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Daily Cupcakes - Links from around the locked out NHL - September 28tht, 2012


Martin Rose - Bongarts/Getty Images

Semyon Varlamov is in Russia.

Varlamov, 24, was at Lokomotiv from the age of 11 and played for two years for the main team before moving to North America in 2008.

"I feel like I’ve never left the team," Varlamov said in a video interview to Lokomotiv’s website. "Four years have passed like one day."

"I’m very glad to be back with the team that brought me up, showed me the road to the NHL, opened the doors for me," he said.

He spent last season in Colorado after three years with the Washington Capitals, making a total of 131 NHL appearances.

A mediator discusses what the NHL and NHLPA need to do to get a deal done.

I put the question to a professional mediator, Lynne Villemaire of Roundtable Mediation and Arbitration Services in Ottawa. Villemaire is a University of Ottawa graduate with a background in dispute resolution, including collective bargaining.

"The fact they’re going in Friday with an agenda that is much less contentious … something more neutral and probably on subjects that are much easier to discuss and negotiate on is, I think personally, a fantastic strategy," said Villemaire.

While no one is advised to hold his or her breath on Friday until white smoke rises from a new deal, the big issues should more easily be solved if there is agreement first on smaller items, such as arbitration, player contracts and Olympic participation. For example, if the NHL threw the players a bone on the Olympics, would that not help rebuild trust?

If the new tax bracket goes through in Quebec, it might make it harder for the Habs to get players.

The Parti Québécois government wants to create new tax brackets for individual taxable income above $130,000 and $250,000. For the latter, it would mean a 31-per-cent bracket for taxable income above that amount. And with the maximum federal tax rate of 24 per cent, the end result is a 55-per-cent marginal tax rate.

For a player earning $3 million a year, the difference between a marginal tax rate of 48.22 and 55 per cent is approximately $200,000.

Gilles Lupien, an agent who mainly represents Quebec players, including goalie Roberto Luongo, said he believes the hike would have an impact on the Canadiens’ free-agent recruiting efforts.