NHLPA braces for another disclaimer vote, courtroom battle

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NHLPA braces for another disclaimer vote, courtroom battle

It was probably inevitable that the NHL labor negotiations were going to hit one more pothole during the slow crawl to the deadline.
The NHL and NHLPA broke off talks Thursday after meeting for only 45 minutes. The players then prepared to once again undertake a vote to give their Executive Board permission to file a disclaimer of interest and dissolve the union. The NHLPA had taken this action last month, but the deadline to file passed last night.

The union, in the midst of a long bargaining session with the owners, chose at the time to let the deadline pass. Theres a belief the NHL returned to its previous take-it-or-leave-it negotiating attitude after the deadline expired.

According to a source with knowledge of the process, the players would be able to re-vote on a disclaimer of interest quickly and could have it completed in one day, rather than the five days it took last time around.

The NHLPA also filed a motion in New York federal court on Thursday to dismiss the NHLs suit challenging their efforts to dissolve the union.
Heres the statement from the Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on the case: "The parties are directed to meet and confer on these subjects before Monday January 7 that is constructive, one that may enhance, and does not needlessly inhibit, the parties' ability to resolve their disputes with dispatch."
It all looks ugly on the outside, of course, as the lockout passed Day No. 110 on Thursday and continues to be a permanent stain of embarrassment, greed, selfishness and ego on the NHL brand. But all of that comes with the NHL and NHLPA knowing full well that they have until Jan. 11 to continue positioning themselves for the best deal possible.
More and more NHL employees are being notified that the season is expected to begin Jan. 19, consisting of a shortened 48-game schedule against conference opponents seven games against division rivals and two games apiece against every other team in the conference. It could also include an AHL-style schedule where the Bruins could play Friday and Saturday games against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre a scenario across the league that could produce some interesting results.
Many around the NHLPA believe the threat of a disclaimer of interest is exactly the kind of leverage needed to finally force a palatable CBA that both groups can live with. It forced the NHL to come up with a comprehensive 300-page offer for the first time last week, and it should once again push the owners toward the negotiating table with the players.
Its a place they should have been from the very beginning, and were this week before Thursdays dip into unsavory waters.

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

BOSTON -- When it comes to NBA awards and accolades, players in contention often try to play it cool when asked about whether they are deserving.
 
And then there’s Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, who gives a definitive response whenever the question about whether he should be an All-Star starter is raised.
 
We’ll find out later today if Thomas will in fact be named as a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team when the East and West starters are announced. 
 
“It’s a little bit refreshing in that he is open about it,” Danny Ainge said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show this morning. “But every player wants to be acknowledged by their fan base, by other players in the league, coaches. You come into the league and as a young player you want to earn the respect of your peers and then you want to get paid and then you want to be an All-Star; maybe that’s the wrong order; and then nothing more important than winning.
 
Ainge added, “Isaiah is having a great year. He’s talked a lot about it. At some point in his career, he’ll talk about the most important thing and that’s winning championships.”
 
Ainge pointed to when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were all Celtics, there was no mistaking that winning came before anything else.
 
But where those guys were in their careers in terms of individual achievements and just age, were major factors in their focus being so deeply rooted in winning.
 
“Along the way they all want to win, but when you get to the point where Paul, Ray and KG were in their 30s, they didn’t care about any of that other stuff because they had it all, already,” Ainge said. “They had multiple All-Star games, they had big contracts, winning became the only thing that mattered.”
 
In other Celtics-related news, Ainge said that there’s no timetable for when Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) will return to the floor. He has missed five of the last six games with the injury which includes last night’s loss to the New York Knicks which was a game in which the 6-foot-2 Bradley was a last-minute scratch from the lineup

Edelman says 'there was no maliciousness' to his Steelers comments

Edelman says 'there was no maliciousness' to his Steelers comments

It's funny how during a week like this one, a singularly ridiculous act -- such as Antonio Brown's live stream of the Steelers postgame locker room celebration last weekend -- can lead to a series of brush fires that pop up only to be peed on and put out. 

That was the case yesterday as a comment Julian Edelman made to WEEI earlier this week about Brown's Facebook Live video was spun as a sort of vicious burn directed at the Steelers franchise. 

"That's how that team is run," Edelman said, a comment that read as a more serious indictment than it actually sounded. "I personally don't think that would be something that would happen in our locker room, but hey, whatever. Some people like red and some people like blue. Some people like tulips and some people like roses. Whatever."

That led to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being asked about Edelman's comments, and defending the honor of the Rooney family, during a press conference on Wednesday.

"I don’t think I need to speak much," Roethlisberger said. "We’ve got our trophies out there. I’ve got owners that I think are the best in the business. They’re family to us, and I’m sure if he talked to his owner, he would say the same thing about the Rooneys. Anybody in here in the football world or the regular world that owns the Rooneys knows what they stand for. It’s a blessing to call them a family."

And on and on it went. Later in the day, Edelman was asked about his comments during a conference call with Pittsburgh reporters.

So just in case you're keeping score, a Steelers player streamed a video of coach Mike Tomlin calling the Patriots "a-holes," which prompted a response from Edelman. That response prompted a response from Roethlisberger, whose response to the response then led to a response to the response to the response from Edelman.

Got it?

"Yeah, I mean I think it was taken out of context," Edelman said. "I have nothing but respect for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’re an unbelievable franchise. It starts from the top with the Rooney Family, Coach Tomlin, I think they just mis[interpreted] – I mean, I don’t know, I may have said it, but I think more of that was that it’s not the way we would do it here. That’s just how that goes. There was no maliciousness about it, but it’s whatever. That’s what the media does, try to make stories."