Thornton 'disappointed' about Winter Classic cancellation

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Thornton 'disappointed' about Winter Classic cancellation

The NHL players are feeling the pain of hockey fans when it comes to Fridays cancellation of the Winter Classic. But it also hasnt hurt their funny bone when it comes to a sense of gallows humor around a lockout situation that appears grim at first glance.

Were all disappointed that it had to come to the Winter Classic being cancelled. I know that personally I just want to get back to work, said Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton, who was making a Saturday morning appearance at the Thomas Joyce Memorial Playground 5K in South Boston on Saturday morning. "But (Bettman) makes 8 million a year, doesnt he? You expect he would have 250 grand kicking around in an ash tray somewhere to keep the Winter Classic alive."

Thornton was clearly kidding while taking a dig at NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in a CBA negotiation thats grown contentious in the 50 days since the lockout began. The 250,000 he referenced is the early November contractual payment to the University of Michigan that the NHL avoided by cancelling the Winter Classic on Nov. 2. While the players are still feeling embattled by the two months worth of paychecks wiped out by the lockout, there are glimmers of hope amid the mounting cancellations.

The No. 2 in command for the NHL, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, and NHLPA, head counsel Steve Fehr, were scheduled to meet at an undisclosed location on Saturday afternoon to continue negotiations. It will be the first face-to-face meeting for the two sides in CBA negotiations since the acrimonious Oct. 18 exchange of ideas at the NHLPA offices in Toronto.
It will also be the first chance for both sides to offer olive branches in negotiations including the owners footing a portion of the make whole provision that appears to be the biggest sticking point for the players. In essence its a cap on escrow and will provide strict guidelines for just how much of a bit the NHL owners can take out of existing NHL contracts before things drop down to a strict 5050 split in Hockey Related Revenue.

The overwhelming question is why it took this long and the cancellation of a Winter Classic game expected to draw in upwards of 120,000 spectators to spur on both sides toward a discussion. But all Thornton and the rest of the NHL players care about at this point is getting back to work, and making sure there is a 2012-13 regular season along with a new CBA that they can live within.

Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

FOXBORO -- Antonio Brown's live stream of coach Mike Tomlin's postgame speech on Sunday had a ripple effect that traveled all the way to New England: Just in case Patriots players weren't familiar with the league's social-media policy, they were reminded of it this week. 

"We were reminded of that," receiver Chris Hogan said. "I’m not sure what the timing is, but obviously, I don’t think we’ll see guys doing that in the locker room."

Players are prohibited from using social media in the locker room until media outlets have been given an opportunity to talk to players following games. Brown's Facebook Live video, which garnered national attention almost as soon as it went online, was shot well before the visitor's locker room at Arrowhead Stadium opened following Pittsburgh's win over Kansas City.

"We have a team policy on that," special teams captain Matthew Slater said. "Strictly enforced. We go from there."

Of course part of the reason the video became as widely disseminated as it did was because it caught Tomlin calling the Patriots "a--holes."

"I have a lot of respect for Coach Tomlin," Slater said when asked about Tomlin's speech. "I appreciate the way he prepares his team. I’ve had a good working relationship with him over the years, and it will continue to be that way."

Both Slater and Hogan insisted that their focus will be trained solely on preparing for what Tomlin and his players will do when they arrive to Gillette Stadium Sunday night -- not what they say leading up to kickoff.

"You come in here, you're automatically bought into what we preach here, what coach [Bill] Belichick preaches," Hogan said. "It's football. We're 100 percent football here. It's not about anything outside. Between the media or whatever it is outside of football, whatever we're doing. When we come here, it's 100 percent football. That's all we're focused on is the opponent we're playing that week."

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

WALTHAM, Mass. – As the final horn blew in Boston’s 108-98 win over Charlotte on Monday night, the game was a win-win kind of night for Avery Bradley.

The Celtics (26-15) continue rolling over opponents at the TD Garden, and he played a relatively pain-free 33 minutes in the win.

It was Bradley’s first game back after missing the previous four with a strained right Achilles injury.

And the fact that he was back on the practice floor on Tuesday (be it a light practice, mind you), bodes well for his injury being a thing of the past now.

“I felt good. It wasn’t sore at all in the game,” Bradley said. “I felt I was moving good. After the game I was a little sore and this morning, but otherwise I felt good.”

Despite Boston being 4-1 this season when Bradley doesn’t play, he has immense value to this Celtics team at both ends of the floor.

Offensively he has been Boston’s second-leading scorer most of this season and currently averages a career-high 17.7 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds which is also a career high.

And defensively, Bradley is coming off a season in which he was named to the NBA’s all-Defensive First Team for the first time.

Any questions or concerns about the Achilles affecting his play defensively were put to rest Monday night when he put the defensive clamps on Nicolas Batum who missed nine of his 11 shots from the field while primarily being guarded by Bradley.

Now his offense, that’s another story.

Bradley failed to reach double digits scoring for the first time this season as he missed seven of his nine shots on Monday to finish with just five points.

But part of that had to do with Bradley passing up shots he normally takes, as well as him missing some he normally knocks down.

Considering his lay-off and the rhythm his teammates have been in shooting the ball in his absence, Bradley wisely decided to get his defensive bearings on track and gradually bring his offensive game around. 

“I have to get my (shooting) rhythm back,” said Bradley who is making a career-best 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers this season. “I’m fine. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”