The NHL's aversion to arbitration hearings was on full display again today, as yet another high-profile negotiation was resolved just in time to avoid a dreaded confrontation.
This morning, hockey fans anticipated a real showdown as Brandon Dubinsky and the New York Rangers were scheduled for a hearing. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that Dubinsky had opted for the arbiter to rule on a 1-year contract, and Greg Wyshynski over at Puck Daddy detailed the implications of that gambit, setting the scene for a showdown...
Only to have Nick Kypreos report moments later that the two sides had instead agreed on a 4-year, $16.8 million deal!
Through today, all 6 of the restricted free agents who have had scheduled hearings so far have instead settled with their teams, and almost all the remaining ones are expected to do the same. Chicago decided that they didn't want to keep defenseman Chris Campoli regardless of the outcome, so they agreed to move up the date of his hearing, didn't bother attending, and let him walk away as an unrestricted free agent.
So what is it about these arbitrators that makes both players and teams avoid them like the plague? Is it chronic halitosis? Eye-stinging flatulence? A grating voice?
Who knows, but think about how we can get in on that scam while reading your afternoon hockey news...
Nashville Predators News
Hockey Night in Nashville: Who will replace Sullivan as Alternate Captain?
A good question for debate... I'd put my money on Mike Fisher.
Hockey Night in Nashville: Could Bergfors be 2011-12 version of Kostitsyn?
While I've been critical of a number of moves this summer, I am hopeful about Niclas Bergfors.
Preds On The Glass: POTG Thursday Headlines, News, Links, and Commentary
Buddy's taking the wait & see approach to the Shea Weber negotiations, with his eye on that August 2nd deadline.
FanTab - Nashville Predators
A new site launches which aims to track fan sentiment around individual teams (much like the fan confidence poll you can find in the upper-left corner of the front page here at OTF).
Ads Sign Ford & Cahill | Admirals Roundtable
Ryan gives a rave review to Milwaukee's signing of Scott Ford and Chris Cahill.
Around the NHL
Tomas Kaberle's bizarre Stanley Cup celebration - The Globe and Mail
Weird, weird stuff here. It's like Kaberle walked right from some live-action role playing convention into a tacky BBQ joint.
20 Questions: NHL super agent Don Meehan - National Post
An interview with perhaps the biggest name in the hockey agent business. His firm currently represents Sergei Kostitsyn, and used to have Shea Weber.
Rangers win on Dubinsky, but cap concerns remain - Houses of the Hockey
If Ryan Callahan's next deal is on par with Brandon Dubinsky's, the Rangers will creep uncomfortably close to the cap.
Emrick joins NBC/Versus exclusively - New Jersey Devils
Is there a classier guy in hockey than Mike Emrick? Read his personal goodbye letter to Devils fans, as he leaves the MSG Network to call games for NBC/Versus this season.
Ducks and Shot Differential -- Making Progress? - Battle of California
I like the way Earl put markers along the path of the season indicating major events which could be expected to impact the fortunes of the Ducks.
The Hockey News: Proteau: 30 NHL teams, 30 big questions
A little something to get every hockey fan's blood boiling.
Bourne Blog: How salary cap sucks the fun out of hockey fandom - Puck Daddy
Is the modern situation really worse, or just different? As sports fans, we like to second-guess just about everything, and now we get to play the role of amateur capologist.
Larger Brains May Have Evolved Due to Sports, Not Smarts | Playbook