Friday, June 03, 2005

 

What We Know From What We Don't

They met in small groups again yesterday.

They were each given a puck, a glue stick, some posterboard, a little glitter, some string, and were told to make a CBA and then share it with the class...sorry a little levity on very little sleep.

On a serious note, nothing official is being talked about but a few of my sources said they heard the "the made definite progress." All I got from my top sources were a "Yes" to the question, "Are you going tomorrow?" and "Meeting first thing to continue."

That this is continuing on Friday says more in and of itself. Momentum.

"This is alot of time to spend with Arturs Irbe if you aren't making progress." one source joked.

Today the small meetings will continue but they went out of there way to say, we will get to full group negotiations...

On a more global note, when I discuss moving ahead with many players there first concern is, "How are Gary Bettman and company going to promote us as we move forward?" It is the vital question. When this reality show version of Hockey Survivor has its final episode and we see if any of these characters are "voted off the island" or not....that is when the work will begin.

I posed this question to a very high ranking person at the NHL, a man I respect and trust completely. I said, "As important as these talks are right now, the players are more nervous about the relationship moving ahead."

"When all this is done we look forward to forging a new kind of relationship with our players that is healthier for both sides," he said.

Another concern I heard from a few players out west was the $500,000 rookie salary cap. Say a Russian team offers a star rookie coming into the league 4 million tax free to play in Moscow fro three years...Do guys take 12 Million to play in Russia or 800,000 (after taxes) to play in the NHL. Playing in Russia isn't nearly as glamorous or competitive but that is a huge disparity. A guy like Crosby, with Reebok endorsements, he won't go...but a Russian superstar? Why would he come over here? I do believe this will have a negative effect on the talent that come here from Europe.

In my opinion the NHL should look to what others have done.. the the rookie cap should start at 1.5 million for the first overall pick and decrease throughout the first round.

Finally I will be on Leafs Lunch today on Mojo 640 in Toronto at 12:15ET



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