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How the NHL can save its season


How the NHL can save its season

As the NHL lockout continues with no formal negotiations on the horizon, now seems like a good time to refresh ourselves on where the two sides are and where they may be going.

First, a few pertinent facts. The NHL reported a record 3.3 billion in hockey-related revenue last season. Of that revenue, the players received 57 percent in the form of 1.7 billion in player salaries.

In his initial offer to the players, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman proposed the players percentage of league revenue decrease from 57 percent to 43 percent. In subsequent proposals, Bettman raised that percentage to 46 percent, then to 49 percent, with the players share gradually decreasing to 47 percent at the end of the six-year agreement.

Why, you may ask, would Bettman start at 43 percent when the players were earning 57 percent of league revenue? Well, meeting in the middle would be 50 percent, right?

(It is worth noting here that NFL players receive 47 percent of the leagues revenue, rising to 48.5 percent at the end of their 10-year agreement; and NBA players have a 49 percent share, rising to 51 percent in the final year of their 10-year agreement).

Not surprisingly, Bettmans three proposals were flatly rejected by players union chief Donald Fehr, who crafted a counter-proposal based on an annual revenue increase of 7.1 percent.

Under Fehrs proposal, the players would agree to a 2 percent increase in salaries in Year 1, a 4 percent increase in Year 2 and a 6 percent increase in Year 3. In other words, the players would be giving up roughly 9 percent in projected revenue over the first three years of their proposal.

Bettman flatly rejected the players proposal and issued a lockout on Saturday that threatens to wipe out the entire 2012-13 season.

We feel were bargaining, Capitals veteran forward Jason Chimera said Tuesday.
Weve put up some really good offers that make us a stable league.

We dont want to be in this position five years down the road, being locked out again. We want to keep a healthy league for a long time. Our proposals did that and they kind of shunned them. Its pretty unfortunate. Weve put some good proposals together. If they really looked at them in full I think theyd realize that.

Over the past several days, a number of NHL players have talked about getting a raw deal in the last CBA, which directly tied league revenues to salaries. But according to one player agent, the average amount of player givebacks in the past seven years amounted to about 5 percent while salaries rose close to 80 million.

We gave up a lot last time and the CBA turned out pretty good, Chimera said. I dont think we need to fix what happened in the past. If the revenue grows to over 7 percent, it gets up to over a billion dollars in savings to the owners, which is not just a little dollar in their pocket. Thats a lot of money. Were willing to work with them.

In theory, yes. But if the players hope to salvage even an abbreviated 2012-13 NHL season, theyll need to start speaking the same language as the owners and try meeting them halfway.

For that to happen, they would need to scrap their 7.1 percent model and accept the fact that there will be a gradual rollback of salaries that brings the league closer to its desired 50-50 split.

A short-term compromise would be a three-year agreement in which the players share of league revenue drops to 54 percent this season; 53 percent the following season and 52 percent in Year 3.

At least then the two sides would be speaking the same language and a season would be saved.

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Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

USA Today Sports

Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

Friday featured Dmitry Orlov and his jam-packed schedule with the coveted Stanley Cup.

The 27-year-old native of Russia decided to take the Cup to Novokuznetsk (located in the southwest region of Siberia) for a meet and greet with fans by the Ferris wheel at Gagarin City Park.

It should be mentioned that Orlov's day with the trophy was nearly derailed after a travel glitch that sent the Cup to Novosibirsk instead of his hometown. 

Thanks to the ultimate assist from a helicopter, the Cup arrived in style and set up one memorable entrance for the defenseman. 

Orlov released this hype video which highlights his entire day on Instagram: 

Дорогие друзья! Огромное спасибо, что разделили с нами наш праздник! Для нас это значимое и большое событие! Ещё раз приносим искренние извинения за задержку с кубком! И спасибо за понимание, мы старались сделать все максимально быстро! Спасибо за тёплый приём! Нашим родным, друзьям, тренерам, отдельная благодарность! Вы сделали наш праздник, наш день! Мы никогда не забудем этот праздник! P.S. Лена @govor_elena , тебе и твоим родным, отдельная благодарность, если бы не ваша помощь, то не известно когда бы кубок был в Новокузнецке!

A post shared by Dmitry Orlov (@orlov_09) on

Talk about a banner weekend for the Washington Capitals. The Ovechkins welcomed their new son, Sergei Aleksandrovich, into the world and Orlov pulled off yet another spectacular day with the Cup.



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Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

NBC Sports Washington/USATSI

Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

After lifting the Stanley Cup just over two months ago, something else very exciting has happened in Alex Ovechkin's life.

Saturday morning, Nastya and Alex Ovechkin welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Sergei, after Ovechkin's late brother. 

Ovi spent this week practicing at the Florida Panthers' facilities with other NHL players living in the surrounding area.

After the Cup's visit to Moscow, Nastya and Alex settled down at their apartment in Miami, staying put and preparing for the birth. 

The couple were married two years ago but didn't hold an official ceremony until July of last year. The celebration was as lavish as you'd expect.

She revealed her pregnancy shortly after the Cup victory, and has kept us up to date on life this summer via Instagram. A few weeks ago, the Ovechkins graced HELLO! Russia magazine, showing off Nastya's baby bump among their glamour shots.

💛 @aleksandrovechkinofficial #hello #hellorussia @hello__ru

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Congratulations to Ovi and Nastya, and all our best wishes for health and happiness!