One Bruins figure thats been conspicuously silent during the two month NHL lockout: Bs President Cam Neely. The Bruins Hall of Fame is in an awkward spot as a former Hall of Fame player and dues payer for the NHLPA in his past hockey life, and a current top executive working for a team owner identified by many as one of the lead architects of the current work stoppage.
Neely broke that silence on Friday afternoon while hosting a lunch for a group of Wounded Warrior Alumni at TD Garden before giving the armed forces veterans a tour of the newly reconstructed Bs dressing room a locker room that the Bruins players themselves havent even seen yet. The Bruins executive was understandably anxious to get things moving amid some pretty stagnant albeit consistent CBA talks this week. He also very clearly illustrated his unique stance having walked a mile in the shoes of both the players and management.
Everybody would like to see the puck being dropped and the game back on the ice, said Neely. I feel for the fans. I feel for both parties that are going through this. Its difficult. But from everything that I know and understand, its a process that hopefully gets done soon but has to get done.
Is Neely at all optimistic given that the NHL and NHLPA have spoken on and off for more than 20 hours this week in New York City in the heaviest stream of CBA talks within the process?
Ive been optimistic since the end of the season, said Neely. Im usually a glass half-full kind of guy and I still remain that way. Its just my nature.
The problem: many of the ticket-purchasing Bruins fans arent glass half-full types of people, and the natives are getting restless with two months of the NHL regular season cancelled along with the Winter Classic. The clock is now ticking on a potential Dec. 1 start to the regular season that would have netted around 64 games, and real progress needs to start taking the place of high hopes.