Another day of no progress in NHL labor war


Another day of no progress in NHL labor war

The NHL and NHLPA met for a second day with federal mediators in New Jersey on Thursday, and once again no progress was made. Union officials Donald Fehr and Steve Fehr were in attendance for sessions with the mediator, and NHL attorney Bob Batterman without the presence of commissioner Gary Bettman or deputy commissioner Bill Daly represented the league on a day that left both sides exactly where they had started.
Steve Fehr met with the media briefly and said the NHL and NHLPA would be in touch on Friday to discuss the next step, but it appears neither side is budging after last weeks bizarre press conference showdown.
There has been contact between the parties today, principally at the mediators office, Steve Fehr said to reporters. Ive met with the mediator, Bob Batterman outside counsel for the league has been there. Weve met separately through the mediator at times, weve met together, Don was over there very briefly.
I think were done with contact for tonight.
Interestingly enough an report surfaced that one of the Board of Governors had presented a middle-ground offer that, in the words of that individual, would be approved by the NHL owners. It included a compromise of a nine-year CBA that everybody on both sides would be overwhelmingly in favor of, along with a seven-year cap on personal player contracts up from the five-year maximum that the NHL is currently seeking.
The presentation also included a simple buyout option that would be within the salary cap, allowing the league to transition into the lowered cap ceiling and altered financial landscape.
It all makes plenty of sense and has been the natural end-game for both sides once they actually get around to negotiating face-to-face. It could probably end the lockout within a few hours of frank, honest discussion between the key players from both parties, but those moments have been far and few between in these negotiations. So it looks like the NHL lockout will roll past the 90-day mark and extend into next week unless something miraculous happens in the coming days.

Whether Goodell visits Foxboro or not, Patriots players say they don't care


Whether Goodell visits Foxboro or not, Patriots players say they don't care

FOXBORO -- Roger Goodell will reportedly be in Atlanta for the NFC Championship Game this weekend and therefore will miss the AFC title game between the Patriots and Steelers at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. His absence will mean he hasn't been to a Patriots game in more than two years, when he was present for the AFC title game in 2015 -- the birth of Deflategate. 

It's news that broke on Tuesday and sent some Patriots fans into an uproar. Patriots players, though, sound like they're having a hard time caring one way or the other.

"He’s the commissioner, so obviously whatever he wants to do, he can do," Tom Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Monday. "If he wants to come, that would be -- yeah, he can come."

In the Patriots locker room on Tuesday, others struck a similar tone.

"I could care less," said Patriots receiver Chris Hogan. "I'm focused on Pittsburgh and their defense and studying them as much as I can this week, watching them as much as I can so that I can go out there on Sunday and be prepared."

Special teams captain Matthew Slater was similarly disinterested in the discussion.

"The game's going to be played," he said. "Whoever's in attendance is in attendance. We'll just worry about trying to play well."

Hogan 'feeling good' as he recovers from thigh injury


Hogan 'feeling good' as he recovers from thigh injury

FOXBORO -- Patriots wideout Chris Hogan indicated after Saturday's divisional round win over the Texans that he'd be OK, and he doubled down on that stance when meeting with reporters Tuesday. 

The veteran receiver, whose first season with the Patriots has brought his first career postseason experience, injured his thigh against Houston. He left in the third quarter and did not return. 

"Feeling good," Hogan said. "Just had a little minor setback in the game. I'm working back every single day and feeling better every day."

Hogan had an awkward collision with Texans defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney at the end of the first half on a play at the goal line. To that point, he had reeled in four passes for 95 yards as the team's primary deep threat. With Hogan out, Brady relied upon Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd as wideouts.

Hogan explained that he was expecting to practice this week.

"I'm just gonna go day by day," he said. "Come in here tomorrow. Everything's been feeling better day by day. I'm looking forward to getting out there and practicing this week."