With the ugliness of the NHL lockout and a shortened season long washed away by the excitement of a new and complete year ahead, we're re-launching The Dreger Report, a weekly dispatch on NHL news and views.
This week, TSN's Ryan Rishaug reported that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' agent Rick Valette and Oilers management have begun negotiations on a contract extension.
The brass in Edmonton loves RNH - he's their guy. He's considered a big part of the Oilers' future.
An eight-year extension to complement Jordan Eberle's six-year, $36 million and Taylor Hall's seven-year, $42 million deal (agreed to last August) aligns with an Oilers source who says, "longer is better" - specific to Nugent-Hopkins.
It's not the model other teams around the NHL are using when addressing their players and their second (bridge) contracts, but Edmonton is clearly banking on its youth when it comes to a brighter future.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr will meet with the IIHF in Portugal on Thursday.
Whether discussed at this meeting or not, there's a growing sense of urgency in determining the NHL's plans to continue to expand its European profile.
While it's not CBA related, the NHL and NHLPA did agree to work together to send four NHL teams back to Europe next fall for regular season games. Sources say there has been little progress in planning the NHL's return and time may be running out. NHL clubs are already making plans for their 2014 training camps and preseason games and the marketing impact required may suffer because of the loose ends.
The World Cup of Hockey is also on the list of items that IIHF executives would like to discuss this week.
Without question, both the NHLPA and the NHL are keenly interested in bringing this spectacle back, however, aside from some informal discussions, there appears to be little urgency to kick this joint initiative into high gear.
And a couple of things that will likely be re-visited by the players and the league in the months ahead:
1) The additional two-minute penalty for removing a helmet to fight - There may not be a more "toothless" penalty in hockey than this one. The idea of a game misconduct was discussed, however, before it crossed the desk of the competition committee and sources say it had already been dismissed by NHL GMs.
It's unlikely the PA would have supported it, as players still value the enforcers role. But in its current form, it appears to be a wash as those who opt for "buckets off" will only do so if their opponent agrees. The rule is designed for the safety of the players and to avoid the potential for catostrophic injury. We get it, but two minutes seems hardly an effective deterrent.
2) Delaying the inevitable expansion of video review - NHL Hockey Operations postponed implementation of video review for high-sticking penalties after agreeing to introduce it in the summer. The league doesn't see the issue as clear-cut and believes more time is needed to explore the downside of adding an extra set of eyes.
Boston and Montreal provided a good example on Monday of why the concept was initially accepted when Boston scored while Montreal as serving a double-minor for high-sticking. Unfortunately, it was Boston's Carl Soderberg who clipped teammate Craig Cunningham and not Canadiens forward Gabriel Dumont - who was assessed the four-minute penalty.
Wrong is never right.
See you later this week.