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Will NHL players accept owners' offer?

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Will NHL players accept owners' offer?

Let’s start with the truth.

NHL players will not come running back from the four corners of the hockey world to accept the 50-50 split in hockey-related revenue that was proposed by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Tuesday in Toronto.

That said, there is a much better chance today of the NHL salvaging a season than at any point in the past four months. Bettman’s 50-50 split across the board is far better than the 47 percent proposed by the owners on Sept. 12.

But it’s still a far cry from the 57 percent taken in by the players under the expired CBA and would require players to have significant money placed in escrow accounts.

Bettman said his proposal would not require immediate salary rollbacks. While that may be true, it likely would require players to place at least 6.5 percent of their salaries in escrow accounts, much like they have in previous years.

That is something many players, including Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, have said they would not accept. Ovechkin has nine years and $88 million remaining on his contract with the Caps and is reportedly making $6 million playing in Russia this season.

Ovechkin has repeatedly stated he would consider staying in the KHL the entire season if it meant accepting a significant paycut to play in the NHL. Other players, including former Caps defenseman Sergei Gonchar, have echoed those sentiments.

So, while Tuesday’s proposal by the owners was a significant one, it only serves as a kickstart to more meaningful negotiations that are sure to heat up in the next eight to nine days.

It is important to emphasize that while Bettman called Tuesday’s proposal the NHL’s “best offer,” he did not call it the league’s “final offer.” It’s also worth noting that Don Fehr called the proposal “an excellent starting point” that he hopes will lead to more significant negotiations.

Here are a few more things to know about the league’s proposal: it is for at least six years; it carries a five-year maximum length on player contracts; it moves the age for unrestricted free agency from seven years of NHL service or 27 years of age to eight years of service or 28 years of age; and it keeps entry-level contracts at three years.

The players are likely to agree on all of those points. But their next move might be going with a less dramatic decline in revenue sharing – say beginning at 54 percent and ending at a 50-50 split in Year 5 or 6.

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The Capitals were not pleased with the officiating in Game 1

The Capitals were not pleased with the officiating in Game 1

They did not want to talk about it, but it was clear after Game 1 that the Caps were not pleased about how Game 1 was officiated.

In a tense postseason matchup between two rivals that featured several scrums and dustups, Washington was not given a single power play and was shorthanded twice after what looked like soft calls.

RELATED: Prediction recap: Sidney Crosby ruins everything

Alex Ovechkin took an interference penalty in the first period for a weak hit on Patric Hornqvist and Matt Niskanen was given a slashing penalty for swiping at a puck just as Marc-Andre Fleury tried to freeze it.

“For all the stuff that was going on, I'm not going to criticize the referees,” Trotz said when asked about Niskanen’s penalty. “They do an outstanding job, but at the same time, I thought with all the stuff that was going on, it was a pretty light one.”

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, was given only one penalty on the night, a matching minor between Scott Wilson and Kevin Shattenkirk.

Considering how good the Caps are on the power play, it was frustrating for the team to not get that unit on the ice. That frustration was compounded by what looked like two rather soft calls against Washington.

Following the game, the players would not criticize the referees, but they still made their displeasure known.

“No comment,” Niskanen said when asked about the officiating.

“It was kind of weird game,” Ovechkin said. “No penalties on their side. Sometimes those kind of [expletive] happen and you just have to fight through it and just put the puck in.”

MORE CAPITALS: 3 key observations: Pittsburgh capitalizes

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Prediction recap: Sidney Crosby ruins everything

Prediction recap: Sidney Crosby ruins everything

The Caps battled back from a 2-0 deficit but ultimately fell 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.

Here’s a recap of the three bold predictions for Game 1.

1. Washington will score first - Wrong

Neither team was able to score in the first period, but Sidney Crosby made short work of this prediction in the second period with a goal just 12 seconds in. He then added a second for good measure at the 1:04 mark to put the Penguins up 2-0.

RELATED: 3 key observations: Pittsburgh capitalizes

2. Patric Hornqvist will draw a penalty - Correct

It was a softy and it wasn’t for the reason I thought it would be, but it counts. Alex Ovechkin knocked into Hornqvist as the Penguins rushed the Caps’ offensive zone early in the first period. When I wrote this prediction, I expected him to get knocked around a bit in front of the net, not in the neutral zone. Considering I got the other two predictions wrong, however, yeah, I’m taking the point.

3. Sidney Crosby will not get a point – Very Wrong

Not only did Crosby get a point, he got two to match his total from all six games in last season’s series. And not only did he get two points, they were both goals.

2017 Results: Crosby ruined the Caps' night and my predictions. The man must be stopped!

Correct: 9
Wrong: 11
Push: 1

MORE CAPITALS: David Letterman shows up at Game 1 of Caps-Penguins