Archive for August, 2012

Bruins announce national TV schedule

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

The Bruins on Thursday announced their national television schedule for the upcoming season, something that obviously depends on when the season actually starts.

Starting with the first game of the season (Oct. 11 against the Flyers), the Bruins will have select games broadcast on the NBC Sports Network, while the first NBC game is the annual “Thanksgiving Showdown,” which they play the Friday after Thanksgiving. This season, the B’s will host the Rangers on Black Friday.

Following is the Bruins’ national TV schedule:

Bruins games broadcast on NBC Sports Network:
Thursday, Oct. 11, at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 27, vs. New Jersey, 7 p.m. (non-exclusive)
Monday, Dec. 10, at Detroit, 7:30 p.m. (non-exclusive)
Wednesday, Jan. 9, at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 13, at New York Rangers, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 29, vs. St. Louis, 7 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 4, at Colorado, 9 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 6, vs. Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 4, vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m. (non-exclusive)
Wednesday, March 27, vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 10, at New Jersey, 7:30 p.m.

Bruins ‘€œflex’€ game on NBC Sports Network:
Sunday, March 31, at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Bruins Games Broadcast on NBC (all times Eastern):
Friday, Nov. 23, vs. New York Rangers, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 17, at Chicago, 3:30 p.m.

Bruins ‘€œflex’€ games on NBC:
Sunday, March 10, at Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 17, at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 13, at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m. (non-exclusive)

Players want to distribute list of divers, which is hilarious

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

One of the topics discussed at Wednesday’s rule enforcement meeting in Toronto was one of the most maddening acts in the game: diving.

According to a report from NHL.com, the players attending the session — a group that included Jason Spezza, Kevin Bieksa and John-Michael Liles — “led an impassioned discussing on enforcing” Rule 64.1, which is the rule against diving/embellishment.

The players had an interesting idea, proposing that a list of “divers” can be distributed throughout the NHL so every team’s dressing room can have it and so officials can see it before each game.

While that’s a nice idea in theory, it gets a roll of the eyes from this scribe. Diving, embellishment or whatever you want to call it happens with every team, so that would be one hell of a list. Sometimes it’s more outrageous than others, but diving happens. Maybe it can go away with more discipline, but I’m not counting on it.

For example, Kevin Bieksa is leading the charge against divers? Bieksa committed perhaps the worst dive of the 2011 playoffs — and P.K. Subban certainly had some candidates in the first round — in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals in order to get a high-sticking call on Mark Recchi. But it happens. Andrew Ference did pretty much the same thing to get a call on Mason Raymond in the same series.

How much would a list really accomplish? Does any referee go into a Canadiens game unaware that Subban has been known to embellish calls?

Honest players do it and dishonest players do it. As much as fans want to think it only occurs with whichever team the home team is playing, diving is ubiquitous. Maybe it won’t be some day, but it’s prevalent enough these days for this “list” idea to seem laughable.

Bruins players discuss plans for potential NHL lockout

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

LOWELL — Several Bruins players weighed in on the NHL’s situation regarding the collective bargaining agreement prior to Milan Lucic‘s Rock & Jock softball game Wednesday night. Among the things discussed were their potential plans for the coming season in the event that there is a lockout. The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire on Sept. 15.

Lucic hasn’t been able to attend any meetings thus far, but he said he has paid close attention to the negotiations between the league and the players’ association. Executives from the league and NHLPA, including league commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, met in Toronto Wednesday, but got nowhere. The negotiations were cancelled before they began, and the two sides will meet again Thursday.

“Obviously there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be resolved,” Lucic said. “There’s a lot of issues that are being talked about and there’s a lot of things that from a player and a union standpoint, that we want and obviously from an owner’s standpoint, what they want. You’ve heard Don and Gary talk about it, that there’s still a wide gap between the two sides coming together. Like I said, hopefully it can get resolved sooner than later, but from a union standpoint and a player standpoint, we’re just trying to make sure we get a fair deal and have whatever’s right.”

Dennis Seidenberg played in the AHL during the 2004-05 lockout, but he hinted at playing in his native Germany next season if the NHL isn’t an option. One draw of playing in Germany would be the opportunity to play with his younger brother, Yannic, who is a forward for Adler Mannheim of the German Hockey League.

“Well, my brother plays in Germany, so it would be nice to play with him if it gets to that point,” Seidenberg said, “but for now I haven’t put enough thought into it to say what I’m going to do.”

Added Seidenberg: “It would be nice to play with him again, but I hope it’s not going to happen.”

Finland native Tuukka Rask said he also isn’t sure where he’d play, but did say it’s unlikely that he would play in Finland. Tim Thomas played in Finland during the 2004-05 lockout.

“I’m sure a lot of guys are thinking Russia and stuff like that, but I don’t think I’d go to Finland,” Rask said. “Maybe I’d try something new, because I played in Finland and I know what it is. Nothing against the league or anything, but maybe I’d try something else.”

Lucic said he knows he might have to consider alternative plans for next season, but he isn’t doing so yet.

“I’m still hopeful that there will be a season,” Lucic said. “‘€¦ I’m still hopeful that hockey will be played [in the NHL] this season, but that’s something that I’m going to have to think about and make a decision on at a later date.”

Another noteworthy bit of information from the players is that they still plan on having informal practices in early September, as they do each season.

“I’ve talked to a lot of guys on the team, and it seems like a lot of guys are coming back — especially the ones with kids going to school — as if everything’s going to plan,” Lucic said. “The CBA only lasts until September 15, so we don’t have much time even if we do start in Wilmington, but definitely for us guys that are on the Bruins and are here in Boston, we’ll definitely be skating together and doing whatever until whatever needs to be resolved.”

Charlie Jacobs: ‘I bet [Bruins] get something’ for Tim Thomas

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Bruins principal and alternate governor Charlie Jacobs joined The Big Show Tuesday to support the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund radio telethon. Among the topics discussed was Tim Thomas, and Jacobs admitted that he was “thrown” after the season upon learning that the two-time Vezina-winner would not return next season to play the final year of his contract.

“I was beyond surprised,” Jacobs said. “I am still.”

Thomas has said that he will not play next season, and his future beyond that remains unclear.

“I’m having a hard time wrapping my ahead around that whole line of logic,” Jacobs said. “I respect Timmy and I respect his decision, but at [38] ‘€¦ I want to say he’ll be 39 by the time he comes back, taking a year off from pro hockey, from the National Hockey League, from the show, I don’t see how it’s possible to come back and play at that level. He may prove us all wrong, but I would be stunned. This is prime earning potential for him. This is not chump change — we’re talking 5 million bucks [Editor's note: He would earn $3 million, though his salary cap hit would be $5 million] — and the possibility of another deal if he does perform well.”

Thomas confirmed via his Facebook account — something he’s used to share some controversial opinions, including why he did not attend the White House this past season — that he would not be playing next year. More recently, he posted on Facebook that he supports the Cathy family, the owners of Chic-fil-A who have been outspoken against gay marriage.

“We certainly don’t share his views or those messages that have been posted on Facebook, in particular with the recent fast-food chain in Boston and his statement about that as well,” Jacobs said of Thomas. “I’m speaking cryptically because I’d prefer to not bring it up and give it merit.

Added Jacobs: “Tim’s always marched to the beat of his own drum. By and large, that’s what made him such a special player, is that you never really knew what he was going to do. I don’t think opposing shooters knew where the hell he was going to go, right? I think that spelled well for a certain amount of time.”

The Bruins could conceivably trade Thomas to another team and be off the hook for his cap hit, as teams that need to reach the cap floor would only have to pay $3 million for a $5 million cap hit. Jacobs said he feels there’s a market.

“Timmy’s going to do what he wants to do, and you know what? I bet we’ll get something for him if he elects not come back and there is in fact a floor for the salary cap this upcoming season, I can see teams trading for that $5 million cap [hit] to bring their team up to the floor. So I think there will be a market for a player, as ironic as it sounds, there will be a market for a player who’s not going to play next year.”

Jacobs said that he and the front office have discussed whether they could have talked him into returning “on many occasions,” but he noted he has not spoken to Thomas since the end of the season.

“More specifically we’ve asked the question,’Has Timmy thought this through?’” Jacobs said. “Apparently he has.”

What the NHL CBA situation means for junior-eligible players

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Here’s a minor detail that should get some more attention if the league and NHLPA don’t agree on a new CBA by Sept. 15: What happens to the younger players with junior eligibility?

The current agreement between the NHL and CHL states that players under the age of 20 that don’t make the NHL after the first nine games of the season have to be returned to their junior clubs (in the OHL, QMJHL and WHL) for the rest of the season. Those players are not eligible to play in the AHL.

Once a player goes to their junior league for the season, they can’t go the NHL in that season. This raises questions over what would happen if the NHL season started late.

Because the 2004-05 season was cancelled entirely and the following season started on time, there was no precedent set during the last lockout for NHL-ready players starting the season with their junior clubs and then going to the NHL when the season started. There isn’t a rule in place to cover such a scenario, so an amendment to the NHL and CHL’s transfer agreement — which recently expired, making this all the more confusing — would be required.

Per a league source, teams are still waiting to be advised on which players will be allowed to play in the AHL should there be a lockout. The source assumed that the potential amendment of CHL/NHL eligibility would also be discussed at that time.

In the 2004-05 season, all NHL players (meaning players who had played in the NHL, not NHL-ready prospects) under the age of 22 were allowed to play in the AHL. Patrice Bergeron — who had played the previous season in Boston — was among them, and in this case a player like Tyler Seguin would be allowed to play in the AHL since he is 20 years old.

The question for the Bruins, as touched upon in Sunday’s column, is what would happen with 19-year-old Dougie Hamilton. He’s expected to make the Bruins out of training camp this season, but if he starts the season in the OHL with the Niagara IceDogs, the NHL and CHL would need to amend the transfer agreement to allow players in his situation to go to the NHL. It would be hard to imagine the CHL drawing a hard line and not allowing players to leave, as their relationship with the NHL has prevented them from losing young stars (such as a Hamilton last year) to the AHL during normal seasons.

Tyler Seguin escapes injury scare during Lowell Spinners speed-dating promotion

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Tyler Seguin barely survived his speed dating promotion at Wednesday night’s Lowell Spinner’s game, as a foul ball nearly hit the Bruins star in the back of the head during one of his “dates.”

Fortunately for Seguin, he was saved by Spinners vice president Dan Beaulieu, who used his cell-phone to protect the young winger. The phone was completely destroyed. Check out the video below, which shows the ball coming for Seguin and Beaulieu raising his phone to block the ball.

NHLPA makes counteroffer to league

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Exactly a month after the league made it’s first proposal in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, the NHL Players’ Association finally submitted its counteroffer.

While commissioner Gary Bettman did not disclose the details of the NHLPA’s proposal, he did say that it was apparent that the players and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr had used the last month well.

“It’s clear to me (the NHLPA) didn’t put (the proposal) together in an hour or two,” Bettman told reporters.

According to reports, the counterproposal does include a willingness on the players’ part to get a smaller piece of the pie when it comes to hockey-related revenues. The league’s first proposal called for the players to give back 11 percent, which was perceived nationally as being unrealistic.

Thus far that’s the biggest detail to emerge regarding the counterproposal, and it seems that Fehr and the players are trying to come off as the more reasonable ones early on. The league’s first proposal also asked for a five-year limit on contracts and the end of salary arbitration, among other things.

The league’s current CBA will expire on Sept. 15. If a new CBA isn’t reached by then, there will almost surely be another lockout.