Bruins players staying optimstic amid game cancellations

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Bruins players staying optimstic amid game cancellations

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. While its difficult to remain optimistic with regular season games cancelled and Bruins players skating elsewhere all over the planet on Thursdays cancelled NHL opening night, the Bs players left behind are doing their best.

Greg Campbell, Johnny Boychuk, Brad Marchand and Daniel Paille are among a small group of Bs players still skating together in Boston and waiting for the NHL lockout to finally end.

Well, most guys are skating anyway.

Me and Campbell are built like Greek gods, so we dont have to worry about playing anywhere during the lockout, said Marchand with a laugh. You do almost feel lost right now, though. Youre used to having a schedule and a routine when hockey season comes, and its been that way for me since I was 15 years old.

Its a little weird, but were trying to stay in the routine as much as possible, Marchand said.

None of the four players have plans to skate in Europe at this point in time and they still hope for the best despite the gaping chasm that remains between the NHL and NHLPA for a new collective bargaining agreement. Paille is the NHLPA player rep for the Bruins and hes stayed abreast on all the labor discussions, and stresses that its about more than the money for the players.

Theres roughly a billion dollar gap between each side after union and league officials
tabled talks on Thursday, but the Bruins indicated their fight is about whats fair, whats
important for player rights and whats best for both the current and next generation of NHL players.

We dont want to be in this situation. Obviously we would have rather been in Philly starting the NHL season, said Paille. Its disappointing because we want to play. We have to see things through the next few weeks and then go from there. Theres a much bigger picture than just the money. I know thats a big part of it, but we have a lot more to lose than that.

The fact that games have been cancelled is disappointing on both sides," said Paille. "You try to get the job done and we havent gotten it done. Im optimistic that there will be a season, but
at this point in time its impossible to say when that will happen. Its anybodys guess. Hopefully we get something done sooner rather than later.

Campbell is equally optimistic there will eventually be a hockey season whether it starts in November or December, but had a difficult time zeroing in on what it will take for a deal to finally get done.

Its a combination of emotions. Its uncharted waters for me like it is for most other guys, said Campbell. You can think about it all you want, but it doesnt prepare you for once the season starts getting cancelled. Every year we show up to camp and get ready for the season, so the biggest challenge for players is to stay positive, stay focused and staying prepared as a professional whether the season starts soon or not-so-soon.

Theres no alternative rather than to stay optimistic. Weve put all of our trust as players
into NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr and Steve Fehr. Thats what theyre good at: making deals and making fair deals. They want to make a deal that benefits the players as well as the league and the fans. Its hard to read into whats written about the negotiations on a daily basis, so you just stay as informed as you can through the NHLPA contacts.

Lockout solutions and pathways to a middle ground are for union executives and league czars that are in the middle of their busy season rather than the players. You can bet on which one is more exciting to the disappointed, frustrated NHL fans now missing out on games, but the Bruins are doing their best to retain happy thoughts as regular season games begin getting deleted like worthless pieces of spam email.

Krejci more disappointed in losing Eriksson than missing out on Vesey

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Krejci more disappointed in losing Eriksson than missing out on Vesey

BRIGHTON – The Bruins held their first informal skate at the new Warrior Ice Arena on Monday morning and there were a number of players present that also took part in the Jimmy Vesey recruiting session a few weeks ago.

Both Torey Krug and David Krejci skated on Monday along with John-Michael Liles, Frank Vatrano, Adam McQuaid and Noel Acciari, and those two aforementioned Black and Gold veterans were also part of the recruiting group that met with the former Harvard captain at their new practice facility.

A few days later, Vesey spurned the Bruins to sign with the New York Rangers, and the reactions weren’t all that overheated from the B’s players. Krug played with Vesey on Team USA during the World Championships a little more than a year ago, and didn’t really begrudge the highly sought Hobey Baker Award winner choosing the Blueshirts.

“I’m not going to go into details. He had the right to do what he did, and obviously it was a smart decision to interview with all those teams and figure out the best fit for him,” said Krug. “We wanted to him here, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. Now we move on, and there’s an opportunity for other guys to step in and take that spot. This group moving forward, we’re highly motivated this year.”

Krejci would have been Vesey’s center, as pitched by the Bruins management in the meeting with Vesey, but that wasn’t enough to woo him to play pro hockey in his hometown. Krejci said he was more disappointed losing linemate Loui Eriksson than falling short in the Vesey sweepstakes. The carousel of changing wingers will be moving once again for the B’s pivot.

“I wasn’t really disappointed with that guy. Obviously I’d heard he was a good player, but he has to prove himself on the NHL level. I was more disappointed that we weren’t able to keep Loui. I felt like we had some good chemistry going,” said Krejci, referencing 30-goal scorer Eriksson departing for the Vancouver Canucks and a six-year, $36 million contract. “It was tough to see him go, but I’m getting kind of used to seeing my guys, my favorite guys, going away [like] Milan [Lucic], Nathan [Horton] and [Jarome] Iginla.

“So I’m going to have to play my game, and find chemistry with whoever is going to play on my line. I did meet him, and talked to him a bit. In the summer there aren’t many [hockey] things for people to talk about, so this [Vesey watch] was something for people to talk about. Obviously there was pressure on him, but he brought it on himself, I guess. I feel like he would have been a good fit on our team, but he made the decision he did. I don’t know exactly why he made the decision that he didn’t want to stay [in Boston], but it’s his career and he has all the right to decide where it is he wants to play.”

So Vesey becomes just another Harvard grad headed to New York City to start his career, and the Bruins will likely turn to Vatrano or perhaps rookie playmaker Danton Heinen as left wing candidates alongside Krejci and David Pastrnak after Boston missed out on both Eriksson and Vesey this summer. 

 

Monday, Aug. 29: Jones settles in as ‘the man’ with Sharks

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Monday, Aug. 29: Jones settles in as ‘the man’ with Sharks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while largely satisfied with the payoff from “The Night of” on HBO. I’m fully satisfied from watching that rather than catching even one minute of the VMAs.

*Martin Jones is still pretty new to all of this as he settles into his role as “the man” between the pipes for the San Jose Sharks.

*Alex Ovechkin is now a married man, apparently.

*A pretty good rundown on a piece about the explosion of statistical analysis in sports where so much of it is simply stating the obvious. I don’t need a bar graph to tell me a player is struggling when I can plainly see it on the ice.

*Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is optimistic that his team can overcome the injury bug to start their season defending their Stanley Cup championship.

*Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen has had a long offseason to ponder his Game 7 meltdown in the playoffs.

*This Alex Radulov era in Montreal promises to be an interesting one for both the enigmatic, talented Russian and the Habs.

*For something completely different: I’m sure pro wrestling aficionado James Stewart is a little green with envy that my Mr. Fuji tweet made the Washington Post. It was a sad day learning that the Devious One had been elevated up to the big squared circle in the sky.