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Bettman hopes offer saves full NHL season


Bettman hopes offer saves full NHL season

The following is a transcript of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s news conference with reporters Tuesday after the league’s owners offered the players a 50-50 split in hockey related revenue:

As I think all of you know we have been extremely disappointed – and that’s an understatement – that we have been unable to get these negotiations on the essential elements moving forward.

So today, we began by discussing with Don [Fehr] and Steve [Fehr] if we were to drop the puck on November 2nd for the start of the regular season we could preserve an 82-game schedule for the regular season and play full playoffs as we normally do and be done before the end of June. We very much want to preserve a full 82-game season and in that light we made a proposal – an offer, really. It is our best shot at preserving an 82-game regular season and playoffs.

This offer that we made, obviously, was contingent upon having an 82-game regular season. While you know we don’t negotiate publicly and I’m not going to break that habit that we have formed because I don’t think it’s constructive, the fact of the matter is we offered a 50-50 share of HRR – hockey related revenues – and we believe we addressed the concern that players have about what happens to their salaries as a result in this year of reducing the percentage from 57 to 50 percent.

Beyond that I don’t want to get into the substance other than to say we believe this is a fair offer for a long-term deal and it’s one we hope gets a positive reaction so that we can drop the puck on November 2nd, which backing up entails at least a one-week training camp. So we have about nine or 10 days to get this all put to bed, signed, sealed and delivered in order for this offer to be effective and for us to move forward. We hope that this effort that we’ve undertaken today will be successful because we know how difficult this all has been for everybody associated with the game, particularly our fans.

How confident are you that this will go forward?

We certainly hope it will. We’ve given it our best shot.

What was their reaction?

Their reaction was that they obviously need to study it. So we told them we’re available to them but they’re going to need some time to review it and I respect that portion of the process. Obviously, they’ve got to understand the offer and get comfortable with it.

Did the offer focus on just the core economic issues or was it the whole thing?

We had a number of significant elements that we believe can and should serve as the basis of a deal to get us playing hockey.

Why make the offer today?

Because if we want to preserve an 82-game regular season and you back up the timetable in terms of the schedule we needed to do it. By the way … the compression that would be involved is one additional game every five weeks. Beyond that we don’t think it would be good for the players or for the game. … If we didn’t do it now, if we didn’t put an offer on the table that we thought was fair and could get us playing hockey, then it probably wasn’t going to happen for a while because it’s done in the spirit of getting a full season in.

Is it 50-50 across the board or is it descending?

It’s 50-50 across the board.

How long would the contract be?

I’m not going to get into the specifics. We proposed a long-term contract we think that’s in everybody’s interests. That’s what we think our fans want.

Can you address how you address rollbacks or escrows?

There is no rollback and I’m not getting into the specifics. It would not be constructive at this point in time. The union has some work to do and we respect the process. I’ve probably gone further than I have in terms of discussing what we proposed at any other time but I’m not comfortable going any further. I’m more concerned about the process right now and getting us back on the ice.

How worried are you that they might say no and more of the season will be lost?

I don’t want to even go there.

Is the league amenable to playing an abbreviated schedule?

We’re focused on getting the puck dropped on November 2nd and playing a full 82-game regular season and full playoffs. That’s what this offer is all about.

Will you make plans to meet later in the week?

We’re going to be on call to them. They have some work to do internally. Obviously, we didn’t put this proposal this offer together overnight and they’re going to need a little bit of time to review it and I’m hoping that review will get us to a positive and constructive place.


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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Big money John Carlson isn't going anywhere


Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Big money John Carlson isn't going anywhere

John Carlson isn't going anywhere.

Carlson wanted to stay in Washington, but he wasn't going to come cheap. The Capitals ponied up the cash, however, and signed their star defenseman to a big-time, big-money deal worth $64 million that will make him a Capital for the next eight years.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir talk about his new contract, the trade that made it happen and take a look ahead to this week's development camp.

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

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After signing mammoth extension, Capitals' John Carlson weighs in on Todd Reirden and Michal Kempny


After signing mammoth extension, Capitals' John Carlson weighs in on Todd Reirden and Michal Kempny

With the ink dried on his new contract, John Carlson said Monday morning that he wouldn’t mind seeing two other key cogs in the Caps’ championship run — Todd Reirden and Michal Kempny — get new deals, as well.

“I think guys have a lot of respect for Todd, and if that’s the case, then he’s going to do a great job,” Carlson said of Reirden, who is expected to interview with GM Brian MacLellan for the vacant head coaching position this week.

Carlson credited Reirden’s tutelage with helping him become a top defenseman in the game.

“From the moment that Barry [Trotz] and Todd got here, obviously Todd’s had the D, so I dealt more directly with him in terms of the little things and nuances of the game and just kind of formulating a plan to get better and how to achieve the goals I wanted to achieve,” Carlson said.

MacLellan has indicated that Reirden is the leading candidate to replace Trotz and, if things go well in the interview, he’ll get the job.

Although Carlson didn’t want to say much about the process, he did praise Reirden for his Xs and Os, his communication skills and his ability to get different personalities on the same page.

“I thought he was crucial for my career,” Carlson said, “and he just changed a few things [about] how I looked at the game, changed a few things with the D that I think really benefited everyone on D, and made it pretty clear what he expected of us and allowed us to go out there and do the rest.”

Carlson added: “I think he did a great job taking everybody for being different people and seeing things different ways. I just think he seemed to connect with everyone’s different personalities. I think he makes you look at the game a little bit differently. ... I think he’s been big for my career.”

Carlson also said that hiring Reirden would help the defending Stanley Cup champs pick up where they left off.

“I think that would be a lot easier of a transition,” he added.

As for re-signing Kempny, Carlson hopes his defensive partner also gets a new deal. After struggling to gain a foothold in Chicago’s lineup earlier this season, Kempny, 27, found a home skating alongside No. 74 after being acquired by Washington in February.

“I thought he was a great player,” Carlson said. “He made a huge impact on our team. When he got here, I thought we kind of started to play our best hockey maybe 10, 15 games after he got here, and then I thought he played awesome in the playoffs. He’s a great player, a great defender and he can skate. So that’s pretty much textbook what you want to have on your team and certainly, I think we play well together. That’s from my standpoint.”

Kempny can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.