The New York Times reported yesterday that the NHL and the NHL Officials Association have tentatively reached an agreement on a four year deal. While refs were working this preseason without a contract, there were some whispers of a possible work stoppage on opening day if no agreement had been reached.
There is still some question who will officiate the season openers tomorrow, including the Hurricanes game against the Wild in Helsinki. According to the article, "league arbiters" will work the games as directed by the proposed contract, which still needs to be ratified by both sides. That will be worth watching.
Speaking of referees, does it seem like some refs are more apt to make calls in favor of the home team? Believe it or not, a gambling related site actually tracks those stats and has a listing of "Top 10 Homer Refs." Who is at the top of the list? Bill McCreary.
The Times article also mentions the report related to the KHL's new commitment to honor NHL contracts. (This was included in HM's link wrap yesterday). While the Predators' Alexander Radulov got all the press regarding the KHL's previous stance, when they totally disregarded his NHL contract while negotiating with him, the Hurricanes also lost two players to the KHL who were under contract with the team.
Dan LaCouture and Matt Murley both bolted for the KHL after they were demoted to the AHL by the Canes. Both had signed two-way deals and were legally under contract at the time. Perhaps this new commitment will keep more players in North America who already have binding agreements and contracts in place.