• Arbitration clearly works, so why not make it available to more players?

    Mike Hoffman  (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

    It should really come as no surprise that of the 25 players who were slated to go to salary arbitration this summer, none has actually sat in front of the arbitrator and 22 of them have resulted in contract resolutions. That’s pretty much the standard these days.

    And it should also come as no surprise if the remaining three are resolved well in advance of their hearings. Well, except Tyson Barrie of the Colorado Avalanche, largely because we have no idea what Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy are thinking these days. He actually might end up going. He’s slated for Thursday. (Martin Marincin of the Toronto Maple Leafs is scheduled for Aug. 2 and Michael Stone of the Arizona Coyotes is on the docket for Aug. 4.)

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  • Catching up with Crosby: Sid on speed, summer camp and the chance to repeat

    Ryan Kennedy
    Sidney Crosby with Stanley Cup No. 2  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

    For the second time in his career, Sidney Crosby hoisted the Stanley Cup this year. He also won his first Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP with the Penguins. Pretty good, considering his campaign started with an uncharacteristic offensive slump. But once Mike Sullivan replaced Mike Johnston as coach, Sid and the boys went into overdrive and blazed their way to the Cup, shaking off formidable teams along the way.

    So how does a champion spend his summer? I caught up with Crosby to find out.

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  • Tavares wants to spend career with Islanders, says don’t count on him signing in Toronto

    Jared Clinton
    John Tavares (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Newly minted Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky has said he wants to make sure John Tavares doesn’t hit the free agent market, GM Garth Snow has said he’ll be talking contract extension with Tavares as soon as possible and now Tavares himself has said that he’s not intending to be anywhere but New York.

    In an interview with Sportsnet 590, Tavares, 25, was asked in tongue-in-cheek fashion about playing in Toronto when his current contract with the Islanders expired, to which Tavares responded that he would “not count on that.” Tavares said that being a Toronto native lends itself to the connections being made between he and the Maple Leafs, but added he wants to “go out there and be the best player, best person that I can be for the Islanders day in and day out.”

    “I think I’ve always showed my commitment, my appreciation and my desire to play on Long Island,” Tavares told Sportsnet 590’s Andrew Walker. “I would love for that to continue for the long haul. I think you look at some of the greatest players in the game have been able to spend their entire career somewhere and I hope I’m in that same position.” Read more

  • George McPhee doesn’t expect to name Las Vegas coach until 2017

    Jared Clinton
    George McPhee (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    At this time next year, the Las Vegas franchise will have a name, a roster and a full staff ready to lead the team into the 2017-18 season. As of right now, though, Las Vegas GM George McPhee is willing to take his time before selecting one of the most important members of the franchise: the team’s coach.

    McPhee said during his introductory press conference that finding a coach wouldn’t be easy and that Las Vegas needed the coach, whoever it may be, to be able to instantly have the respect of the dressing room. Finding a coach who fits the bill is going to take some time, though, and while you may think Las Vegas is already well on their way to naming a bench boss, McPhee told ESPN’s Tal Pinchevsky that the search hasn’t begun quite yet.

    “We haven’t even started [looking] and probably won’t until the new year,” McPhee told Pinchevsky. “There are lots of coaching changes in a season, so we want to take a look at what might be there later in the year. A coach has to obviously understand the X’s and O’s, but more importantly he has to be someone the players really respect. Not only as a coach but as a person. You want a guy that’s a lot of things: smart, approachable, unflappable, confident, hard-working, organized, all of those things. Good with the community, good with the media. That’s the sort of thing we’ll be looking for.” Read more

  • Three playoff teams who could miss in 2016-17, and three non-playoff teams who could get in

    Claude Giroux (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Playoff turnover is a hallmark of the NHL’s salary cap era. It’s rare to see a single franchise entrenched in a contending position for decades at a time. The Detroit Red Wings are the remarkable exception. Typically, we see plenty of playoff squads slide out of the picture from one season to the next, while several also-rans sneak back into the big dance.

    Five Canadian teams qualified for the playoffs in 2014-15, and all five missed in 2015-16. The Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets slipped out, replaced by the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars. The 2015-16 playoff picture consisted of 31.25 percent “new” teams. That’s down from 43.75 percent the year prior but still constitutes significant turnover.

    Chances are, it’ll happen again in 2016-17. Which recent qualifiers might slip out of the post-season and which might claw their way back in?

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  • Signing bonuses could become next CBA battleground

    Jamie Benn (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

    When the NHL announced last fall its seven-year partnership that will see adidas become its official outfitter starting next season, your trusty correspondent asked commissioner Gary Bettman whether the deal would be extended by a year if there were another labor dispute. Bettman responded with a one-word answer.

    “Really?” Bettman asked, with a good amount of offense and incredulity. Well, about as much offense and incredulity as someone who has shut down the game three times in the past 20 years could muster.

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  • Sabres could look to trade Kane — here are five possible destinations

    Jared Clinton
    Evander Kane (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

    It’s no secret that Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray isn’t exactly pleased with Evander Kane.

    Since coming to Buffalo in a blockbuster trade during the 2014-15 season, Kane has found himself in hot water enough times that Murray has said the youngster needs to right his behavior. The most recent incident came when Kane was arrested and charged last week following an incident that allegedly occurred June 24 at a Buffalo nightclub.

    “Certainly we don’t like this is twice now he’s been in incidents like this,” Murray said on July 2 following reports of the alleged nightclub episode, via the Olean Times Herald. “It’s not good for the organization, it’s not good for him. He’s going to have to pick and choose his spots when he goes out a lot better than he does, and he’s going to have to behave himself a lot better than he has, obviously.”

    However, any changes Kane makes could be too little, too late. That Kane has again found himself in hot water has some believing the Sabres could seek to move the 24-year-old winger, and the chances of that could be improved should Buffalo land top NCAA free agent Jimmy Vesey in mid-August, according to TSN 1040’s Matt Sekeres. But if the Sabres do choose to move Kane, where would he land? Read more

  • Petr Mrazek’s arbitration could determine who stays and who goes in Detroit

    Jared Clinton
    Petr Mrazek (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Come Wednesday, Detroit Red Wings netminder Petr Mrazek is likely to become the first player with a scheduled arbitration hearing to actually head to the hearing to settle on a new deal.

    Mrazek, 24, will enter arbitration as the goaltender of the Red Wings’ future. He’s already been said to be the No. 1 as the season approaches, and this coming from GM Ken Holland before he’s even locked up the Czech netminder to a new deal. The issue, however, will be that the two sides aren’t just a few dollars apart, but rather have a $4 million gap in what they’ve deemed a reasonable salary going forward.

    According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Mrazek’s camp is asking that Detroit pay him like the No. 1 goaltender he projects to be on a two-year, $10-million contract. The Red Wings countered with a two-year deal worth $2.7 million in the first season and $3.15 million the next. The likely scenario is that the arbitrated salary lands somewhere in the middle, but which side of middle it falls on is going to have an impact on the Red Wings roster as the off-season continues. Read more