NHL Lockout, Day 2: Teams Scramble To Finalize Contracts Under Old CBA
There was a flurry of player signings prior to the NHL CBA expiring Saturday night, as NHL teams "shelled out more than $200 million in contracts in the 48 hours preceding" the expiration, according to Mike Brehm of USA TODAY. Jets LW Evander Kane "just beat the clock in the final hour before the NHL lockout, agreeing to terms" on a six-year, $31.5M contract. In addition, Bruins LW Milan Lucic "began the day Saturday happily talking about his three-year, $18 million extension," the Ducks signed D Cam Fowler to a five-year, $20M extension and the Predators signed D Kevin Klein to a five-year, $14.5M extension. Kane said, "It's just business as usual. Players and owners and GMs working out deals as the rules are right now. I'm fortunate to have gotten a deal done today. It just so happens that it's an hour before the lockout" (USATODAY.com, 9/15). Brehm in a separate piece noted NHL teams "opened up their checkbooks Friday as they prepared to padlock their doors." The Stars signed G Kari Lehtonen "to a five-year, $29.5 million contract extension ahead of Sunday's expected lockout." The Capitals "locked in" D John Carlson for $23.8M over six years, while the Canucks signed LW Alex Burrows "to a four-year, $18 million extension." In addition, the Coyotes' re-signed RW Shane Doan for four years, $21.2M (USATODAY.com, 9/14). In Boston, Fluto Shinzawa noted the Bruins deal with Lucic on Saturday "capped an eight-day span in which the Bruins committed $70.5 million in future salary to three players." In explaining the signing, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli "noted his preference to deal with a known system over the uncertainty of the next CBA." Based on the NHL's "latest proposal, existing contracts would not be rolled back -- neither in term nor salary." Players would "see their revenue share decrease via escrow" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/16).
MIXED SIGNALS: QMI AGENCY's Chris Stevenson asked if the current deal "is so bad from the owners' standpoint, why didn't those teams wait to sign those players under the terms of a new CBA?" They are "obviously comfortable with having players under the current terms, otherwise why not wait?" Stevenson: "It all seems pretty hypocritical, no?" (QMI AGENCY, 9/14). The GLOBE & MAIL's Eric Duhatschek wrote the "most curious contract of all had to be the four-year, $21.2-million deal inked by Shane Doan with the Phoenix Coyotes, a team that is still owned by the NHL itself." In effect, the NHL "joined the signing stampede to get Doan under contract, even though the optics of the league-wide spending spree continue to send a mixed message to players and fans alike." If things are "so bad in this agreement, then why don't the teams collectively postpone their player signing decisions until there is a new CBA in place?" Theoretically, it could "be because they expect another rollback in whatever agreement is coming next" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/15). In St. Louis, Bernie Miklasz wrote, "Aren't the Coyotes in deep financial distress and unable to secure stable ownership? (Yes.)" Then "why did the poor, pitiful Coyotes rush-deliver a $21.2 million contract to Doan?" The NHL "inexplicably felt compelled to reward Doan -- mere hours before locking him out." Miklasz: "This is looney-tunes" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/16).