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Bettman makes take-it-or-leave-it offer

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Bettman makes take-it-or-leave-it offer

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has given the players union a take-it-or-leave-it offer that he hopes will avert the leagues second lockout in eight years.

Count on the players leaving it.

Following a three-hour meeting in New York with NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr, Bettman told reporters on Wednesday that the players most recent proposal was unacceptable and that if the players fail to agree on the leagues latest offer by late Saturday night that deal is off the table.

The leagues current CBA expires at 11:59 Saturday night and Bettman has said that if a contract is not reached by then he will lock out the leagues 700-plus players until an agreement is reached.

Bettman said his offer was a six-year deal that would give the players between 250 million and 300 million more than the owners previous proposal. He also said the players salaries would be cut by about 9.7 percent. The leagues initial proposal called for a 24 percent cut in salaries.

The players have offered a four-year deal that keeps their share of hockey-related revenue HRR close to its current 57 percent.

Bettman came to his 300 million and 9.7 percent figures, at least in part, by returning to the current definitions of what constitutes hockey-related revenue. In the NHLs previous proposal Bettman tried to re-define what constitutes HRR.

With more than 300 players in New York, including Capitals Troy Brouwer, John Carlson and Karl Alzner, the NHLPA is expected to reject the NHLs latest offer.

Still, players are holding out hope that an agreement can be reached before the end of the weekend. Rookie camps are tentatively scheduled to begin Monday, with veterans scheduled to report on Sept. 21.

Things are moving along even though it may seem like theyre not, Brouwer said Wednesday afternoon. Until we have our player meetings today and tomorrow, its really tough to tell whats going to happen. But I still think theres plenty of time to get a deal done.

A lot of things have been worked out and have progressed throughout this whole process. Were just making sure theres a fair deal for both sides. Both sides, I hope, are still optimistic that a deal can be reached in the next couple days.

Brouwer said the progress of this week's talks will determine whether he reports to Washington or returns to Chicago, where he is expecting the birth of his child in three weeks.

"If there is a season well be in Washington right away," he said. "But if there isnt, thenI think well stick in Chicago, at least until we hear otherwise."

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How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

Things did not look good for the Capitals after two games.

Facing a 0-2 series hole after losing both games in Washington, it looked like it could be an early summer. The Caps were going to be the first team to ever lose a series in the playoffs to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

HOW DID THE CAPS WIN THEIR SERIES AGAINST COLUMBUS? FIND OUT HERE

But the Caps rallied.

Washington won the next four games and turned what looked like it would be another postseason disaster into a postseason triumph.

Only once in franchise history had the Caps rallied from a 0-2 deficit and only once had the Caps won four straight games to win a series. They managed both against the Blue Jackets.

Here's how the Caps were able to rally to a first-round victory over Columbus.

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Was Columbus' travel a factor in the Caps' series comeback?

Was Columbus' travel a factor in the Caps' series comeback?

Whenever a playoff series ends, the analysis begins soon after. Why did this team win? Why did this team lose? Why did this player perform while this one did not?  This is an exercise performed by media, players and coaches alike, especially for teams that walk away from a series believing they let an opportunity slip away.

The Columbus Blue Jackets fell to the Washington Capitals in six games despite taking a 2-0 series lead by winning both opening games in Washington. Head coach John Tortorella will have all summer to think about what he could have done differently and what went wrong for his team, but it sounds like he already has at least one theory as to why they lost.

In a series that featured four overtime games, Game 4 stands out as being far more one-sided than the others. Washington turned in the most dominant performance of the series in a 4-1 win that knotted the teams at two wins apiece.

That game stood out to Tortorella too and he thinks he knows why the Blue jackets laid an egg that night: Travel.

"I think we should’ve stayed in Washington after that second overtime game, the second game there," Tortorella said. "I think that comes back and gets you later on in the series. We should’ve stayed in Washington and let them get a good night sleep. They got in here so late. I don’t think it affected us in Game 3. It comes the next days, so that falls on me."

When analyzing why the Caps won the series, chances are travel is not going to be a reason many people consider. Perhaps there is some merit to this. After all, as the father of an infant, I can certainly vouch for how much of a difference one good night of sleep can make.

But perhaps there is another message being sent here by Tortorella.

Tortorella is a master at using the media to his advantage. He uses the media to send messages to his team or draw attention on himself and away from the players.

Tortorella just saw his young team give up a 2-0 series lead and lose four straight games. Those are the kind of losses that can stick with a player and create doubt in the mind of a team the next time they reach a tough spot in the postseason.

So what did Tortorella do? He came out and put the worst loss of the series on his own shoulders. Why was it his fault? Uh...travel? Yeah, let's go with travel.

The Blue Jackets are not the first team to play overtime on the road or the first team to deal with travel concerns. To hear a coach say it was a reason they lost a game and not even the next game after the travel? Well, that's a first.

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