After months of platitudes, we've finally arrived at the point where one of the parties in the Shea Weber/Nashville Predators negotiations has admitted that things aren't going so well. This raises all sorts of questions - are things seriously bogged down, or is it just posturing? Will the two sides wait until right before the arbitration hearing on August 2nd to strike a deal, or might they actually go through with that exercise?
All we've heard for over a year now is that a deal will get done, plain and simple, from both the Predators and Weber. This is the first time that one of the direct participants has described the situation as anything less than "on track", so while it's hardly time to panic, it's certainly enough to raise a few eyebrows and wonder exactly what's going on behind the scenes. With Steven Stamkos signing for 5 years and $37.5 million yesterday, you'd have to believe that that the ceiling for reasonable compensation has been set. So what's the holdup?
Today, our morning links start off with Josh Cooper's report, straight from the captain's agent, which states that talks have reached "a stalemate"...
Nashville Predators News
Nashville Predators work on new contract for Shea Weber - The Tennessean
Hmm... now Shea's agent is using term "stalemate" to describe the current status of talks. Over what issue? We don't really know. One point of correction to Josh's piece: if this goes to arbitration and results in a one-year deal, Weber would still be an RFA after that. He's not unrestricted until summer 2013.
Is Three A Crowd? | The Predatorial
At least if the Preds have to part with one of the Big 3, the return on a trade could be substantial.
The Checking Line - Will 2011-2012 Predators Offense have more bite?
Greg wonders where the goals will come from. I'll have more on this later today.
Preds On The Glass: POTG Wednesday Headlines, News, and Links
Buddy welcomed a bit of news yesterday, as things had been getting slow. Just wait until August!
How I Spent My Summer Vacation. PMFF Returns | Pull My (Fang)Finger
OK, my neighborhood just got a little more creepy.
Affiliation Consistency | Admirals Roundtable
Should Milwaukee fans get worked up over a comment made here at OTF? Probably not... yet.
Around the NHL
Broadcaster Dave Strader set to leave Phoenix Coyotes for NBC/Versus - AZCentral.com
Awesome news here - I'm a huge fan of Dave Strader's, and Phoenix's loss is the league's gain.
Stamkos, Lightning lock-in, plus 30 thoughts - Elliotte Friedman
Interesting speculation about Nashville's ability to keep the Big 3 together long term. Personally, I'd be very hesitant to throw something like $6 million annually at Pekka Rinne, considering the state of the modern goaltending market. You may not be able to replace Pekka entirely, but you could probably get something reasonable for $2 million.
Stars losing $1 million a week? Probably only on paper - The Dallas Morning News
Ownership stories move along at a glacial pace, and in the meantime, generate sensational headlines like this.
Hockey's second divorce from Atlanta leaves behind jilted fans - and creates exciting opportunities - NBC Sports
At least they'll find a welcome home away from home in Smashville.
Win a trip to the 2011 NHLPA Rookie Showcase! | Upper Deck Blog
Would you like to go see the game's top rookies in Toronto this fall? Then head over here to enter Upper Deck's contest...
The Peerless Prognosticator: The Rebuild...Renovation, Part I
It is remarkable to see how much the Capitals have changed over time, as they try to find the formula for success.
What Liles will bring to the Leafs - The Globe and Mail
Making the change from Tomas Kaberle to John Michael-Liles on the blueline could end up serving Toronto quite well.
Mulletgate: is a formal grievance next? - Jewels From The Crown
The embers are still hot in L.A. after they received damaged goods in the Ryan Smyth trade.
Kings coach Terry Murray responds to Dustin Penner comments | Hockey Independent
Is there a guy who catches as much flak as Dustin Penner? At least so far this summer, however, the team appreciates his workout commitments.
Kevin Cheveldayoff Press Conference | Illegal Curve Hockey
The Winnipeg GM touches on the recent Blake Wheeler contract, and other signings as they put the Jets' roster together.
New York Rangers Analysis: Dubinsky and Rangers Far Apart, Callahan And Eminger Update - Blueshirt Banter
Bumps along Broadway as the Blueshirts try to lock up their young players.
mc79hockey.com - Arena, Part I
Tyler's not a fan of public funding for a new arena in Edmonton, and I do agree that the threat of the Oilers leaving town over this point is pretty far-fetched at the current time.
Hockey talent blossoms in Sun Belt - Washington Times
In Florida, for example, the number of rinks has risen from 4 to 25 since the NHL arrived.
Summer sales offer big savings on hockey equipment | Hockey Gear HQ - news, reviews & deals
Two major online retailers are offering special deals on hockey equipment this summer, and we've got the coupon codes that will help you save big.