Pens Prepare For Further Labor Discussions
PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — Representatives of the Pittsburgh Penguins, including forwards Craig Adams and James Neal, and, according to the Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi, captain Sidney Crosby, will join over 200 NHLPA members Wednesday and Thursday in New York to discuss their strategy as another NHL lockout looms.
Meanwhile, the NHL Board of Governors, a body that includes Penguins president David Morehouse, will meet separately this week with league commissioner Gary Bettman. If a new collective bargaining agreement is not ratified by 11:59 P.M. Saturday, the NHL will endure its fourth work stoppage in the last 20 years.
If a CBA agreement is somehow reached by then, the Penguins, along with the other 29 teams, would open training camp next Friday, Sept. 21.
The chief reason behind the disagreement is the league’s definition of hockey-related revenue. The NHL turned a record $3.1 billion profit in 2011-12, and the owners want an eventual 50-50 split of that money, while also redefining what constitutes hockey-related revenue, along with a rolled-back salary cap of $60 million.
The union is willing to take a pay cut, though it wants to maintain the current definition of hockey-related revenue, and it also wants financial aid for struggling markets.
Players currently receive 57% of hockey-related revenue.
Some players, such as league MVP Evgeni Malkin, would be amenable to playing in Europe in the event of a prolonged strike, and according to Pat Brisson, Crosby’s agent, Crosby has at least considered it. Neal, however, told the Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari, he’s preparing as though the season will start on time.
“I haven’t considered it,” said Neal, who scored 40 goals and 81 points to earn First Team All-Star honors in 2011-12. “We’re still pushing to play hockey here. That’s really the only thing I’m worried about right now, getting ready for the hockey season. Doing my same routine as if we’re going to play.”
Adams, the Penguins’ NHLPA rep, does not believe his fellow union members would have qualms with players playing overseas.
On a related note, the pending lawsuit being filed by the Montreal Canadiens in an effort to block a potential lockout will not affect U.S. markets, it is being reported.
Canadian labor law is provinicial, and because the NHLPA is not a board-certified union in Quebec or Alberta, players from the Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames want to be paid during the potential lockout.
Deputy NHL commissioner Bill Daly flew to Alberta Monday to investigate.
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