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Owners & Players positioning for CBA PR battle: Tuesday afternoon notes

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The initial talks between the NHL owners and the Players Association have been described as cordial, but once deadlines begin to approach, you can expect the tenor to get much more contentious. Let's just say I wouldn't make plans set in stone to attend training camp this September, if you know what I mean.

Back in 2004-2005, the owners clearly won the public relations battle, portraying themselves as losing money in most markets and requiring a partnership with the players in the form of a salary cap to control costs and ensure the sustainable growth of the game. In the seven years of the "New NHL", there have been record revenues and, with a few minor exceptions, the salary cap has indeed kept a lid on player salaries.

So how can the owners make a case to the fans that they need the players to take a smaller piece of the pie going forward? That will be something to behold.

This year's public relations struggle is already underway, and this time, it doesn't look like the owners have much to stand on. Our afternoon hockey notes include three different angles on the issue...

Nashville Predators News

Nashville Predators' Hellberg looks to gain professional experience | The Tennessean
Enter Hellberg.

Hockey Night in Nashville: Is Josi ready to take big step?
I'd be happy just to see Josi settle in on the 2nd pair, that will be a big enough challenge in his second season. The Preds need a veteran hand to line up alongside Shea Weber.

Exclusive Leak: Zach Parise and Ryan Suter's Text Messages | Overtime

So this is how it all went down...

EPISODE 30 – Shea Weber | Bobby Holik - Holik on Hockey
Holik talks about the various options facing the Preds & Weber, and how the CBA negotiations might play a role in what happens this summer.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

2012 free agency -- The recent wild spending spree can't be good for the NHL's collective bargaining agreement position - ESPN
Scott Burnside joins the ranks calling out the absurdity of the owners complaining about player costs.

The Player: What’s really at stake for NHLPA in collective bargaining with NHL | Puck Daddy
Here's the best argument for the players to hold off a money grab by the owners, looking at how things have trended since the 2004-5 lockout: "over the course of that time revenues have increased by over 50 percent while player costs have only increased by about 15 percent."

Minnesota Wild owner on crying poverty then spending $196 million on Zach Parise, Ryan Suter | Puck Daddy
Here's your daily dose of BS from the ownership side of the CBA negotiations.

Putting a whip in the "tail" of those exasperating mega-contracts | Edmonton Journal
Now here's a novel approach to restoring some sanity to long-term contracts.

Jamie Langenbrunner Signs 1-Year Deal With Blues - SBNation.com
St. Louis brings back the veteran checker.

Teddy Purcell signs 3-year contract extension with Tampa Bay Lightning - Raw Charge
Purcell has found a home in Tampa's Top 6.

Blues show interest in Stars captain Morrow - STLToday.com
Should the Predators stick their nose in here? Morrow was banged up last season, but is a considerable force up front.

A Proposal for the CHL-NCAA Battle | Illegal Curve Hockey
Is there hope for college and junior hockey to ever bury the hatchet?