Vancouver Canuck Manny Malhotra says NHL's latest proposal not a ‘viable option'
Canucks notebook: ‘I guess it's a stalemate to a certain extent,’ veteran centre says of current impasse
Veteran Vancouver Canucks forward Manny Malhotra takes part in an informal skate with some teammates as they work out at Thunderbird Arena at UBC in Vancouver on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012.
Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider, PNG
VANCOUVER — A week ago, Vancouver Canucks forward Manny Malhotra stated he would be “a lot more worried” if collective bargaining agreement talks between the NHL and its players reached a stalemate.
Last Friday, the stalemate arrived.
So how worried was Malhotra Tuesday? He merely shrugged when queried on the matter. Malhotra is a member of the NHLPA's bargaining committee.
“I guess it's a stalemate to a certain extent,” he responded following a skate at UBC. “Whether it's a scare tactic or wanting to push us into a move has yet to be seen. Nothing changes from our side. We're pretty strong in knowing we put forth a very good proposal. When they said they put forth a meaningful proposal back in our direction, you kind of take that with a grain of salt.”
In a nutshell, commissioner Gary Bettman and his associates initially offered the players a 14-per-cent reduction in their share of league revenues. Bettman's second proposal, the one he claimed was meaningful, involved an 11-per-cent reduction. No wonder the players had little trouble saying “no thanks,” especially since they aren't scheduled to receive a paycheque until the season opens in mid-October.
“No meetings are planned,” Malhotra said. “As they put it, they didn't see the need to speak any further until we're willing to accept more of their terms. As much as we've analyzed it, the media has analyzed it and the fans have looked at it, it's obviously not a viable option for us.”
WOLF WHISTLING? Among the possible effected parties if the lockout comes are players are on the cusp of making the NHL. Canucks prospect Kevin Connauton, the former Vancouver Giant, has spent two years in the American Hockey League and his development was an integral reason why the Canucks allowed Marc-Andre Gragnani to walk away.
Now he likely won't have a training camp to show his improving skills. He is, however, eligible to keep playing in the AHL for the Chicago Wolves.
“Obviously for a guy in my position, you just hope for the best with the CBA talks,” said the 22-year-old defenceman, a third-round pick in 2009. “Training camp is kind of the first impression to show what you've been working on all summer. So if there is no training camp, it's a little disappointing in that sense. But at least I'll have a place to play and I'll be getting in game shape in Chicago for whenever the season does start.”
Connauton admitted the uncertainty surrounding the CBA talks just adds to the uncertainty facing any player in his situation.
“Every year you play hockey, there's uncertainty,” he noted. “Hockey is the kind of sport where there is not a lot of stability, where you never know where you're going to be the next year, where you never know whether you're going to be up or down.”
Connauton also admitted he had past doubts about his NHL readiness but now feels fully prepared. He's 6-1, 200 pounds and coming off a 13-goal season with the Wolves.
"The last couple of years I think maybe in the back of my mind I kind of knew the AHL would inevitably be where I ended up,” he explained. “Now I've played two years in the minors and I feel like my game is ready to make that next step.
“Physically I'm as strong as I've ever been and mentally I'm as prepared as I've ever been. I'm expecting big things out of myself. This year I want to play in Vancouver.”
HONEST EDDY: Canucks defenceman Alex Edler said Tuesday he does not have a plan to play elsewhere — “no, nothing right now” — in the event of a long lockout. He also wasn't in the mood to discuss a possible contract extension for himself. A new CBA might change the landscape and Edler, entering the final year of a deal that pays him $3.25 million, is in position to get something done under current rules.
“We'll see what happens,” Edler said. “I don't really have any comments about that at this point. I don't feel like talking about that right now.”
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