What are they waiting for?

Like many other teams in the NHL, the Bruins really need the NHLPA to vote in favor of increasing the salary cap in order to do the things Boston needs to revamp  its club.

As of yesterday, however, the union had not released the result of any vote.

“At this point, though, there is no telling what the players will do,” writes Globe and Mail reporter Dave Shoalts. “For every insider who swears it is a lock that the increase will be voted in there is another who says the players do not want to increase their escrow deductions.”

This is a battle between players that are hitting the free-agent market this summer and guys that are locked in with long-term deals and are tired of giving up money to escrow. Of course, in the interest of fairness, the players should vote for the inflator because they have voted for it every year since the lockout.

Shoalts writes that Philadelphia, Chicago, San Jose and Toronto are among the teams most in need of a higher cap. I would put the Bruins in that group as well. Even as they continue to shop Tim Thomas and his $5 million contract, it could be tough to remake the league’s worst offense and maintain the team’s defensive corps (including free agents Johnny Boychuk and Mark Stuart) without an increased cap. Remember, Stuart could wind up taking the Bruins to arbitration, which could then wreak havoc on the team’s cap depending on the ruling. If the cap stays the same, Chiarelli could be a little hamstrung because he’d have to leave enough room for Stuart’s arbitration award.

A higher cap would also give Chiarelli more time to deal with Michael Ryder’s $4 million albatross and see if another team will take him off Boston’s hands or if he’s ticketed for the Providence (AHL) farm club.

Most players’ agents are in favor in the inflator, as are management types around the league (even if most won’t say so on the record). Soon we’ll find out if a majority of players support it, and in turn what faction of players carries the most clout in the modern-day NHLPA.

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