Michael Russo of the Star Tribune offered a glimpse at what the NHLPA could be getting from the next CBA, and it's a revealing look at how much goes into this type of negotiation beyond, say, escrow payments.
1) Joint NHL/NHLPA Health and Safety Committee with equal representation by the league and union;
2) Establishment of a "standard of care" and "primary allegiance" obligations between the team medical staff and players (this is directly due to the tragic Derek Boogaard situation that remains ongoing);
3) Offseason rehab activities would no longer be required in the team's home city;
4) Players have access to second medical opinions at the club expense;
There's no telling what kind of damage the Boogaard saga had on players' medical confidence in their teams. Maybe some saw it as an isolated case; maybe others saw it as a player that needed help that, in the eyes of his family, never received it.
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But it sounds as if the next CBA will formalize a team's medical responsibilities to a player and, in the last two cases, allow players wider options for both rehab and diagnosis.
5) Ice time restrictions and days off during training camp;
Looking to clarify this with the NHLPA, but I can't imagine this is good news for old school bag-skatin' coaches that see the preseason as their own personal boot camp.
So, like, all of them then ...
Of course, the guys hauling ass trying to make the team probably aren't down with mandatory days off.
6) Improved facility standards in visiting locker rooms;
By "standards" we assume they mean consistency from arena to arena in the visitors' room. Because if they're asking for home team-like amenities … well, let's just start with having a variety of colors for the dry erase board and go from there.
7) Ice condition improvements and standards;
Madison Square Garden excepted.
8) More player friendly rules for parent-son trips, teams would have to pay for parents travel and lodging to first-ever games, other milestones;
Now, here's something we were sort of surprised by. Most teams pay for the "dad trips", so perhaps this is just formalized that arrangement. Maybe teams pay for parents' tickets but not their hotel rooms when they come to "milestone" games?
9) Different standards for rent and mortgage reimbursements from teams;
10) increased access to tickets for visiting players and also a game ticket policy that minimizes the tax impact on players;
This all seems like things that accountants and agents might want out of the next CBA.
11) And also, the league has agreed to consider a player proposal for single rooms for all players on the road, which would be thousands of extra dollars spent on travel. Typically, players share rooms on the road unless you're a longstanding player (600 games), or in a lot of cases, goaltenders.
(Because goaltenders are psychotic, by and large.)
This is obviously one of those perks where you're like, "uh, isn't that a little bit greedy?" upon first glance.
But that's completely discounting the fact that (a) players will be much sharper after getting a good night's sleep unaffected by snoring teammates or dudes playing Xbox until 3 a.m.; and (b) it will reduce the frustration levels of players on the road when they're worn out, tired, a little drunk and come back to the room to find a sock on the door knob.
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