|NHLPA reportedly close to making counterproposal||08.07.12 at 2:41 pm ET|
According to Chris Johnson of the Canadian Press, NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr is close to making a counteroffer to the league nearly one month after the league made its initial proposal.
Eyebrows were raised last month when the league’s first offer asked for an 11-percent giveback on hockey-related revenue and a five-year limit on contracts, among other things, though the fact that it was the first proposal suggests the league was hardly adamant regarding its stipulations.
Since then, Fehr has requested further information from the league and was given around 76,000 pages of audited financial statements. The two sides will continue to meet this week in New York, and the NHLPA’s counteroffer will go a long way in telling just how far apart the two sides are and whether a lockout could be likely.
“I think that there’s certainly a possibility ‘ a reasonable one ‘ that we’ll be in a position to make some further response,” Fehr told the Canadian Press. “Whether we’ll be in a position to make an alternative proposal yet I don’t know.”
The current CBA is expected to expire on Sept. 15, and though the league could technically continue to play games without a new CBA, fans shouldn’t bank on such a scenario coming to fruition. The league’s last CBA negotiation will live in infamy, as it led to a lockout that resulted in the cancellation of the 2004-05 season.
|Daniel Paille reiterates confidence in CBA negotiations||08.06.12 at 4:10 pm ET|
MIDDLETON — Bruins forward Daniel Paille, who is the team’s player representative for the NHL Players’ Association, said Monday that while the league and NHLPA haven’t come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, he’s confident the season will start on time.
The league made its initial proposal last month, but the NHLPA has yet to make a counteroffer. The current CBA is set to expire on Sept. 15, and Paille said he won’t worry about losing games until it expires.
“After Sept. 15, we’ll see what happens,” Paille said. “Until then, I don’t think there’s any reason to panic. I think for us, it’s definitely a line of communication. I think it’s a positive for us to keep that going.”
|Tuukka Rask, Daniel Paille join Shawn Thornton for third annual Parkinson’s golf tournament||08.06.12 at 4:09 pm ET|
Monday marked Thornton’s third annual “Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s” at the Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton, a tournament featuring Bruins teammates to raise money for the disease that his grandmother battled for years before she died in 2008.
“Some things have had to come together, contract-wise and all that stuff,” Thornton said. “Staying in town definitely helped. The support from everyone around it — pretty much everyone comes back — there’s a couple of cancelations every year, but somebody’s waiting to step in. The support’s been pretty remarkable.”
Participating in this year’s tournament were teammates Daniel Paille and Tuukka Rask, the only other Bruins currently in town. Though the tournament is about more than golf, Thornton, who does plenty of golfing and boxing in the offseason, said his teammates could get the better of him.
“Paisy is naturally good at everything,” Thornton said of his linemate. “I don’t think he knows how good he is at everything. Tuukka, I haven’t played with him since he got back from Finland, but I heard he’s hitting the ball a mile.”
Rask had no problem confirming his superiority over Thornton on the golf course when asked whether he could beat the veteran tough guy.
“I could on a good day,” Rask said. “… I’ve finally straightened out my drive, so I’ve been good. Now that I’m talking about it, I’m sure I’ll suck today.”
|Tuukka Rask talks contract status, Tim Thomas||08.02.12 at 4:59 pm ET|
Following are highlights from Tuukka Rask’s session with the media Thursday at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Rask, who took a one-year deal this offseason and will take over as the team’s starting goalie, said he felt “fairly healthy” as the offseason began coming off a hip/abdomen injury and is feeling good now.
On signing a one-year deal [Note: He will be a restricted free agent again next offseason]
“A lot of people I guess were a little surprised by the contract and stuff, but I can’t tell the team that I want a long contract because I’m at an age where I would have had to go to arbitration and stuff like that, so we just figured it’s best for both of us. If I have a good year then maybe I’ll sign a longer deal and if I suck, then kick me out.
On if there was any hesitance to take a one-year deal in case he has a bad season or gets injured:
“You can’t really think of it that way, because you’re kind of digging yourself a hole there, but sometimes you’ve got to think what’s best for the team and what’s best for yourself. I think this is a really good scenario for all of us.”
On if he’ll suck next year:
“I mean, I’m pretty confident. I’ve never really sucked, so hopefully I don’t suck this year either. You go out there and you do your best. Practice hard and work hard and just play on your level. I know my level is not too low in general, so I’ve just got to work hard to maintain that level.”
On if he feels he has something to prove:
“Yes and no. You always think it would be nice to play 82 games and have an awesome year. In that way you want to prove yourself, how good you can be on a daily basis, but I’ve proven myself, that I can play in this league.”
On if he was surprised by Tim Thomas‘ decision to take next year off:
“Well I was and I wasn’t. I wasn’t expecting him to do that obviously, but I really appreciate what he’s done and I appreciate his decision to be with his family and take some time off from hockey. It really didn’t shock me that much, but I’m more upset to see him leave because we had a really good connection and friendship going on. I’m sure he’s happy now where he is.”
On if he saw it coming:
“I mean, everybody knew he was a little tired because he played so much the last two years, but it didn’t seem like he was exhausted mentally.”
On if he’s viewing the situation as though Thomas won’t come back to the Bruins:
“Well, I mean, of course. That’s what everybody wants, but if he takes a step back and thinks about his situation and if he comes back, he comes back. I’ll just try to do my job as good as I can.”
On if he’ll miss Thomas as a teammate:
“He was a great guy. We had a great relationship and he was a good guy. It’s going to be a little weird to not see him sitting next to me anymore, but I have to get used to it.”
On what Thomas’ legacy in Boston should be:
“I don’t know. I can’t answer that. To me, I look at it a little differently because he’s a friend of mine, so I don’t really care what he says on the Facebook or whatever because I don’t read that stuff. He’s been good to me, and we’ve been good friends and usually don’t talk about that stuff, what he posts. All I know is he’s been a good teammate to me and a good friend.”
On being the Bruins’ starting goalie:
“All my life, pretty much, it’s been a goal. I played some games my first year here consistently, but the year after was a step back playing-time wise. [I’ve been] waiting for a few years now, so it’s going to be interesting to see how I handle it. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m always up for a challenge.”
On being in a more traditional situation with a starter and a backup:
“I played a lot down in Providence and back in Finland even, so that’s not going to be anything new. I don’t want to put too much worry on that because you know how coach is with playing time. I’m sure I’m going to get as much a chance as possible, but if I can’t get the job done, there’s going to be more guys coming in.”
|Tuukka Rask supportive of, but not surprised by Tim Thomas||08.02.12 at 4:42 pm ET|
Speaking publicly for the first time this summer, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask said at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute that he wasn’t overly surprised when he heard this summer that fellow goalie Tim Thomas was taking a year off from hockey.
“Well I was and I wasn’t,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting him to do that obviously, but I really appreciate what he’s done and I appreciate his decision to be with his family and take some time off from hockey. It really didn’t shock me that much, but I’m more upset to see him leave because we had a really good connection and friendship going on. I’m sure he’s happy now where he is.”
Added Rask: “I mean, everybody knew he was a little tired because he played so much the last two years, but it didn’t seem like he was exhausted mentally.”
Thomas, who was a two-time Vezina winner and a the Conn Smythe winner in the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley-Cup winning season, became somewhat of a controversial figure for being more outspoken politically over the last calendar year. Most recently, Thomas sided with Chick fil-A in its stand against gay marriage. Asked what he though Thomas’ legacy in Boston should be given the on-ice success and off-ice controversy, Rask said he couldn’t answer because he was biased towards his former teammate.
“To me, I look at it a little differently because he’s a friend of mine, so I don’t really care what he says on the Facebook or whatever because I don’t read that stuff,” Rask said. “He’s been good to me, and we’ve been good friends and usually don’t talk about that stuff, what he posts. All I know is he’s been a good teammate to me and a good friend.”
|Current Bruin on Tim Thomas/Chick-fil-A situation: ‘He’s not my teammate’||07.26.12 at 6:16 pm ET|
Tim Thomas‘ Facebook posts — and his unwillingness to elaborate on them with the media — left a lot of teammates busy answering questions about his political views last season.
The common answer was that Thomas was a good teammate, and that his politics didn’t mess with team chemistry. With Thomas taking next season off, the Bruins will get the year off from having to answer for him.
Thomas, who said — via Facebook of course — that he will spend next season focusing on “friends, family and faith,” took to Facebook again Thursday by supporting Chick-fil-A, which is owned by the Cathy family. The Cathys have been outspoken in opposing gay marriage.
That flies right in the face of the “You Can Play” project, which encourages a safe environment for a homosexual NHL player to come out to the league. This is perhaps he most controversial of the stances Thomas has taken, and the Bruins no longer have to explain why it isn’t a bad thing.
“He isn’t playing next year,” one current Bruin told WEEI.com Thursday, “which means he’s not my teammate, which means I don’t have to react to his Facebook posts.”
|Claude Julien addresses the Tim Thomas situation||07.24.12 at 3:08 pm ET|
In an offseason that’s seen minimal roster turnover, the Bruins’ biggest change of the summer was the subtraction of Tim Thomas, who will sit out the next season to focus on fiends, family and faith.
Speaking at the press conference to announce his contract extension, Claude Julien talked about what the Bruins will be like without the two-time Vezina-winner and said he thinks the Bruins can handle it.
“We lost a guy by the name of Marc Savard who led our team in scoring every year and we were able to adapt,” Julien said. “I see that as a same kind of a challenge. There’s no doubt, nobody’s going to deny what Tim’s done here for our hockey club over the years but we’ve mentioned that Tuukka [Rask] is a very capable goaltender. He’s got his opportunity to showcase that this year and I think when I saw [Anton] Khudobin play, whether it was training camp or whether it was when he was with us that game in Ottawa, practice, you can see a goaltender who has not only improved but has matured.
“I honestly have a lot of confidence in our goaltending and, obviously, we drafted, we’ve signed a few goaltenders as well. I think our depth is there. I don’t really see that as an issue. And that’s because I have the confidence in what I have in front of me right now.”
The most games Rask, who will become the No. 1 goaltender, has started in his career is 39 back in 2009-10. It will be interesting to see how he handles being a true No. 1 with a traditional backup in Khudobin after years of splitting time with Thomas. Rask’s certainly got a lot to play for, as he’s on a one-year deal that can land him a huge payday should he pick up where Thomas left off.