Fehr doesn't see 'path to agreement' in NHL talks

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Fehr doesn't see 'path to agreement' in NHL talks

Its eminently fair to ask what exactly the NHL and NHLPA are trying to prove at this point.

Both sides met for an hour on Sunday to discuss player contract rights and smacked head-long into a wall after a long week of discussions. Both NHLPA Exec Director Donald Fehr and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly admitted the two sides were gaining ground on the big issue of splitting Hockey Related Revenue (HRR), but said the league isnt going to budge on their player rights demands.

That led Fehr to pessimistically tell reporters that he doesnt see a path to an agreement given the tenor of negotiations.

Those are the same player contract rights (eight years of service or 28 years old until unrestricted free agency, reduction in arbitration rights, five year contract term limits, considerable change to the entry-level deals and limiting year-to-year salary variance to five percent) that the NHL has whispered to members of the media that they would have flexibility on all along.

Instead the NHL appears willing to cancel more games and further cannibalize their record-breaking business so they can limit players to five-year deals. This is the same group of NHL owners that were giving thumbs up on signing players like Tyler Seguin to six-year contracts immediately prior to the Sept. 15 lockout.

Take a bow for your stunning new level of hypocrisy, Jeremy Jacobs. Now thats really saying something.

The league-approved media messengers have said all along that the only player contract demand that was non-negotiable was the five percent variance on player contracts to limit the back-diving deals designed to circumvent the salary cap. But thats not how its played out in face-to-face negotiations as those around the NHL started to get their hopes up.

Daly reiterated after Sundays face-to-face meeting that the NHL owners werent willing to budge on the seemingly minor player contract rights, and were willing to go to the wall on it.

These issues are very, very important to the clubs, said Daly to NHL.com. If we were hearing from the clubs, Geez, dont let these player contracting issues get in the way of a deal. Lets get a deal done and get the players back on the ice, then thats what we would be saying at the bargaining table, but thats not what were hearing from our clubs.

So there you have it.

The NHL owners have told Gary Bettman and Daly to draw the line in the sand on player contracts, and theres no budging them despite the window beginning to slam shut on a Dec. 1 start to the regular season. The players are still wondering whats in it for them as theyre taking a drastic pay reduction from the last CBA, and potentially facing much more limited options in controlling the fate of their individual careers.

Players have two interests here, said Fehr. Interest No. 1 is how big the share is and thats not agreed upon yet either, but the parties have at least moved on that. The second one is how does an individual player negotiate his piece of the pie? The answer is players will have vastly fewer rights, vastly less leverage for vastly longer portion of their career under the NHL proposal.

The NHL and NHLPA need to get an agreement done this upcoming week if they hope to have training camp begin after Thanksgiving for a Dec. 1 start season opener. That means there needs to be give and take on both sides. Otherwise the earliest start to the NHL season well be looking at his Jan. 1 with a date for the obliteration of the 2012-13 season slowly crawling onto the horizon.

Perhaps this is just one final showdown between the league and the players before they eventually lock down a deal.

The two sides arent there yet, of course, as they hit this most recent stalemate in negotiations. But total regular season oblivion could come up much quicker than people realize if somebody doesnt learn the meaning of the CBA vocabulary word compromise, and learn it very quickly.

Quotes, notes and stars: Wright 'able to neutralize' top of Orioles lineup

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Quotes, notes and stars: Wright 'able to neutralize' top of Orioles lineup

BALTIMORE -- Quotes, notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 7-2 win over the Orioles.

 

QUOTES

"He was able to neutralize their top half (of the lineup) and that was the biggest thing.'' - John Farrell on Steven Wright.

"He never broke stride, continued in a full-out gait around third base. It was a good heads-up play on his part.'' - Farrell on Mookie Betts scoring all the way from second on a swinging bunt.

"It kind of throws them off because then if I leave one up, I'm hoping the difference in the speed will get them out front.'' - Steven Wright on changing speeds on the knuckleball.

"Yeah, I do. Off the field. Not when I'm at the park, but off the field, I do.'' - Xander Bogaerts, acknowledging that he does think about his ongoing hitting streak.

"It was amazing. Hitting my first home run and putting us ahead three (more) runs, it's awesome.'' - Marco Hernandez on his first major league home run.

 

NOTES:

* Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 23 games with two doubles.

* Marco Hernandez's three-run homer in the eighth inning was his first major league homer.

* Mookie Betts has now reached in 13 straight games against the Orioles.

* Betts has scored 14 runs in his last 11 games.

* In his last seven games, David Ortiz is 14-for-28 in his last seven games.

* Ortiz has seven homers in his last 12 games at Camden Yards and 12 homers in his last 16 games here.

* Ortiz has homered in each of his last three games, the 18th time in his career that he's done that.

* Steven Wright tossed a career-high 122 pitches.

* Wright became the third Red Sox starter to toss three consecutive complete games on the road since Roger Clemens in 1991-92.

 

STARS:

1) Steven Wright

Wright's third complete game of the season was a gem, with just four hits allowed - just three them into the outfield. He's got a 1.79 ERA on the road this season.

2) Xander Bogaerts

In addition to extending his hitting streak to 23 games, Bogaerts had two doubles and knocked in two runs.

3) Marco Hernandez

Hernandez's first big league homer was a big one, extending what had been a two-run lead to a five-run cushion with a three-run blast in the eighth

 

First impressions of the Red Sox’ 7-2 win over the Orioles

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First impressions of the Red Sox’ 7-2 win over the Orioles

BALTIMORE -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 7-2 win over the Orioles:

* Steven Wright had six 1-2-3 innings among the nine he pitched.

For a brief time in the second, after two were out, Wright battled command. Then, in the fifth, he yielded three straight hits and a sacrifice fly, accounting for the only two runs he allowed.

Otherwise? Wright carved through the Baltimore lineup, facing the minimum number of hitters in six of the nine other innings and one over the minimum in another.

He got a number of weak squibbers - including a couple he fielded himself and of the four hits he allowed, only three left the infield.

* Mookie Betts stole the first Red Sox run with some alert baserunning.

Betts was on second when Xander Bogaerts hit a tapped in front of the mound.

Catcher Caleb Joseph pounced on the ball about 15 feet from home plate, but then stood there after throwing out Bogaerts at first. With home plate unguarded, Betts got to third and alertly kept going, beating the throw home from first baseman Chris Davis.

Betts is the probably the Red Sox' fastest baserunner, but in instances like that one, he showed he's also one of their smartest.

* David Ortiz is a menace at Camden Yards.

There's a reason John Farrell waited to make out the lineup card, hoping that David Ortiz was available after missing Sunday's game with a sore foot. Ortiz usually makes his presence felt here and Monday was no different.

He homered to right to lead off the eighth, giving him seven homers in his last 10 games at Camden Yards and 12 homers in his last 28 games.

If Ortiz played for the Orioles, it's frightening to think what sort of power numbers he could put up playing half the time in a ballpark with an inviting right field porch.

* The Sox have gotten plenty of contributions from bench players.

Josh Rutledge (.830 OPS) has helped out in the infield, with Brock Holt relegated to LF, and more recently, the DL. On Monday, it was Marco Hernandez's turn. Hernandez supplied a three-run homer from the ninth spot in the eighth inning, turning a two-run lead into a five-run advantage.

Their contributions have allowed Farrell to make some moves around the infield, such as Monday's decision to give Hanley Ramirez a day off while shifting Travis Shaw to first.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter @Sean_McAdam.

2017 NBA title odds are out, Celtics rank second in the East

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2017 NBA title odds are out, Celtics rank second in the East

Teams are still fighting for the 2016 Larry O’Brien Trophy, but the 2017 NBA title opening odds have already been released by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. The Warriors unsurprisingly come in as heavy 3/2 favorites. The Cavaliers already punched their ticket for this year’s finals and are second, with 5/2 odds. Then there’s the Spurs, Thunder, and Clippers, as you’d expect rounding off the top five.

But then there’s the Celtics with 20/1 odds -- sixth-best in the NBA -- to raise Banner 18.

With eight draft picks and a chunk of cap space, the Celtics are in a position to capitalize on any opportunities that may come their way. There is a lot of uncertainty at this point in the NBA calendar, so Vegas must be hedging their bets on the Celtics making a leap towards contender status.

Celtics fans will also be happy to know the Nets have 500/1 odds to hoist the trophy next season, which ranks last of all teams. The Celtics have the right to swap first-round picks with the Nets in the 2017 draft, which could give them another swing at a superstar prospect.

For full draft profiles of players the Celtics could draft this year, click here.

Team Opening odds
Golden State Warriors 3/2
Cleveland Cavaliers 5/2
San Antonio Spurs 6/1
Oklahoma City Thunder 8/1
Los Angeles Clippers 16/1
Boston Celtics 20/1
Toronto Raptors 25/1
Miami Heat 25/1
Chicago Bulls 40/1
Atlanta Hawks 40/1
Minnesota Timberwolves 60/1
New Orleans Pelicans 60/1
Houston Rockets 60/1
Portland Trail Blazers 60/1
Memphis Grizzlies 80/1
Utah Jazz 80/1
Charlotte Hornets 80/1
Washington Wizards 100/1
Indiana Pacers 100/1
Dallas Mavericks 100/1
Milwaukee Bucks 100/1
Detroit Pistons 100/1
Los Angeles Lakers 100/1
New York Knicks 100/1
Sacramento Kings 100/1
Philadelphia 76ers 100/1
Orlando Magic 100/1
Denver Nuggets 100/1
Phoenix Suns 300/1
Brooklyn Nets 500/1