|Bobby Orr has high hopes for Bruins in hectic season||01.09.13 at 11:23 pm ET|
“I just wish it happened sooner,” Orr said at the event to announce “Turk: The Movie,” based on the life of Bruins teammate Derek Sanderson. “There are are so many people that are hurt by the lockout. People talk about who won, well nobody won. How do you win? You don’t win.
“You can’t pick winners and losers in something like this. Everybody lost. Now I just hope that players will get back to work and work hard, and I’m sure they will. It’s going to be a short season for these teams, so you have a bad start, you’re going to be in trouble, so I think we’re going to see real good hockey.”
Orr, whose agency represents Bruins forward Nathan Horton, said to “give me a team that’s better” than the Bruins this year. He expects the upcoming 48-game season to be hectic.
“This is going to be an interesting year,” he said. “You’ve got to come out of the chute. You’ve got to win real fast. You go into any long losing streaks early and you’re in trouble. I think it’s going to be a great season. I really do, because I think we’re going to see high intensity hockey and very good hockey. I think the players all know what’s at stake here.”
The league and players finally came to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement last Sunday, the 113th day of the lockout. Orr hopes that the new CBA, which lasts for 10 years with a mutual opt-out after eight years, is good enough to provide long-term labor peace and prevent another lockout at the end. In the meantime, he just hopes the league can do its best to recover over the course of this CBA.
“It’s a long term deal and we need that. Sponsors will be more comfortable doing deals with the league. Players have 50 percent of everything, so it’s a good deal for everybody,” Orr said. “Get good sponsors, have good hockey and everybody will be in good shape.”
There had been talk of the league making concessions, such as offering the Center Ice television package for free, but it’s been reported that fans will still have to pay for Center Ice. Orr has a better idea in mind for how to make it up to fans.
“Play hard and give them good hockey,” Orr said. “Hockey fans are very loyal and I’m sure they’ve missed the game as I have. … There are some that may be slow coming back, but hockey fans are very loyal and hopefully they will come back.”
|Board of Governors ratifies new CBA||01.09.13 at 4:50 pm ET|
With the CBA ratified by the owners, players are now expected to vote electronically on Friday and Saturday, making the CBA official in time for training camps to open on Sunday.
|Some more prepared than others as Zdeno Chara, Chris Kelly and Patrice Bergeron return||01.09.13 at 2:00 pm ET|
Three of the Bruins’ leaders were back skating with their teammates Wednesday, as captain Zdeno Chara and alternate captains Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly joined eight other B’s on the ice at Agganis Arena after spending the lockout playing in Europe.
All three players spoke highly of their time in Europe, as Chara played for Prague Lev of the KHL and Bergeron and Kelly played in different leagues in Switzerland. Bergeron actually played right wing for HC Lugano of the Swiss-A league, but it wasn’t the strangest experience had by a Bruin in Switzerland. That distinction might go to Kelly, whose first game for HC Red Ice was a little more taxing than he expected.
“I think they thought I had just played in the playoffs and was swinging over there, but I hadn’t played a game in seven months,” Kelly said. “I think I played about 40 minutes that night, so the legs were a little tired. It went into overtime, so it wasn’t like you could kind of pick your shifts to catch your breath.”
Despite the first game catching him a bit off guard, Kelly called his month in Switzerland “a great experience.” Though he returned to North America (he spent the last month or so in Ottawa) in game shape, he was at least a little rusty when it came to packing his hockey bag for Wednesday. He took the ice in Tyler Seguin‘s HC Biel jersey, as he had forgotten socks and a jersey.
“It’s funny when you get used to having a jersey and socks in your stall and then you’ve got to scramble to find a jersey and socks, and asking guys if they brought an extra towel to shower with after,” Kelly said. “It will be nice having a towel at the rink.”
The Bruins had 11 players in Europe at one point or another during the lockout, something that Kelly feels should be an advantage from a preparational standpoint as teams get ready for the 48-game regular season.
“It was never about the money or anything like that or going over there of a vacation,” he said. “I know guys in this locker room extremely well, and if they went over to play, it was to play hard and help that team and play hockey.”
|Maple Leafs replace Brian Burke as president/GM||01.09.13 at 12:45 pm ET|
According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, the Maple Leafs have fired president and general manager Brian Burke and named Dave Nonis general manager. The Providence native was the general manager of the Ducks when they won the Stanley Cup in 2006-07 and was president/GM of the Leafs since 2008. He will reportedly remain with the organization as an advisor.
Burke’s approach to shaping the the Leafs focused heavily on turning assets such as draft picks into NHL-ready players, such as when he sent two first-round draft picks and a second-rounder to the Bruins in exchange for Phil Kessel prior to the 2009-10 season. Though Kessel has been a 30-goal-scorer in each of his three seasons with the Leafs thus far, the trade has been widely viewed as lopsided in the Bruins’ favor, as both first-rounders became top-10 picks that netted Boston highly touted prospects in Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton.
The Maple Leafs have finished no better than fourth in the Northeast Division in each of Burke’s four seasons with the team.
|KHL did not try to keep Zdeno Chara||01.09.13 at 11:48 am ET|
Speaking publicly for the first time since returning from the KHL on Tuesday and amidst speculation that KHL teams were making big financial pushes to keep NHL players from returning to their teams, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said Wednesday that he was not approached about staying in Europe.
“No,” Chara said after skating with teammates at Agganis Arena. “It was pretty clear in my contract that once the NHL is beginning or the deal [for a new CBA] is done, that I’m leaving. It depends on how the guys feel or how they want to decide what to do.”
Ilya Kovalchuk has been the most popular player whose future remains uncertain as the start of the NHL season draws near. Though he’s entering the third year of a 15-year, $100-million contract with the Devils, multiple reports have surfaced citing Devils sources who believe Kovalchuk will stay in the KHL. Islanders defensman Lubomir Visnovsky recently announced his intention to remain with HC Slovan Bratislava for the rest of the season rather than going back to the NHL.
“There’s a lot of speculation, there’s a lot of uncertainty, but we’ll see,” Chara said of NHL players staying in the KHL. “I mean, what can I say? I can’t really make comments for them.”
Since forming in 2008, the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) has become the NHL’s primary competition as hockey leagues go.
“There are some really, really skilled guys there,” Chara said. “Players are very highly skilled as far as skating and handling he puck and making plays. I think it’s less physical, but skating-wise and skill-wise it’s a little bit different.”
|Nathan Horton has been skating, hopes to join Bruins teammates on ice in coming days||01.08.13 at 5:46 pm ET|
According to agent Paul Krepelka, Bruins forward Nathan Horton will return to Boston “in the next few days” with the hope of potentially skating with his teammates prior to training camp.
Horton, who has seen each of his last two seasons end early due to concussions and was limited to 46 games in the season, was cleared for contact over the summer and has been skating in Florida. He decided in September that he would not play competitively during the lockout.
“He is healthy and ready to start the season,” Krepelka reiterated in an email to WEEI.com.
Bruins players have been holding private practices with other local NHLers, with Shawn Thornton, Andrew Ference, Tuukka Rask, Adam McQuaid, Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, Tyler Seguin and Tuukka Rask the regulars of late. Dennis Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk, both of whom returned from Europe recently, joined their teammates on Tuesday.
|Report: Schedule to include 18 divisional games||01.08.13 at 4:47 pm ET|
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the NHL’s 48-game schedule will see teams play two divisional opponents four times (eight games total), two other divisional opponents five times (10) and three games against each of the remaining teams in their conference (30). All games will be played within the respective team’s conference.
In 82-game seasons, each team plays six games against each of their divisional opponents (24), the remaining 10 other teams in the conference four times each (40) and 18 games against teams in the other conference.