All-Star selection 'a dream come true' for Seguin

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All-Star selection 'a dream come true' for Seguin

BOSTON -- Zdeno Chara is an old hand at this NHL All-Star Game thing. But this year, he'll get to experience ofwatchingit allthrough the eyes of a 19-year-old prodigy: Tyler Seguin. Seguin, Chara and Tim Thomas were the three B's players chose to represent Boston at the NHL All-Star game in Ottawa at the end of January.

I think its a great thing for him, obviously," said Chara, a five-time All-Star, of Seguin. "Its an honor for him and for anybody who is selected. Im sure its going to be a good experience for him to see all these players.

There are a lot of top players from different teams in the league that all get together. Hopefully hell learn from them and carry it with him. Hes come a long way from last year.

The All-Star weekend activities will take place in Ottawa two weeks from today at Scotiabank Place, and start again withthe much-ballyhooed player draft that opened last year's festivities. Seguin took part in the rookie competition at last year's All-Star weekend in Carolina, but participating in the game itself this seasonis a whole different thing. It's a mark that Seguin has truly arrived in his second NHL season.

I was very surprised, obviously its a dream come true," said Seguin. "Last year I went as a rookie player and I got to see a little bit. But obviously I wasnt one of the All-Stars. I was just fortunate enough to be one of the rookies and meet those guys last year.

"Many of the All-Stars were my idols growing up. So you know . . . going as one of them is going to be a great experience.

Seguin leads the Bruins in scoring with 17 goals and 38 points and leads the entire NHL with a plus-33. He's sorry, however, that Patrice Bergeron was left off the team as one of the most surprising snubs of the selection process.

I was really surprised at that. I give him so much credit for my success," said Seguin. "Not only for how he plays and how many opportunities he gives me but, you know, just being the guy that I can really follow . . . not only on the ice but off the ice. I give him upmost credit.

Bergeron wasnt available for commentafter the Bruins' 2-1 victory over the Canadiens Thursday night at TD Garden. Perhaps thats a good thing if the classy,young center was disappointed by the All-Star Game snub.

He was only 5-for-15 on faceoffs and missed a wide open net on a 2-on-1 in the second period of the Bs victory. He didnt appear to be himself for the 15-plus minutes he was on the ice, and may have been expecting he'd get the call from the NHL this time around. InsteadBergeron willsimply have to go on as the most criminally underrated player currently skating in the NHL.

Despite discord, Goodell's reign may not be nearing end

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Despite discord, Goodell's reign may not be nearing end

Monday may have marked a low point in the relationship between the NFL and its on-field employees.

The fight between the league and its best player of the past two decades was in the headlines again. Tom Brady, tied to the NFL’s bumper and dragged around for almost 500 days, had his NFLPA legal team baring its teeth again in the Deflategate mess. The eye-gouging and hair-pulling in that imbroglio over a puff of air allegedly being removed from footballs has cost the league and the PA about $25M so far.

Meanwhile, NFLPA President Eric Winston was saying the league "cannot be trusted to do the right thing when it involves players.” That comment flowed from a Congressional report alleging the NFL tried to exert influence over who would conduct studies regarding Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), the condition that’s been blamed for a myriad of former players winding up addled, incapacitated or dead.

I say “may have marked” because the relationship between the two sides has cratered so frequently over the past two years, it’s hard to know exactly what the low point has been. Or how much lower it can go.

And, with the 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement only half done, there is ample opportunity for things to get worse. Because, really, why would they get better?

With the NFL’s owners safe knowing that their emperor/puppet/human shield is still in place to take the hits and do their dirty work, there’s seemingly no groundswell among that group to relieve Roger Goodell of his duties. Despite reports of growing owner discontent over Deflategate, the Ray Rice investigation, and an appeal of a case in which the league was found to have withheld $100M from players, there is no Sword of Damocles dangling over the league to cut ties with Goodell.

He was able to oversee the league’s re-entry in Los Angeles (though that “triumph” was fraught with owner acrimony), is going to get a game played in China, keeps edging closer to getting a franchise based in Europe and may even land one in Las Vegas, has enhanced the league’s reach on social media (the announcement of some games being aired on Twitter) and keeps making billions hand over fist.

Goodell’s presence won’t be an impediment to a new labor deal getting done for another five years. By then, when the issues of Goodell’s role in player discipline, drug testing and his relationship with the union come to the fore, the owners might feel compelled to cut him loose after 15 seasons in charge.

But even then, the league’s owners will be in the business of pointing out to the players how good they’ve had it under the current CBA. The league’s salary cap structure – decried as a disaster in the first years of the deal – has seen the cap grow from $120M in 2011 to $155M this year. Players’ practice time and the wear and tear on their bodies has been reduced thanks to the new limits on contact enacted. Benefits are better. Retired players are getting better care. Players have more off-field marketing opportunities with companies that want to affix themselves to the most popular sport in the United States.

As bad as the headlines have been for Goodell, in five years (or probably fewer since negotiations on a new CBA will begin in 2020) who will remember the disaster that’s been Deflategate? How inspired will players be to miss games and paychecks for the satisfaction of knowing Goodell can’t be his own arbitrator anymore?

To sum it up, Goodell’s dark disciplinary reign may well continue unabated for a few more seasons. But as long as the league rains money on its players through the end of this decade, the clock isn’t ticking on Goodell and the owners in the form of labor strife.

Smith: Brady made an 'incredibly generous offer' to settle Deflategate

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Smith: Brady made an 'incredibly generous offer' to settle Deflategate

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith joined the Dan Patrick Show -- hosted by Ross Tucker on Monday -- to discuss the petition that was eventually filed to the Second Circuit requesting a rehearing for Tom Brady's case. 

During the discussion, Smith insisted that Brady made a settlement offer long ago that might've resolved things. But because the NFL wanted more, a deal was never struck. Now here we are, almost 500 days since the AFC Championship Game in January of 2015, and Deflategate is still a living, breathing thing. 

"Tom's a standup guy," Smith said. "And I think he made a settlement offer to resolve this. The league chose not to take it, and that's where we are . . . I don't want to go into details, but it was an incredibly generous offer to resolve this. The league asked for something that no man should agree to do."

Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran explained on Monday's episode of Quick Slants that Brady was willing to accept a one-game suspension for a lack of cooperation at the outset of the investigation. But the league was looking for a face to take the blame, Curran explained. 

Both Jim McNally and John Jastremski were willing to take the heat off of Brady, but Brady insisted that he would not throw anyone else under the bus because he believed that there was no wrongdoing on his part or anyone else's when it came to the preparation of game footballs. 

With no one offered up to shoulder the blame, the NFL declined to agree to any proposal from Brady's camp. At that point, it would have been almost impossible to predict that this case would one day be only a step or two from getting the US Supreme Court involved. 

Yet here we are.