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Fehr comments on NHL owners' proposal


Fehr comments on NHL owners' proposal

NHL Players Association executive director Don Fehr addressed the media in Toronto shortly after the NHL’s proposal to evenly split hockey-related revenue on the contingency of playing a full 82-game season by Nov. 2. Here is his exchange with the media:
As you probably heard from Gary [Bettman] a little while ago, he and Bill Daly did deliver a new proposal dealing principally with core economic matters today. It’s not short and there were some explanatory documents that we still have to wade through. And so the process we’re going to engage in now, as you might expect, is to make sure that we read it completely and thoroughly, that we understand it, that we understand what it would mean in connection with the existing proposals the NHL has, and the existing proposals we have on the table.
Then, obviously, what we will do is discuss it internally with our own negotiating committee and executive board and then get back together with the NHL. Whether getting back together with them will be later [Tuesday] or [Wednesday] or exactly when it will be I don’t know. I expect it will be sooner rather than later, having said that. So we’ll have to take a look at how that works.
We’re always happy to receive a proposal. We’re always going to study it. Gary indicated to me and I suspect he indicated to you that they would still like to get a full 82-game season in. We, of course, share that view and would like to get a full 82-game season in. And so what our hope is, is that after we review this there will be a feeling on the players side that this is a proposal from which we can negotiate and try and reach a conclusion. But we’re not in a position to make any comments about it beyond that at this point. So that’s where we are in essence.
[Gary Bettman] didn’t say final offer, so are you encouraged by that?
Look, whenever you make an offer in bargaining, especially one in the midst of a dispute where you have a lockout in place, you make an offer, you expect discussions, you expect further negotiation. I wouldn’t have anticipated he would say that.
Do you see the offer as an improvement on the previous offers?
In some respects I think it is. In other respects I’m not sure. But we have to look at it in detail. I don’t want to reach an overall conclusion until we’ve had an opportunity to do that kind of review. It’s unfair of the process and the players would like me to be sure what I’m talking about before I say that.
Is there anything that can be read into the fact their proposal was not dismissed outright?
I would caution you not to read anything into my comments beyond what I have said, OK? I would like to believe this will be an excellent starting point and we can go forward and see if a deal can be made. But I’m not commenting at all on the specifics of it.
Did you have any indication they were making a proposal today?
No specific indication, no. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we were surprised by it. In bargaining sometimes somebody says, ‘I’ll have a proposal.’ and sometimes they just have it. It works that way on both sides.
Is it possible to have a 50-50 split without escrow or rollbacks for the players?
Not without having very large escrow in the early years.
Did you see anything in those early years that suggests contracts will be honored without having them go into really big escrows?
We haven’t been able to run any numbers yet, much less formulate a response. I really don’t want to comment on it. It would be unfair and I think counterproductive to do that.
Is it possible this offer jumpstarts negotiations?
Well, I’ve been looking for a way to get these negotiations jumpstarted and if this does it that would be great. We’ll see, though.
Have you received calls from players today?
Have I? Yes. I get calls from players all the time and I’m reasonably certain this day is not likely to be different than others and that there will be a number [of calls] that have come in while I’m down here with all of you. A number of players will ask why I’m not returning their calls. They seem to think I work for them, so we will see.
Are you encouraged?
I think it’s always good to get another proposal and I hope after we digest it we’ll think it’s a place from which we can go forward. I’m just not prepared to comment on it beyond that yet.
Do you feel obligated to come back with some kind of response?

If there is a response we can make that will advance the process, of course we will.
Is there a case in which you do not?
I’m not going to speculate on that at all until we’ve had an opportunity to go through it.
What do you do now?

I go back upstairs, I assemble my staff, and we begin to go through the proposal point by point and then we begin to reach out to the players, talk to them and figure out what we do from here. It could be that there will be a bunch of questions. It could be that we have telephone contact.
Was the proposal considered one that will expire as the previous proposal did on Sept. 15?
My memory is that it’s predicated on a full season, which they believe must start by early November if you’re going to do that. That’s what they said.
Gary said long-term. Can you tell us how long?
I’m not sure precisely what it is. It’s at least six years in their proposal.

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Capitals' T.J. Oshie had so much fun golfing, drinking through shirt again at celebrity golf tournament

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Capitals' T.J. Oshie had so much fun golfing, drinking through shirt again at celebrity golf tournament

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo may have won the American Century Championships celebrity golf tournament this weekend, but T.J. Oshie definitely had the most fun.

Using the Modified Stableford scoring format for the tournament — which included several pro and retired athletes, such as Steph Curry, Aaron Rodgers, Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer, Charles Barkley and Joe Pavelski — Oshie finished with 11 points, tying for 48th with NFL Hall of Famer Tim Brown and Golf Channel host Lisa Cornwell. 

But the Capitals' winger's score didn't really matter because Oshie was out on the Lake Tahoe golf course in Nevada just having fun with his family and continuing the epic celebration as a new Stanley Cup champion. Obviously, that meant playing and chugging a beer through his t-shirt as 'We Are The Champions' played.

His brother, Taylor, was his caddy, and at one point, Oshie borrowed his brother's beer helmet while putting. He sunk it, and it was amazing.

Yeah, Oshie had a great weekend. Here's a look at some other moments from his weekend on Lake Tahoe.


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Key Caps questions: How will the Caps look different under Todd Reirden?


Key Caps questions: How will the Caps look different under Todd Reirden?

The dog days of summer are officially here, but it's never too hot to talk some hockey.

Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir and Capitals correspondent JJ Regan are here to help you through the offseason doldrums. They will discuss key questions facing the Caps for the upcoming season as Washington prepares to defend its title for the first time in franchise history.

Today's question: How will the Caps look different under new head coach Todd Reirden?

Tarik: It’s an important topic, but let’s not overthink this one. Since winning the Stanley Cup on June 7, the organization has pretty much telegraphed EXACTLY what it hopes will occur in 2018-19. Consider:

  • Todd Reirden was promoted after spending four years as Barry Trotz’s assistant, including the last two years as an associate coach with an expanded role. Reirden already knows everyone, from the players to the trainers and other support staff. He knows what buttons to push and when to push them. There’s a built-in comfort level and trust that should allow everyone to hit the ground running in September.
  • Four of Reirden’s assistants are holdovers, too. The one newcomer, Reid Cashman, is joining the group from Hershey and is a Reirden disciple. So, no adjustment period there, either.
  • Assuming restricted free agent Tom Wilson re-ups (and that would seem to be a very safe assumption), the Caps are bringing back 11 of the 12 forwards that were on the ice for Game 5 in Las Vegas. They’re also bringing back five of six defensemen. And the starting goaltender. Chemistry is a hard thing to explain and/or quantify. But you know when a team has it. And the Caps had it at the end of last year.

So if you look at what GM Brian MacLellan has been doing in recent weeks—and have been listening to what Reirden has been saying publicly—you can only come to one conclusion. The decision-makers feel they discovered the right mix of personnel and systems play at the end of the playoffs, from the defensive structure to special teams. In fact, they were first in goals per game, second-best on the power play and the fourth stingiest team in the postseason.

“Many of my [philosophies] were involved in how we were going to play, how our team was going to look, the identity that we had,” Reirden said on The Junkies recently, referring to last year’s game plan. “So, from a systems standpoint, I would say not much is going to change, at least initially, just because it seemed to work. …You’ll see much of the same.”

That doesn’t mean Reirden won’t make adjustments. He will because he’ll have to over the course of an 82-game regular season and, hopefully, another long postseason run. But it does underscore the fact that the foundation upon on which last year’s championship team was built is going to look awfully familiar. And that's clearly by design.

JJ:  The message from the Caps ever since Reirden was promoted to head coach has been one of consistency as they try to make a seamless transition to the new head coach. In that sense, we probably won't see many changes at all to start the season.

The Capitals just won the Stanley Cup and general manager Brian MacLellan worked to bring almost the exact same roster back for next season. Coming into the locker room saying there's a new sheriff in town and making drastic changes is not the way to go here

But that doesn't mean Reirden will do things the same way.

Reirden has coached at the college, AHL and NHL level. He has seen firsthand how Dan Bylsma won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins and how Trotz did it in Washington. He also saw what didn't work.

Reirden got to this point by developing relationships with the players. He is much more of a players' coach than Trotz and that will be evident in training camp. I also expect there will be a much greater emphasis on development. Trotz famously said to the media that the NHL was not a development league, but a performance league. I expect Reirden to take a different approach.

After failing to win with veteran-laden teams, the Caps finally hoisted the Cup last season after getting significant contributions from young prospects such as Jakub Vrana, Chandler Stephenson, Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey. Like it or not, the Caps' core will not last forever. Every year those players like Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson get another year older. I do not believe a coach who is as good at reaching players and developing them as Reirden is will be quite as reluctant to reach down onto the farm and sprinkle youth throughout his lineup whenever the team needs a spark.

It should not be lost on anyone that one of Reirden's new assistant coaches this year will be Reid Cashman, promoted from being an assistant with the Hershey Bears in the AHL. This is all good news for players like Lucas Johansen, Jonas Siegenthaler and Connor Hobbs, the team's three best defensive prospects who are hoping to have an impact at the NHL level sooner rather than later. The Caps roster is pretty loaded, but at the very least you can expect Reirden to have a hand in helping those players along at training camp.

Ultimately, the product on the ice is going to look almost exactly the same at the start of the season with the biggest changes coming off the ice. We won't see who Reirden is as an NHL coach, however, until we let the full 82-game season play out.