Orr: 'Everybody lost' the NHL lockout


Orr: 'Everybody lost' the NHL lockout

Bobby Orr had no words when first gauged for his reaction to the NHL lockout being over.
Instead, the all-time Bruins great and certified hockey rock star busted into one of his patented wide, joyful grins and raised his hands in the air over his head like hed just scored a game-winning goal in the Cup Finals.
The Greatest Hockey Played That Ever Lived had always kept a positive attitude throughout the 113-day NHL lockout. Orr consistently told anybody that would listen that a deal would eventually arrive for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
His faith in the owners, players and league leadership were rewarded last weekend when a 16-hour negotiating session finally hit pay dirt.
Im thrilled. For the players, the owners, the fans and the people that havent been working because of the lockout. Its better for everybody, so Im thrilled that hockey is getting back to work, said the Hall of Fame defenseman and two-time Cup winner with the Black and Gold. I was optimistic, but I just wish it had ended sooner. There were so many people hurt by the lockout.
Orr, of course, runs the Orr Hockey Group out of Charlestown, and has a keen interest in the NHL from a business perspective. Its Orrs company that represents Bruins forward Nathan Horton, in fact.
But like so many other former NHL players that have watched all of the work stoppages unfold over the last two decades, Orrs biggest concern was about protecting the NHL that hes loved since he was a shinny-playing youngster growing up in Ontario.
Idle conversations about winners and losers within the NHL lockout confound Orr, who didnt see any winners among the players, owners, league employees, fans, media, sponsors, advertisers or business owners that have so much at stake if NHL games are being played.
People talk about, who won? Well, nobody won, said Orr, who was at the W Hotel in Boston on Wednesday for the kickoff party for production Turk: The Movie based on teammate Derek Sandersons story of highs, lows and conquering his demons. How do you pick winners in something like this? You cant pick any winners and losers in something like this. Everybody lost.
No. 4 just hopes that the NHL players begin putting on a show starting Jan. 19, and keep giving fans the kind of electric on-ice product that allowed the league to rise up to 3.3 billion in revenues last season. If the 48-game regular season sprint and playoffs are compelling, hockey fans will come back in droves just as they did before the last four months of madness.
Now you just hope that the players get back to work and they play hard, said Orr. Im sure they will because its going to be a short season. If you get off to a bad start then youre in trouble. It should be really good hockey.
Youve got to play hard and give em good hockey. Hockey fans are very loyal and they missed the game, Im sure, just like I havelike so many people have. If its good, hard hockey and you give it to them consistently every night there will be some that will take their time coming back but hockey fans are very, very loyal. They will come back.
If Bobby Orr says that NHL fans will come back after the most embarrassing lockout in the history of pro sports, that should be good enough for anybody thats ever loved the game of hockey.

Belichick: Dion Lewis is ‘on to the the next step’

Belichick: Dion Lewis is ‘on to the the next step’

FOXBORO - Dion Lewis was on the practice field for the first time on Thursday afternoon. The running back, who tore his ACL last season then sustained a patella stress fracture over the summer, will now have a maximum of three weeks to work out with the team before the Patriots decide whether to activate him or put him on injured reserve. 

Predictably, Bill Belichick was not particularly revealing when asked about Lewis' re-entry. 

"Well, he's been out there doing things with the training staff for a long time, so now it's on to the next step," Belichick explained, adding, "Dion works really hard. No one works harder than Dion."

It's a 53-man tie for the title of "Patriot Who Works Hardest" between Lewis and every other player on the roster who's been described as having nobody ahead of him in the "Works Harder" category. 

Anyway, Lewis will not be listed on the injury report until he's activated and that would seem an extreme longshot for this week, though the team would have until Saturday to make that move. 

Haggerty: Bruins sinking fast with nothing to hang on to

Haggerty: Bruins sinking fast with nothing to hang on to

So, what do the Bruins do now amidst a three-game tailspin that could easily devolve into a six- or seven-game losing stretch if they’re not too careful?

The goaltending has been predictably porous with Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin out of commission with injuries. The Black and Gold allowed 11 goals in the past two games despite Zane McIntyre battling in tough conditions at Madison Square Garden. The bottom line is McIntyre and Malcolm Subban don’t look ready for NHL prime time and there are legitimate questions as to whether Subban ever will become an NHL goalie.

Beyond that, the Bruins defense has been downright atrocious just as the goaltending situation has deteriorated. Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug have struggled individually and as a pairing that the B’s coaching staff had hoped would complement Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo in Boston’s top-four. McQuaid is a minus-3 in his first two games back from an upper body injury and Krug is a minus-4 with a surprising zero points in his first seven games this season.

In fact, every Bruins defenseman not named Chara or Carlo is a combined minus-16 on the season and, of that group, only currently-in-the-AHL rookie Rob O’Gara has a positive plus/minus for the season. Both the defensive zone coverage and the compromised ability to break the puck out of their own end have been problematic and Boston’s opponents have enjoyed way too easy of a time getting into the slot area for juicy scoring chances.

In other words, the defense looks very much like last season for the Bruins with – surprise, surprise – nearly the same cast of characters returning from that subpar crew.

Then there’s the forward group, which has enjoyed great production from David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand in the early going and from David Backes before his elbow injury that was at least partially caused by the hard miles the 32-year-old brawny center has logged over the years. 

Patrice Bergeron has just one point in four games since returning from a lower body injury and opposing defenses in recent games have been able to key on that top line of Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak while mostly neutralizing them. 

That’s because the other Bruins forward lines are doing nothing offensively from a production or puck possession standpoint. Sure, Austin Czarnik had his first NHL goal Wednesday night against the Rangers and Dominic Moore has a couple of goals for a fourth line that’s been decent for Boston this season.

But David Krejci has no goals and three points in seven games with a minus-4 rating while looking slow and tentative coming back from hip surgery, Ryan Spooner is off to a slow start bouncing between wing and center and the third line winger combo of Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes have zero points and a ghastly combined minus-14 rating on the season.

So, basically the Black and Gold have nothing to hang their hat on with the goaltending, the defensemen and the forwards all working at far less than full capacity right now, and that’s making them hockey road kill for opponents. To make matters worse, the Bruins find themselves in the middle of a six-game stretch where they’re playing quality teams that made the playoffs last season, and can expose all of their weak spots.

A prolonged losing streak could knock the Bruins far out of the playoff picture over the next few weeks and leave them more than a handful of points out of the postseason cut by Thanksgiving. Once that happens, the odds would be against the Bruins turning things around and there would zero margin of error for a team that needs leeway based on the glaring roster weaknesses.

So, what are the Bruins to do right now?

There’s not much they can do aside from simply play better, hope that Backes and Rask can return rather quickly and avoid buckling and quitting in games like they did against the Wild and Rangers over the past few days. The Bruins will try to ramp Rask up potentially for this weekend against the Red Wings in Detroit and perhaps that will be enough time for his reported hamstring and groin issues to have healed up.

But if not, the Bruins will need to look on the goaltending market for possible answers rather than asking rookie goalies to thrive behind a struggling, substandard defensive group. Ondrej Pavelec out in Winnipeg would be too expensive in terms of cap hit and there may not be a chance to snag Mike Condon on waivers from Pittsburgh as the Penguins look like they want to hold onto the Massachusetts native with Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury also in the fold.

That leaves the Bruins with a number of retread goalie options like Kari Ramo, Kevin Poulin, Ray Emery, Dan Ellis and Yann Danis, who might have to become a reality if Rask suffers a dreaded setback in the coming days. Bringing in a veteran goalie with NHL experience certainly makes some sense on paper if things are left to Subban and McIntyre, but the bottom line is that Boston will continue to resemble an imploding hockey club until some of their other deep-seated issues are fully addressed.

Gerry Cheevers isn’t walking through that door anytime soon, and if he did, he’d smartly walk back out rather than get hung out to dry by a Bruins team that’s playing embarrassingly poorly in front of a couple of young goalies that need their best.