From Comcast SportsNetWASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal mediators are entering the stalled NHL labor talks, with the season's first 2 months already lost because of the lockout.George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, said Monday the parties had agreed to use the agency. He assigned three mediators to assist negotiations -- deputy director Scot Beckenbaugh, director of mediation services John Sweeney and Commissioner Guy Serota -- who was removed later in the day because of a Twitter account that may have been tampered with.The sides are to meet separately with the mediators Wednesday."While we have no particular level of expectation going into this process, we welcome a new approach in trying to reach a resolution of the ongoing labor dispute at the earliest possible date," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.Cohen has worked with the players' associations for Major League Baseball, helping end the 1994-95 strike as an outside counsel, and the NBA. He was an adviser to the NHL players' union before joining FMCS three years ago."We look forward to their involvement as we continue working to reach an equitable agreement for both the players and the owners," said Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players' Association.Cohen mediated during the 2010 negotiations in Major League Soccer and 2011 talks in the NFL and NBA, along with this year's dispute between the NFL and its on-field officials.Cohen said Serota was removed because "within one hour after I issued a press release ... it has been called to my attention that there are issues involving an allegedly hacked Twitter account associated with Commissioner Guy Serota." He said Serota was removed "to immediately dispel any cloud on the mediation process, and without regard to the merits of the allegations."Hockey players and management have not negotiated since last Wednesday. The NHL has canceled more than one-third of its regular season, including all games through Dec. 14, the New Year's Day outdoor Winter Classic and the All-Star weekend scheduled for Jan. 26-27 at Columbus, Ohio."I have had separate, informal discussions with the key representatives of the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association during the course of their negotiations for a successor collective bargaining agreement," Cohen said in a statement."Due to the extreme sensitivity of these negotiations and consistent with the FMCS's longstanding practice, the agency will refrain from any public comment concerning the future schedule andor the status of the negotiations until further notice."Beckenbaugh was a mediator during the 2004-05 lockout, a stoppage that caused cancellation of the entire season.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while starting to actually feel badly for the Republican Party.
*Lukas Head revisits an old photo taken with Steven Stamkos and PK Subban when all three were youth hockey players together.
*A disappointed Brooks Orpik gets emotional when discussing his playoff suspension. Maybe he should stop lining up guys for predatory hits if he doesn’t want to be suspended. His track record, and unwillingness to answer the bell for his actions, is well-chronicled.
*Barry Trotz hints that the Pittsburgh Penguins received preferential treatment in the aforementioned Brooks Orpik suspension.
*A heartwarming story of the San Jose Sharks saving the black cat that somehow jumped on the ice at the Shark Tank prior to Game 1 of their playoff series.
*Congratulations to the inspirational Travis Roy, who was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame last weekend.
*Bob Hartley is fired by the Calgary Flames. Could it be that it was done to make room for Bruce Boudreau, asks Puck Daddy?
*Former Bruins enforcer PJ Stock did some kind of FaceTime television hit with Rogers Sportsnet to make some playoff predictions.
*For something completely different: Jerry Thornton has a number of local Boston businesses banning Roger Goodell from their premises.
Suddenly, there’s an awful lot on the plate of young Jacoby Brissett.
Drafted in the third round by the Patriots, he’s charged with learning one of the most difficult offenses to in the NFL, performing in one of the league’s most demanding programs, dealing with being two heart attacks away from being the starter for a dynastic franchise and living up to the advance billing that’s built him up as one of the great Americans of the 21st century.
Bill Parcells, who’s known Brissett since the NC State product was in high school, spoke to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. The Tuna pumped Brissett’s tires up beyond all reasonable inflation levels.
“He’s a Curtis Martin, Willie McGinest, Troy Brown-type player,” Parcells said, reeling off the names of one Pro Football Hall of Famer and two Patriots Hall of Famers. “That’s the kind of guy he is. That’s what New England is getting. Those kinds, those Tedy Bruschi types, those players who’ve been successful — he’s very similar in his personal life to those kinds of guys.”
Former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, who coached Brissett at Florida in Weis’ vagabond post-Patriots career, was also reached by the intrepid Guregian.
“I only got to coach him for one season, but I absolutely loved the kid as a player and a person,” said Weis. “I couldn’t be any happier that he ended up in New England.”
There’s much more from both Weis and Parcells but I’m not going to scavenge the whole article so click here to see it.
Meanwhile, Josh McDaniels on Monday also spoke about Brissett in complimentary but far-less-fawning terms.
“We’ll find out more as we get to know him in our building, but I know we feel good about the kid,” said McDaniels. “He did a lot of good things in college. He played in a lot of big games and played against some really good football teams. He performed well and admirably for his team. He takes care of the ball, makes some smart decisions. He’s a big kid and sometimes he’s hard to bring down in the pocket. There are some other things that we’ll get a better chance to see and evaluate when he gets here, but I’m looking forward to working with him.”
We already heard from Brissett in his post-draft conference call and he was enjoyable. But it will be interesting to speak with him in the flesh when the 2016 rookies are introduced en masse. No doubt by then the Patriots will have stressed to Brissett the importance of being a name, rank, serial number conversationalist rather than delving too deeply into his pre-Patriots relationships with former New England coaches.
After importing a fleet of corners over the weekend, the Patriots released veteran Rashaan Melvin on Monday.
Melvin was claimed off waivers in October of last season as the Patriots were combing the league for cornerback depth. He’d been with the Ravens previously and was targeted repeatedly by Tom Brady in the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoff win. Soon after joining the Patriots, he was on the field against the Giants in Week 9 when Justin Coleman got injured. It didn’t go well as Eli Manning sought Melvin out and chewed him up.
The Patriots released Melvin in mid-December and then signed him back to their practice squad.
The Patriots drafted Cyrus Jones on Friday and reportedly added four more undrafted corners (the team hasn’t confirmed those agreements yet) so Melvin became expendable.
The Patriots also released linebacker James Vaughters, who they signed to a futures contract in January.