Chiarelli "optimistic" the NHL season won't be affected by labor talks


Chiarelli "optimistic" the NHL season won't be affected by labor talks

While NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr are just commencing discussions on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, there are pockets of optimism within the game.

Many use words like hope and optimistic in verbalizing the wish that an NHL CBA will be completed prior to the Sept. 15 deadline, and no hockey time will be missed.

Many observers around the game agents, executives, players -- sense the worst case scenario could a shortened season that would start in December and January, but there are just as many that think the hockey business is simply doing too well to stall things.

The good news: almost nobody is entertaining the possibility that an entire season could be lost as it was during the 2004-05 NHL lockout when hockey took a beating.

When asked by during a Thursday interview what he thought might happen amid a summer of CBA negotiations, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli let his optimism flag flow freely.

Maybe Im an eternal optimist on this stuff, but I think there will be no time missed, said Chiarelli. I hope weve learned from our last go-round. We always try to improve it, but I think the NHL product is pretty good.

The combination of a league making 3.3 billion in record revenues, players that are much more hands on in the day-to-day business of the NHL and ironically enough the presence of the former MLBPA Director in Fehr at negotiations all give the Bs GM hope theres that word again -- a deal can be reached that will preserve the full 2012-13 hockey season.

I dont know Donald Fehr aside from what Ive seen of him in the past, but I think hes a deal-maker, said Chiarelli. I know he does his job. I hope the two sides get together soon, but Im an optimist.

There seems to be more player interaction and involvement with league affairs. Specifically with the competition committee and a lot of the things that take place between the league and the teams, and that will help facilitate all of this. At least I hope that it does. Weve got Brendan Shanahan involved in the player safety department, weve got the competition committee and weve got the standards committee. I think the players are closer to the business than theyve ever been and I would think that will help.

Fans inside and outside the game hope Chiarellis optimism is well-founded and that the business of the NHL continues on without a hiccup.

That possibility should become obvious, one way or the other, once talks begin in earnest over the next six weeks.

Bergeron 'feeling good' in return, plays role of third period hero

Bergeron 'feeling good' in return, plays role of third period hero

BOSTON – It certainly feels appropriate that Patrice Bergeron would author a clutch game-winning goal late in the third period of his first game back after missing a week of games with a lower body injury. That Bergeron’s game-winner also arrived in the home opener at TD Garden was an added bonus once No. 37 hammered a shot from the high slot with 1:15 to go in the third period to give the Bruins their first lead of the game in a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden.

The goal arrived courtesy of a nifty setup from linemate Brad Marchand working behind the New Jersey net, and also thanks to David Pastrnak winning a battle in the corner thanks to newfound grit in his game. But the hero of the day again turned out to be No. 37, who went from missing an entire week of action to reclaiming his center role on the top line, playing 16:49 of ice time and winning 13-of-24 face-offs while generating five shot attempts.

“I think it’s pretty obvious with what he did [against the Devils]. After being off for over a week and to come back and have one practice with us then back into the game, he scores a clutch goal for us. That’s what he has always been, a clutch player for us,” said Claude Julien. “I think the third period we gave it a really good push there and I like seeing that from our team that you come out and you don’t play on your heels and you push hard and we went down by a goal but we got our game going like I said and we got a couple goals to win this for us.”

Bergeron modestly said postgame that he was just trying to get into the flow of the game after missing a healthy chunk of time with injury. But he certainly looked like he was vintage form once it crunch time. The timing was perfect as he stepped into the one-timer shot off Marchand’s pass, and beat Cory Schneider amid a strong 34-save performance by the kid from Marblehead.

“I mean I was just trying to, I guess, get my feet wet right away and use the first few shifts to kind of just get, feel good about my positioning and my skating,” said Bergeron. “As the game went on I just felt better. Of course you want to start on a good note, especially at home, and we talked about our home record in the last few years. We wanted to do the job early, especially in the first game, and it’s one step but we’re happy with it.”

It was like Bergeron didn’t miss a single beat after missing the first three games of the season with a lower body injury, and those kinds of instincts and natural ability are things worth marveling about when it comes to the Bruins.

“I was feeling good [on the ice],” said Bergeron. “It would have been nice to ride the wave of the World Cup, but that being said I thought in the first I was trying to be good position ally and kind of get myself going with the first few shifts, and just kind of go from there. Overall I thought that happened.”

While the comeback win was certainly good news for the Bruins, the best news of all is that Bergeron has returned to the lineup with no signs of an injury that surprised everybody right before the start of the regular season.