John Scott named MVP of the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, commissioner Gary Bettman’s contract extended and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL All-Star Game News.
John Scott scored twice and was named MVP of the NHL All-Star Game, in which the Pacific Division beat the Atlantic Division 1-0 in the championship game. Scott spoke afterwards.
CBS SPORTS: Highlights of John Scott’s performance in the 2016 NHL All-Star Game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I didn’t approve of the fans voting Scott to the All-Star Game, but he handled this with class. So, too, did the others players and the Nashville fans. What started out as a silly prank ended with players and fans rallying around Scott following what many perceive were underhanded attempts by the league to prevent him from participating in the All-Star game. This game was probably Scott’s last in the NHL. In today’s pro game, those who play the role of enforcer to also bring other skills to the table besides pugilistic ability. Scott is among the last of the one-dimensional enforcers. If it was his final NHL game, it was a helluva way to go out.
ESPN.COM: The three-on-three tournament format at this year’s NHL All-Star game exceeded expectations, providing a level of intensity and competition sorely lacking from recent games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Let’s be honest, the players have no intention of doing anything in an All-Star game to risk injuring themselves or their opponents. For them, this is simply a time to relax and have some fun. However, this new format proved to be entertaining. Three-on-three left more space for the players to be creative, but at the same time, forced them to step up their game because they didn’t want to be embarrassed. Players were actually trying to block shots, something they never did in previous games.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers are among several teams hoping to host the All-Star Game, and the NHL Draft, in the near future.
Other Notable NHL Headlines.
NBC SPORTS: The NHL has extended the contract of commissioner Gary Bettman through 2021-22.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While legions of Bettman haters will disapprove, it’s understandable why the league did this. Under his tenure, the league implemented a three-tiered salary-cap systems, slashed the players share of revenue down to a 50-50 split and enjoyed a substantial increase in revenue and visibility. Some think this signals another lockout on the horizon, but that’s not necessarily so. If the NHLPA or the NHL vote to terminate the current CBA in September 2019, then the 2019-20 season will be the last under the current agreement. If not, the CBA will expire in September 2022, by which time Bettman’s deal will also expire. He’ll be in the mid-70s by then and in the role of league commissioner for 30 years. Perhaps he could be ready to retire.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Chris Kuc recently interviewed NHLPA director Donald Fehr. Among the highlights: He claims to have a fine personal relationship with league commissioner Gary Bettman, he doesn’t have any imminent retirement plans, the biggest issue for the players is escrow and there will be revenue-sharing, pension and draft issues to negotiate when the league decides to expand.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because of the declining value of the Canadian dollar, escrow clawbacks from players salaries are growing. They’re currently at 18 percent. If league revenue is higher than expected at season’s end, the players will get that money back with interest. If not, the owners keep that money. If the Canadian dollar remains low over the remainder of the current CBA, you can bet this will be a significant issue in the next round of labor negotiations.
As for the draft issues Fehr alluded to regarding expansion, the main one is whether no-movement clauses protect players from becoming exposed in an expansion draft. Fehr and the players believe it should protect them, but it’s been noted those clauses apply primarily to trades or demotion to the minors. That could be among the issues currently slowing down the expansion process.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames face five burning questions entering this week, with the status of suspended defenseman Dennis Wideman topping the list. Wideman will have a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday for what he claims was an inadvertent hit on a linesman in a recent game.
CSNPHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers placed center Sean Couturier (lower-body injury) on injured reserve.