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Alzner admits players won't win labor war


Alzner admits players won't win labor war

Back in 2004, NHL players swore theyd never agree to play in a league with a salary cap. A years worth of wages later, they reluctantly agreed to a salary cap.

Today, NHL players will tell you they will never agree to play in a league that cuts their existing salaries. Care to take a guess on how that will end up?

We know were going to have to take a hit, Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner told Its just how big of a hit we need to take.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly met with NHLPA executive director Don Fehr and his deputy, Steve Fehr, Friday in Toronto and told reporters they would continue informal discussions through the weekend.

Bettman's most recent proposal came on Sept. 12 when he proposed the players share of revenue, currently at 57 percent, start at 49 percent and gradually decrease to 47 percent by the end of the six-year agreement.

The players five-year proposal, based on an annual 7.1 percent increase in league revenue, had their share dropping no lower than 52 percent.

Neither side has budged since those two proposals and on Thursday the league announced that all regular season games through Oct. 24 have been cancelled.

I think both sides know what their next proposal is, its just who wants to give it first, Alzner said. The owners know what their bottom percentage is and Im sure Don Fehr knows whats going to be a good one for us economically.

But whos going to be the first one to bite the bullet? No one wants to lose the negotiation. We understand were definitely not going to win it.

Just like the players in 2004, the current NHL players know that to come to an agreement they will need to concede to some type of salary rollbacks. Theyre just hesitant to admit it.

This is our living, Alzner said. This is how we all support our families and ourselves. We need to play eventually.

The owners, the reason they got to where they are is because they have other ventures. They have other ways to support themselves. We need to find a way to make it work. Unfortunately, its by taking a pay cut or by going overseas. The owners that are losing money have other businesses, so theyre OK. A lot of us dont have businesses. We just have to wait until we get the call.

Which brings us to an even more important issue to Capitals fans. If, indeed, the players are forced to take a pay cut in order to reach labor peace, will Alex Ovechkin come back?

Last month Ovechkin said he would consider staying in Russia if the NHL forced him to give back a percentage of the 88 million the Caps agreed to pay him over the remaining nine seasons on his contract.

Was Ovechkin simply being militant, or was he serious about staying in Russia?

You dont want to see that and you just hope it doesnt happen, Alzner said. Honestly, I dont know the seriousness of it. The only one who does know is him. For the sake of the Capitals I hope thats not for real. Hes a big face of this league and we need to have him.

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Game 5 Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 5 Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Alex Ovechkin said the Caps would return to Washington with a tied series. The Caps captain is a man of his word as the Caps won both Game 3 and Game 4 to even up the series at two games apiece.

John Tortorella had no answers after seeing his Columbus Blue Jackets fall in Game 4, but he will have to figure things out quickly as the series shifts back to Washington for a pivotal Game 5.

The Caps return home with two straight wins and all the momentum. There's just one problem: No one seemingly can win at home.

What: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Round 1, Game 5

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 3:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 will be broadcast on NBC.

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals take on the Blue Jackets in Game 5 on Saturday, April 21 at 3:00 p.m. ET in Washington. The series is tied 2-2.


Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 will be broadcast on NBC. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 2:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 2:30 p.m. Tune back to NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 6:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

2:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
2:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
3:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Blue Jackets on NBC
5:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
6:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


Capitals-Blue Jackets Game 5 is available to stream live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.


Here are the Caps' projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly- Lars Eller - Devante Smith-Pelly
Jakub Vrana -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Scratches: Travis Boyd, Andre Burakovsky (upper-body), Shane Gerisch, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.



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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Now it's a series


Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Now it's a series

The Caps looked to be in real trouble after blowing leads and losing in overtime in both Game 1 and Game 2.

After two straight wins, however, Washington is in control against the Columbus Blue Jackets as the series returns to Washington, D.C. for Game 5. 

On the latest eipisode of the Capitals Faceoff Podcast, JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir talk about what changed for the Capitals between Game 2 and 3, as well as resetting their series predictions.

And as always, they answer several viewer questions.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page