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NHL Lockout 2013

There is less than 12 hours until the third lockout begins under Commissioner Gary Bettman's watch. The last occurred back in 2004, canceling the 2004-2005 season and resulted in a new salary cap system. However, that system has been failing the smaller market teams, forcing them to keep up with the other clubs who earn more revenue and can afford higher salaries.

The owners and the NHLPA are fine with a salary cap system; they are not trying to reinvent the wheel all over again. But both sides are trying to structure an agreement on how the revenue is shared between the owners and players.

In recent discussions, several different proposals have been thrown on the table but none have come close to settling the disagreement. Bettman has been prepared to lockout his players if a new deal is not reached by the end of today. Although each side is likely to meet with each other before the day is over, it seems very unlikely that an 11th hour deal will be made.

Prepare yourselves for NHL lockout 2013.

Isles Skaters Begin Training Despite Potential Lockout

Despite talks of another NHL season getting wiped out entirely, many players from the New York Islanders have returned to the Island to prepare for training camp. This week, Eric Boulton, Matt Carkner, Michael Grabner, Kirill Kabanov, Andrew MacDonald, Brock Nelson, Nino Niederreiter, Frans Nielsen, Marty Reasoner and Johan Sundstrom took part in some informal skates at Islanders Ice Works in Syosset. (Photo Credit: Islanders Hockey Blog/Flickr).

These players have not only been skating, but they have been active off the ice as well. Just yesterday Michael Grabner signed 150 autographs for the first group of fans to attend the grand opening of the Cantiague Park Pro Shop.

The past few weeks have been important for guys like Boulton and Carkner, who are just meeting some of their Islanders teammates for the first time after signing contracts with the organization on the first day of Free Agency.

Visnovsky's Hearing To Take Place This Tuesday

The New York Islanders will finally have a better picture of what their defense will look like in 2013 as Lubomir Visnovsky's arbitration hearing is set to take place in just three days on September 4th. (Photo Credit: Bridget Samuels/Flickr)

As many of you know, Visnovsky filed a grievance with the NHLPA stating that the trade from the Anaheim Ducks to the Isles voided his No-Trade Clause and that the Ducks never approached him about the deal when they should have. However, the Ducks state that his NTC was used when the Edmonton Oilers dealt him to the Ducks in 2010.

If Visnovsky wins the decision, he remains part of the Ducks organization. If he loses, the trade stands and he is a member of the New York Islanders.

Brenden Kichton - Islander Hostage Of NHLPA

In a normal year, Kichton’s NHL Entry Level Contract (ELC) would have already passed from negotiation to signing. This year negotiations have yet to begin.

Several weeks after multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts were being handed out like Hershey Bars on Halloween, seventy-thousand dollar a year ELC’s are being withheld while meetings in Toronto and New York drag on to the inevitable.

Preparing For An NHL Lockout On The Island

There was likely a reason that Islanders RFA's Rhett Rakhshani, Mark Katic and Justin DiBenedetto opted for Europe before being tendered their qualifying offers by GM Garth Snow. A potential lockout is looming that could delay or even cancel the 2012-2013 season and these young prospects still need to play in order to continue their development.

There is only 24 days left for the NHLPA and the owners to reach an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement or the season will be locked out, likely forcing a later start date than October 11th.

Hockey fans can look back to the 2004-2005 season that was entirely scrapped from a lockout due to disagreements on a new CBA between the NHLPA and the owners.

Is Griffin Reinhart Ready To Make The Islanders?

Griffin Reinhart was selected by the Islanders with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The 6'4, 202-pound defenseman recently signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Isles that could kick into effect as soon as the 2013 season.

Many of you are already familiar with the way that this can play out. Reinhart will have nine games of eligibility before he could be sent back to his Junior team, the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. The 18-year old defenseman has already played three seasons for the Oil Kings and had his best last year, scoring 12 goals, 24 assists for 36 points in 58 games played. That totals a eleven point increase over the previous season.

Reinhart clearly has the size, but the question will be if he has the skill and mentality to compete at the NHL level.

Lubomir Visnovsky Files Grievance With NHLPA Over Trade

Yesterday, Arthur Staple of Newsday tweeted that New York Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky filed a grievance with the NHLPA over his trade to the Anaheim Ducks, claiming that his no-trade clause is still valid and never asked his permission to make the deal.

Newsday reports that Visnovsky's agent claims that this grievance has nothing to do with his desire to play for the Islanders, and is a matter of "establishing what's right."

Scott Hartnell Named As Member Of NHLPA Negotiating Committee

According to a report from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, Flyers forward Scott Hartnell has been named as a member of the 31-player NHLPA negotiating committee.

Negotiations between the Players' Association and the NHL over a new collective bargaining agreement will begin on Friday. The current agreement is set to expire on September 15th.

Hartnell and committee members will be closely involved in that process, and various members will attend bargaining sessions and be responsible for corresponding with other members not in attendance.

Not The Sandman - But It Will Put You To Sleep

I can pretty much talk about hockey 365 days a year, and do. When a friend asks me a question about the AHL or the Sound Tigers, they will get an answer. It took me a while to realize that because they asked me something about the game I love, did not mean they shared my enthusiasm. I first noticed it in the spring when a friend for years asked me to explain what a ‘developmental team’ was. Listening to my response as I explained the roll the AHL was intended to play in the development of players for the NHL, his eyes began to glaze over when I approached the V-260, V-320 (veteran of 260 or 320 professional games) grey areas. An “urgent call” took him from me, and the next day I was ‘un-friended’ on Facebook. That is when I decided it would best to write about the game. While it is still boring to many, at least the number of ‘Happy Birthday’ wishes I get from Facebook friends won’t diminish.

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is “How much do the players get paid in the AHL?” Were I a man of few words, the answer for this 2011-12 season would be a short “The league minimum is $39,000 the highest paid is getting $6,500,000.” This is true though misleading, and as I am not a man of few words and don’t want to mislead you, let me bore you from bottom to top.

NHLPA denies Realignment

As mandated at the Board of Governor’s meeting, the realignment was supposed to come into effect next season.

Unfortunately, the NHLPA had other ideas.

On Friday afternoon it was announced by the NHL that the league would not move ahead with the implmentation of the proposed realignment in 2012-13 because the player’s association declined consent.