Boychuk returns just before lockout ends

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Boychuk returns just before lockout ends

It was a case of good timing for Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk.

The 28-year-old Bruins defenseman had decided to take a break from his stint in Austria playing for the Salzburg Red Bulls this weekend, and he arrived back in Boston on Saturday. Then Boychuk awoke to the news on Sunday that the NHL and NHLPA had reached a tentative agreement on a 10-year CBA that will effectively end the lockout and start the 2013 season within two weeks.

Boychuk replied to CSNNE.com that it was awesome when asked how it felt going back to work in Black and Gold, but also said he enjoyed his time playing in the Austrian Hockey League. Boychuk was one of the last Bruins players to head overseas after waiting things out with players like Daniel Paille, Greg Campbell, Shawn Thornton, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand.

It was really nice in Austria. Beautiful country, said Boychuk. The hockey was different, but it was still okay. Itll be nice to start the season here, though.

Boychuk finished with eight points in 15 games for the Red Bulls along with a plus-11 rating, and should be in excellent shape, ready to jump right into NHL action upon his return. Once the NHL begins its shortened schedule, Boychuk will be starting the first season of a three-year, 10.10 million contract that he signed during the 2012-13 season.

The Bruins have nearly a full defenseman corps (Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference, Dougie Hamilton and Boychuk) that has been playing hockey over the last three months, which is an overwhelming positive as the NHL season will start quickly.

Boychuk finished with 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists) in 77 games along with a career-best plus-27 in the 2011-12 season.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.