Free agent Mottau waiting for labor settlement

742242.jpg

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.

McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff

bruins-zane-mcintyre.jpg

McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff

BRIGHTON, Mass -- It hasn’t been an easy road for Bruins rookie goaltender Zane McIntyre since getting called back up by Boston a few weeks ago.

The 24-year-old netminder is trying to give the B’s top-level goaltending while earning the trust of the Bruins coaching staff, and adjusting to the sporadic playing time that goes along with playing understudy to a No. 1 netminder like Tuukka Rask. The three goals allowed in the third period of Sunday afternoon’s 5-1 loss to the Penguins didn’t look good on paper, but really there wasn’t much McIntyre could do with the defense totally breaking down in front of him during a 12-shot barrage in the final 20 minutes.

The 3.95 goals against average and .860 save percentage certainly look like a little frightening for the first-year goalie, but the truth is there’s going to be some bumps as he adjusts to life as a backup for the first time.

“[The adjustment] is mostly between the ears, to be honest,” said McIntyre. “I have confidence in my physical abilities and I know what I can do, and what makes my game successful. So right now it’s just building confidence every day in practice and staying persistent, staying with it. I know good things are going to happen when you surround yourself with good people, and the biggest thing is battling every day and making sure I’m contributing to the team.”

McIntyre will certainly have to be sharp if he’s put back in the crease on Tuesday night against the Red Wings after Rask exited from Sunday’s loss in the second period with symptoms of a migraine. The Bruins top goalie missed practice on Monday while getting himself checked out medically, and there’s a chance he could be out if the symptoms are in any way related to the Roman Josi shot he took off his neck last week.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day to be honest. That’s what I’ve always done in the past, and I’m just trying to build up confidence every day,” said McIntyre, who had been lights out in Providence prior to getting the call to Boston. “We’ll just see what happens and roll with it.”

That’s a challenge McIntyre will certainly be up for in a different way than Sunday’s mop-up duty, but it remains to be seen just how steady-footed the Bruins will be about their goalie situation if Rask is expected to miss any time this week.