Free agent Mottau waiting for labor settlement

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Free agent Mottau waiting for labor settlement

BOSTON Mike Mottau hasnt given up hope that hell be back with the hometown Boston Bruins next season, but hes one of many free agents waiting in limbo while a CBA is worked out between the NHL and the NHLPA.

Mottau was with Bruins teammates Shawn Thornton, Tuukka Rask and Daniel Paille taking batting practice at Fenway Park on Tuesday afternoon, and shagging fly balls in the outfield.

This would normally be the final few weeks of the offseason for NHL players before they begin skating, attending captains practices, and getting ready for training camp. But many second-tier NHL free agent veterans are still without homes: Jason Arnott, Carlo Colaiacovo, Petr Sykora, Mike Knuble, Andrew Brunette and Dominic Moore, to name a few.

The former Boston College standout is among those players who arent likely to start feeling serious free agency interest until teams know the parameters of the new CBA, and how much cap space theyll be dealing with moving forward. Mottau has already drawn interest from European teams if there is any kind of work stoppage with the NHL this season, but the veteran defenseman is hoping it doesnt come to that point.

Im waiting things out for now, said Mottau to CSNNE.com. I think once the CBA is close to being squared away things will heat up for me. Ive been contacted by a few teams in Europe, but ideally would like to stay here.

Mottau, 34, played a combined 35 games for the Bruins and Islanders last season and finished with a minus-11 rating along with a pair of assists. The South Shore native said hed be willing to play in a reserve defensemen role with the Bruins if he re-signed in his hometown. It would a perfect role for a consummate pro like Mottau, who can still play solid, smart, mistake-free hockey.

But theres been no real progress toward a deal between Mottau and the Bruins. Boston has signed both Aaron Johnson and Garnet Exelby to two-way contracts for next season while keeping a wary eye at the presently-unknown salary cap ceiling for next season.

The Bruins have five defensemen signed to one-way deals in Boston for next season and 20-year-old Dougie Hamilton is expected to get a good look at the sixth spot. But a work stoppage send Hamilton back to junior hockey, and potentially opening the door for somebody like Mottau.

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while doing some early Christmas shopping ahead of the late rush. 

*Mike Zeisberger sits down with a quartet of NHL governors and discusses a number of hot topics including the Vegas franchise and scoring around the league. 

*Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos has been removed from the NHL Board of Governor’s Executive Committee amid rumors that the Canes might be a prime candidate for relocation. 

*Pierre McGuire weighs in on Connor McDavid’s war of words on the ice and Carey Price losing his mind in the crease against the New Jersey Devils. To that end, Wayne Gretzky liked seeing McDavid get a little combative at such a young age. 

*The New York Islanders signed Cal Clutterbuck to a five year contract extension, and some are skeptical it will turn out well for the Isles.

*David Pastrnak is a premier scoring threat in the league, and Scott Cullen has some details behind that. I will say this: his stock falling in the draft had less to do with his size or heaviness, and more to do with him being concussed for a long stretch of time during the year leading up to the draft. 

*The Florida Panthers are really struggling to stay positive with a 1-5-0 record since the ownership group and management decided to fire Gerard Gallant. 

*For something completely different: Baywatch stars then and now.