The Boston Bruins haven’t been playing very well of late. After scrambling back for a last minute victory against the Senators, they were looking for a stronger, more complete effort against the Maple Leafs in Toronto tonight, a place where Boston had won four straight games. Instead, they got a near carbon copy of their performance in Ottawa – minus the win. An early third period goal by Frazer McLaren gave the Leafs a 3-0 lead, and despite rallying to pull within a goal the Bruins couldn’t complete the comeback, falling to Toronto by a 3-2 score.
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.
Happy new year! Here’s the latest edition of “Loose Pucks,” with some tidbits from the week so far. Let’s hope there is some, dare we say, “NHL” hockey to report on soon.
Seguin Scoring Goals
As we mentioned the other day, Tyler Seguin recently wrapped up his impressive stint with EHC Biel in the Swiss league, finishing with 25 goals and 40 points. Today the video below was making the rounds on the interweb, so now you can see all 25 goals in all their infinite glory.
A few things about this. One, a good few of those goals came with Seguin standing in front of the net, untouched. While it’s encouraging that he’s going there for opportunities, the chances that he gets that kind of time and space in front of an NHL net are slim. We can always hope he took those lessons learned from Mark Recchi to heart though.
Second, when he does get time and space, this kid is money. The flashes we first saw in the Tampa series in 2011 are seemingly becoming more commonplace, and again while it won’t be as easy to pull some of these off in the NHL, it looks like Seguin’s growth is going to be fun to watch. If the Bruins can ever get their ridiculously awful power play figured out, he could put up some giant numbers.
Lastly, I can’t get over how hilarious the whole Swiss league top-scorer flames get-up is. It’s obviously a complete gimmick geared toward casual fans, but if I’m the NHL I’d at least give this some thought. I think the jerseys are off limits in the name of preserving the tradition of some of the teams logos, but I don’t think I’d be against the NHL doing a cool scaled back helmet design (maybe in team colors) that would make some of the games best players easier to pick out. Normally I’m not for things like this (see: shoot-out), but hockey admittedly is a fast game and something like this could make some sense in the name of drawing in more fans. That, plus it’s hilarious.
Quarterfinal matchups were underway this morning to determine who will move on to face Canada and Sweden in the tournament semifinals. In the first game, our own Team USA downed the Czechs convincingly by a score of 7-0. Boston College standout Johnny Gaudreau had a hat trick and earned Player of the Game honors, while defensemen Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg property) and next year’s potential #1 draft pick Seth Jones had four assists each. The US will have a chance for revenge as they face off against Dougie Hamilton and Team Canada tomorrow morning at 4am. Get your DVR’s ready, unless waking up that early is your idea of fun.
In game two, the host Russians squeaked by a much improved Swiss squad, earning a 4-3 victory by way of the shootout. Bruins prospect Alex Khokhlachev, who’s had an up-and-down tournament so far centering Russia’s top line which includes recent top draft pick Nail Yakupov, opened the scoring for Russians six minutes into the game on the power play. Khokhlachev has two goals and two assists in five tournament games, which is fourth best for Russia behind Nikita Kucherov (7 pts – TBL prospect), Yakupov (5 pts – EDM prospect), and Mikhail Grigorenko (5 pts – BUF prospect). Russia will take on Sweden in the other semifinal game tomorrow.
The big news on the lockout front is that both sides appear to be inching closer to a deal as they’ve met on consecutive days in New York to trade proposals. Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference has joined the PA posse over the past two days, along with the usual suspects. In case you’re wondering how it’s gone:
“We have countered your counter to our counter of your counter, and left it on the counter, counting on your response.” – NHLPA
Both sides are expected to get back together tonight to discuss the NHLPA’s latest offer. Word from the Twittersphere is that pensions have been a remaining point of contention, so it will be interesting to see what tonight’s meeting brings. The other big sticking point seems to be the league proposed salary cap of $60 million for the ’13-’14 season, which would be a drastic drop that would impact many teams. Puck-Daddy has some of the details here, including the fact that 16 of the NHL’s 30 teams would be over that limit with their current rosters.
Another point not to forget is that the union’s option to file for disclaimer of interest is very close to expiring through it’s self imposed deadline of midnight tonight. If the window were to pass, another push to file would have to be voted on again, though hopefully letting this deadline pass would mean that both sides are truly close on an agreement. Again, we should know more later tonight.
The other big rumor floating around over the past 24 hours has been the idea of possibly expanding the playoff brackets to allow four more teams to qualify, for a total of 20 teams:
Although it hasn’t been brought up in negotiations both #NHL#NHLPA have had internal discussions on 4 more teams qualifying for playoffs
I can’t begin to explain what an awful idea I think this is (and it appears our fellow Bruins blog Days of Y’Orr would agree). While this probably has to do with the eventual league realignment (and you know, the league making more money) likely back to the four conference approach, having two thirds of teams in the league qualify for the playoffs is a joke. Even the current sixteen team format makes for a long playoff run (last two playoffs have gone April to mid-June), and adding teams would just stretch it further.
While I agree that there is nothing quite like playoff hockey in terms of intensity and excitement, adding more teams would further diminish the importance of the regular season as well as the buzz that current playoff races generate. The past few years each conference has had three or four teams within striking distance close to the end, but if we’re now talking about two or three spots eligible instead of one, I think a lot of that excitement is out the window, or at best somewhat muted. Overwhelmingly average teams shouldn’t be rewarded for being overwhelmingly average. Please, please, please do not let this happen.
Following up on the report from last week, the players’ union voted ‘overwhelmingly‘ to give the executive board permission to dissolve itself if it deems that as the only remaining option.
Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin will represent Canada
Despite the silence surrounding the NHL, there actually is Bruins-related hockey being played. First, a number of current Bruins are participating in the Spengler Cup, over in Europe. Current B’s Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin are representing Team Canada in the annual European tourney hosted by HC Davos, while defenseman Dennis Seidenberg continues his tour with Adler Mannheim of Germany.
Big news out of the first day of action was Seidenberg’s Mannheim squad upsetting the Canadians 2-1 in overtime. Canada then rebounded today with a 5-0 win over the host HC Davos squad, who will face Seidenberg and Mannheim tomorrow.
In terms of output, Seguin leads the way with a goal and an assist in Canada’s two games, while Bergeron has an assist and has dominated in the faceoff circle, as usual. Seidenberg was held scoreless in his first game.
Despite the exodus to Europe, a number of Bruins are starting to trickle back State-side in hopes that the NHL season, or what remains of it, will be around the corner. Goalie Tuukka Rask has already returned, and this week David Krejci and Andrew Ference became the most recent players to head back after their contracts expired in the Czech Republic. Patrice Bergeron has said he will return after the Spengler Cup, and it is expected that Tyler Seguin will do the same. Hopefully they won’t be sitting around for too long.
Bruins top prospect Malcolm Subban will man the net for Team Canada at this year’s WJC.
It’s that time of year again, and NHL or not, if you’re a fan of the game you’ll most likely have an eye on this year’s World Junior Championship, which is now underway in Russia. As a Bruins fan you have extra incentive to pay attention, as the black and gold have five future stars participating.
Familiar names line Team Canada’s roster, with Dougie Hamilton, Anthony Camara, and recent top pick Malcolm Subban on the list. All three had contributions in Canada’s first game, a 9-3 victory over Germany, with Hamilton and Camara each collecting an assist. Subban manned the net and got the win, allowing 3 goals on 28 shots, for a save percentage just over 89%.
Prospect Alex Khokhlachev is the lone representative on the Russian squad, also a familiar name from the recent Subway Super Series. He scored a goal in Russia’s first game, a 3-2 overtime win over Slovakia.
For the US, BU defenseman Matt Grzelcyk made the team, but didn’t dress in the team’s first game. It is expected that he will see some action throughout the tournament however. CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty has a few more details, as well as notes on a number of other locals participating in the tournament.
The NHL Network is carrying most of the games live, at least from a US/Canada perspective, so check it out, even if it’s just the replays.
As always, stay tuned for more updates, it’s been a little quiet lately but with the Spengler and World Junior tournaments underway, there should be more Bruins news to talk about. And we can hold on a hope for a little longer that we might see the Spoked ‘B’ on fresh ice in the coming year.
God, I hate the NHL right now. Usually when I hear about a “fight” or a “brawl” at the Garden I get pretty pumped up. Most of the time it’s Thornton or Lucic dropping the hammer, or if we get really lucky a ‘good old fashioned donnybrook‘ breaks out and we get multiple Jack-Edwardisms to enjoy. Well apparently there was a fight at the Garden last night, though I use the term very, very loosely.
After a vomit-inducing flop by Kevin Garnett the likes of which would make Sidney Crosby cringe, Rajon Rondo got into it (again, used loosely) with Brooklyn big man Kris Humphries and basketball mayhem ensued. By mayhem we of course mean some pushing and shoving, which resulted in numerous technical fouls and some ejections, along with a 2 game suspension for Rondo.
See it for yourself:
Perhaps even bigger news was that Humphries tweeted out his “battle wounds” after the game (click the link to see the picture):
Where to even begin with this. Let’s start with Humphries.
Hint: This is one of the least gruesome of the bunch.
Really though? You got a little scratched up? Time to take to the Twittersphere? Scratches! The outrage! First of all, scrums like that happen multiple times during a hockey game, and the worst that comes of it most of the time is two minutes in the box (alone, and you feel shame). Second, I am continually baffled at the ridiculousness of basketball players and what a huge deal it is when something like this happens. The incident itself was an absolute nothing event, and then you have a huge scrum and this clown tweeting a picture of his injuries. Next time, do me a favor and check out this article first. It’s called the ‘Top 5 Mangled NHL Faces on Twitter.’ This page should be the gold standard before anyone posts an injury shot to Twitter. I think this is pretty self explanatory.
Next, I can’t get over the announcers in that clip. Overall I think Celtics color man Tommy Heinsohn is a pretty funny guy. He’s to the Celtics what Jack Edwards is to the Bruins. But really, this was just a joke. Garnett didn’t get “hit in the face.” Humphries’ hand brushed over it, and Garnett went down trying to draw a call (which laughably he also failed to do). In the NHL, though diving is still an issue, if you pull a ‘Ryan Kesler‘ your teammates will defend you, except they have to defend you from getting jumped instead of going after a player that did absolutely nothing to you. Crazy right? Not to mention you’ll probably end up on the league list of diving queers next to Sid and Mike Ribeiro. I’d even have a hard time believing that Jack or Brick would defend such a gigantic dive and Oscar-worthy embellishment even if it were a Bruin (…ok, maybe Jack would).
On top of it all, here comes Rajon Rondo to save the day! Standing up for his teammate! Ok, if Humphries actually had even legitimately fouled KG, I’m probably for this play. But the fact that it came off a flop and everyone is so jacked up is absolutely hilarious. This had to be the most exciting part of the game, right?
I could spend time explaining why I love hockey or how similar incidents play out on the ice, or I can just show you instead. First, this is an actual reason to defend a teammate. You have Bruins defenseman Andy Ference, with good reason, responding to Adam Burish’s post-whistle shot on Tuukka Rask. There are numerous other examples of Ference doing the same if you need further proof. Second, and perhaps more importantly, you have Burish willingly obliging, and settling business right then and there. Maybe he meant to take the shot, and maybe he didn’t, but he’s game. Third, Burish gets his face broken on the play (literally – orbital bone), but no tweets after the game?
Well, I hope that’s clear. All the more reason to hate the NHL and NHLPA right now, since we’re relegated to hearing about this nonsense with no Bruins games, and thus no real scraps to talk about. Fuck you, NHL. I’ll never understand basketball.