The good news for the NHL and the NHLPA is that both sides continue to have bargaining talks to work towards a new CBA contract. While many thought talks might cool down between the two sides after the players opted out of its option to terminate the current agreement, that has not happened. However, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston writes that there are other issues that could make it an interesting negotiations.
One of the biggest roadblocks is Olympic participation as the league isn’t that interested in allowing players to play.
“I’ll say, because I think I need to say, from the NHL owners’ perspective, Olympic participation is not seen as something that’s either essential or even useful to our business,” said deputy commissioner Bill Daly. “It’s highly disruptive to our season, puts our players in jeopardy of injury with no financial benefit to the NHL or the clubs.”
If the NHL wants to bend on this aspect of negotiations, they would have to not only change their stance, but then begin negotiations with the IOC in regards to travel, insurance and hospitality arrangements, which had been the issues that the NHL had with the IOC in the past.
- The Washington Capitals are already getting forward Evgeny Kuznetsov back from suspension, but they might just be closer to getting back defenseman Michal Kempny, who has been out with a hamstring injury, according to The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir (subscription required). Head coach Todd Reirden said that until Kempny competes in 5-on-5 practice and can prove he’s healthy, Reirden won’t even consider playing him. The next opportunity to prove himself will be Monday.
- Newsday’s Colin Stephenson writes that New York Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith, who was used as a fourth-line forward Saturday, but also used as a defenseman in short-handed situations, could find himself in a similar role for a while. Head coach David Quinn said that he likes using Smith in that role. “I think he had a really good (training) camp, and he had a great stretch last year when he played forward and no problem playing it for an extended period of time,’’ Quinn said of Smith, who scored an empty net goal in the season opener Thursday against Winnipeg, when he was on the ice as a defenseman in a six-on-four situation.
- Sticking with the Rangers, The Athletic’s Rick Carpiniello (subscription required) writes that after hearing that New York prospect K’Andre Miller was suspended at the University of Wisconsin, he immediately called Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato, who acknowledged that the infraction that got him suspended wasn’t serious. “Nope. Nothing major,” said Granato. “I have done the same with probably seven or eight guys already. … It is exactly what it is. He broke a team rule and is suspended for (Sunday’s) inter-squad game. Nothing more.”