NHL GM meetings notebook


Cap forecast still gloomy for 2010-11


Cap forecast still gloomy for 2010-11

The National Hockey League appears safe next season as far as maintaining the current status quo with the salary cap.

Since cap figures for each season are based on revenues from the previous season, projections indicate 2009-10’s cap won’t fall far away from this season’s $56.8 million US threshold.

2010-11 though, is a different story.

As the NHL’s general managers’ meetings officially concluded Wednesday in Naples, Fla., discussion centred on how far the cap could tumble in light of the current recession. Expectations are it will fall below the $50-million mark.

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke told NHL.com that he fully expects to see a financial correction coming.

“I don’t think there will be more or less activity (this summer in free agency),” Burke said. “I saw a quote from an agent that he doesn’t think there will be any market correction. I know we’re planning on the basis that (a correction) is quite likely.

“I look at how quickly it hit baseball, the impact it had on player contracts was almost instantaneous. It was within 90 days and there are still some good ballplayers out of work. I think we’d be delusional to think we’re not going to see some impact.”

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman claims there could even be a small bump next season if the NHLPA decides to invoke what is called the inflator clause — where a percentage of players’ salaries are put into escrow to cover a shortfall in revenues relative to the cap.

“(Implementing the inflator) would keep the cap where it was for this year next year, or do they want to take out the inflator?” Bettman said to NHL.com. “If you are concerned about the cap really going down in 2010-11, then you might not want to take the inflator to let things come down gradually.

“On the other hand, if you don’t want to impact this year’s free agents disproportionate to everyone else, than you probably want the inflator — understanding though that is likely to expand the escrow.”

Holland: Combine NHL GM meetings and trade deadline day

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland is the voice behind a proposal that would see the annual trade deadline occur during the league’s winter general manager meetings.

The deadline would occur at the beginning of the meetings and then clear off the rest of the agenda for discussions on league matters.

Commissioner Gary Bettman told NHL.com that he was noncommital.

“I will tell you the sense I got — not just from people talking to me but watching the dynamic in the room — (is) we had some very good, in-depth, important discussions about the game and I though the focus was really good and I think part of that is because guys weren’t out on their phones in the hallway as much as they were before the trade deadline.

“Now, there is some school of thought that says if we get together before the trade deadline that there is more trades and we moved it because the general managers said they want to focus more on these meetings. Clearly that objective — focusing more on the meetings — was obtained by moving it. And, we had roughly the same number of trades.”

“Again, we’ll take their mood and sentiment on it. I can go either way, but I do think the level of focus and concentration and participation by the group was outstanding,” Bettman told the website.

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke has said he would support the move.

Burke and Holland on same page . . . not about fighting though

Toronto GM Brian Burke and his counterpart in Detroit, Ken Holland, don’t agree on much — just ask them about fighting in hockey.

One thing they have found common ground on is Holland’s notion to make the first playoff tiebreaker regulation-time wins, as opposed to overall wins.

As it currently sits, wins are the first tiebreaker in deciding playoff positioning, but that includes both overtime and shootout victories. Holland believes making the change would give more meaning to winning during the first 60 minutes of a game

“Kenny’s thing has some merit and support,” Burke said to NHL.com. “I don’t like to agree with Kenny (laughs), but I do this time. I think it has some support.”

As solid as the idea might be, Burke admitted pushing it through the league could take time.

“The first time it’s doomed unless it’s really logical, and if it’s really logical than we probably thought of it already.”

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