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No progress as NHL talks break off


No progress as NHL talks break off

All of that “cautious optimism” created by the NHL’s 50-50 proposal on Tuesday was washed away in a one-hour meeting involving NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and players’ union chief Don Fehr on Thursday.

“I am, to say the least, thoroughly disappointed,” Bettman told reporters in Toronto after rejecting three counter proposals by the players’ union. “I don't know what the next step is. I’m obviously disappointed.”

Bettman said none of the NHL Players’ Association proposals came close to what Bettman termed the league’s “best offer” of an immediate 50-50 split in league revenue for each of the next six years.

The players, who received 57 percent of league revenue under the expired CBA, wanted to avoid immediate reductions in salary by proposing a more gradual decrease to their share of revenue. Their proposals were met with immediate resistance.

“This is the best offer that we have to make,” Bettman said, referring to the 50-50 split. “The fact is, we’re nowhere close to what we proposed.”

The lack of progress in Thursday’s talks almost certainly will result in the cancellation of more games and ruins any chances of the league salvaging a full 82-game season beginning Nov. 2, as proposed by Bettman on Tuesday.

“We were done in an hour today because there was really nothing there,” Bettman said.

“As the calendar ticks away, we're going to do more cancellations.”

Eighteen players, including Sidney Crosby, Jarome Iginla and Jonathan Toews, attended the meetings, along with NHL owners Ted Leonsis of the Capitals, Jeremy Jacobs of the Bruins, Murray Edwards of the Flames and Craig Leipold of the Wild.

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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.