fb-pixel Skip to main content

Marty Walsh takes over as NHLPA executive director today. Here’s one thing that will be on the agenda.

Marty Walsh begins his new job as head of the NHL Players' Association on Monday.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

This story originally appeared in Sunday Hockey Notes. Read the rest here.

Marty Walsh takes over as head of the NHL Players’ Association Monday. It is sure to be a whirlwind first few months in office for the former Boston mayor. One issue that is surely on his agenda: a possible inflation of the salary cap.

Commissioner Gary Bettman acknowledged at the general managers’ meetings near Palm Beach, Fla., this past week that the league was open to negotiating with Walsh’s NHLPA for an increase in the cap, which is on track to expand by $1 million to $83.5 million next season before merging back on the superhighway to riches.


In a system in which owners and players split hockey-related revenues 50-50, players incurred debt during the hard times of the pandemic, earning their money even though fans weren’t buying tickets. As such, the salary cap has been mostly flat since 2020, after rising an average of 5.6 percent every year since its post-lockout installation in October 2005 (when it was $39 million).

The league estimated the player debt — reportedly less than $150 million at this point — would be paid off by the fall of 2024, when the cap could rise by some 5 percent (to $87.5 million, then $92 million the season after that). But Bettman was open to negotiating more cap room.

▪ Another issue we hope was discussed at the GM meetings: offside reviews that wipe out goals scored a minute after a team enters the zone. They’re just so good — no, great — for the game. Can’t get enough of ‘em.

▪ Video review, as it related to friendly-fire high-stick penalties and the rare erroneous puck-over-glass, was a topic. It seems there’s more appetite for leeway over reviews. Makes sense; anecdotally, reviews aren’t lasting as long as in previous seasons. It’s a tough look for the NHL when the four officials are the only ones in the building who can’t see the correct call on video.


▪ NHL GMs don’t like fights after clean hits. Is managing that as simple as tacking on an instigator penalty?

What sort of relationship will develop between Walsh and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman?Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

▪ Overtime starts with just a brief break in the action because Bettman — this nugget from Elliotte Friedman — once saw people leaving a game at Madison Square Garden during a dry scrape and canned it.

If the game lasts longer, it had better be good. One interesting wrinkle reportedly discussed at the GM meetings: expanding overtime from five to seven minutes, a system the ECHL has been using the last four seasons.

That two extra minutes of wobbly legged, freewheeling hockey produces more three-on-three winners. Of the 146 ECHL games to go to overtime (as of Thursday), 28 were decided in shootouts (19 percent). Of the 483 overtime games in the NHL’s five-minute system, 150 were decided by shootouts (31 percent).

▪ The league also discussed making cut-resistant equipment mandatory. Some players already wear such undergarments.

Brad Marchand said recently he would be against it — he’s so finicky about his gear that he spraypainted a pair of his usual black gloves to match the Bruins’ brown alternates, rather than get new ones. He also might have the oldest shinpads in the Spoked-B dressing room.

This story originally appeared in Sunday Hockey Notes. Read the rest here.


Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.