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Talks on new NHL CBA picking up steam

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Talks on new NHL CBA picking up steam

Nearly two weeks after the NHL first presented its proposal to the players union talks on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement are picking up steam.

In a four-hour session on Wednesday, commissioner Gary Bettman said the league outlined the nuts and bolts of its proposal and today in Toronto representatives from both sides will meet for the third time this week.

Donald Fehr, executive director of the players association, said he expects the players to present a counter proposal within the next two weeks.

Even though the players association hasnt put forth any formal proposals yet, and even though they haven't responded yet to our initial July 13 proposal, we did put on the table a comprehensive set of proposals on the other issues beyond our initial proposal, Bettman said.

So the vast bulk of our proposals are now on the table. We walked the players and players association through those so-called nuts-and-bolts proposals, and the process continues.

The current CBA expires on Sept. 15, giving the league and its union a little more than seven weeks to hammer out a new deal. It should be noted that the players have indicated they would be willing to begin next season under the current CBA, but it is unlikely the leagues owners would be agreeable unless the framework of a new CBA was in place.

Among the biggest obstacles in the negotiating process involve how to divide the leagues estimated 3.2 billion in revenue, when a player becomes an unrestricted free agent and the maximum length of player contracts.

The NHL has proposed a reduction of the players share of revenue from 57 percent to 46 percent; lengthening the time of NHL service for unrestricted free agency from seven years to 10; and installing a five-year maximum for NHL contracts.

On a lot of things I dont think there will be a big difference in opinion, Fehr said. On some other things we have to analyze what the actual effect of moving from A to B would mean for the individual players and our staff and agents that would be working on those matters. I dont think thats a terribly long process, but it's not a five-minute turnaround either.

There is a reasonable chance the NHLPA will present its counter proposal net week in New York when talks are scheduled to resume.

As for the Sept. 15 deadline, Bettman declined to speculate on whether a deal could be reached by then.

I'm not going to speculate at this point as to what would happen if we are not in a position to make a deal by then, he said. Our goal is to move this process along as quickly as possible.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

The Eastern Conference Final is going the distance!

After losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Can the Caps beat the Lightning one more time and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

JJ Regan, Tarik El-Bashir and special guest cameraman Mike D break it all down.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to schedule and time constraints, this podcast was recorded by phone and the audio quality is not up to our usual standards.

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

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Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

As the NHL continues to focus more on speed and skill, the Capitals took a very old-school approach to Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. From the moment the puck dropped until the clock hit zero, it was clear Washington came into Monday with a very physical game plan.

"It made a big difference," T.J. Oshie said. "I think in these games, everyone’s bringing energy and you kind of want to control that and direct it towards some positive play, some momentum building for your team, and tonight I think we handled that and did that pretty well."

"We just wanted to throw everything we had at them," Stephenson said. "It was a do or die game and we don't want our season to end."

It worked.

The scoresheet officially credited the Caps with 39 hits for the game. The Lightning had only 19. The physical play seemed to wear down Tampa Bay as the game went on.

After an even first period, Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second. Then, very fittingly, a physical fourth line extended that lead to 2-0 in the third to finish the Lightning off.

"All of a sudden now we turn a puck over, you’re back in your end, they’re feeling it, they’re being physical, crowd’s behind them and we’re spending way too much time in our D zone," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said. "That’s what hurt us."

What made it so effective was the fact that the entire team bought into it. Alex Ovechkin was certainly the most noticeable player as he threw himself around like a wrecking ball against everyone wearing a white jersey. But it was not just his line. Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six hits, Devante Smith-Pelly recorded five of his own while Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both had four.

The Lightning faced a constant barrage from the Caps from every line and defensive pair. There was no respite.

The hits also gave the fans plenty to cheer for.

The Caps were playing an elimination game at home and Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was standing on his head. Even with the score locked at 0-0 through the first period, the crowd was still very much into the game. There was no apprehension, there was no quiet tension. There was just a loud crowd cheering on its team.

"[The fans] were loud right from the start, which I think we fed off of and wanted to give them something back," Brooks Orpik said. "We didn't get a goal early. I think some of the physical play kind of helped carry that. They were great for us."

Now in the third round of the playoffs after six intense games between the Caps and Lightning, the hope is that Game 6's physical play will continue to take its toll on Tampa Bay heading into Game 7.

"We need to do that every game," Nicklas Backstrom said. "That's our forecheck. Hopefully, we can keep it going here in Game 7."

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