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Russo: Wideman traded to Calgary; NHLPA announces negotiating committee

  • Blog Post by: Michael Russo
  • June 27, 2012 - 4:52 PM

Couple updates:

1. "Becoming Wild," the second season of the behind-the-scenes documentary of the Wild produced by the team, will air on Fox Sports North beginning in September. It's supposed to be six episodes and web vignettes will begin in July on wild.com.

2. The Wild Summer Bash will be Thursday from 6-9 p.m. at John Rose MN Oval in Roseville. Lots of hockey-themed games and player autographs.

One Ryan Suter "Plan B" for the NHL, and perhaps the Wild, is off the books. The Calgary Flames, whom I said the other day would be aggressive this summer, has traded for the rights and subsequently signed defenseman Dennis Wideman to a five-year deal at a reported $5.25 million AAV.

Welcome to NHL Free Agency -- a.k.a. silly season.

I actually flew home from Pittsburgh, by the way, with the entire Flames staff and sat across the aisle from GM Jay Feaster. Would have been nice if he gave me the scoop.

I've got to think Jay Bouwmeester's time is coming to an end soon in Calgary. St. Louis is reportedly one team very interested in acquiring the mobile defenseman.

As I've reported before, the Wild has expressed significant interest in free-agent University of Wisconsin defenseman Justin Schultz. But also, as reported before, Schultz seems to want to play north of the border and has appeared to narrow his choices down to Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto.

After Suter and Schultz, the two guys considered the next biggest free-agent defenseman targets are Florida's Jason Garrison and Philadelphia's Matt Carle. The Flyers are trying hard to re-sign Carle.

The NHL Players' Association announced today that negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with the NHL will begin Friday in New York. That will be followed by a joint news conference and more sessions between the two sides next week.

The collective bargaining agreement, which the NHL has moved to terminate, is set to expire Sept. 15.

NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr made clear again today that by law, if both sides are negotiating in good faith and agree to it, you can operate under the old CBA and continue to work even if an agreement isn't in place by Sept. 15.

Trust me, that's not going to happen. If a deal isn't done by Sept. 15, there will be a lockout. I can't imagine that the owners would operate under the old CBA because then you lose the sense of urgency to get a deal done. That's what happened in 2004, too. The players said they'd play under the old system, the owners said no.

The union announced a 31-player negotiating committee, although no Wild players are on it. New player rep Darroll Powe, who replaced Nick Schultz in March after he was traded, did attend the first player meetings in Chicago the past three days.

The players named to the negotiating committee will be closely involved in the collective bargaining process between the NHLPA and the NHL. Various members of the committee will attend bargaining sessions and regular correspondence will be conducted throughout the bargaining process as a means of keeping the entire committee updated. While the members of the negotiating vommittee are taking a very active role on behalf of their fellow players, bargaining sessions will be open for all players to attend.

Fehr said the union would pick up the travel costs for any player.

“It’s great to see that so many players have chosen to participate in bargaining and get involved in the important work ahead for their Association,” said Fehr. “I’m certain this group of players and all players who will be attending bargaining sessions will do a great job.”

Fehr was understandably unwilling to discuss any specifics that the players or the league will be looking for in bargaining. Here is the 31-player committee.

Craig Adams (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Adrian Aucoin (Phoenix Coyotes)
Alex Auld (Ottawa Senators)
David Backes (St. Louis Blues)
Marty Biron (New York Rangers)
Brad Boyes (Buffalo Sabres)
Chris Campoli (Montreal Canadiens)
B.J. Crombeen (St. Louis Blues)
Mathieu Darche (Montreal Canadiens)
Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders)
Shane Doan (Phoenix Coyotes)
Brandon Dubinsky (New York Rangers)
Ruslan Fedotenko (New York Rangers)
Alex Goligoski (Dallas Stars)
Ron Hainsey (Winnipeg Jets)
Scott Hartnell (Philadelphia Flyers)
Jamie Langenbrunner (St. Louis Blues)
Manny Malhotra (Vancouver Canucks)
Steve Montador (Chicago Blackhawks)
Dominic Moore (San Jose Sharks)
Brendan Morrison (Chicago Blackhawks)
Douglas Murray (San Jose Sharks)
George Parros (Anaheim Ducks)
Chris Phillips (Ottawa Senators)
Cory Schneider (Vancouver Canucks)
John Tavares (New York Islanders)
Shea Weber (Nashville Predators)
Kevin Westgarth (Los Angeles Kings)
Dan Winnik (San Jose Sharks)
James Wisniewski (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Red Wings)

*More Players may be added at a later date

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