Haggerty: NFL ref agreement means NHL is on the clock

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Haggerty: NFL ref agreement means NHL is on the clock

So now the NHL is officially on the clock.

It clearly wont really be a catastrophic event for the league until Oct. 11 hits and the NHL wont have anything but cancelled regular season games on their schedule. It also truly wont be a suicide mission until the NHL officially cancels the Winter Classic and 247 HBO series that have become marketing gold for pro hockey and that isnt expected to happen until sometime in November at the earliest.

But the NHL is now also the only major pro sports league that officially cant get its crap together.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the 30 owners or 29 if you consider the Phoenix Coyotes situation were handed a beautiful disaster of a diversion when the NFL was locking out their referees. The most successful sports league in the land had turned laughingstock as the replacement refs were botching calls and compromising the integrity of the sport.

Meanwhile nobody was paying attention to the staring contest going on between Bettman and Donald Fehr.

All of that NFL sound and fury was also before they ruined the sacred Monday Night Football by handing an undeserved win to Golden Tate and the Seattle Seahawks on a horrendous touchdown call. But Roger Goodell and the NHL finally heeded the public outcry to spend a little extra money, find some middle ground and get Ed Hochuli and his band of merry striped men back into the fold.

The NFL finally showed some respect for their paying customers rather than continuing to insult their intelligence while allowing their great sport to decay. Its time for the NHL to do the exact same before they become a year-long running joke on a slap shot into oblivion.

Clearly they are different situations.

The NFL is a 10 billion plus industry that was foolishly squabbling with the refs over a few million dollars. The two sides of the NHL CBA negotiations are about a billion dollars apart over the lifetime of the contract, and nobody is denying that money is the key issue.

But the scrutiny and the microscope is now expertly trained on Bettman and the NHL, and the lighting will only get more unforgiving as time marches on.

Much like the NFL, the commissioner and their owners were criticized for their tight purse philosophy, the NHL ownership is wearing the full brunt of the blame for the NHL lockout right now.

The NHL owners are losing the PR battle by a country mile with fans and media alike siding almost exclusively with a group of hockey players that are being asked to take a 10-20 percent pay cut by an industry thats never been more robust. The NHL lockout is about unloved franchises like the Florida Panthers, the Phoenix Coyotes and the New York Islanders that few people care about at the end of the day.

Its a 3.3 billion industry where business of hockey has been booming, and it appears that both the NHL and the NHLPA feel theyre just scratching the surface of their popularity and revenue streams.

It makes zero sense that the NHL and NHLPA cant find a suitable middle ground to truly commence negotiations. There will obviously be no watershed Green BaySeattle moment for the NHL as long as theyre locked out and unable to play games, but it will be just as sobering if the NHL somehow turns away the 100,000 fans looking forward to a Winter Classic at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

That would be the kind of act that Detroit and Toronto hockey fans would never forgive, and would leave the same kind of stain caused by a band of misfit referees.

Goodells leadership abilities and management style came into question as the NFL became a runaway train with players, coaches, analysts, media and fans openly mocking the leagues willingness to place money over integrity.

Its the same tone of exasperation that NHL fans have been feeling all summer toward Bettman and the Board of Governors as theyve watched things slowly deteriorate into a bad, bad place. The two sides are unwilling to discuss the core economic issues when they get together this weekend, and clearly are stuck in an area where the NHL simply refuses to budge.

The NHL thankfully still has time to avoid their own personal abyss if both sides can give a little to create something that will keep hockey in business for the foreseeable future. Lets hope Bettman has learned from Goodells folly and doesnt need to be shamed into making a decision thats best for both the league and the hard-working, loyal customers that have made them so successful.

Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

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Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at how good the Justice League and Wonder Woman trailers were this weekend.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has veteran center

For 30 years, your voice filled Walter Brown and Agganis. A great man and a dedicated friend. Rest in peace, Jim. pic.twitter.com/11HyNzhLzs

— BU Men's Hockey (@TerrierHockey) July 24, 2016 *The Arizona Coyotes continue to put together a very interesting D-men picture by signing Luke Schenn to a two-year contract. For my money, Schenn has long been one of the most overrated players in the NHL. http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nhl/coyotes/2016/07/23/arizona-coyotes-continue-blue-line-tweaking-luke-schenn-signing/87486536/ *The Hockey News’ Mike Brophy has some thoughts and observations about the NHL offseason as it continues to wind on. http://www.thehockeynews.com/blog/brophy-thoughts-and-observations-as-the-off-season-winds-on/ *Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Stubbs on Andrei Markov, and his candid thoughts on everything from the Montreal traffic to the PK Subban/Shea Weber trade. https://www.nhl.com/news/andrei-markov-interview-about-montreal-canadiens/c-281225214?tid=280751088 *Here’s a spot to track the travels and stories of the Pittsburgh Penguins amid their summer with the Stanley Cup. http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/16797681/nhl-tracking-pittsburgh-penguins-stanley-cup?ex_cid=espntw *For something completely different: as mentioned above, here is the trailer for the Justice League that shows a much lighter, better touch with what should be a fun movie to watch. Hopefully this means it won’t be another pretty-looking, Zack Snyder funeral dirge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gglkYMGRYlE" target="_blank">Dominic Moore mulling a couple of offers as he looks for an NHL contract for next season.

*Jordan Eberle joined Canadian sports radio, and agreed that something needed to change with the Oilers after continually missing the playoffs.

*I will miss Jim Prior’s trademark “The Teams are ready, so let’s play hockey!” open to every game as a PA announcer, and I’ll miss his warm personality around the rink. It’s a sad day for the BU hockey program.

*The Arizona Coyotes continue to put together a very interesting D-men picture by signing Luke Schenn to a two-year contract. For my money, Schenn has long been one of the most overrated players in the NHL.

*The Hockey News’ Mike Brophy has some thoughts and observations about the NHL offseason as it continues to wind on.

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Stubbs on Andrei Markov and his candid thoughts on everything from the Montreal traffic to the PK Subban/Shea Weber trade.

*Here’s a spot to track the travels and stories of the Pittsburgh Penguins amid their summer with the Stanley Cup.

*For something completely different: as mentioned above, here is the trailer for the Justice League that shows a much lighter, better touch with what should be a fun movie to watch. Hopefully this means it won’t be another pretty-looking, Zack Snyder funeral dirge.

 

Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

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Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

While much of the focus is going to be on the young D-men headed into Bruins training camp, it would be foolhardy to overlook a forward prospect Danton Heinen, who is in position for a real dark horse run at an NHL roster spot. 

The strong odds are that the former University of Denver star is going to be begin the season in the AHL for the Providence Bruins after putting up a couple of points in four games there at the end of last season.

Still, that certainly hasn’t stopped Heinen from setting his sights on an NHL spot out of this fall’s camp, most likely in a third- or fourth-line capacity to start things off, or perhaps at the top-six right wing spots that have given the Bruins some problems filling permanently over the past couple of seasons.

Either way, the 2014 fourth-round pick knows that his clock to fulfilling his dreams as an NHL player has started and that it’s up to him when he can start making that a reality.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to work toward my whole life, so I’m just going to try to keep getting better, have a good rest of the summer and then put my best foot forward to see what happens,” said Heinen, who had an assist and a sweet goal in the Friday scrimmage at development camp when he twisted D-man Cam Clarke around like a pretzel on a nifty rush to the net. “I just need to continue to get stronger this summer, and working on my skating to get a bit quicker.

“[The AHL] was a lot of fun to get in there and see what it was all about. It was a lot different than college hockey, and it was definitely good to get a taste of it. [Bruins officials] told me to have a really big summer getting faster and getting stronger, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Heinen, 21, continued to show in development camp last week, however, that he has the playmaking skills and hockey IQ to flourish while surrounded by more accomplished players and in tighter situations. It’s exactly what he showed while posting 36 goals and 93 points in his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Pioneers and it was what he showed while finishing last week as one of the best forwards in camp.

“He’s looked really good at [development] camp. He’s a smart player, he’s committed and I think you’ll notice him in training camp. It will be up to him, but I think he’ll definitely be pushing some guys [for an NHL job],” said Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo, who was running the Bruins development camp. “He looked good [in Providence]. He fit in well. He’s the type of player that can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ, and he’s got really good skill.

“Anywhere you put him he’s smart enough to figure it out. You could tell in his first game there was a little bit of an adjustment for him, but the second time game it really looked like he’d been playing [at that level] for a long time. He’s a quick study, and he looked really good last year.”

The Black and Gold management hope he continues to look good at main NHL training camp in a couple of months, where he’ll undoubtedly be featured, and could be a lot closer than many people think as a polished skill forward coming out of a big-time college hockey program. 

Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

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Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while everybody is working for the weekend...or during the weekend.

*The vice-presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, made quite an impression while hanging out a Capitals game with MC Hammer. They call this guy boring, but that doesn’t sound very boring to me.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob Stauffer has the news that the Edmonton Oilers are parting ways with fancy stats lad Tyler Dellow. Boy, it seems like some teams are reversing course pretty quickly on some of these smarter-than-thou advanced statistics types, aren’t they? I certainly wish Dellow well and hope he finds another gig. But Instead of baselessly wondering whether the Oilers are going to continue down the fancy stats road (which they most certainly will), perhaps this is more a referendum on nonsensical stats-driven decisions like handing out that long term contract to a perpetually underachieving Benoit Pouliot.

*The New York Rangers have locked up Chris Kreider to a four-year contract at a reasonable number, and now he has the time with the Blueshirts to see how good he can be.

*Brian Leetch opens up to the Players Tribune about his NHL experiences playing with the New York Rangers, and all of his favorite experiences from a Hall of Fame career.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker says that Carey Price’s injury from last season is no longer a concern, according to Habs coach Michel Therrien.

*The Chicago Blackhawks will appear a whopping 21 times on national television across the NBC Networks next season.

*Incoming BU goaltender Jake Oettinger is among the names to look out for at the 2017 draft, according to the NHL Central Scouting bureau.

*Travis Yost says that the Carolina Hurricanes are on the rise thanks to winning the shot differential battle. I think it’s because they have an outstanding cast of young defensemen, who are helping them control the puck and win that shot differential battle. But they still need to score more if they’re going to really be a team on the rise, so we’ll see what happens there.

*For something completely different: for those that think I’m a Democrat because I am anti-Trump, here’s a story on the DNC machinery attempting to torpedo Bernie Sanders during the presidential campaigning over the last year.