B's players: 'Recchi sees lockout differently now'


B's players: 'Recchi sees lockout differently now'

Mark Recchis former teammates with the Bruins still love and respect him for the future Hall of Fame legend that he is.

Theres no denying Rexs imprint on the Black and Gold squad that won the Stanley Cup two years ago, and the lessons he taught Bostons young players are still paying dividends to this day.

But those same admiring teammates arent exactly seeing eye-to-eye with Recchi after his pro-owner comments about the lockout earlier this week in the Boston Globe. For those that need a refresher, Recchi essentially advised the 700 plus members of the NHLPA that they needed to cut their losses and take the leagues latest offer before things get worse.

My advice, said Recchi, who owners part of the Kamloops Blazers junior team in British Columbia is that the longer it goes, the worse the offer is going to get for the players.
Hey, Im an owner, too, so I see both sides. We lose money on our team, and obviously thats not the same, the moneys not nearly as significant as in the NHL. But the business dynamics are similar. Weve lost money every year weve owned it.

The longer theyre out, the revenues are going to go down and down. Corporate sponsors arent going to be lining up...so there goes that money. The schedule isnt going to be 82 games, I dont think, at this point. Thats more money lost. So, how are you going to get a better deal? Personally, I think the best time is now.

The NHLPA and Exec Director Donald Fehr have publicly blanched at the idea of moving to 5050 immediately without any guarantee that player contracts will be honored, and the NHL has refused to budge on strict player contract guidelines that will severely limit a players options. Theres also a discrepancy as to how close (the NHLPA believes the two sides are a few hundred million dollars apart) or far (the NHL is saying there could be a billion dollar difference in their proposals) the two sides remain more than 60 days into the lockout.

But Recchi indicated that the players will still make their money in the system being proposed by the NHL, and its up to them to step up and accept it. Give credit where its due: Recchi lived through a pair of work stoppages including a lost season to the lockout in 2004-05. Like his past-generation peers in Jeremy Roenick and Bill Guerin, Recchi has regrets about the full season lost to labor strife.

Shawn Thornton said hes been in regular contact with his beloved former teammate, and knows exactly where Recchi sits on the lockout subject.

Not surprisingly Thornton doesnt agree. But its about more than the make whole provision or the Hockey Related Revenue formula which by the way is no longer an issue.

Ive talked to Rex a lot through this process, and I know where he stands. So its not much of a shock to me, said Thornton. But as far as it goes guys like me probably get screwed more than anybody by this lockout and I wouldnt take this deal. There is stuff in there that just isnt doable for the betterment of the league or the players.

Some of the stuff about the player rights just cant happen. There are some things that they need to move on before accepting.

When asked to elaborate, the Bs enforcer actually referenced the proposed cap on AHL salaries as a sticking point. Adding AHL players to the salary cap would unnecessarily punish longtime AHL veterans like Trent Whitfield, who deserve something for their long years of service and wealth of experience.

No matter what comes out from the other side weve given up a lot: weve given over a billion dollars, we gave a proposal on back-diving contracts and we gave a proposal on capping minor league contracts, said Thornton. I dont think you can cap a guy like Trent Whitfield thats played in that league for 16 years. Hes almost like a member of the Providence staff grooming the kids to be good professionals for when they come up to the NHL level. To take 100,000 from him just isnt right.

I was in that position during the last lockout when I was in the NHL. I went from 125,000 to 75,000 and almost had to sell my house in Oshawa. It sounds tough because I know some people dont even make 75,000, but when you have an agent, you pay rent in two places and you have a family it doesnt go a long way when you only have a ten-year career to earn money. Thats been one of my biggest concerns during the meetings: we shouldnt even be allowed to cap those AHL kids. There is stuff like that where the deal just isnt good enough yet.

Daniel Paille said he gained all manner of respect for Recchi during their two years together in Boston, but the fourth line winger disagreed with the retired forwards call for the players to sign a deal. Recchi has been linked to Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi over the past couple of years as fellow Kamloops residents, and Paille wondered if perhaps that tight relationship has slanted his viewpoint toward the owners.

A guy like Rex is highly respected by everyone and hes only been away from the game for a year, said Paille. But he does see it in a different way now. For him to say the things that he said, I was a little surprised. But hes an owner now and I think he sees it from the business aspect of it. But I think he understands it from the sense of what the players are fighting for, and thats important as well.

While his Bruins teammates had always fully adopted Recchis advice in the recent past, its no surprise theyre going their own way this time around with so much on the line for the present and future of the players.


Durant leads U.S. to second exhibition rout, 106-57 over China


Durant leads U.S. to second exhibition rout, 106-57 over China

LOS ANGELES - Just two games into the U.S. basketball team's pre-Olympic tour, coach Mike Krzyzewski already sees the start of something big.

Kevin Durant scored 19 points, Klay Thompson added 17 and the Americans rolled to a second straight blowout exhibition victory, 106-57 over China on Sunday night.

DeMar DeRozan scored 13 points in his hometown, and DeMarcus Cousins had 12 points and seven rebounds in the second stop on the five-city tour leading the Americans to Rio de Janeiro. The victory over an overmatched opponent was impressive, but Krzyzewski liked it more for the composed, cohesive manner in which the new teammates worked together.

"We should have won, but the way we won was excellent," Krzyzewski said. "We're really growing together as a group."

After opening their showcase tour by trouncing Argentina in Las Vegas on Friday night, the U.S. team posted another rout at a packed Staples Center. Krzyzewski is finding it difficult to disguise his early optimism, praising his team's work in their brief practice time together.

And while they're still learning their teammates' tendencies and solidifying player rotations, the U.S. team looked remarkably connected for long stretches against China, which has no current NBA players.

Durant noticed it, as did Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who kicked off the festivities by blocking a shot on China's first possession and throwing down an alley-oop dunk on the Americans' first possession.

"We've only been together a week, but it seems like we've been teammates for years," Jordan said.

Jordan scored 12 points and led a strong defensive effort with three blocks for the Americans, who held the Chinese to 30.9 percent shooting. Krzyzewski believes the American team will excel at defensive switching because of its abundance of versatile players.

"I think we're learning more about one another, and our defense was there pretty much the whole game," Krzyzewski said.

The Americans haven't lost a game since the 2006 world championships, winning 65 straight games. They're 47-1 in exhibitions since NBA stars took over the roster in 1992, going undefeated since 2004.

While LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard all declined the chance to play in Rio, the Americans who accepted the opportunity appear to be serious about winning without some of the nation's top stars.

"We're young, but we've got a bunch of seasoned pros," said Kyrie Irving, who had 10 points and four assists. "We've been on a lot of journeys, and we've crossed paths before, but now we're all coming together at the right time."

Anthony was the only holdover in the Americans' starting lineup from Las Vegas while Krzyzewski works on chemistry and coordination. He put Paul George in with the starters alongside Anthony, Jordan, Kyle Lowry and DeRozan, whose family watched from courtside.

Both teams had early shooting struggles, but the Americans took charge with impressive speed late in the first quarter.

Durant, one of the two returning American gold medalists from London, heard boos from the LA crowd during pregame introductions. He quickly found his outside stroke with 14 points and four assists in the first half, and Cousins overpowered the Chinese down low for 12 first-half points on the way to a 55-29 halftime lead.

The Chinese team's most recognizable name to North Americans is Yi Jianlian, the Milwaukee Bucks' choice with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2007 draft. He spent five seasons with four NBA teams before heading back to the Guangdong Southern Tigers.

Yi led the Chinese with 18 points. Zhou Qi, the 7-foot-2 center drafted by the Houston Rockets in the second round last month, scored two points on 1-for-6 shooting. Exciting guard Zhao Jiwei scored 14 points.

The teams meet again Tuesday in Oakland, where Durant will play in front of his new home fans for the first time since defecting from Oklahoma City to the Golden State Warriors earlier this month.

They'll also meet Aug. 6 in the opening game of Olympic competition in Brazil.

White Sox suspend Chris Sale over uniform flap


White Sox suspend Chris Sale over uniform flap

CHICAGO - The Chicago White Sox were set to wear throwback uniforms. Chris Sale had other ideas.

The White Sox suspended their ace five days without pay for destroying collared throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear.

The team announced the punishment on Sunday after Sale was scratched from his scheduled start and sent home the previous night.

The suspension comes to $250,000 of his $9.15 million salary. He was also fined about $12,700 - the cost of the destroyed jerseys - according to a person familiar with the penalty. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

"Obviously we're all extremely disappointed that we have to deal with this issue at this time both from the standpoint of the club as well as Chris' perspective," general manager Rick Hahn said. "It's unfortunate that it has become this level of an issue and potential distraction taking away from what we're trying to accomplish on the field."

Sale was not expected at the ballpark on Sunday. He is eligible to return Thursday against the crosstown Cubs at Wrigley Field, though Hahn would not say if the left-hander would start that game.

The Major League Baseball Players Association declined comment, spokesman Greg Bouris said. Sale could ask the union to file a grievance.

FanRag Sports first reported Sale was protesting the 1976-style jerseys, which were navy and sported unusual collars on a hot and humid night.

Sale then cut up an unknown number of jerseys before the game and was told to leave the stadium. With not enough usable 1976 jerseys available, the White Sox wore white throwback uniforms from the 1983 season.

The incident comes with the White Sox in a tailspin after a 23-10 start and Sale's name circulating in trade rumors.

"The actions or behaviors of the last 24 hours does not change in any aspect, any respect, our belief that Chris Sale can help this club win a championship and win multiple championships," Hahn said. "It does not move the needle one iota in terms of his value to this club, his value to any other club that may be interested in his services or the likelihood of him being moved or kept whatsoever. None of that stuff is impacted at all by these events."

The incident does raise some questions in general about throwback uniforms, how players feel about them and whether they should be forced to wear jerseys that aren't comfortable - particularly starting pitchers.

"If I'm playing with Chris Sale I want him to pitch," Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said. "If he wants to play with no shirt, we play with no shirt. I just want him to pitch."

New York Yankees pitcher Chasen Shreve said: "Pitchers like their stuff. Me, it doesn't bother me, but for him, obviously it does. It's crazy. I don't think I'm that bad."

White Sox pitcher James Shields wouldn't comment on whether players should be made to wear throwback jerseys. But he did say: "I don't really mind the throwbacks. I haven't had any issues with that."

Manager Robin Ventura said players occasionally wearing uniforms they don't like comes with the job.

"But you wear it," he said. "If you want to rip it after, you can rip it up after. I've seen guys rip it up after."

Hahn said throwback uniforms the White Sox wore last season were a bit baggy so the team took measurements in spring training so they would fit the players better. He also mentioned the money the uniforms generate.

"Part of the element of being in position to win a championship is the revenue side of the operation and respect for their reasonable requests to increase revenue," Hahn said.

This wasn't the first flare-up involving the 27-year-old Sale, who is known for his competitive streak and strict training regimen.

He was openly critical of team executive Ken Williams during spring training when he said Drake LaRoche, the son of teammate Adam LaRoche, would no longer be allowed in the clubhouse. Adam LaRoche retired as a result, and Sale hung the LaRoches' jerseys in his locker.

He was also suspended five games by Major League Baseball last season for his role in a brawl at Kansas City that started with a flare-up between teammate Adam Eaton and the Royals' Yordano Ventura. Sale went to the Royals clubhouse after he got tossed and was seen pounding on the door.

Hahn said the punishment was unrelated to previous incidents. He also said the two had a "very candid" meeting in his office with Sale after the pitcher had some exchanges with staff members in the clubhouse and that both "expressed remorse." They spoke again on Sunday.

"At that point last night Chris stood by his actions," Hahn said. "Part of what makes Chris great, part of what makes him elite, is his passion and commitment. We've seen that sometimes spill out from between the white lines. Yesterday was one of those instances and it unfortunately led to events that required discipline."