Members of the San Jose Sharks met at the team’s training facility on Monday for an informal practice and the media had a chance to talk to a few of them.
The headlining topic of the day, obviously, was Saturday night’s expiration of the NHL’s current collective bargaining agreement. The league and the NHLPA have made no significant progress towards agreeing on a new CBA, and most of the parties involved have about as negative an outlook as Flyers center Danny Briere.
Not Ryane Clowe, however. The usually fiery Sharks forward wasn’t so chippy when asked about the situation.
“My feeling is that both sides want to get something done. I strongly believe that,” Clowe said. “When, and how soon? Maybe sooner rather than later, but that’s just my gut feeling.”
Logan Couture, however, isn’t feeling as good about the negotiations as his linemate.
“We all want to play the game we love,” Couture said. “We play in the best league in the world, and we want it to start on time. I’m sure all of us are optimistic, but as time gets closer and nothing happens, you can only start to get a little pessimistic.”
The divide in the CBA talks lies in the issues of revenue sharing: Commissioner Gary Bettman believes that the current rate of 57% player income is far too high, while players believe that the league’s proposal of a seasonal waterfall decrease to 50-50 is unfair. Furthermore, a request that the bigger market teams share more evenly their revenues with the struggling smaller market clubs remains a major key – albeit one that Bettman describes as “distracting.”
Even Clowe, in all his optimism, isn’t in favor of what the league has put on the table.
“We understand that if we’re going to give something back, we want the owners to do that also, and contribute. We feel like with the proposal we made, it takes care of some of the issues as far as (having) a strong league in the future, and a healthy league.”
— Speaking of healthy, Logan Couture was back at it and close to 100% following a surgery to repair his left shoulder. The injury was a lingering one that dates back to the 2010 season, according to Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area.
“Really good now,” Couture said. “Obviously it doesn’t look very good right now, but it feels better, so that’s positive.” He was referring to the long scar on his shoulder from the surgery in May.
— The NHLPA is scheduled to hold meetings in New York this week with players from all over the league. Tommy Wingels, Brent Burns and Douglas Murray will represent the Sharks at the meetings. Murray has already been involved in the CBA talks between players’ union head Donald Fehr and commissioner Bettman.