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How would you divide NHL's 3.3 billion pie?


How would you divide NHL's 3.3 billion pie?

If you believed every NHL player back in 2004, there was no way absolutely no way they were going to play hockey under a salary cap.

We all know how that turned out.

Today, the defiant battle cry for NHL players is all about rollbacks. If the NHL owners want to institute widespread pay cuts, well, the players say theyre barking up the wrong tree.

As the owners say, they want rollbacks. And players arent willing to take them, Capitals right wing Troy Brouwer told after an informal workout with his former Blackhawks teammates.

Were just asking owners to honor the contracts theyve previously signed. In any other business in the world, thats perfectly acceptable. Were willing to halt our future growth so the league can catch up. But were not interested in taking rollbacks.

To review, the players most recent proposal is based on an overall NHL revenue growth of 7.1 percent. Instead of seeing their salaries grow at a 7.1 percent rate, the players have offered a plan in which the salary cap increases 2 percent this season, 4 percent next season and 6 percent in Year 3 of the agreement.

The owners latest offer is not based on revenue growth. Instead, the proposal decreases the players share of future revenue from 57 percent to 49 percent, dropping to 47 percent in the sixth year of the proposal.

In theory, if you factor in the 7 percent growth rate, the players say the owners plan would amount to a 17 percent drop in salaries by the end of the agreement. The owners original offer of a 43 percent share for the players would have resulted in a 21 percent drop in salaries, at least in the opinion of the players.

Capitals center Brooks Laich says he tries to explain the NHLs lockout to fans this way:

Just take yourself, and say your employer comes and says, Were taking 20 percent of your salary, Laich said. They kind of step back and say, Well, I wouldnt let them do that. Now you understand our position. It doesnt matter the amount of money or this and that.

Weve worked our entire lives to be in this position, to be the best possible 700 players in the world at our craft, and we feel we should be paid as the best. When you do sign a contract you expect it to be honored.

If you take the NHLs proposal at face value, a reasonable compromise might be a drop in the players share of revenue from 57 percent to, say, 52 percent over the course of three seasons.

If you take the players proposal at face value remember that many existing player contracts increase in value each season -- a reasonable compromise might be a 2 percent increase followed by 1 percent increases in each of the following two seasons.

That would eliminate or at least drastically minimize the need for rollbacks. It would also, theoretically, increase the owners share of revenue from its current 43 percent to 48 percent in Year 1 and 49 percent in Years 2 and 3.

So there you have it. Two ways of slicing the NHL's 3.3 billion pie.

And in case you're wondering, yes, thats a lot of pie to waste.

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Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?


Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?

It’s happened. The Caps no longer seem to have a No. 1 goalie anymore, they have a No. 1 and 1a.

That’s right, we have a goalie rotation in Washington.

“There's no sense riding one,” Barry Trotz said after practice on Monday. “[Braden Holtby] is coming back and looking better every game and [Philipp Grubauer] played pretty well for a long stretch so why not have both of them going?”

Grubauer got the start Sunday in Philadelphia and Holtby is slated to get the start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. After that we will have to wait and see.


Trotz has no layout for which goalie he wants to start and when in the remaining ten games. He is not thinking about each goalie splitting five games or which one he wants to use more.

Nope. Trotz has just one thing on his mind. It is all about who starts the next game, that’s it.

“I think you just go with a guy that's hot at the time and your team feels comfortable with and go from there,” Trotz said.

So where does this leave the goaltending situation when it comes to the playoffs? A goalie rotation is all well and good in the regular season, but he has to have one starter for the postseason, right?

Not necessarily.


When Trotz was asked if he philosophically believed in having one starter for the playoffs, Trotz initially said he would not answer, but then said, “Why don't you ask Mike Sullivan what he thinks.”

Sullivan, of course, is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who has led his team to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons despite turning to both goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in both seasons.

While Pittsburgh’s goalie rotation was largely based on injury, however, it still provides an example of how using both goalies can work in the playoffs and that seems to be the path the Caps are headed on at the moment.

Said Trotz, “You just have to go with your gut who you think is going to get the job done.”

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.