The NHL and the Players’ Association are expected to meet sometime this week in Las Vegas as representatives from both sides try out some of the latest upcoming toys and gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show.
First reported by Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos during the Headlines segment of Hockey Night in Canada Saturday, the two sides figure to discuss the forthcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiation with the current CBA likely to end in September with both the league (Sept. 1) and the union (Sept. 19) able to opt out in that month.
Among the topics that are likely to be discussed, Kypreos says the Players’ Association is likely to make an offer to extend the current CBA.
“Now I’m starting to hear, perhaps, in the next two weeks that the NHL Players’ Association could even table an offer to Gary Bettman and the owners to even extend the CBA,” Kypreos said. “And, of course, the players know at this point that there’s a lot of things that they won’t get back, but they do have a wish list and one of those things on the wish list is to alleviate some of the financial burden of escrow.
“I’m not sure where they’re going to go with that. Whether it is a non-starter or there’s wiggle room, but at least they’re talking and that’s a good thing.”
Another good thing for the players is word out of Vancouver at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
IIHF president Rene Fasel announced Saturday that the federation is considering moving all of their international competitions to the smaller NHL-sized ice.
As Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston said on Headlines, this could be big for the upcoming CBA discussions as this move from the IIHF appears to be a lure to catch NHL players’ attention.
“Some very interesting comments today from Vancouver from Rene Fasel who runs the IIHF, in saying he wants more small-ice hockey played internationally and that includes at the 2020 world championship in Finland and also the 2022 Beijing Olympics,” Johnston said.
“What’s important here is that some people believe this is a bit of an olive branch that’s been extended to the NHL, to the NHL players to try to entice them to come back to Beijing because that’s obviously something the league favours. The previous Games in Nagano, in Turin and in Sochi – the overseas Olympics – with NHL players all had the bigger ice, but the smaller ice over here is what they’re used to.”
With CBA discussions heating up, this has the potential to be a big sticking point for the players.