Kings' Westgarth: Number of owners like NHLPA proposal

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Kings' Westgarth: Number of owners like NHLPA proposal

Hockey will not start on time this year, that much we know.

The NHL announced that the first two weeks of the season were cancelled due to the lockout.

CSNNE.com's Danny Picard had Los Angeles Kings' Kevin Westgarth on his radio show "I'm Just Sayin'" on Friday, and the two discussed the current state of meetings between the two sides.

As far as the cancelled games goes, Westgarth said, "The writing was on the wall. He chalks NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly's statement up as "lip service to the process", knowing that it's "incredibly frustrating right now because all you're getting is these ridiculous soundbites."

That's a fact. The two sides have been notably far apart in negotiations, and Westgarth certainly didn't paint a brighter picture.

Not only are the core issues tough to agree upon, but things as small as ice conditions yes, ice conditions are a cause for debate behind closed doors.

"The big idea on focusing on non-core issues is kind of gaining some traction and starting to agree on some things that should be independently extremely easy to agree on," Westgarth said. Going from ice conditions, players come in and say the ice is terrible in a lot of places we would like better ice conditions to better the game to make it safer. And then the league says, 'Well, yeah, OK'. That shouldn't be that difficult a conversation to have in my mind but even things as simple as that sometimes get into long discussions and it's kind of disappointing to se when things that aren't that difficult become a problem.

"Ice conditions, obviously everybody wants good ice conditions but moving forward you have to start agreeing on those things. And unfortunately until this past week the league was not interested in meeting about that outside of the core issues which in my mind doesn't make any sense because you need to agree to all this stuff at some point and if you're kind of stuck on certain issues then move on and talk about something else and you can come back to it and that way you can work through your whole list of things that need to be resolved and grow momentum and gain traction to get this deal done."

Westgarth did say that good progress was made in the drug testing part of negotiations. That, though, doesn't mean a whole lot in the big picture.

He says the owners are simply trying to exploit the fact that fans will eventually come back to the game, lockout or not, as they have in the past.

But is it every owner? Picard asks if there are some owners who are more onboard with the players than others are, and Westgarth says he heard there are.

"I've heard kind of secondhand that a number of owners like the NHLPA proposal," Westgarth said. "They see the benefits to it. Unfortunately Gary Bettman has kind of changed the bylaws, and that's their business side. But it seems like there are is a cadre of owners now that are in complete control. And when Gary only needs eight votes out of 30 teams to stop any proposal from being agreed upon, he has all the cards in his hands.

"And unfortunately it seems like there's a big push from those most likely major market owners with Jeremy Jacobs of the Boston Bruins on down through we don't know who is in the little brain-trust. Right now there could be 21 owners that agree with our proposal and unfortunately eight or nine that are under Gary's thumb and kind of refuse to take the deal because it's promising them a big cash infusion by taking 100's of millions of dollars away from the players."

But are the owners at least making any concession? Nope.

"It's one of those things where the owners aren't making any concessions," Westgarth said. "They have a negotiating point and they like to imagine that they've won those things. Creeping back to where we are right now doesn't really make a concession, they're actually just trying to take a little less."

Check out the rest of the interview here.

Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

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Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, after a busy morning celebrating my 3-year-old’s birthday at the trampoline park. Yee-ha.

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri says that adding toughness was a big offseason priority for the Montreal Canadiens.

*There’s at least one big fan of the Edmonton Oilers trade that brought defenseman Adam Larsson from the New Jersey Devils, and that fan’s name is Mark Letestu.

*Here’s everything you need to know about the Ice Guardians movie premiering this fall that takes a long, balanced look at the NHL enforcers.

*Roberto Luongo has an alibi for the robbery in Winnipeg with one suspect getting away in goalie equipment, and it’s funny as you would expect it to be.

*CSN Washington takes a look at the New York Rangers in their season previews for the Metro Division.

*I’m not entirely sure whether this “RIP Harambe” thing is genuine or meant to be ironic by the largely millenial group that seem so enamored with it, but I think it’s just stupid. I think the same with the crying Jordan meme…also stupid.

*For something completely different: a look at how Triumph the Insult Comic Dog learned how to poop on Trump’s politics.

 

Countdown to camp: Danton Heinen

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Countdown to camp: Danton Heinen

Click here for the gallery.

From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2016-17 Bruins. Today: Danton Heinen.

Danton Heinen exploded into a high-profile prospect for the Bruins after finishing among the NCAA’s top scoring players a couple of years ago as a freshman along with a couple of guys named Jack Eichel and Dylan Larkin. 

Since then, Heinen has continued to produce offense at the University of Denver and continued to create offense that leads to points. Now, the 21-year-old Heinen will be entering the professional arena for his first full season with the Bruins and he’ll be attempting to transition from the prospect phase to a regular gig in the NHL. That’s the challenge for a talented player who appears headed into a very good opportunity in NHL training camp.

 

What happened last year

Heinen was every bit as explosive in his second season for Denver as he was in his brilliant freshman campaign. He improved on his scoring with 20 goals and 48 points in 41 games. Then Heinen signed with the Bruins at the end of his sophomore season and played in a couple of pro games in the AHL with Providence as a tune-up for this first full pro campaign with the Bruins organization. Heinen finished with two assists and a plus-1 rating in four games with the P-Bruins and showed the coaches in Providence that he was ready to play and produce with more talented players. If Heinen surprised a little bit as a breakout freshman two years ago, his sophomore follow-up in Denver last season proved to everybody that he wasn’t a fluke.

 

Questions to be answered this season

The real question surrounding Heinen is about his ceiling as an NHL player and just how good he can become as a player with the skills and playmaking abilities to be a top-six forward. He’s proven he can dominate at the collegiate level while admittedly playing with some pretty good teammates at Denver. Heinen showed at the end of the season in Providence that the pro scene might not be much different for him. At this point, Heinen simply needs to go out and prove it against the best players in the world and show that his speed, playmaking and hockey sense are all elite in the AHL or NHL. Heinen’s biggest obstacle might be his size. He'll need to survive as a targeted skill player despite not being much more than the 6-feet, 180-pound range for a forward. It’s about average for a playmaking wing in the NHL, but the hits and attention will be at a much more intense level than anything he faced in the NCAA world.

 

What they're saying

“He’s the type of player that he can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ and he’s got really good skill. I think anywhere you put him, he’s smart enough to figure it out. I think you’ll notice him during training camp. It will definitely be up to him, but I think he’ll push some guys.” –Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo on Heinen during last month’s development camp where Heinen soared as a performer.

 
Outlook

While Heinen still has some things he’ll need to prove before he’s a regular contributor for the Bruins, he comes into the Boston fold as an experienced player following two very good seasons at the college level. So, Heinen should be a little closer to plug-and-play for Claude Julien than some of the other young players that have come through the system in the past couple of years. Heinen will still need to flash in camp while being handed a big spot to perform with high-end veterans Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand potentially off playing in the World Cup of Hockey. Heinen also has a much greater chance of winning an NHL job sooner rather than later after the Bruins lost out on the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes and still have a top-six forward opening that somebody is going to fill. Heinen and Frank Vatrano are the two biggest favorites to fill that position, which became vacant when Loui Eriksson departed for Vancouver. Whichever winger loses that battle should be also be a strong candidate for a role on the third line, as well, barring any late veteran signings by the B’s. That set of circumstances leaves a very good situation for Heinen to potentially walk into with the Black and Gold, but he'll still have to show he’s fully capable of seizing his good fortune and good timing.