In a new collective bargaining agreement that still seems tilted toward the players, there are still some rare times when the players come out on the losing end of things.
Take Brad Stuart for instance.
At the trade deadline last year, the Dallas Stars were all set to add Stuart to their defense corps and had a deal worked out with the Boston Bruins that involved a first-round pick and prospects.
However, the deal was contingent on Stuart agreeing to a four-year extension with the Stars which would have been worth $19.2 million, for an average of $4.8 million per season and more than a 100 per cent raise on the $2.15 million he made last season.
Stuart refused the offer, thinking he would get more on the open market over the summer and was instead dealt to the Calgary Flames.
Lo and behold, summer came and the market for Stuart vanished in a big way. The best offer he could get was from the Los Angeles Kings was a one-year deal worth $3.5 million.
BLUE AND BLACKOUT The mighty Toronto Maple Leafs, who often make it oh so easy to hate them, have done it again.
According to the London Free Press, the Leafs are exercising their territorial rights to prevent the local cable TV and radio stations from broadcasting a pre-season game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators in London, Ont., Sept. 18.
That's the same night the Leafs open their pre-season schedule against the Edmonton Oilers, a game that can only be seen on Leafs TV, the organization's in-house cable station.
It seems London falls into the Leafs broadcasting territory and allowing the good people of London a chance to see the likes of Daniel Briere going up against Jason Spezza would somehow cut into their profit margin.
When you see things such as this, do you really wonder who is keeping the NHL out of Hamilton?
LABARBERA IN LA LA LAND In the Sept. 18 issue of The Hockey News, we answer 100 burning questions, one of which is: Which player will be this year's Nicklas Backstrom? (Basically that's a player who comes seemingly out of nowhere to make an impact in the NHL.)
I was going to go with Jason LaBarbera of the Kings, but decided against it since he hasn't exactly come out of nowhere.
But faced with a possible goaltending tandem of Dan Cloutier and J-S Aubin, don't be surprised if the American League's MVP from last season seizes the No. 1 job and provides the Kings with the kind of goaltending they'll need to make a run at the playoffs.
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