Islanders Bits: Ryan Strome is So Clutch; NHLPA is So Agreeable

Nice shot, kid.

In amateur national team lore, Casey Cizikas had his "the shift" and now fellow Islanders prospect Ryan Strome has his OT series winner.

After the Canadians evened the four-game Canada-Russia Challenge series at 2-2 last night, Strome scored the series-winning goal in sudden death to put a feather in his cap and one of those proverbial "oh, he's clutch/proven winner/really wants to win" moments into the narrative that the Pierre McGuires of the world shall recite for the rest of his days.

All riffs about clutchitude narratives aside, very cool moment for Strome as he plays and trains for a chance to force the Islanders to pick "NHL" over "back to juniors" in his own Choose Your Own Adventure journey. You can see highlights of the game including Strome's winner in the video player next to this article at TSN.

Quoth Strome: "I like that pull-and-drag shot." Indeed.

It might be the last exciting hockey you'll see for a while -- at least until October and maybe beyond, though the NHLPA presented a CBA proposal yesterday that, at least from a PR standpoint, indicates they are serious about finding solutions to the NHL's financial disparity problems.

Details are vague -- we had some discussion in this FanShot here already -- but it appears the NHLPA is focused on "stabilizing" the industry, or at least making sure that message gets out in public communication of their proposal.

I infer this "stabilization" theme to mean they realize the league has struggling teams in markets they want to keep -- and might very well, in the long run, be worth keeping -- but if they want to keep those markets through their struggles (not just Phoenix and Phriends but also, say, bankruptcy-skirting New Jersey for example), they should take other obvious steps to generate revenue and better share the burden.

To that end, there is a time element:

The belief from the NHLPA is that owners would be able to pocket more profits over the first three years of the deal, some of which could be dispersed to struggling franchises in an effort to strengthen the league overall.

As well, there is the long overdue and obvious matter of increased revenue sharing if they really want to keep struggling-market teams afloat and competitive until they theoretically stand on their own ground:

The union boss called the proposed revenue sharing plan "significantly expanded, more aggressive and more targeted" than what currently exists. It would see more than $250 million spread around each season.

The NHLPA is of course framing things in the best light for their interests, talking of their proposal giving up a theoretical $400-$800 million in revenue (if CBA rules and recent growth had stayed the same, which wasn't going to happen in the former and is unpredictable in the latter).

But at least they did not go nuclear -- a noticeably PR-friendly contrast to the NHL's initial proposal last month -- and didn't request removal of the salary cap, which would've been a non-starter. We're not going to go all teen bipolarity on each new update in this process, but maybe, just maybe you have one side ready to sincerely negotiate. If we're lucky, with all our entertainment dollars and irrational fan emotions at stake, there will be two. (Although in truth, with the owners we're talking about many competing sides held loosely together by Der Kommissar.)

Your move, Bettman. Don't raise those banners.

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