|Ugly CBA negotiations? The NHL? Get out of town||08.10.12 at 4:40 pm ET|
Negotiations for new collective bargaining agreements tend to get messy, and NHL CBA negotiations (at least recently), tend to result in lockouts. Unfortunately, the news is that there haven’t been any surprises thus far.
Earlier this week, NHL Players’ Association head Donald Fehr said that a counterproposal to the league’s first offer was forthcoming, with it later being determined that folks can expect it to be delivered next Tuesday. The counterproposal is highly anticipated, as the league’s first offer was shocking — it called for an 11-percent giveback of hockey-related revenue on the players’ part, the end of arbitration, and a five-year limit on contracts, among other stipulations. When the NHLPA asked for more financial particulars before countering, the league buried them with some 76,000 pages of documents from the various teams.
Games technically could have been played if a new agreement wasn’t reached by Sept. 15, the expiration of the current CBA, but on Thursday commissioner Gary Bettman crushed the dreams of any fans hoping for that.
“We reiterated to the union that the owners will not play another year under the current agreement,” Bettman told reporters Thursday. “I re-confirmed something that the union has been told multiple times over the last nine to 12 months. Namely, that the time is getting short and the owners are not prepared to operate under this collective bargaining agreement for another season so we need to get to making a deal and doing it soon. And we believe there’s ample time for the parties to get together and make a deal and that’s what we’re going to be working towards.”
The players didn’t exactly dig any of that chatter. Here’s Henrik Lundqvist‘s reaction, via twitter:
“The @NHL says they won’t play past Sept 15th under current deal. Apparently they don’t like the deal they designed. #CBA #nhlpa2012″
And Brandon Prust‘s:
“Disappointed the League is talking about a lockout before we even give our @NHLPA counterproposal”
The bottom line is that nothing — neither Bettman’s comments or players’ reactions — should be surprising. No CBA by Sept. 15 equals a lockout . The only thing learned thus far is that this will get messy. Unfortunately with the NHL, everyone should have already known that.
|Plenty to like about Sunday’s win over Rangers||04.02.12 at 12:26 am ET|
The Bruins became the first team in the Eastern Conference to clinch their division, wrapping up the Northeast with their 2-1 win over the Rangers Sunday evening. The division win means they will hold the No. 2 seed when they begin the playoffs on April 12.
For the Bruins, Sunday was obviously about way more than clinching the division. In fact, you could take your pick when it comes to the positives that emerged from their victory at Madison Square Garden.
They finally did what they have often been unable to do by beating Rangers goaltender and Vezina favorite Henrik Lundqvist. They only put two pucks past Lundqvist, but the win showed that when Tim Thomas is on, two can be enough.
Thomas made 33 saves in the victory, and both the numbers and the eyeball test are suggesting that he’s getting right where he needs to be for the postseason.
No. 30 was far from himself for a pretty lengthy stretch during the regular season. In an eight-game span from Dec. 31 to Jan. 22, he allowed four or more goals four times. In early March, he allowed four goals in four of seven games. The Bruins were struggling, and they didn’t have a dominant Thomas to bail them out. That seems to be in the past now for both the B’s and Thomas.
Over his last seven starts, Thomas has allowed two goals or less in each game, a span in which he’s gone 5-1-1. Though he was coming off a shootout loss to the Capitals Thursday (his first shootout loss of the season), Thomas had to have been feeling pretty good about the way he’d been playing.
Sunday’s win means Thomas has beaten the Rangers for the first time in three tries this season (Tuukka Rask got the other start). Thomas had allowed three goals in each of his two starts against the conference leaders this season (0-2-0), but on Sunday the reigning Vezina winner held Rangers to one goal on 34 shots.
|Bruins have something to prove vs. Rangers||03.31.12 at 8:13 pm ET|
Through the various highs and lows of the 2011-12 season, one thing has held true for the Bruins: They can’t beat the Rangers.
After losing their first three meetings (0-2-1) against New York — all of which have come in the second half of the season — the Bruins, who figure to hold the second seed in the East when the playoffs begin in about a week and a half, will have their final regular-season crack at the conference’s best team Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Tim Thomas will have to deal with the lighting that he despises so much. [Side note: Thomas got criticized unfairly for that postgame comment after the March 4 game, as it wasn’t the first time he’s brought up the difficulty he has with the lights there. He answered a question last season about the pre-game festivities at Canadiens games by mentioning he didn’t like the lights at MSG.] And the Bruins will have to deal with a goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist (assuming he plays) who has dominated them (and many other teams) over the years.
This season, Lundqvist deserves not only the Vezina trophy but perhaps the Hart as well. That’s why the Bruins need to beat him Sunday. The B’s may not be considered a favorite to make it to the conference finals given how well the Penguins have played of late, but it wouldn’t come as a major shock to anyone if Boston and New York met later in the playoffs with a trip to the Cup finals on the line.
The B’s are a confident bunch either way, but they could use that piece of mind of knowing that Lundqvist, who is 3-0-0 with a 1.61 goals-against average and one shutout against Boston this season, doesn’t completely own them. Considering they’ve only beaten him once over the last two seasons, they could stand to remind themselves and everyone else that King Henrik can be defeated.
Both teams are clearly trying to make sure they’re playing their best hockey by the time the postseason starts. The B’s enter Sunday’s game with points in five straight games (4-0-1), while the Rangers, who lead the Bruins by 11 points, are winners of four straight. Though New York has beaten Boston three times and doesn’t have much to worry about as far as the standings go, the Rangers still have something to gain Sunday. They can officially clinch the Eastern Conference, and a win could give them a mental edge over the B’s should they meet later on down the road.
|24/7 running diary: Ilya Bryzgalov says more crazy things||12.21.11 at 10:07 pm ET|
We’ll see how this goes…
10:01 ‘ In the ‘previously on’¦’ they show the Bryzgalov ‘hum-an-gous big’ part. If that’s the funniest part of this episode, I still won’t mind.
10:04 ‘ John McEnroe as the fun-loving guitarist? This show has jumped the shark 64 minutes in.
10:06 – Dan Girardi’s kid reacted to the news of going to Philadelphia like the video was being sent to Jimmy Kimmel.
10:09 – REO Speedwagon. You betcha.
10:10 – On second thought, it still doesn’t beat last week’s Mac Miller scene.
10:11 – Good to see HBO can still do cool slow motion airport scenes even after Entourage is done. This is straight out of “Sundance Kids.”
10:14 – I’ll say it. I’m disappointed in Tortorella thus far. Sure, anyone can swear, but I thought that he would just… swear more.
10:15 – Laviolette answers the players’ questions on the ice? He doesn’t direct them to Paul Holmgren?
10:16 – Zac Rinaldo being shown pre-Lucic hit from behind.
10:17 – Bryzgalov time. What took so long?
10:18 – This scene of Harry Zolnierczyk asking Bryzgalov at lunch if he thinks he’s the star of the show is straight out of Mean Girls. Next, Regina George is going to ask him if he thinks he’s really pretty.
10:21 – Brandon Prust should be Tyler Seguin’s roommate. Got Boyle up without a problem.
10:23 – There’s the Tortorella we were hoping for. Imagine the Mighty Ducks movies if he played Gordon Bombay.
10:24 – Can that kid who re-did the Miracle speech on YouTube do this Tortorella one?
10:26 – Can that kid who re-did the Miracle speech on YouTube do this Laviolette one? It will help put me to sleep.
10:29 – “Instead we’re killing another FRICKIN’ penalty!” – Peter Laviolette. Or maybe it was Dr. Elliot Reid. Looked like Laviolette. Sounded like Smelliot.
10:35 – Love that they show how good these guys are with the community. Hockey players and coaches always are. Good to get a break from the laughing and swearing and see how down-to-earth they are.
10:37 – Pronger’s on the ice. If you’re not on twitter, you don’t get that joke.
10:38 – “Why so like, PAINFUL? You know, like? I don’t want to be goalie now.” – A Flyers fan needs to show their fanhood by getting a tattoo of that quote.
10:40 – If Bryzgalov asks, “So who is more crazy: Me, or ___?” the answer is always Bryzgalov.
10:46 – Were they taking an x-ray or creating a Wii avatar?
10:46 – Gaborik did not celebrate the 300th goal of his career by suffering the 300th injury of his career.
10:49 – Another slow-motion transportation scene. I smell a spinoff.
10:50 – The UNH grad in me can’t help but wonder why there’s been no JVR this episode, and barely any last week.
10:51 – “Holy f****, boys.” In case the standings don’t suggest other teams are overwhelmed by the Bruins, that does.
10:53 – They’re showing a bloodied Couturier undergoing cognitive testing after getting hit in the head with the puck. That’s why this show is so fascinating.
10:55 – The hit from behind scene was a little underwhelming. Simmonds yelled at him. Was hoping for more than “you hit him from behind.”
10:57 – All in all the footage from the Bruins game was underwhelming. The episode was somewhat lacking. Maybe they can sprinkle in cameos from the How to Make it in America Actors now that they cancelled it. Luis Guzman as a power-skating coach? I smell a spinoff.
|Henrik Lundqvist blanks Bruins||03.26.11 at 3:23 pm ET|
The Bruins failed to keep up the momentum from Thursday night’s win over the Canadiens, as they dropped a 1-0 game to the Rangers Saturday at TD Garden.
Derek Stepan redirected a Michael Sauer shot past Tuukka Rask at 6:39 of the first period to give the Rangers the only goal they would need. In taking the loss, Rask fell to 10-13-2 on the season.
Henrik Lundqvist picked up the victory for the Rangers, improving his league-leading shutout total to 11.
From Boston, the Bruins will travel to Philadelphia to face the Flyers on Sunday. Philadelphia is currently the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The refs missed a pretty obvious offsides call prior to Stepan’s goal, and it proved to be the difference when all was said and done. Claude Julien was furious on the bench, and rightfully so.
– The Bruins had only two power plays in the game, but the second came with less than 21 seconds remaining.The B’s have had six games this season with one power play or less, and have surprisingly gone 6-0-1 in such contests.
– These matinees at TD Garden simply have not been good to the Bruins this season. With Saturday’s loss, the B’s are now 1-3-0 in such games this season, taking losses to the Hurricanes, Penguins, Sharks and now Rangers.
– Brad Marchand had a golden opportunity to both tie the game and get to 20 goals with a point-blank opportunity with plenty of open net in the final eight minutes of the game. He missed the net, however, in a play that generally summarized the Bruins’ day.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Despite that the Bruins could never really get any momentum going, the penalty kill came up all four times they were asked to in the game. Chris Kelly might not bring anything special to the table, but he has been solid on the PK since arriving.
– Rask was sound for the B’s in a game in which few of his teammates were. There’s been a season-long trend of the B’s not playing well, and it could be coming back up. Rask has won only one of his last four starts, though he allowed four goals in two of the contests.
– The improved play without production continues for Tyler Seguin. The rookie led all Bruins forwards with four shots on goal. The face that he and Dennis Seidenberg (5 SOG) were the only Bruins with more than three on the day shows that this might belong in the “What went wrong” section.
|Bruins still trail Rangers entering third period||at 2:32 pm ET|
The Bruins still have yet to get on the board as the Rangers hold a 1-0 lead entering the third period at TD Garden.
It was almost halfway through the period before the Bruins got their first shot on goal, and the B’s finished the period with six shots.
Penalties seemed to get in the way of any shot at momentum for the B’s, as Mark Recchi went off for hooking at 1:07 and Milan Lucic took a late slashing penalty. With Lucic in the box, the B’s had a shorthanded bid that resulted in Patrice Bergeron crashing into Henrik Lundqvist. The Bruins failed to register a shot on their lone power play, a Marian Gaborik boarding call at 11:31.
|Bruins gain separation in playoff race by besting Rangers||03.21.10 at 2:08 pm ET|
Summary — In a battle that will go a long way in determining the bottom of the Eastern Conference’s playoff standings, the Bruins prevailed over the Rangers (2-0) in front of a sold out crowd at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon. Tuukka Rask got his 17th win for Boston by making 22 saves while Henrik Lundqvist was the loser for New York with 29 stops. The win puts Boston five points ahead of the Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference with 11 games (10 for the Rangers) to go in the regular season.
The teams played a contentious, though scoreless, majority of the first two periods. The first forty minutes of the game saw a combined 14 penalties for 36 minutes (eight for 21 for Boston, six for 15 by New York) as the teams that are jostling for the final spot in the Eastern Conference took their bumping and pushing to the ice. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara had eight penalty minutes, including a four-minute double minor for high-sticking in the second period.
Olli Jokinen, who took three penalties himself in the first two periods, nearly handed the Bruins a goal (or saved the Rangers, depending on your perspective) when he spun/tackled Boston forward Daniel Paille on a break at 16:13 in the second. Paille was awarded a penalty shot and skated straight down on Lundqvist only to see his wrist shot from the slot turned away harmlessly by the goaltenders left pad.
Miroslav Satan broke 104:09 of scoreless ice time for the Bruins at 16:36 of the second period when he one-timed a through the crease from Andrew Ference. The defenseman skated down the left wing and centered the puck quickly enough to get it on Satan’s stick before Lundqvist could make the cross and Satan put it top shelf from one knee for the 1-0 lead.
Dennis Wideman made it a two-goal lead in the third period when he took a feed from Vladimir Sobotka and spun a nifty backhand wrist shot from the slot up over Lundqvist’s glove side at 10:20.
The Rangers cut the lead in half at 16:56 when defenseman Michael Del Zotta powered a slap shot from the point past Rask through traffic. The Bruins would hold on in the final three minutes for the win.
Miroslav Satan — The tall Slovak gave the Bruins the lead in the second period with his fifth goal as a Bruin.
Tuukka Rask — The most important penalty killer on the ice is often the goaltender and Rask was good behind his stout defense in holding the Rangers 0-6 on the man-advantage.
Dennis Wideman — The prettiest play of the day was Wideman’s backhand winner from the slot. It was kind of a spinning backhand wrist shot that he elevated off a pass from Vladimir Sobotka. The puck went high over Lundqvist’s glove for the two-goal advantage midway through the third period. It was Wideman’s fourth goal of the season with his last coming against the Rangers on Jan. 9, a span of 25 games.
Turning Point — With the game still scoreless in the second period the Rangers were given a great opportunity to take the lead when the Bruins captain, Zdeno Chara, took a double minor, high-sticking penalty at 8:30. With Boston’s top defender off the ice for an extended period of time it would have been the best time for New York to strike. The Bruins, who have the No. 1 penalty kill in the league, did not allow the Rangers to have a shot in the stretch and would not have a better power play opportunity for the rest of the game.
Key Play — Rask came up big in the early part of the third with a little help from Paille. Brandon Dubinsky looked like he had time and space to make an arcing cross in front of the Bruins netminder before Paille got in between the Rangers’ center and the puck to thwart a shot attempt. Dubinsky recovered and got the puck to Dan Girardi at the face off circle for a one-time chance point blank on Rask. The Boston goaltender left the crease to aggressively challenge the shot and caught it on the spoked-B of his sweater to retire the chance.