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Question of the Day
In the talks in 2004, the players' association proposed that all existing contracts be rolled back by 24 percent in an effort to ease the cost to clubs without the creation of the salary cap. The owners liked the idea of the contract cuts. But in the end, they negotiated a deal that included those on top of a salary cap.
Fehr laughed when asked about similar concessions this time around.
“You don’t like me in this job,” he asked. “We won’t make any major economic proposals that the players aren’t familiar with and don’t approve of. Secondly, they recognize that they made enormous concessions in the last round of bargaining, and that is part of the backdrop that leads us into this round of negotiations along with a lot of other things.”
Fehr hopes for a better deal this time around.
“Players understand what happened the last time,” said Fehr, the former head of the baseball union. “Everybody understands what happened the last time, and that is part of the backdrop of what these negotiations will be about. I want to caution you, it’s not the only thing, but it’s there.”
The commissioner said there was a “modest decline” in concussions this season, the first time that has happened in three years. He refused to get specific.
“We are pleased with the progress, and player behavior has changed,” Bettman said.
Earlier Wednesday, the league’s general managers had a 4 1/2-hour meeting in New York to discuss potential rules changes.
Nothing was settled, and the most intriguing proposal won’t even be truly considered until a year from now, at the earliest. In an attempt to curtail teams in the playoffs from “sending a message” in a physical and illegal way, penalties incurred in the closing minutes of a postseason game could be “traveled” or carried over to the next game in the series.
These would be penalties that wouldn’t necessarily be subject to a suspension, but also not incidental to the regular course of play. One example could be the hit that Nashville’s Shea Weber laid on Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg in the first round. Weber was fined $2,500 for smashing Zetterberg’s head into the glass.
“It’s radical,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland said. “We think there is something there. Let’s all stew on it, let’s think about it, and when we reconvene next year, we can further discuss it if we think it’s got merit. Nobody else does it, so we don’t just want to sit here in a room and in 10 minutes make that determination.
“The reason you put rules in, you really don’t want people to break the rules. But if they do break the rules, then you want to have somebody with some power to discipline somebody. Right now, is there a gray area late in the game whereby there is not a suspension and people can do a lot of message-sending, does a deterrent of a possible traveling penalty have merit?”
The GMs also discussed the hybrid icing rule, which combines touch and no-touch icing. Although only one player was injured this season on an icing play, there is concern that races for the puck at the end boards creates a potentially unnecessary dangerous situation.
Before that would ever be adopted into the NHL, the GMs would like to try it out in the American Hockey League. It is already used in college hockey.
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