NHL Week in Review (January 12-18)

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2019 was always going to be a strange year for the NHL as it began a countdown to the opt-out period for the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The CBA signed in 2013 was a 10-year deal that was going to keep labour peace for a long time but it was never going to last forever.

Due to the constant evolution of the league that long deal was given an opt-out for both sides in case the deal they signed wasn’t working any longer.

The CBA is always a debate between the league and the players and that usually has something to do with the share of the money.

As the league continues to grow there is more to go around and the league wants to put that to their owners while the NHLPA wants it to go to the players.

Dividing those assets up is one of the toughest things to do because they come in all shapes and forms and usually, both sides have to give some to get some.

The growth that leagues see in this era causes more and more tension between the two sides and getting a deal is tougher and tougher.

That makes CBS negotiations one of the most unsteady times in any league with a pretty good chance of a work stoppage.

So whenever a big date approaches the old memories of lockouts and strikes come back with the real possibility of it happening again.

That is what is approaching now as the NHLPA will take this year to decide whether or not they want to opt-out of the deal on September 1 and the NHL has the same option on September 19.

The NHL or NHLPA could decide that they don’t like how things are divided and tear up the CBA causing another negotiation.

If that were to happen it would be pretty easy to see that one side is not happy and they would be willing to sacrifice a season to get what they wanted.

The decisions made in the next few months will go a long way to determining what happens in September.

One of those decisions was made this week and although it isn’t the biggest part of the CBA it is one of the easiest to understand and therefore one that fans can get behind.

The NHL made the decision this week that the 2020 World Cup of Hockey would not be taking place.

It has been one of the major CBA struggles over the years, or at least the most public, as the NHL refuses to allow their players to play in the Olympics.

The Olympic Games have been a hot button topic with players wanting to play for their national teams in an important tournament and owners not wanting to see their players playing for other teams without getting anything in return.

That has left the players wanting to find a way to get back to the Olympics and owners refusing to allow them to attend.

2014 would be the last tournament that NHL players would play in as the 2018 games in South Korea marked the time that the league took a stand.

That stand was really taken in 2016 when the league launched their own national tournament to provide players with a chance to play an international tournament while also giving the league itself more exposure.hockey-sidebar

The NHL decided to bring back the World Cup of Hockey in what was essentially a replacement for the Olympic Games.

It was a decent compromise as nothing will ever reach the level of the Olympics but it did provide an international best-on-best tournament.

This week the next World Cup was cancelled as the tournament planned for 2020 was no longer going to take place.

The cancellation came after both the NHL and NHLPA struggled to come up with an agreement about the tournament.

There was a deadline set to come up with a deal before the All-star break but with no progress, the tournament was cancelled.

Both sides have committed to coming up with an international calendar and that could leave a lot of things open.

They will likely debate for a while and this will likely become a part of the new CBA, whenever those negotiations happen.

That calendar could include another World Cup or the Olympic Games but both sides will need to sit down to figure it all out.

What this cancellation really shows though is the fact that both sides are still struggling to find common ground.

If they can’t figure out details on an international tournament meant to bring the best players together without sacrificing any league games then what is the hope for the CBA.

Clearly, neither side is willing to budge and if they get close to those opt-out days small negotiations like this could have big implications for the 2019-20 season.

 

Overtime

Iginla to the Rafters

He was never the biggest player or the one with the most skill but he brought an attitude that made him a fan favourite wherever he went. It all started in Calgary though as Jarome Iginla was drafted by the Flames 11th overall in the 1995 draft. He spent years coming through the ranks and eventually becoming the team captain for the Flames. He was a flame through and through but near the end of his career, he looked to other places to see if he could find a Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, that accomplishment never came but the fans remember him in Calgary. That is why the Flames announced that near the end of the year they will retire his #12, and there will be no argument from anyone that he is deserving of that honour.

Johansen Out

The NHL announced that Ryan Johansen would receive a two-game suspension for his high stick against Mark Scheifele this week. The high stick was a bad one as Johansen essentially two-handed Scheifele in the neck. Still, Johansen is not a repeat offender and it didn’t seem malicious so the NHL made their decision.

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