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NHL talks hit a brick wall


NHL talks hit a brick wall

Looks like the NHL and its players have hit yet another wall in their negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Representatives from the league and the union met for a sixth straight day on Sunday, but the negotiating sessions lasted just over an hour before both sides threw their hands in the air in frustration.

“I just don’t, right now, given our opposition to addressing some of these issues, know where we go,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told reporters on Sunday afternoon

Because of Monday night’s Hockey Hall of Fame ceremonies, in which Capitals coach Adam Oates will be inducted, NHLPA executive director Don Fehr and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will be in Toronto and both have agreed to continue their dialogue, although no formal talks are scheduled.

Fehr has made it clear that the next round of talks would take place in Toronto, home of the NHLPA offices.

Various reports indicated the NHL is willing to negotiate the finer points of its Oct. 18 proposal, but Fehr said that has not been the case in meetings that began on Tuesday.

“The owners made it clear that there is no give with respect to any of their proposals,” Fehr said. “That unless players are prepared to take -- and this is my phrase, not theirs -- down to the comma, that there’s nothing to do.

“We’re past the point of give and take. That’s what I was told Gary (Bettman) said when I was out of the meeting.”

The fact that such language is being exchanged behind closed doors speaks to the communication issues that exist between Bettman and Fehr. Since the start of negotiations, Daly and Steve Fehr have managed to make progress on key issues.

In fact, it was Daly and Steve Fehr who had an informal lunch on Saturday.

If the owners are unwilling to negotiate that Oct. 16 proposal, this stalemate could go on for weeks. Asked if it is true the league is unwilling to bend on its most recent proposal, Daly appeared to skirt the issue.

“We have proposals on the table,” he said. “What we heard from the players’ association is that they’re not interested in our proposals, and that leaves us apart.”


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Referees miss blatant boarding by Paquette on Orpik


Referees miss blatant boarding by Paquette on Orpik

A rough hit to the back of Brooks Orpik left him down on the ice and slow to get up. Cedric Paquette skated back to his bench and waited for the trainer to attend to Orpik and (probably) for the referees to call his number and send him to the box.

The penalty, however, never came.

You always hear in hockey that if you can see a player's numbers, you should pull up on the hit.

What that refers to is the numbers on the back of a player's jersey. You are not allowed to hit a player directly in the back into the boards.

The official definition of boarding according to the NHL rule book is, "any player who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously." Hitting a player "in the numbers" is a defenseless position.

Apparently Cedric Paquette didn't know that and, unfortunately for the Capitals, neither did the referees.

Someone explain to me how this is not a boarding penalty:

Sometimes referees are put in a tough position because a player turns his back right before they take the hit, thus putting themselves in a vulnerable position to draw a penalty. That was not the case here. Orpik never turned.

When Tom Wilson hit Pittsburgh Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese in the second period, the hockey world spent the next day debating whether it was an illegal hit. There is no debate here, no grey area. Just a clear board.

And no call.

You can understand referees wanting to put away the whistles for a Game 7, but you have to call the blatant dangerous plays like this. This was a bad miss by the referees, plain and simple.


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Tom Wilson is single-handedly trying to fight every player on the Lightning in Game 7

Tom Wilson is single-handedly trying to fight every player on the Lightning in Game 7


17 minutes into Game 7 and Tom Wilson is already out here doing Tom Wilson things. 

First, there were these shenanigans:

Pretty standard stuff. Some anger words, some glove pulling. Nothing special. Then, friends - then it gets real:

Let this marinate a little bit. Wilson got a minor for fighting, served his time, and then IMMEDIATELY came out of the box and did literally the exact same thing. 

He punched a guys helmet off. Those helmets have straps to stay on for this exact reason, and it didn't matter. If this was medieval jousting, Braydon Coburn would be declared the loser on the spot. 

Get you a friend like Tom Wilson.