Would Bruins use potential 'amnesty clause' on Thomas?


Would Bruins use potential 'amnesty clause' on Thomas?

One interesting wrinkle to the extended talks between the NHL and NHLPA this week has been the mention of a contract amnesty provision.

Contract amnesty is something many assumed would be mentioned at some point, as the two sides finally settled down to the business of a new CBA. The New York Posts Larry Brooks indicated the subject was broached this week.

While infamously wasteful NHL contracts, like those to Rick DiPietro and Wade Redden, would be at the top of the amnesty candidates list for the Islanders and Rangers if it became a one-time CBA feature, it begs a different question altogether for the Boston Bruins:

Would Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli be tempted to use the contract amnesty feature to buy out goaltender Tim Thomas after he headed straight for his Colorado bunker after last season?

It was a downward spiral for the 38-year-old goaltender after he skipped the team's White House visit in honor of their Stanley Cup championship last January. Then Thomas decided he was going to skip the 2012-13 NHL season to get reconnected with friends, faith and family, according to his own Facebook post, and train for a spot on the 2014 Winter Olympics squad.

Some have given Thomas "attaboys" for being ahead of the NHL lockout curve, and credited the Cup Finals hero with seeing the work stoppage coming ahead of time. But it appears more and more likely there will be an NHL regular season in 2012-13, and it could start as early as Dec. 1. Thomas isnt expected to have a change of heart about playing, and the Bruins will attempt to trade his contract to another NHL team once the new CBA is activated.

But wait.

Theres also discussion of lowering the salary cap floor for NHL teams that are under water financially, and those were the exact teams the Bruins had targeted for a Thomas deal prior to the lockout.

So the cap-floor seeking teams may dry up under the guidelines of a new CBA. If that happens and the Bruins put Thomas on the suspended list, then the amnesty buyout clause will give the Bruins a chance to get his onerous 5 million cap hit off their books. This could be particularly important if the salary cap drops in the first few seasons of the CBA, and potentially hurts a Bruins team thats already spent 65.2 million this upcoming season and has 57.1 million committed for 2013-014.

The million dollar question is this: Would Bruins ownership decide to pay off the final year of the Thomas contract to get him off their books?

That would free him to sign with another team without the Bs seeing any trade value in return. But theres also been no indication that Thomas has been working out with a return to hockey in mind for this season, and his Facebook account has been silent since the beginning of August. An amnesty clause might finally allow the Black and Gold to close the chapter on a goalie who turned his back on them months ago.

Celtics break ground on new practice facility


Celtics break ground on new practice facility

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- When it comes to finding ways to attract the best talent, colleges and universities often seek to upgrade their training facilities as an enticement to prospective players.
So why should it be any different at the pro level?
The Boston Celtics had a groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning for The Auerbach Center at New Balance Headquarters.
“When you think he was hired in 1966 and they’re still honoring him, it’s very humbling,” said Randy Auerbach, Red’s daughter.
New Balance officials echoed similar sentiments about the legendary Red Auerbach, the architect of arguably the greatest dynasty in professional basketball.
“Red Auerbach was a true entrepreneur whose passion for winning and dedication to the sport of basketball and the Boston Celtics was equally matched with his commitment to people and his local community,” said Jim Davis, Chairman and Owner at New Balance.  “New Balance is extremely proud to join with the Boston Celtics in honoring his professional achievements and personal values through ‘Red’s House’ at our Boston world headquarters.”
Celtics president Rich Gotham cited several benefits to moving the team to a state-of-the-art practice facility closer to Boston.
Among the reasons given was the potential for the practice facility to be a potential enticement for free agents.
“Players spend more time in the practice facility than they do in the arena they play in certainly, and maybe more than they do at home,” Gotham said. “So having a place where they feel comfortable, a place where they want to spend time to improve themselves across the board … it’s all coming together in a pretty big way. The best players know it’s integral to their success that make sure that support is there, that infrastructure is there. So when we’re out talking to a player, we’re going to be talking about this practice facility we’re building. Because we do think it’s an important part of our story.”
Some of the features of the new practice facility will include:
·  Two state-of-the-art parquet floor basketball courts where the team will practice
·  Leading edge audio-visual technology throughout the facility
·  Expanded strength and conditioning, training, and recovery facilities
·  Best-in-class locker rooms and players’ lounge
·  Physical therapy areas including hydrotherapy pools
·  Sports science and nutrition facilities
·  Expanded media work room, press conference and broadcast facilities
·  A flexible hospitality area designed for community relations activities, partner gatherings and other guest events
·  Work space for the team’s coaching and basketball front office staffs
While the facility will have all the bells and whistles you would come to expect in a new facility, Gotham said there will be a balance of sorts struck between that and the franchise’s longstanding history.
“What will be clear is it will be … at that intersection of, which is a strange intersection, of innovation but honoring our tradition,” Gotham said. “This will be a building that’s state-of-the-art, moving forward. But at the same time, I think one of the things we’re lucky to have is this treasure trove of great guys who came before us who left great wisdom and great quotes. You can see a lot of that built in. Coach Stevens is big on having motivational phrases around for the guys to see every single day when they come in for practice. If those come from Red Auerbach and Bill Russell, all the better. You’ll see us incorporating those kind of things.”   

Celtics waive R.J. Hunter as James Young makes roster


Celtics waive R.J. Hunter as James Young makes roster

BOSTON – One way or another, R.J. Hunter or James Young was not going to be a Boston Celtic by the end of the day Monday.
The Celtics made their choice by waiving Hunter just hours before the NBA deadline to trim their roster down to 15 players.
Hunter began to show signs of coming around near the end of training camp, but his improved play would eventually be too little too late.

This is certainly good news for Young, who like Hunter, made it clear that he wanted to remain with the Celtics. But it by no means should be seen as a victory for Young who is entering his third NBA season.
The 21-year-old is now part of the 15-man roster, but it still doesn’t address the issue of him playing better to where the Celtics might actually use him with some degree of regularity.
If not for Kelly Olynyk’s shoulder injury, which will keep him out of action until next month, there was a decent chance that Young would begin the season on the inactive roster. But to Young’s credit, he showed a level of dedication to the game that the Celtics had not seen before. He spent most of this past summer in Boston working on his game, trying to get physically stronger. During the preseason, his level of commitment to improving was noticeable as well.
And when he did get a chance to play in the preseason, he did a lot of little things really well, showing the kind of improvement that ultimately put him a leg up on Hunter whom the Celtics drafted last year with the 28th overall pick.
If Hunter isn’t claimed, he becomes an unrestricted free agent who can then sign with any team of his choosing. Do not be surprised if Hunter is claimed off waivers by a team which then assigns him to their Development League affiliate, similar to what the Celtics did with Ryan Kelly over the weekend.