One of my favourite Twitter follows is a foreign correspondent for Sport-Express, which is Russia’s sports daily. He’s also an NHL.com contributor, and apparently a hockey dad of moderate craziness. (That’s me re-writing his Twitter bio.)
Anyway, he’s one of the most in-touch hockey writers I’m aware of when it comes to foreign-born (mostly Russian) players, and he just dropped the following two tweets:
Could Kovalchuk and others stay in Russia? It’s possible, and he clearly wants to give the All-Star game a go. The NHL doesn’t exactly have a whole ton of options to stop guys who don’t want to come back.
I wrote more on this earlier today, which you can check out here.
Updates to follow.
Katie Strang of ESPNNewYork had this to add:
A source told ESPNNewYork.com that Kovalchuk as well as other Russian players expressed concern to the NHLPA Friday about their reluctance to return to North America, with escrow being the key issue.
It’s nearly 6 a.m. EST on Sunday morning, but staying up was worth it to post this simple message on Backhand Shelf:
THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE IS BACK.
Again: The NHL is back.
That felt glorious to type, twice. Sunday, Monday, we’ll have all the news and previews for you (in article and podcast form), but the most important thing is that life for hockey fans is back to how they know it. I’m genuinely happy for you. (…Okay, “us.”)
Kudos to those of you who were optimistic the whole time like me, and to those of you who were pessimistic….kudos for being realistic. As I said, more on this tomorrow, but for now, again, let’s settle on this piece of simplicity:
HOLY SHIT THE NHL IS BACK!!!1!
Here it is from informed people. Here. We. Go:
UPDATES: Read the rest of this entry »
We still don’t know exactly what the violations are, but man, they must have been severe. The consensus from people in the know is that it’s unrelated to Seth Jones, so everyone put away the fingers they were ready to point for now.
Here’s the statement from the WHL, with my emphasis added:
CALGARY, AB. – The Western Hockey League announced today the disciplinary action which has been taken against the Portland Winterhawks franchise for a series of violations of the WHL Regulations.
As a result of a series of player benefit violations which have occurred over the past four seasons, WHL Commissioner Ron Robison has suspended the Portland Winterhawks from participating in the first five rounds of the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft and the forfeiture of their first round selections in the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 WHL Bantam Drafts. Should the first round selection in 2014 not be available due to a conditional trade, Portland will surrender their second and third round picks in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft. The WHL also announced the Portland Winterhawks have been fined $200,000 and Winterhawks General Manager and Head Coach Mike Johnston has been suspended for the balance of the 2012-13 season, including the 2013 WHL Playoffs. Read the rest of this entry »
As you likely know by now, the NHL cancelled the Winter Classic – from Katie Strang and Craig Custance of ESPN:
The NHL has decided to cancel the Winter Classic, which was slated to feature the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at the University of Michigan’s football stadium in Ann Arbor on Jan. 1, a source told ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun on Friday.
In the six weeks since the lockout began, the work stoppage has caused the cancellation of hundreds of regular-season games, significant revenue loss and what may be irreversible damage to the game’s reputation.
Friday, however, was the darkest day yet. Read the rest of this entry »
The NHLPA doesn’t have the upper hand in much with their negotiations with the NHL, but to this point the Winter Classic has served as their ace in the hole. It’s a huge cash grab for the league, the fans love it, and it’s become the NHL’s signature event. You would think the League would hate to not have it this season.
Obviously an untold amount of planning goes into putting on such a massive event, so for it to happen, you have to have plans in the works by, oh, say, now.
Well, the NHL is aware of this, and sources have told Katie Strang of ESPN that with no CBA deal this week (and good luck getting that done with mass transit shut down in New York due to Hurricane Sandy, as she notes), they will be cancelling the Winter Classic on Thursday.
From Strang’s piece titled “Labor sides have no plans to meet”
Although there was limited communication between NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly over the weekend, the stalemate between the sides continues, making it likely that the Winter Classic will be canceled.
Daly said Monday that the two sides had no plans to meet but that the union is ready and willing to meet as soon as necessary.
And… Read the rest of this entry »
Slowly but surely, it’s happening. From Elliotte Friedman:
With that disappears any hopes of a full 2012-2013 season. I can live with a shortened season (preferably more than merely half the regular season games) given how little it seemed to affect the NBA last year, but this still hurts for the sheer fact that we’ve been sentenced to another month of no NHL hockey. And I mean, a month – that’s a sizable chunk of games. What if they reach a deal next week? (This obviously ensures they won’t, but still.)
It’s starting to feel more and more like a pissing contest between the two sides. We get it fellas – you’re not afraid to lockout/not play. You’re serious. Message received. Now go get serious about reaching a deal.
We’re in this together friends. The new goal is December.
I rarely do this, but four tweets nicely sum up the news breaking this afternoon, so let’s have a gander:
Guh. Not good news within. Read the rest of this entry »