Lucic, Thornton in New York for NHL labor negotiations


Lucic, Thornton in New York for NHL labor negotiations

Its a big day in the CBA negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA as both sides will meet at an undisclosed location in New York City. It will be the first full bargaining session in 19 days since the NHL rejected a trio of NHLPA proposals. It took a midnight marathon session over the weekend -- one that lasted 13 hours according to one NHL player -- to break the ice and get things spinning back in a forward motion.

Its expected that the two sides are going to make progress in the areas of splitting hockey related revenue and the owners making whole on the contracts theyve signed to NHL players. A number of other player rights matters are also expected to be on the table.

The NHLPA will be represented by Executive Director Donald Fehr and lead counsel Steve Fehr along with 13 players while NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and a handful of owners were on hand for the talks. Its unknown if it will only be the Fehr Brothers, Bettman and Daly for the actual negotiating sessions, but bruising Bruins forwards Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton are among the 13 players.

The other NHL players in attendance are: Craig Adams. David Backes, Martin Biron, Chris Campoli, Sidney Crosby, Mathieu Darche, Ron Hainsey, Johan Hedberg, Manny Malhotra, Steve Montador and Kevin Westgarth.

While both sides are hopeful the talks will lead to new CBA agreement and the start to the 2012-13 season, it would be surprising if things were wrapped up in a matter of days without at least another snag or two from either side. If the NHL and NHLPA can find common ground quickly, its expected that the NHL will have a shortened regular season in the 64-game range that could start on Dec. 1.

Geno Smith has torn ACL; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start for Jets


Geno Smith has torn ACL; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start for Jets

The Jets’ quarterback situation took a comically typical turn Monday, as Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under center after an MRI revealed that Geno Smith has a torn ACL. 

After starting New York’s first six games of the season, Fitzpatrick was demoted to backup for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. Smith was injured on a sack by Baltimore’s Matt Judon, forcing Fitzpatrick back into action. 

After leading the Jets to a 24-16 win, Fitzpatrick made his dissatisfaction with being benched known. 

“The biggest thing in this game in order to last, is to have belief in yourself,” Fitzpatrick said in his postgame press conference. “Because when the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself. That’s something that I’ve had to deal with before. That’s something I’m dealing with now.”

On the season, Fitzpatrick has completed 136 of 237 passes for 1,561 yards with six touchdowns and a league-leading 11 interceptions. 

McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup


McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It was a bitter pill for Adam McQuaid to sit out the first five games of this season, but it looks like the veteran Bruins stay-at-home defenseman is nearing a return to the lineup. McQuaid was cleared to potentially play in Saturday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens after an upper body injury kept him shelved for the team’s first four games, and could be approaching a return in the next few days as Claude Julien mulls a number of possible lineup changes.

“It was obviously frustrating, but I’m where I’m at now and trying to move on from it. Looking forward to getting back into the lineup hopefully as soon as possible here,” said the 30-year-old McQuaid, who had a goal and nine points in 64 games for the Black and Gold last season. “The excitement level is high for me, and it is for everybody after a loss when you’re looking forward to getting back out there.

“It would have been nice to have started the season with the guys, but you can’t change that now. I’ve had some good practices, and I’m just trying to my game as simple as possible, and take it as it comes. Obviously guys have played some games and it’s been a couple of weeks for me, so I’ll just have to keep my game simple.”

The B’s bench boss indicated it was only a matter of time before McQuaid makes his 2016-17 regular season debut, but that he’s got plenty of things to decide prior to dropping the puck against the Wild.

“[McQuaid] was cleared last game. I haven’t made any decisions based for [Tuesday night vs. Minnesota]. There’s a lot of things that are up in the air, and I’ve just go to juggle those things,” said Julien. “Who knows? Hopefully tomorrow morning I’ve got a better picture [of injury situation], and if not then it will be game-time decisions. I wish I could have a better answer [on if McQuaid will play], but I’ve got no answers right now.”

With Colin Miller (minus-4), Joe Morrow, Torey Krug (a rough minus-3 against Montreal) and John-Michael Liles all minus players after the first five games of the season, there are ample options for Julien on which potential blueliner to bump up to the press box. McQuaid is just happy he’s getting closer to a return while skating with 23-year-old Rob O’Gara at practice, and he can get back to helping a B’s team that’s smack dab in the middle (ranked 15th allowing 3.0 goals per game) of the NHL for team defense this season.