Winter Olympics participation a potential roadblock in NHL CBA talks

first_imgIn the weeks since the NHL and NHL Players Association opted against re-opening the current collective bargaining agreement, negotiations have continued between the two sides.Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported Saturday the league and the PA held conference calls aimed at working toward a CBA extension in the coming months. He indicated they have shared business interests to address, including the establishment of a clear calendar of international events. The players’ willingness to take part in future Olympic tournaments could be a potential sticking point in the current CBA extension talks. However, it’s probably not the hill they’re willing to die on.Escrow deductions remain the biggest issue for the players. After several years of having up to 15 percent clawed back from their paychecks and getting little of it back by season’s end, they want a different system to lessen escrow’s bite. Post-career health care and revisiting how hockey-related revenue is determined are also among their concerns.It’s difficult to believe the players would derail real progress toward long-term labor peace by making the Olympics their line in the sand. Ultimately, more money in their bank accounts will likely trump the pursuit of Olympic glory. Johnston claims the players still have a strong interest in best-on-best international competition. They’re willing to take part in another World Cup of Hockey tournament, but only if it’s part of a larger plan that includes the Winter Olympics.Top 25 under 25​​: Ranking hockey’s best young stars for 2019-20The league remains keen to hold another World Cup, as well as staging future Global Series of regular-season games outside North America. But according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly, the team owners have no interest in Olympic participation.Daly told’s Adam Kimelman the owners don’t see the Olympics as useful to their business.“It’s highly disruptive to our season, puts our players in jeopardy of injury with no financial benefit to the NHL or its clubs,” he said.The same arguments could be made against the World Cup of Hockey. Granted, that preseason tournament doesn’t disrupt the regular-season schedule. However, it takes each teams’ best players out of training camp at a time when coaches and general managers attempt to evaluate their respective rosters for the coming season. The players still face the same risk of injury regardless of which international tournament they’re skating in.Financial benefit is the biggest reason behind the owners reluctance. Being a preseason tournament, the World Cup of Hockey doesn’t affect hockey revenue related to the regular-season schedule. Furthermore, all revenue derived from that tournament is divided between the league and the players.Since NHL players first appeared in the 1998 Winter Olympics, the league hasn’t seen any significant increase in the popularity of its product. The owners grew increasingly unhappy over shuttering the league at mid-season for two or three weeks to allow their players to participate.MORE: Who will win the 2019-20 Calder Trophy?Perhaps the biggest reason behind the owners’ unhappiness was because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stopped covering travel, insurance, accommodations and other costs for NHL players taking part in Olympic action. The league declined a $20 million offer from International Ice Hockey Federation to cover those costs for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.As Johnston noted, the league would not only have to change its stance, but also conduct separate negotiations with the IOC regarding those cost.last_img read more

Utah Utes football: 12,000 watch low-scoring spring game

first_img Ngata says the Utes will do well Related SALT LAKE — Fans expecting some offensive fireworks at Utah’s annual Red-White game Saturday might have gone home a little disappointed.In what was likely the lowest-scoring spring game ever, the Reds beat the Whites 7-0 in front of 12,000 or so fans at Rice-Eccles Stadium in 65-degree weather.The only score in the abbreviated game came on a 15-yard pass from freshman Tyler Shreve to Dexter Ransom late in the first half. The second half went by quickly with a running clock for two 10-minute quarters.The lack of scoring was due to a combination of a strong Ute defense and an offense that was not only missing its starting quarterback, but was also using three running backs that had never played Division I football before and had just seven offensive lineman to share between the two teams.Coach Kyle Whittingham felt his team moved the football well enough, but just couldn’t put it in the end zone.”I saw some good things,” Whittingham said. “We saw some guys flying around on defense, the running backs were encouraging, and I thought Harvey Langi ran the football well.”Langi, the freshman from Bingham High School, was the offensive star as he rushed for 63 yards on 12 carries, bulldozing his way through defenders for extra yards. John White led the White team with 36 yards on six carries, while Lucky Radley ran for 28 yards for the Reds and Thretton Palamo had just four yards on two carries for the Whites.”He played well today,” offensive coordinator Norm Chow said of Langi. “He was given more opportunities because the Red team had the ball a lot more, but I thought Harvey did a real nice job.”Ransom, a lanky senior receiver from Texas, was one of the offensive stars, leading all receivers with four catches for 57 yards, including the only touchdown of the game.”He had a drop or two but he did some good things, his best day as a Ute probably,” said Whittingham. “He’s got the big frame, he’s 6-foot 3, 220 pounds, he’s a big target and he will have a role this fall for us.Ransom, who didn’t join the team last year until late in fall camp, was Shreve’s favorite target, getting all four catches in the first half.Of the touchdown, he said, “It was a play where I had to read the two safeties. One of them stayed back a little bit and the middle of the field was wide open so I took it.”The Red team dominated the first half, keeping the ball for 36 plays compared to 15 for the White side.However, it only resulted in a 7-0 lead as one long drive was stopped by an interception by Joseph Smith on a tipped pass and the other on a missed 35-yard field goal by Nick Marsh.One of the top defensive players was defensive end David Rolf, a transfer from Michigan State who played in all 26 games in his two years in East Lansing. Rolf had a sack for nine yards, a tackle for a loss and two pass breakups.Also, Trevor Reilly had 2.5 sacks for the White team, and Terrell Reese had a 20-yard interception return for the Red team.For the game, Shreve finished with 9-of-20 passing for 122 yards, while Griff Robles was 11-for-23 for 74 yards. Jordan Wynn, the starter for the past season and a half, is expected to start throwing later this month and be ready for fall camp in August.Chow said the three running backs — Langi, White and Palamo — have yet to separate themselves, but he is hopeful they’ll be ready for the fall.”We made good progress, but are they ready for Pac-12 football? I don’t know,” Chow said. “We need a good fall camp, we need a good summer and I think they will be ready and we’ll have to make a decision.”Overall, Whittingham was happy with spring camp and Saturday’s game, despite the lack of scoring.”We feel good about our progress, but have a long ways to go,” said Whittingham. “This summer’s going to be critical to our development and what the players take it upon themselves to do.”email: It’s clear Utes fans are psyched Utah Utes football notebooklast_img read more