Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dolly Parton, Bears, and Hockey Pucks: it's going to be a long winter

The bears are very active this time of year, eating as much as possible to build up fat reserves to hold them over for their hibernation. A happy bear is fatter than Mr. Creosote (and just as pissed off when woken up early).

Yogi's not quite ready to tuck himself in a deep den in the mountains yet. Nope, he, Boo Boo, and the rest of the Ursine cousins are wandering around munching on whatever they can find. And I do mean, whatever. Berries, fish, honey, small mammals, and trash.

Okay, maybe not EVERYTHING. I think the bears have a little polish. The dumpster diving bears seem to pick the neighborhoods with care. Do they have upper crust tastes, or do the well-to-do just put better trash in their garbage cans? They certainly don't pick the fruit from the trees. I guess they like watching the bears munch away - it certainly makes for some cool photos and videos.

Until, that is, the bears leave a little deposit of their own. Or, in the words of Nathan Lane "Well, maybe not so little."

Which brings me to the increased influx of phones calls. The tempo ranging from the nice residents only wanting advice to the person demanding the suspect bear be relocated (never mind there is no description of said animal). The not-to-be named animal protection league even had the nerve to call and complain. Don't shoot the messenger, dispatcher don't make policies. I did get him to apologize for calling dispatch (not for his stand on the issue). Well, baby steps...and I only lost a quarter of my hair this week.

I'm waiting to see a quick spot on Shep's Bear Alert segment sent in from one of our locals. Come on folks, we can beat out Fox News' main stay. Although I must admit, I still giggle at the poor bear bouncing out of the tree on to the trampoline.

My neurotic dog won't leave the upstairs bedroom when I'm not home, even to eat. I'm not sure what is worse with Moshuh: the senile dementia, bad eyes, bad hearing, or ever growing lipomas. Poor guy. Jezzie follows him around - I'd almost swear the cat is acting as a guide-cat for the dog! It's possible. But then, the cat's eating maple-leaf sized catnip from the garden when he goes outside so who knows. Maybe Jezzie thinks Moshuh is a big cat?

Have you been following the NHL lock-out? I'm so depressed. If the owners and players association don't come to an agreement by Thursday, Oct. 25th, then a full season won't be possible. Even if they do sign a contract after that date, the fun stuff (Winter Classic and All-Star) could be in jeopardy. The NHL gained a new group of fans during last years NBA lock-out. This is a bad time to screw around.

A headline by the Canadian Press posted on the Hockey News states:

"The League is apparently unwilling to meet," said Fehr. "That is unfortunate as it is hard to make progress without talking."

Tension seems to be growing between the parties with the lockout now in its sixth week.

The NHL sent out strict guidelines prior to allowing club personnel to speak with players for the first time since the work stoppage began on Sept. 15, but didn't alert the union it was doing so. In a lengthy internal memo obtained by The Canadian Press, the league stated clearly to teams that the discussions had to be limited to the contents of the proposal.

It also provided examples of questions that shouldn't be asked of players and noted that any violation would be subject to NHL By-Law 17.17, which grants commissioner Gary Bettman the power to levy fines up to US$250,000.

"You may not ask (a player) what he or others have in mind," the memo read. "If he volunteers what he has in mind you should not respond positively or negatively or ask any questions but instead refer him to the NHLPA.

"Likewise, you may not suggest hypothetical proposals that the league might make in the future or that the league might entertain from the union."
It was unclear how many players were contacted during the 48-hour window, but one general manager acknowledged privately that he chose not to speak with his players because he felt uncomfortable doing so.

With no deal in sight, more top players have set their sights on Europe. Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane signed with EHC Biel in Switzerland on Tuesday, just days after Washington Capitals centre Nicklas Backstrom packed his bags for Dynamo Moscow in the KHL."

CBA negotiations break off Thursday

Thursday, 10.18.2012 / 10:20 PM / News

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

TORONTO -- The National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players' Association met for a little more than an hour Thursday in the latest attempt to negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

At the conclusion of the meeting, at the Union's office, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the Union responded to the League's proposal from Tuesday, but he said there was little to discuss from the proposal.

"The Players' Association came back and basically made three alternate proposals on the players' share, all variations, to some degree, of the one proposal that they made over the summer and really haven't deviated from since," Commissioner Bettman said. "And none of the three variations of players' share that they gave us even began to approach 50-50 (revenue split) either at all or for some long period of time and it's clear that we're not speaking the same language in terms of what they came back to us with.

"It is still my hope that we can accomplish my goal, the League's goal of getting an 82-game season, but I am concerned based on the proposal that was made today that things are not progressing. To the contrary, I think the proposal that was made by the Players' Association was in many ways a step backward."

NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr said the Union made three different proposals Thursday in the hopes that the League would pick one that could be negotiated upon. In outlining the Union's first two proposals, Fehr said the players' share of hockey-related revenue would gradually decline toward a 50 percent share based on revenue growth.

He said the League estimates year-over-year growth of 5 percent and the average annual growth in the previous CBA was approximately 7 percent.
"We said, here are two avenues that you can look at which the players are prepared to get down to in a reasonable amount of time given what happened to percentages which look like yours," Fehr said.

In the third proposal, Fehr claimed the Union estimates the players would be losing approximately 13 percent of their salaries under the immediate 50-50 split the League proposed Tuesday, so the proposal the Union made was to segregate that 13 percent, have the owners pay it in full, and put a 50-50 split on the remaining 87 percent of contracts already signed and on future contracts.

"The so called 50-50 deal, plus honoring current contracts proposed by the NHL Players' Association earlier today is being misrepresented," Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. "It is not a 50-50 deal. It is, most likely a 56- to 57-percent deal in Year One and never gets to 50 percent during the proposed five-year term of the agreement.

"The proposal contemplates paying the players approximately $650 million outside of the players' share," he continued. "In effect, the Union is proposing to change the accounting rules to be able to say '50-50,' when in reality it is not. The Union told us that they had not yet 'run the numbers.' We did."

Commissioner Bettman and Daly submitted an offer to the NHLPA on Tuesday that would allow for a full 82-game season to begin on Nov. 2. The proposed CBA was for six years, with a mutual option for a seventh year, and included a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues over the life of the deal.

The NHL locked out the players on Sept. 16 due to the lack of an existing CBA.
The details of the offer the NHL submitted Tuesday were made public Wednesday.
The League did not ask for a rollback in current player contracts. It asked for entry-level contracts to be two years in length and for a five-year maximum length on all other contracts.

The NHL proposed players would be eligible to become unrestricted free agents after eight accrued NHL seasons or at 28 years of age. The salary cap for the 2012-13 season under the NHL's offer would be $59.9 million, but transition rules would allow teams to go as high as $70.2 million for one year. The salary-cap floor would be $43.9 million.

The NHL also proposed to commit $200 million to the revenue sharing pool for the 2012-13 season that would be adjusted based on actual hockey-related revenue calculations following the season. The League's revenue sharing proposal would require the top 10 revenue-generating clubs to fund 50 percent of the pool.

Commissioner Bettman also stressed Tuesday that the League's proposal addressed the concerns the players have in how their salaries would be affected by going down from the 57 percent share of hockey-related revenue they earned in the final year of the previous CBA to the 50 percent share they'd earn in the NHL's proposal.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

Hey, Sharks Fans, one of our AHL Worcester Sharks players is a Bay Area native:

Dena Acolatse admits that "Slap Shot" is one of her favorite films. That's basically the only connection her family ever had to hockey. Dena grew up in the Bay Area and worked in Silicon Valley, and her husband, Connel, came to California from Ghana to study and eventually work.

There wasn't any reason for them to believe their son, Sena, had a future in the sport. But a year after Sena was born, the San Jose Sharks arrived in Northern California.
Now 21 years old, Sena Acolatse is on the cusp of being the first Bay Area native to play for the Sharks.

"It's funny. One of my favorite movies of all time is 'Slap Shot' with Paul Newman. Great movie," Dena Acolatse told NHL.com. "That was always my impression of hockey: a bunch of people fighting in the stands and all the hitting and fighting. So it was kind of funny to end up a hockey mom."

"I guess everything happens for a reason. It worked out in the end," said Acolatse, whom the Sharks signed as a free agent in April 2011. "When I heard 'Sharks,' I was more than excited. I still watched them. I still followed them. When I heard they were interested in me, I didn't hesitate."

Acolatse quickly made his mark last season in his first full campaign with the Sharks' American Hockey League team in Worcester, ranking fifth among the league's rookie defensemen in goals (8). Now looking to improve his defensive game, Acolatse is poised to become the first player from the Bay Area to suit up for the San Jose Sharks (although, to be fair, Worcester teammate Matt Tennyson lived briefly in Northern California after being born and raised in Minnesota).

One of Acolatse's childhood heroes could have a hand in the prospect eventually playing for the Sharks: San Jose's development coach Mike Ricci works with the team's AHL prospects and was a longtime favorite of Acolatse's during his playing days.

So, there you have it...no hockey, too much bear activity, and winter's kicked in. The temperature dropped 30 degrees in three days. There's snow on the mountains. I haven't been following the horse races, so with Breeder's Cup a couple of weeks away, I don't even have a good grip on betting prospects.

Boy, that hair is really falling out. Guess I had better get off my butt and order the Dolly Parton wig catalog. AT this rate I'll need it before Thanksgiving.

I'm thinking brunette, or maybe black - long.

Stay safe out there.

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