Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien has been rather direct when answering questions from the media of late, and he once again pulled no punches last night when speaking about his team’s performance in Montreal. “That second period was atrocious and embarrassing, to say the least” said Julien, who also responded “everything” to the question of what went wrong. The Canadiens overtook first place in the Atlantic Division with a 2-1 victory at the Bell Centre last night, tallying both goals in a middle frame that also saw them outshoot the Bruins 18-7. Gregory Campbell scored Boston’s only goal, while Tuukka Rask took the loss in the Bruin net.
Obviously tomorrow night’s game at TD Garden between the Bruins and Dallas Stars is as much about Tyler Seguin’s return as it is about two teams that are playing average hockey and struggling for wins, there’s no getting around that. The now 21-year-old seems to be making a fresh start and is putting up big points with his new team after an offseason trade to the Lone Star State, while his former partner in shenanigans is off to one of his worst starts as a professional and could be on the verge of watching from the press box. So while we’ll all enjoy a few good laughs and perhaps some regrets for a few of you when it comes to Seguin, Marchand and the Bruins have plenty to worry about in their own locker room at this point, and that should be the focus when they hit the ice tomorrow night.
Black and Gold Overcome Slow Start to Steal Two More Points
If last week’s game with the San Jose Sharks was any indication, tonight’s matchup with the Anaheim Ducks – Boston’s second game in as many nights – would be a tough task. Add to it that the Pittsburgh Penguins gave the Bruins all they could handle last night before eventually handing them a loss, and it would be understandable if the Black and Gold weren’t as sharp as you would expect. And while that was certainly the case for much of the game, the first goal of the year from forward Carl Soderberg and a late third period power play goal from Zdeno Chara got the Bruins to overtime and the shootout, where Jarome Iginla tallied the only goal to earn two points for the B’s. Tuukka Rask rebounded from consecutive losses to earn the win in the Boston net.
Continuing our look at the best fantasy hockey choices on the Bruins for the upcoming 2013-14 season, we move on to the blueliners. Unlike the forward crew who were relatively easy to rate, the defensive possibilities for next season are still pretty unclear. There are a couple sure choices and then a large group of “could be’s” to consider on your draft day. Let’s take a look.
Well, it appears the NHL Lockout has finally come to an end. Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr announced just a few hours ago that both sides had reached what’s being called a ‘tentatative agreement on the framework of a deal.’ Meaning as long as nobody screws up writing down the details and the players don’t suddenly decide they don’t want to play this season, then we’re going to have NHL hockey soon. Here’s the presser:
Salary cap for this year is $60 million, with teams allowed to spend up to $70.2 million as part of the transition. Year two the cap will go to $64.3 million. The cap floor for both seasons will be $44 million.
In terms of contracts, deals can’t be more than seven years, unless a team is re-signing its own player, in which case the term can be eight years. Value cannot differ more than 35% from year to year, and the last year on the contract cannot vary more than 50% from the highest value year.
Revenue sharing will be $200 million, with a $60 million growth fund, initiated by the NHLPA, included.
Participation in the Olympics and/or the World Cup of Hockey will not be part of this deal, and instead will be part of a side negotiation.
July 1 will remain the free agency opening date, despite the NHL trying to push for July 10.
The season is expected to start January 15 or January 19, depending on whether a 48 or 50 game schedule is accepted. That should be known this week.
Much of the credit was given to federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh, who had brought the sides together over the past few days and helped nail down agreements on the last few points of contention. With that said, this was also out there this morning:
Told possible reason #CBA deal. Bettman under intense pressure from major sponsors. Sponsors nervous investing again in “devalued product”
As has been widely reported, the NHL isn’t exactly winning awards for its business model. While it’s scary to think the league and players got extremely close to having to cancel another season, it’s good that regardless of where the pressure came from, they felt it and got a deal done. It will be very interesting to see how the league does from a business perspective for the rest of the season, but as a fan I’m just glad the B’s will be back on the ice soon.
From Bruin defenseman Andrew Ference‘s twitter account (@Ferknuckle):
“As players we can now do what we do best. Proudly pull on our jerseys and play with complete passion for our cities and fans. I hope that we can replace the intense negativity brought on our sport with a reminder of how great it can be when the action is on the ice. From my grandparents to our B’s fans, I am deeply sorry that we had to miss so much hockey. All we can do now is play our hearts out for you.”
Let’s see it. GAME ON!
We expected to have more time to report on this, but congrats go out to Team USA, who defeated Sweden 3-1 at the World Junior Championships to take home the gold. Team Canada lost to Russia in the bronze medal game, marking the first time in 14 years that they have failed to take home a medal.
Johnny Boychuk is already back in town, Zdeno Chara is on his way back Tuesday, and Dougie Hamilton will be at camp when it starts. Finally.