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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Five NHL jerseys players should have refused to wear

Todd Bertuzzi. (Getty Images)

On Saturday, Chicago White Sox all-star pitcher Chris Sale was scratched from his start and sent home because he refused to wear the team’s throwback uniform. It went beyond that, of course. Sale reportedly went into the clubhouse and cut up his own jersey, along with those of his teammates.

Sale’s gripe? The collar on the jersey was uncomfortable and he was adamant that he would not wear it. Sale was eventually suspended for five games by the team.

It was a bizarre story, but one that could plausibly play out in any team sport. In the NBA, for instance, many players complained when the new sleeved jerseys were introduced.

In hockey, the basic design of the jersey has been largely the same for the past 100 years. There isn’t much that can be done that could throw a player into a fit of uncomfortable rage. The aesthetics of hockey jerseys on the other hand, they have at times been a cause for concern.

Here are five NHL jerseys players should have refused to wear.

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Down Goes Brown: Five expected off-season moves that haven’t happened yet

Kevin Shattenkirk (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The dog days of the NHL offseason got a nice jolt on Monday when the Senators and Rangers hooked up on a decent-sized trade. The deal sends Derick Brassard and a seventh to Ottawa in exchange for Mika Zibanejad and a second, improving the Senators’ top six while adding some youth to the Rangers and giving them some additional cap room to work with.

The trade also answered one of the offseason’s lingering questions, which was: When are the Rangers going to get around to doing something? We were all told to expect a busy offseason in New York, as GM Jeff Gorton would look to shake up his aging and expensive core. But until this week, not much had happened aside from a few minor free agency signings. Trading Broussard isn’t exactly a blockbuster, but at least now the Rangers are on the board.

But that still leaves a few more stories lingering in the “still waiting” file. Here are five moves everyone went into the offseason expecting to see that still haven’t happened yet. Read more

Jamie Benn staying a Star on massive eight-year, $76-million deal

Jared Clinton
Jamie Benn (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Following the Stars’ elimination from the post-season, Jamie Benn said there was no place he’d rather play than Dallas. And Friday, the Stars made sure that their captain wouldn’t have to even consider heading elsewhere.

Dallas announced Friday evening that Benn, 26, has inked a massive eight-year, $76-million deal which will make the high-scoring winger the fifth-highest paid player in the NHL come 2017-18. Considering few players — in fact, only one, Sidney Crosby — have been able to match Benn’s point total over the past three seasons, it’s no wonder he’ll become the NHL’s newest $9.5-million man.

“Jamie has evolved into one of the most complete players in the NHL and his ability to lead our team is second-to-none,” Stars GM Jim Nill said in a release. “He impacts the game in so many ways and this signing was extremely important for the direction of the franchise. He’s shown in the playoffs, and at international events like the Olympics and the World Championship, that he is up to any challenge and that his fingerprints will be left on every game. He’s our leader and does things the right way, every day.” Read more

Jamie Benn could miss World Cup after surgery to repair ‘core muscle injury’

Jared Clinton
Jamie Benn (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

Team Canada may be the early favorite to win the World Cup of Hockey, but the Canadian squad may be facing a massive loss before the puck even drops to start the tournament.

The Dallas Stars announced Friday that Jamie Benn, 26, has been forced to go under the knife to repair a “core muscle injury.” The surgery, which took place Thursday in Philadelphia, comes with a six-week recovery period. That’s good news for the Stars, as they will almost assuredly have their captain and all-star left winger back in the lineup to start the campaign, but it might mean Benn isn’t ready to go in time for the World Cup.

“Jamie will be re-evaluated after the six-week rehabilitation process,” the Stars said in a release. “At which time, his availability for the World Cup of Hockey will be determined.” Read more

Rumor Roundup: Canucks still in the market for forward help

benning

The Vancouver Canucks made a notable splash in this summer’s free-agent pool by signing right winger Loui Eriksson. They could still be in the market for an additional forward.

Jason Botchford of The Province reports the Canucks have been quietly trying to make a deal to land another impact player. He cites GM Jim Benning saying his club would like to acquire a gritty scoring winger.

Botchford claims the Canucks, on the opening day of free agency, were believed trying to package “an unappealing contract with a valuable asset” in hopes of clearing salary-cap room to pursue a forward. He wonders if Buffalo Sabres left winger (and Vancouver native) Evander Kane or Colorado Avalanche left winger Gabriel Landeskog might be among their targets. Botchford also claims a trade involving defenseman Luca Sbisa was thought by some to be discussed.

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Dan Hamhuis is exactly what the Dallas Stars needed

Ryan Kennedy
Dan Hamhuis (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Dallas Stars rode an offensive wave to the top slot in the Western Conference this past season and nearly got to the conference final, despite star center Tyler Seguin being on the shelf. Sure, goaltending was an issue, but otherwise things looked good.

Now, with the signing of veteran defenseman Dan Hamhuis, the Stars appear to be one step closer to contending for a Stanley Cup.

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Rumor Roundup: The latest on Stamkos, Lucic, Bishop and more

Steven Stamkos, Milan Lucic, Ben Bishop. (Getty Images)

As the July 1 opening day of the 2016 NHL unrestricted free agent market approaches, speculation is heating up over potential destinations of the top free-agent stars.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes the Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, and Toronto Maple Leafs are interested in bidding for Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos. He also thinks the Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins could join them.

On Sunday, Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News cited a report in the Toronto Star claiming the Sabres reached out to the Stamkos camp to gauge his interest in coming to Buffalo. Sportsnet’s Eric Engels, meanwhile, reports the Canadiens will chase Stamkos, though they face long odds of signing him.

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