|If NHLPA wanted a Bruin in the same room as Jeremy Jacobs this week, Shawn Thornton would have gone||12.07.12 at 3:39 pm ET|
When the owners and players set their “rosters,” so to speak, for the players/owners-only meetings this week in New York, the group of owners set to attend was a rather interesting one. Ron Burkle (Penguins), Mark Chipman (Jets), Jeff Vinik (Lightning) and Murray Edwards (Flames) — all of whom figured to have a stronger interest to get back on the ice than some of the hardliners — joined Jeremy Jacobs of the Bruins (perceived as a real hardliner’s hardline) and Larry Tanenbaum of the Maple Leafs.
Of the group of owners present, Jacobs was perceived as the toughest negotiator of the bunch, and one who’s been a bit of a target for frustrated fans and players alike. Also the chairman of the board of governors, Jacobs is viewed as a bottom-line guy, while the newcomers on the owners’ side likely encouraged players who wanted more amicable negotiations.
Shawn Thornton, who works for Jacobs, was not among the players present for the meetings, but it wasn’t because he would feel uncomfortable in the negotiating room with his boss.
Thornton said Thursday that he “definitely thought about going to New York” for the negotiations, but said previous engagements with the Boston Pops (Wednesday) and Kevin Youkilis‘ “Youk’s Kids” foundation (Thursday) prevented him from going.
However, Thornton said that if the NHLPA decided it would be best to have a Bruin in the room with Jacobs, he would do it.
“Yeah,” he said. “It’s a business, right? It’s a negation. I don’t think they take it personally, or they shouldn’t. I don’t think the players should either. If I got a text saying that it would have been important for me to be there, or for someone on our team to be there, I definitely would have made the effort and would maybe not be [working with the Pops and and attending the ‘Youk’s Kids’ event]. But I talked to them about it and they feel like we had some pretty good representation there. If Sidney [Crobsy]’s there, I don’t think they need me.”
Eighteen players ended up attending the meetings: Crosby, Craig Adams, David Backes, Michael Cammalleri, B.J. Crombeen, Mathieu Darche, Shane Doan, Ron Hainsey, Shawn Horcoff, Jamal Mayers, Manny Malhotra, Andy McDonald, Ryan Miller, George Parros, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Jonathan Toews and Kevin Westgarth.
|Catching up with Tuukka Rask||12.07.12 at 4:05 am ET|
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is back from the Czech Republic and feeling good. After playing spending the first two months of the NHL lockout playing for HC Plzen of the Czech Extraliga, Rask returned to Boston late last month with the belief that the NHL and NHLPA would resolve their difference and get the ball rolling for a season. Until that happens, he’s just keeping himself ready.
“I thought it was going to get settled — I hope it’s going to get settled soon,” Rask said Thursday at Kevin Youkilis‘ “Youk’s Kids” Not Your Average Idol event. “I figured it would be a good time to get a break before the season starts because I’ve already played 15 or so games, so I figured I might as well come here and let the body rest before the season starts.”
Rask estimates the aforementioned 15 games played in the Czech Republic, though HockeyDB lists him as having played in eight games (those numbers could very easily be incomplete), posting a 6-2 record with a 1.85 goals-against average and .936 save percentage.
Regardless of how many games he played, the fact that he played is the best news of all for Rask. The 25-year-old didn’t play again last season after suffering an abdomen strain/groin strain on March 3. He said Thursday that getting back into games was his primary motivation for playing elsewhere during the lockout, adding that his groin feels good despite what he described as an overblown injury scare.
Rask left HC Plzen’s Oct. 23 game after the first period due. When Czech play-by-play man Roman Jedlicka tweeted about the injury scare, confusion as to whether Rask had reinjured the groin spread, but Rask insisted that he was simply playing it safe when he felt a little tightness.
“The truth was I just tight from games, and if it were to have happened here, there would have been no problem,” Rask said. “I probably would have stayed in the game, but I didn’t want to risk anything. I just left the game, took a couple periods off and an extra day off. I played the next game, so there was never really a worry anywhere. I know people were kind of worried here, but it’s all good.”
“We beat them both, which was good,” Rask said. “Krej scored a goal on me, but we won in a shootout and he didn’t score in the shootout, which was great.”
Rask got everything he wanted out of his time in the Czech Republic. He likes the area, as he’d been there a couple of times before (including the team’s season-opening trip in 2010), but now he wants to get back to playing in NHL games. There’s certainly reason for him to want to, as he’s got both the starting job to himself and a contract to play for. Rask is on a one-year, $3.5 million deal and will be a restricted free agent after the next season, whenever that may be.
|There is a horse named ‘ThankyouKessel’||12.06.12 at 12:39 pm ET|
As hockey fans await whether the news with CBA negotiations is good or bad, here’s something that will at least make Bruins fans grin.
Bruins fan Joe MacIsaac owns and trained a harness racing horse that runs frequently in Toronto. The name of the horse? “ThankyouKessel.”
“ThankyouKessel” is of course the chant that fills TD Garden whenever the Leafs are in town, as the trade of Phil Kessel to Toronto in 2009 netted the B’s three draft picks that ended up becoming Tyler Seguin, Jared Knight and Dougie Hamilton.
Here’s video of the horse and the owner, from Greg Wyshynski and the fantastic folks at Yahoo! Sports’ Puck Daddy blog.
|Mediator dismissed from NHL/NHLPA case because his Twitter account was really weird||11.26.12 at 6:12 pm ET|
Guy Serota, one of the mediators chosen on Monday to work with the NHL and NHLPA in their labor negotiations, was dismissed from the case later in the day after his bizarre Twitter account was discovered.
The account (User473820), which has since been taken down, featured a stream of tweets, many of which were to the likes of comedian Sarah Silverman and talk show host Craig Ferguson.
One such tweet read, “What does face Sarah is Jewish have to do with her being a terrorist [expletive]? Racist! @SarahKSilverman [expletive] you to hell [expletive] terrorist [expletive].”
In short, the whole thing was super weird and Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen acted quickly by removing Serota.
‘Within one hour after I issued a press release announcing that further negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA would be conducted under the auspices of the FMCS, it has been called to my attention that there are issues involving an allegedly hacked Twitter account associated with Commissioner Guy Serota, one of the mediators I assigned,” Cohen said in a statement. “Accordingly, in order to immediately dispel any cloud on the mediation process, and without regard to the merits of the allegations, I have determined to take immediate action, namely to remove Commissioner Serota from this assignment.’
‘There will be no further comment from the FMCS on this matter.’
The remaining mediators on the case are Scot L. Beckenbaugh and John Sweeney.
|Bruins away from Boston roundup: Tyler Seguin’s dominance continues||11.25.12 at 2:59 pm ET|
With games cancelled through Dec. 14, the Bruins currently playing overseas figure to be there for at least a while longer. Here’s the latest update on how Bruins playing elsewhere (as well as their prospects) are currently faring:
Stats are courtesy of HockeyDB.com or the teams’ websites.
– Tyler Seguin isn’t just a point-a-game player overseas; he’s a goal-a-game player. In 20 games for HC Biel, the 20-year-old has 20 goals and 12 assists for 32 points. According to HockeyDB, he has an even rating, which is pretty surprising given his offensive output.
– Through 12 games for HC Lugano, Patrice Bergeron has nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points and a plus-8 rating.
– In six games for HC Red Ice, Chris Kelly has four goals and three assists for seven points.
– Through 15 games for Prague Lev, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara has three goals and five assists for eight points and a minus-1 rating. Having that rating must be a strange feeling for Chara, as the last season in which he didn’t have a plus-minus of at least plus-14 was in 2006-07, when he was a plus-21 in his first campaign with the B’s.
– Bruins backup goalie Anton Khudobin is having a rather rough go of it for for Moscow Oblast Atlant through 17 games. He has a 3-11-2 record with a 3.09 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.
– Rich Peverley has four goals and nine assists for 13 points in 17 games for JyP HT Jyvaskyla. He has a minus-4 rating.
– In 16 games for Pardubice HC, David Krejci has eight goals and nine assists for 17 points and a plus-2 rating.
– Playing for Ceske Budejovice for the second time in as many lockouts, Andrew Ference has a goal and there assists for four points. He has 14 penalty minutes and is a plus-2.
– In eight games for Plzen HC, Tuukka Rask has a 6-2-0 record with a 1.85 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage.
Deutsche Eishockey Liga
– Dennis Seidenberg has one goal and seven assists for eight points and a plus-8 rating for the Mannheim Eagles.
– In 14 games for Providence, Ryan Spooner has four goals and eight assists for 12 points and a minus-2 rating.
– Spooner’s buddy, Jared Knight, has been limited to just two games by hamstring issues. He went scoreless in both contests.
– Defenseman Torey Krug, who the Bruins signed last season after he finished his college career at Michigan State, has four assists and a minus-9 rating in 14 games for Providence.
– Back in Niagara for a fourth year because of the lockout, Dougie Hamilton has seven goals and 26 assists for 33 points and a plus-25 rating in 26 games for the IceDogs.
– 2011 third-round pick Anthony Camara has already surpassed his career-high in goals with 19 this season for the Barrie Colts. He’s also added 15 assists for 34 points, which is also a career-best. He has a plus-8 rating for the Colts.
|NHL cancels games through Dec. 14||11.23.12 at 2:53 pm ET|
On a day that was supposed to feature the Bruins’ annual Black Friday matinee, the NHL announced Friday that it has cancelled games through Dec. 14 as well as the league’s All-Star Weekend, which was set to take place Jan. 26 and 27 in Columbus, Ohio.
The league has now cancelled 422 regular season games due to the current lockout caused by the lack of a collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players.
“The reality of losing more regular-season games as well as the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus is extremely disappointing,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a press release. “We feel badly for NHL fans and particularly those in Columbus, and we intend to work closely with the Blue Jackets organization to return the NHL All-Star events to Columbus and their fans as quickly as possible.”
|Shawn Thornton ‘absolutely pissed,’ calls league’s offers ‘take, take, take’||11.20.12 at 3:16 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said Tuesday that while he is furious with the lack of progress made between the NHL and NHLPA in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, he is trying to be not let his emotions get the best of him. Players such as Ian White of the Red Wings have been outspoken against commissioner Gary Bettman, with White calling the commissioner an “idiot.”
“I’m definitely frustrated,” Thornton told WEEI.com. “I want to be playing, there’s no doubt about that. [I’m] absolutely pissed off that it’s the middle of November, going into late November and we’re still doing this, but I don’t think me badmouthing anyone is going to speed the process up. I’m just trying to not be as emotional as I’d like to be because it just gets me all fired up. That doesn’t really do anything, except when I’m sparring with my boxing coach, and he doesn’t like it.”
Thornton, 35, has been unable to find work since the lockout began. There was some talk of him going to Belfast to play for the Giants (the team the B’s played in 2010 preseason exhibition in a city in which he has family ties), but financial issues arose, likely over who would foot the bill for the insurance policy that would be taken out. Thornton said he is still looking and that he would play in Europe if the opportunity presented itself.
“Nothing’s out there,” he said. “If something comes up I would be more than willing to go. I’d like to be playing by now, but unfortunately it’s the top guys that are getting those jobs.”
Thornton has attended meetings in Toronto, and more recently, in New York. He put his full support behind union head Donald Fehr while getting a shot in at the league’s most recent offer.
“I think he’s done a great job so far trying to navigate through this as best as possible because it hasn’t been easy on the other side,” he said. “I mean, in this last offer, there’s nothing that the players get out of it. It’s just all take, take, take.”