought up on Tuesday but stated that he would consider it.
Crosby on lockout: "Don't even want to think about it. I want to play."— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) September 11, 2012
The current collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the Players' Association is set to expire on Sept. 15. Commissioner Gary Bettman has already made it clear that the player's will be locked out if a new agreement is not reached prior to the deadline.
The NHL Players Association issued a memo explaining how the players will be affected by a lockout should one occur. USA Today obtained the memo, but The Pensblog stated a few points in the memo that were notable.
-If a player is injured, he still receives paychecks during the lockout. And once he's cleared to play, he stops getting paid. No clue how that works.
-If a player gets injured playing overseas during the lockout and isn't ready to play when the NHL comes back, that player can be suspended without pay until healthy.
-Signing bonuses, buyouts, and return-of-escrow payments will still be made to players during the lockout.
If the NHL is locked out, it would be the third stoppage of regular season action since 1994. By comparison, the NFL has lost no games to labor issues since 1987, Major League Baseball has had no further labor issues since 1994 and the NBA has had lockouts in 1998-99 and 2011 that cost the league games.
"I think he won't go to the KHL right away. He will see how the situation develops," Malkin said. "And if the lockout is announced for the entire season, then Crosby may come. He loves to play and won't be able to live an entire year without hockey."
It would be surprising if the NHL missed the entire campaign, but odder things have happened. Crosby could undoubtedly play just about anywhere he wanted if a team had the financial wherewithal to pay him.
Malkin also said in his interview that he would be playing with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL if the owners and players can't come to terms on a new CBA.
The NHL made a new proposal to the NHLPA on Tuesday, a move that commissioner Gary Bettman called "significant" in the negotiating process. According to a report by Chris Johnston of the The Globe and Mail, the new offer reduces the players' share of revenues to 51.6 percent in the first year and 50.5 percent in the second year of the deal. The initial league proposal of July 13 offered 43 percent of revenue to the players. The recently expired agreement paid the players 57 percent. This new increase from 43 percent to over 50 percent was hailed by Bettman:
"It was a proposal that we believe is significant and had meaningful movement," said Bettman. "It was also designed to address issues that they've raised with us and to address the proposal they last made to us in terms of structure and format."
But NHLPA director Donald Fehr did not sound as optimistic. Johnston writes that the union did not seem receptive to the new offer, and Fehr's quotes indicated as much:
"It's a proposal that we intend to respond to," he said. "I'm just going to leave it at that."
With training camp fast approaching in September, there's growing pessimism on both sides that a lockout is becoming inevitable -- and this increased proposal from the league doesn't seem to change that.
Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins has reportedly agreed in principle to a lockout contract with the Metallurg Magnitogorsk of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, according to Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period.
With the potential of labor unrest threatening the 2012-13 NHL season, players have been discussing potential alternatives if they are locked out by the owners on Sept 15. If the report is accurate, Malkin is the first major player to reach an agreement with another team.
Malkin was a member of the Magnitogorsk from 2003-2006 prior to joining the Penguins for the 2006-2007 regular season. Over that three-year span, Malkin recorded 36 goals and 55 assists for a total of 91 points in 132 games played.
Largely considered the team's best player, Metallurg filed an antitrust lawsuit (which was later dismissed) against the Penguins and the NHL when he left for Pittsburgh in 2006. If he is forced to go back to Russia due to a potential lockout, hopefully his future return to the NHL will be less controversial.
Pens' goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was part of a delegation representing the players during Thursday's CBA talks with the NHL.
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