As we wrote in our last post, we felt the meetings this weekend between the NHL and the Player’s Union were going to tell a lot about the state of the NHL lockout. Said meetings adjourned earlier today, and while there are no firm plans to meet this week (yet), the tone of the sessions seemed to be a positive one. As reported, the discussions centered more on player health and safety (including the disciplinary process), and not on the main revenue issues that are central to the debate between the camps. With that said, common ground was reported on almost all of the issues discussed, and the proverbial wheels seem to be turning. As far as next steps, the NHL felt meeting internally was their next best move (rather than meeting with the union again on Monday), but talks have not officially broken off and are expected to resume this week, perhaps as early as Tuesday. Progress is progress, and we’ll take what we can get.
Also important to note, commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA union head Donald Fehr met individually (albeit briefly) both Friday and Saturday, and are said to have discussed ways to make further progress on the HRR issues that have plagued discussions. It’s expected that the HRR topic will resurface sooner rather than later in further talks. Again, these discussions seem to be a step in the right direction even though true negotiations on this issue haven’t happened yet. Also of note was deputy commissioner Bill Daly’s full-on bitch-mode when speaking about the negotiations, complaining over his frustration on how the revenue issues are not front and center. We find this a bit ironic considering prior to these meetings his only move was to say the NHL was waiting for the union to make a move. And to reiterate, to us the sessions this weekend indicate some progress, which is better than no progress. So while the lockout clock ticks away and the regular season calendar approaches, at least we can maintain some hope that the sides are actively working on some of these issues and appear to be ready to get back to the table. Let’s hope the trend continues this week…
In what’s sure to be the most expected and unsurprising announcement you’ve read all week, the NHL cancelled the remainder of the preseason today, as it gets ready to get down to business and head back to the bargaining table. The League and Players Union have expanded the sessions, planning to meet Saturday and Sunday as well, after it was announced earlier in the week that they’d meet on Friday. While the main issue of ‘Hockey Related Revenue’ is currently not on the agenda, the result of this round of meetings could paint a clear picture of what the remainder of the season looks like.
Topics up for debate include modifying the current process around fines and suspensions, the related appeals process, and other “non-core” economic issues. While it’s been reported that the sides have expressed some differences, it’s the ability to work through these that will tell the story. Reps from both the NHL and NHLPA have been playing it cool during the week when commenting on the upcoming sessions, but make no mistake, this presents a prime opportunity to make some positive head-way in this CBA debacle. If common ground can be reached, or at least the gap between the sides minimized on these issues, it should get the main HRR issue back on the table sooner rather than later at the very least. On top of that, fans could just flat-out use some good news, some hope, that all is not lost for the year.
Carpal tunnel from too much NHL ’13 (and you know…other things), but still need your hockey fix during the lockout? There have been a lot of suggestions floating around over the past few days on how to stay busy, and we’d like to offer one up…
May we suggest: Slap Shot Regatta (apologies for the ad, this was the best quality clip). Get your buddies together, grab a few beers, strap on the pads and may the best man win.
Not very much blog-worthy news today out of the Bruins world, so we’re going with Loose Pucks.
Pretty much sums up everyone’s feelings on the lockout.
Patrice Bergeron’s agent said today that the Bruins center will most likely head to Switzerland to play during the lockout, instead of joining the new “Quebec Caravan League” (organized by fellow NHLers) as some might have expected. The Swiss League, where Tyler Seguin and others have already fled, would likely give the Bruins center better regular season prep than joining the for-charity QCL. Nothing has been finalized however.
The NHL and NHLPA will head back to negotiations on Friday, albeit to discuss “non-core economic issues.” A step in the right direction? We hope so. Unless of course they can’t even agree on those issues, in which case we’re throwing in the towel.
Peverley Hills Zip Code Change, Tuukka Time Zone Change and Loose Pucks
Peverley Hills, Finland
Another one bites the dust, so to speak. Bruins forward Rich Peverley is headed to Finland to join J(in)Y(our)P Jyvaskyla of the Finnish SM-liiga. Apparently a partnership agreement between the Bruins and JYP made it easy to transition players between the teams in this situation, so Pevs joins a few others already calling Europe their temporary home for the lockout. JYP chairman Jukka Seppanen felt Peverley’s skillset would be perfect for the Finnish league, most notably his speed. Obviously this mass exodus to Europe is not much of a surprise given the uncertainty of the lockout, and there are rumblings of other signings coming in the near future.
Tuukka Time Starts in the Czech League
Along with Peverley, Tuukka rask officially jumped ship to the Czech League, signing on with HC Plzen. This could be a good move for Rask to get his game together as he prepares to be the #1 goaltender for the B’s this season (whenever that is). Injuries have always been a concern with Rask however, so the Bruins are likely to be keeping a close eye on his play assuming NHL regular season games are cancelled.
In somewhat more expected news, Dennis Seidenberg joins his brother Yannick with Adler Mannheim in Germany for his lockout retreat. Seidenberg announced his desire to play overseas last week, so it was just a matter of finalizing the details.
With the Red Sox struggling, ‘referee-gate’ tainting the Pats season, and an over-the-hill Celtics squad, the lockout comes at an extremely unfortunate time for the Bruins. With an extremely talented and strong core unit, the B’s were poised to re-establish themselves near the top of the Boston Sports picture. Delaying play further only jeopardizes all the positive momentum the team carried from the last few seasons.
Felt the lockout hurts Tyler Seguin’s progress the most from an individual perspective. Even though he’ll be active over in Switzerland, #19 was showing real signs of maturing during the last season (especially near the end and in the playoffs), and said that a full season off could hinder that development.
Intriguing comments on Steve Ott joining the Sabres. Jack felt the NHL likes to paint the “hero” picture on all of its players, rather than accepting that there are some villains. He stated Ott and players like him are good for the game because of their ability to get their teams fired up, and looked forward to seeing what impact his addition could have to a squad that already has Patrick Kaleta on it. A far cry from Jack’s “knee-seeking-missile/Brave Steve” rant, these comments were the most interesting to hear.
Lastly, he was in hopes that the lockout will be over by Thanksgiving. “I’m a stupid optimist, and some people will leave off the optimist part…”, he noted the Bruins/Rangers ‘Black Friday’ game would be a great opportunity to get the game back in front of the masses.