It may be just a sliver of sunshine behind an impending cloud of doom, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed Wednesday night that he had a “substantive” conversation with NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr that could bring the league’s owners and players back to the bargaining table.
In an email to Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Daly wrote, “Steve and I had a substantive call [Tuesday]. Don’t yet know what, if anything, will come of it.”
At a time when rhetoric surrounding negotiations has been nothing but negative, Daly’s use of the word “substantive” could be a breakthrough in talks between the owners and players as they try to bridge the gap preventing them negotiating a new CBA.
Clearly, the clock is ticking.
With all October games in the rear view mirror and all November games already canceled, the NHL has painted a bull’s eye on the Jan. 1 Winter Classic scheduled for Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, with a kill date of Friday.
The NHL has already paid a non-refundable fee of $100,000 to the University of Michigan and another $250,000 installment is due on Friday.
Given the fact construction on an outdoor rink is not scheduled until Dec. 1, the NHL still would have time to salvage the Winter Classic if Tuesday’s “substantive” talks lead to substantial movement from the owners and/or players.
The NHL and its players have not had formal discussions since Oct. 18 when the league rejected the players’ three counter proposals to an Oct. 16 offer to equally divide the league’s estimated $3.3 billion in annual revenue.
All signs point to the Redskins again placing the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins, and the March 1 deadline to make that move grows ever closer. The franchise tag, however, will not prevent the organization from making a long-term deal with the quarterback, and CBS' Jason La Canfora expects the 'Skins to get a deal done with Cousins sometime this summer.
"Unlike last year, the Redskins will make a legit concerted effort to sign him to a fair-market deal (unlike the low-ball overtures of a year ago). And by July 15, I suspect Cousins has a long-term deal with Washington agreed to."
July 15 marks the deadline for teams to negotiate with tagged players. Last year, the Redskins hardly offered Cousins more money than was guaranteed by his one-year, $20 million contract dictated by the franchise tag. This season, that figure jumps to $24 million.
There is some debate as to what will constitute a 'fair-market deal' for Cousins. Will the 'Skins passer get to the Andrew Luck level, with more than $80 million guaranteed? Will the team use the non-exclusive tag and let Cousins see what his value is with other teams?
Nothing but questions and specualtion will dominate the Cousins conversation, at least until March 1 when the 'Skins are forced to use the tag or let the QB walk to the open market. That won't happen, but it is possible the team and Cousins reach a multi-year deal before then.
Don't plan on it. The NFL is a deadline driven league. March 1, and then July 15, could prove to be the most important days in the 2017 version of the Cousins saga.
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NEW ORLEANS -- The saga between the Sacramento Kings and DeMarcus Cousins finally is over as the three-time All-Star was traded to the Pelicans on Sunday night to the host city for the 66th All-Star Game.
Cousins played just two minutes and made a quick exit from the game with the West All-Stars. As soon as he made a three-point shot, his night was complete.
Cousins, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, was acquired for a 2017 first-round, second-round pick, Buddy Hield and Tyreke Evans.
Before the deal was consummated, Kentucky teammate John Wall had this response on Cousins teaming up with Anthony Davis: "Wooooo."
He paused, took a sip of his sports drink, and gasped. "I'm just going to drink on that one."
Cousins never led the Kings, a dysfuctional franchise since the day he was drafted in 2010, to the postseason. They'd never won more than 33 games with Cousins and were 24-33 this season.
Cousins had career averages of 21.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists in six-plus seasons. Davis scored 52 points Sunday en route to being the All-Star Game MVP.
The Pelicans are 23-24.