B's players 'frustrated, disappointed' at canceled games

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B's players 'frustrated, disappointed' at canceled games

The Bruins players knew this day was inevitable, and its showed with nine members of the team looking for opportunities to play in Europe.

But there are also a number of Bs players still in Boston working out daily, and those still in the area were understandably disappointed and perplexed by the announcement that all regular season games through Oct. 24 had been cancelled. Six Bruins games are now off the books including the season-opener, the home-opener and back-to-back games against the hated Montreal Canadiens. Those dont figure to be the only games cancelled either, as both the NHL and NHLPA reached a rough patch and have broken off meetings in the CBA negotiations.

Theres plenty of skepticism among the players that the NHL had a lockout in mind all along, and that serious negotiations wont begin until the players have already lost 20 percent of this seasons salary due to cancelled games. It makes sense when one ponders how much money losing franchises like the Phoenix Coyotes, Florida Panthers and New York Islanders must be saving by missing the first few months of the season.

The question then becomes how willing do the NHL players become for an agreement when the owners have taken their pound of flesh. The NHL has wanted a 10-20 percent salary reduction in the new collective bargaining agreement, and they seem willing to get it by any means necessary.

Im disappointed that the league refuses to negotiate and would rather lock us out and try to sweat us out instead of negotiating in good faith, said Thornton to CSNNE.com. It seems like they are intent on cutting our pay whether by insisting we take their ridiculous offer or locking us out to achieve thisinstead of trying to find a reasonable agreement.

"Its very frustrating that it comes to this. Its awful to think this was the plan all along.

With the players and league owners at such odds over roughly a billion dollars in revenue over the course of any new deal, Andrew Ference thinks a schism among the 30 NHL owners is the only route to a fair solution. Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs is the Chairman of the Board of Governors and is said to be the driving force behind the lockout tactic being utilized. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman only needs seven other owners along with Bettman to impose a lockout, so it would need to quite an ownership revolt to impose progress.

But it would appear the NHL is direly in need of a forward-thinking owner like New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who was instrumental in bridging the two sides and avoiding an NFL work stoppage last season. Ference believes it will take much louder dissenting voices among NHL ownership to get something done.

The Bs defenseman will be leaving this weekend to play in the Czech League for at least the next few months, but he does so with a heavy heart.

Its disappointing because in most any other business you would continue working while negotiating a new union contract, said Ference to CSNNE.com. They were not forced to cancel games, it is voluntary by them. I remain optimistic that there are a number of owners who are just as unhappy as the players with this work stoppage and that they will be more vocal in their private talks with the league.

The damage done to the momentum that our sport has gathered over the past few years is something that we and some on the NHL side want to prevent. But seeing where their offers have come in, both in drastically eliminating dollars and players contract rights, its not surprising we are at this point right now.

So bitterness and hard feelings begin to fester between the players and the league officeownership of the NHL, and two sides remain no closer to starting their season than they did in the days following the Stanley Cup Finals in June. There have been great days for the NHL over the last eight years as revenues, ratings and popularity have all spiked, but Thursday marked the leagues crappiest day in a long, long time.

Haggerty: It's time for Pastrnak to take a step forward

Haggerty: It's time for Pastrnak to take a step forward

BRIGHTON -- The third season is usually a pivotal one when it comes to an NHL player's development and trying to forecast exactly how high their ceiling will be.

So it is for David Pastrnak, who is expected to take a major leap forward in his third year after showing flashes of great promise in each of his first two seasons.

“The [World Cup] is done, so now all of my focus is on being as ready as I can for this upcoming season,” said Pastrnak, 20, who threw probably the biggest hit of his career on unsuspecting teammate Patrice Bergeron when the Czechs played Team Canada in the preliminary rounds. “I feel way bigger, very comfortable on the ice, and I obviously feel really good right now.”

Pastrnak has had moments of dazzling brilliance in Boston so far while riding the usual learning curve that every young player travels in Claude Julien’s system. In addition, injuries last season sidetracked his development process.

Pastrnak put up 21 goals and 55 points between Boston and Providence as the youngest player in either league as an 18-year-old rookie two years ago. Last season he had 15 goals and 26 points in 51 games for the Bruins while also missing significant time because of a fractured foot. The injury not only sidelined him for a few months but also made it difficult for him to jump onto the moving train of the NHL regular season once he was ready to return.

Just as the former first-round pick was really catching fire at the end of the year, time ran out on a Bruins team that had a few too many older veterans with empty gas tanks after being ridden hard throughout the season. Pastrnak scored goals in each of the final couple of games, and showed off the game-breaking ability that should be on full display if he's healthy and placed in a position to succeed.

His World Cup stint ended on a high note, as he played his best game of the tourney against Team USA, though he didn’t make a major impact in the elite international competition. He put on five pounds of muscle during the offseason and clearly looking bigger and stronger at 189 pounds after ending last season closer to 180.

Part of that is the natural physical maturation process for somebody Pastrnak’s age as he gain’s “man strength”, and some of it was a dedicated effort. He worked out in Boston with the B’s training staff for much of the summer for the first time in his career.

The expectation is that Pastrnak is going to be running on the right wing with David Krejci on Boston’s second line, and the search in training camp is for a left wing who can bring added playmaking ability and maybe a little size and strength to the mix. In a perfect world Krejci and Pastrnak will develop into the same dynamic, two-way combination of Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

Pastrnak and Krejci could be a lethal offensive duo to be sure, but they’ll also have to pay attention to the little details if they want to stay together playing for Julien. Perhaps with that in mind, Julien was looking to temper expectations for Pastrnak

“I don't know if [the World Cup experience] accelerates expectations. But it's certainly encouraging to see that a guy that's got that experience to go and play at that level, and made himself better,” said Julien. “We know he's skilled and we know he's fast, and he's also gotten stronger. He's taking steps in the right direction here. We can look at those guys that are first overall picks and say, wow, some guys are exceptional.

“Some of the guys, you've got to give them time to grow and develop. That's what we need to do with David Pastrnak. I think we've got to stop putting expectations too high for him, and allow him to grow properly. He's going to have some growing pains and there are still some things he's going to want to get better at. There are still some things that he's going to want to learn that we're going to want to teach him. Let's give him that opportunity to grow properly without the extra pressure and extra expectations that maybe are not realistic.”

One would argue Pastrnak put those expectations on himself when he posted the 21 goals and 55 points as an 18-year-old, but that’s neither here nor there. Instead, the Pastrnak development project can, and should, be one of the things considered when we evaluate Julien’s current ability to get the most out of his young prospect-type players.

The bottom line with Pastrnak and the Bruins is this: It’s his contract year and motivation should be sky high. The Czech youngster is one of the few people who can step up and help fill the offensive void left by the free-agent departure of Loui Eriksson. Expectations are much higher for an experienced, talented 20-year-old than they are for a wide-eyed 18-year-old, and Pastrnak needs to make a big stride forward. Now is the time for Pastrnak to show all he’s learned, and completely unleash the array of offensive skills that caught everybody’s eye in the first place.

The Bruins need Pastrnak, and young players, to step up and start taking ownership of the hockey team.

Beleskey, Spooner and McQuaid highlight Bruins lineup vs. Red Wings

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Beleskey, Spooner and McQuaid highlight Bruins lineup vs. Red Wings

The Bruins announced their lineup for the second preseason game on Wednesday night at home against the Detroit Red Wings, and it was slightly more veteran-laden than the youthful Boston group tapped for Monday night’s opening loss to the Blue Jackets.

Matt Beleskey, Ryan Spooner, Adam McQuaid and Dominic Moore lead the grizzled group of Bruins players readying for the exhibition tilt against their Atlantic Division rivals, and 19-year-old Zachary Senyshyn will make his preseason debut after getting fully medically cleared from appendectomy surgery a couple of weeks ago.

The 2015 first round pick has had a bit of a rough summer after bouts with mononucleosis and appendicitis forced him to miss Bruins rookie camp, but Senyshyn has quickly regained his strength and the blazing speed that's his biggest asset as a player. 

Austin Czarnik, Peter Mueller and Sean Kuraly are the only players from the opening night roster that will be in again to show their stuff against the Winged Wheels, and undoubtedly to get another long look from the Bruins coaching staff. Here is the full Black and Gold lineup for Wednesday night’s home date against the Red Wings with the untelevised exhibition game to be streamed on bruins.com

 

FORWARDS: Noel Acciari, Matt Beleskey, Anton Blidh, Austin Czarnik, Brian Ferlin, Jesse Gabrielle, Justin Hickman, Sean Kuraly, Dominic Moore, Peter Mueller, Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Spooner.

DEFENSEMEN: Linus Arnesson, Chris Casto, Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon, Adam McQuaid, Colin Miller.

GOALIES: Malcolm Subban, Daniel Vladar.