Things worth mentioning in passing as the NHL lockout enters it’s fourth week
…… It’s not only players feeling financial pain. The Canadiens have already lost a potential 15 million dollars in gross revenue with the cancellation of their five pre-season home games. (Most of that is clear profit because players aren’t paid during the exhibition season). Thursday the league cancelled the first two weeks of the regular season (to October 24th) and another three Canadiens home games and nine million in revenue lost. Not a great situation for a team that has a heavy debt to the banks to service.
……Playing for the Insurance. The Canadiens currently have six players competing in Europe and if any of them are making any money it’s minimal. Tomas Plekanec and Tomas Kaberle admit the only benefit they’re getting at Kladno in the Czech Extraliga is the insurance on their NHL contract which in their case is around 100-thousand dollars for the season. The same thing holds for Andrei Markov, Max Pacioretty, Raphael Diaz and Yannick Weber.
…..Scott Gomez is working out with the ECHL Alaska Aces on a professional tryout contract. He says he will not play for them this season. Once again insurance raises it’s ugly head. ECHL salaries average about 1-thousand dollars a week. The insurance bill on Gomez, at 25-thousand per million, would be 137,500 dollars. If Gomez wants to play in Anchorage he’ll have to pay it himself. Not likely.
…….……..And while Gomez continues to practice diligently in Anchorage, he has become the invisible man in Montreal completely left off most discussions of the team’s makeup this season. For the first time in thirteen years, Gomez will have to earn a roster spot in training camp and spending the lockout on the sidelines is not going to help. Gomez can’t be bought out until next year, but the Canadiens can assign his contract to the Hamilton Bulldogs through waivers and most think they will.
…….And what’s in store for P.K. Subban during the lockout? Subban is without a contract after a summer of trying to milk a long term multi-million dollar deal out of the Canadiens as a restricted free agent. All kinds of questions come up if he signs with a European deal. What’s the insurance liability when he has no contract to insure? Considering the fact that he’s a free agent, can he sign a conditional lockout style contract? From a pure business standpoint, can he afford to even go on the ice?
…….For a player who’s NHL attention span ranked somewhere between ‘disinterested’ and ‘indifferent’ in recent years, Alexei Kovalev is still going out of his way to stay in hockey. The 39 year old is practicing with, and rumoured to be on the verge of signing for a team called Red Ice-Martigny in the Swiss Regional second division (NLB). Considering his 22 game stint with Atlant Mytishch of the KHL last season (1 goal 5 assists minus-13), sadly the Swiss Second Division may be Kovalev’s current competitive level.
…….If you’re wondering about the way the NHL and specifically Gary Bettman handled the Chara/Pacioretty fallout, some really interesting stuff in an exerpt in Thursday’s Toronto Sun of a new book on Gary Bettman “The Instigator” Does the word ” Machiavellian” come to mind?
……..And while we’re scouring the newspapers, this from the Windsor Star on one of those late draft picks Trevor Timmins made in June, fourth rounder Brady Vail who is apparently blossomed from a checking centre to a goalscoring threat with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL. Vail was drafted 94th overall in June. At the time he was drafted Timmins said, “He started playing hockey at a later age but we really like his hockey sense, his compete and his character.”
……Speaking of prospects, first round pick Alexander Galchenyuk has played in four games for the Sarnia Sting with a goal and 3 assists.
……..No matter how the CBA negotiation settles out, it is clear that the richest franchises (Toronto, Canadiens, Rangers, Canucks) will always have an competitive advantage despite efforts to rein in spending through the salary cap. Player development and scouting don’t come under the salary cap. With an open cheque-book general manager Marc Bergevin has been able to bulk up the front office and bring his total number of professional and amateur scouts to sixteen. Few of the league’s have-not teams can afford that kind of support payroll.