The NHL’s CBA and You: What To Consider Regarding the New NHL CBA

It’s hard to believe that we are already eight years removed from the infamous season long NHL lockout of 2004-05, but alas, the groundbreaking (yet rather one-sided) agreement that was the former CBA is set to expire in September. The issues are largely thought to not be as monumental and controversial as the issues which plagued business viability and even popularity of the NHL almost a decade ago. The results of the past CBA speak for themselves. Popularity and business are up. The game itself opened up thanks to favorable rule changes. The salary cap and floor have attempted to assure that each team has somewhat of a chance to compete.

The NHL and owners have taken the first step in the process, making the first proposals to changes to the CBA.

While the proposal itself is implausible, it does highlight a few problem areas within the game that need to be address.

1. Reduction of Player cut of Revenue from 57% to 46% – this is just a starting point, and I think both sides know this. I guess the League feels like the best approach is to try to sell the agreement like they would a used car? I fully expect the players to scoff at this figure an submit a more reasonable number. I’ll expect the agreement to be around around 50%. With the rise in salaries around the league and the owners providing the actual circumstance for any player to be paid a nice salary, I feel that this may be a concession the players can afford to make.

2. 10 Seasons Played in NHL Before Being Eligible for UFA Status – A three year increase, which apparently removes entirely the age restriction of 27. I don’t know how much the players will budge on this, MAYBE add one year, and maintain some sort of age requirement. For instance, goalies don’t usually make it until around 24 or 25 years old. With the new rules, they would be a restricted free agent until 34, which in most cases is when the decline occurs for an average goaltender. A 10 year minimum would greatly hamper the earning potential of their careers! I expect 8 years and maintaining some sort of age requirement for UFA eligibility.

3. Contract Limit to 5 Years – This would be a welcome provision, but of course, not likely strongly welcomed by the players’ side. There are A LOT of questionable contracts in the NHL right now, and it would only get worse, especially if this offseason sets the precedent. Parise and Suter with 9 year deals. Luongo, an albatross of a contract, making him nearly unable to be dealt. In fact, the only player’s name you have to mention when talking about the absurdity of these long term deals is Rick DiPietro.  The only place you see this kind of job security is in sports and on university campuses with so-called tenured professors.

4. Elimination of Salary Arbitration – I have mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, if you exceed expectations, especially if you had a lower paying contracted, you should be compensated accordingly. On the other hand, however, you did agree to the terms. Why not have an incentives package? Or why not suck it up and continue to improve as a player for the big payday? I know the players’ side argument (as it is in any sport) will be the uncertainty of injury. That you have to get the money today that you may not get tomorrow. A fair argument. The players will never agree to this, and I’m not sure if there is a middle ground. Perhaps increasing revenue another percentage point or two?

5. Entry level deals are 5 years instead of 3 – This point could also be another nonstarter for the player’s side. Currently, a draftee is signed to a 3 year contract, with the max yearly salary being 975K. After that period, you earn your big money. Adding 2 more years, while ensuring the retention of a fan favorite for those years, could also prove detrimental to drafting players abroad, especially in Russia where the KHL throws big money around. The Lightning’s fan blog, Raw Charge, uses our most recent 1st round draft pick, Andrei Vasilevskiy, as a great example. Assuming he develops in juniors the next two years, why on earth would he play for 1M a year for 5 years?

An additional issue that I haven’t heard too much talk about is the botched realignment that occurred last winter. Perhaps those details are to be hammered out as well?

These issues, depending on how the NHLPA decides to react or play ball with the owners, coud be easy to iron out, or they could result in another lock out. The sides are due to continue discussions later this week.

 

 

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The Beer Corner: Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale

The Pink Bottle was more than enough reason to fire up the old blog and review our first beer in over a year! Rogue is notorious for their creativity when it comes to microbrewing. As far as I’m concerned, the Bacon Maple Ale takes the cake creativity wise… but is it actually good?

Poured into the official Beer Corner beer sampling mug at fridge temperature!

Pouring: Pours smoothly, but activates the ridiculous aroma of the concoction. Poured to induce formation of a small foamy head, as it appeared that it would not have happened without help.

Smell: Strong smell of maple, with less intense bacon and smoke. Definitely a unique smell among the beers I have had in my life!

Sounds: The usual sound of a pour. No extreme sounds of over carbonation, light bubbling with head heard.

Sights: Nice slight dark orange color, almost like copper. A slightly smaller than fingertip white head appears, but quickly subsides, minimal lacing.

Taste: The sweetness of the maple is the first to hit, followed by hints of bacon. However, it is overpowered by almost extreme smokiness. And it stays with you as a nice smokey aftertaste. It does detract from the experience.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer, though I’m trying to decide if it’s merely a novelty for me, or if it’s something I would hop on if it we at a bar. I certainly is better than a “one-timer” in my opinion, but then again, the smokey aftertaste does make it a less than desirable beverage. I again have to give it to Rogue for their creativity, and for actually delivering on what may seem as a gimmicky beer!

7 / 10 Bags (Grade: B)

The Recycling Project Returns

This may or may not be an accurate portrayal of how I look… but it certainly is a more than adequate illustration of how i feel about myself as I’ve watched myself balloon over the last 6 months or so.

It’s been almost 2 years since the last Recycling Project here at The Heap, where I lost 30 lbs, and was able to maintain my weight for almost a year. But alas, for the last few months, I have just been eating uncontrollably. I’ve had to use clothes I never thought I would ever have to again.

It’s time to get back to where I was, and them some.

I will be adhering to a strict diet for the next few months. Mornings will consist of egg whites and fruit while lunch and dinner will be either a grilled chicken breast or fish filet (a la George Foreman!) with a side of fresh green beans. I’m also prepared to make a chicken salad for lunch with fruit and a light vinaigrette dressing to be used in moderation.

I will be using Oxy Elite Pro as a dietary supplement after discussing with some friends regarding efficacy and safety. So as a result, I will be downing close to a gallon of water daily. I plan to be doing some sort of exercise as well as I will be joining a gym and/or be doing the trash in the near future.

I am very excited yet a bit nervous for this time of change. I will miss drinking beer and Taco Bus very much. I’ll be giving a weekly update of weight loss!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

Return of the… Heapmaster?

I really can’t believe it has been SIX months since I have last written on here. It’s something that I have missed, to some extent, but haven’t really been able to motivate myself to just finally get on here and write about anything and everything that has been going on. Of course, my primary laptop breaking didn’t help things, as well as my Motorola Xoom being a tough cookie to blog on, it being without a physical keyboard. (Of which they now have a keyboard case which I will buy soon! But the Xoom is for another entry)

Nevertheless, I should never abandon this outlet for this long again. I will spare you the usual spiel regarding my absence, and the resulting promise of renewed interest and dedication to the cause. We both know that for whatever reason, I could be having the time of my life writing, and I will just randomly… stop.

However, I am back for now!

The Heap will continue being a trusted source of reviews of all sorts. I’d like to (again) try to incorporate more music into the blog. So I will hopefully be laying out some reviews of albums I purchase, rants for or against songs or artists, or perhaps just some cool entries about shows I get to go to.

I will also have a segment called Wilfred Weekly, in which I will discuss the week’s episode of FX’s new comedy, Wilfred. If you haven’t checked it out, they are only two episodes in, and I highly recommend it. (This is coming from someone who seldom watches TV for anything other than sports or horrible movies that USA and TBS are playing on the weekends)

I’ll also have a nice life update a la Trashman Chronicles, since I haven’t given one in a while, for all of you friends abroad.

And no, The Beer Corner is not going anywhere! However, the newest edition of The Recycling Project might limit entries, as I prepare to lose some serious weight.

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

The Beer Corner: Harpoon Winter Warmer

The second beer from my winter season pack is Harpoon Brewery’s Winter Warmer.

I picked this one because it was of course, seasonal, and I had never tried anything by Harpoon. Poured into the official Beer Corner beer sampling mug at fridge temperature!

Pouring: Slightly heavier pour, but pours relatively smoothly. I poured it a bit aggressively to see the emergence of a head. Head did form but did end up receding.

Smell: Almost immediately you can smell cinnamon and nutmeg. Can make out alcohol notes as well.

Sounds: Decently carbonated, and a fingertip head does form. Slight bubbling heard.

Sights: Pours a nice robust brown color. Cannot see through it, and no noticeable  carbonation activity. Fingertip head forms, but subsides. Leaves a tracing on side of mug as you drink

Taste: Spice, spice, spice! This beer is reminiscent of Fall ales with pumpkin and other spices. The beer is rather uniform, cinnamon spice from start to finish. Slight bitterness, but mostly a nice zing of spice.

Overall: I thought this beer was pretty good! There don’t seem to be favorable reviews of it on beer enthusiast sites, but to me it was enjoyable and drinkable. Perhaps it has to do with the lack of complexity. The taste doesn’t change mid sip or mid beer. It is straight up spice throughout. I am, however, confused by the “warmer” tag in it’s title. It hardly causes a flushing, if any sort of reaction. It does taste like a nice warm cider, which is perhaps why. So overall, I think it is a solid choice, and better than what you may read about online. Give it a try!

7.5 / 10 Bags ( Grade: B )

Motor Trend International Auto Show: Part 2 – Luxury Imports

Finally! Part 2 of The Heap’s 4 part overage of the International Auto Show which was in town at the beginning of December!

Today we’ll be looking at what the Import motor market has to offer for the upcoming production year. Perhaps the most impressive display was by Korean automaker Hyundai, which The Heap touts as the next up and coming power in the imported auto market. They’ve been the talk of the land, with redesigns across the board, leading to sportier, sleeker, dare I say, more desirable designs. They certainly should have an award for most improved, and one for actually listening to customers! The quality of the product has gone way up, while costs stay competitive.

I was disappointed by the showing by Volkswagen. It appeared to me that they almost had no interest in being there, having only a GTI and maybe a Jetta or 2 on hand. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the new VW Beetle, but alas, it was not to be seen. Even Kia tried to appeal more to the auto show browsers! Those smug Germans!

First up were the JDM (Japanese) luxury imports- Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus. All three had fairly nice displays, but Acura’s was the most impressive, as they had their new touring crossover, the ZDX headlining their area. The other two didn’t really have anything too new, except minor cosmetic improvements to chassis. I found the ZDX to be quite impressive, and very sleek. Many aren’t fans of Acura’s attempt at a trademark grille, but the ZDX wears it perfectly. Sadly, the new TL was there too (thankfully in Pearl White), and looking at it makes it seem more and more like the glorified Honda Accord it is. The TSX is sharp, however, and the new available V6 engine will surely pep it up.

I want to like Infiniti- I really do, but the only thing worth seeing at their display was the G37 convertible. I’ve never been a fan of the G series sedan, though it is technologically sound. And again, their SUVs are marvels, but are overpriced and just don’t get my attention. I think they may have had their M series there, but that has never really appealed to me anyway. Only perhaps the 5.o liter series engines.

Lexus falls right in there with Infniti, though I do have a soft spot for the IS series. The beast of them all was there- the IS F. Looks nice in white, but I would love it in metallic blue! 400 HP in a small body car… it must fly!

BMW has modest improvements to design, which seems to be an annual necessity for them. But the 3 and 5 do keep getting sharper and sharper. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it… unless you can make it better! I sat down in the rear of a fully loaded 7 series and I was blown away at the comfort. It would say it could rival the aesthetics of a Rolls Royce! Wel maybe not, but it was nice enough for me!

I am not too big of a Mercedes-Benz fan, so I didnt spend too much time there. I do like their roadsters and they had a few on hand. But I just do not like their sedans at all. They surely have impressive engines and numbers, but they just don’t do it for me. Sadly, they didn’t have their newest two door roadster, which pays homage to the gull wings of old!

Mini made a surprising showing, and they finally had their 4 door “sedan” on hand to try out! Plenty of room in the back, and now with the 4 door option, it is a whole lot easier to get back there! I am looking forward to this one, and I’m hoping my girlfriend opts for one after she finishes law school – though I wouldn’t mind the Camaro she wants ;

That’s it for the import luxury section. Next we will have just normal imports!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

The Beer Corner: A Correction

Just a quick post to update a previous review. After careful deliberation and thought, I have increased the rating of Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout to 9 / 10 Bags. I felt I was a bit conservative with the initial rating. All the others I have done were right where I wanted them, but I’ve caught myself raving about it to a few people in the past few weeks.

I’ve also decided to implement a simpler rating system. Don’t worry, the bags will remain, but accompanying reviews will be a traditional letter grade system as well. The scale won’t be set in stone. For example a 8.5 could be an A- of a B+. It will just depend what I feel the beer deserves.

I’ll be going back now to add letter grades to all previous reviews (of all types, not just TBC reviews).

Thanks for reading, and I should have some new posts after the Bucs game!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser