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.

Eriksson named Lady Byng finalist for 2nd time

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Eriksson named Lady Byng finalist for 2nd time

Patrice Bergeron will have some Bruins company at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas at the end of the month of June.

Loui Eriksson was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy on Saturday afternoon along with Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and Florida Panthers pivot Aleksander Barkov. It’s the second time in his career that Eriksson will be named a finalist for the award given annually "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."

The Swedish winger finished his best season in a Bruins uniform with 30 goals (third on team) and 33 assists for the second most points (63) on the team along with 12 total penalty minutes through 82 games played. Eriksson was excited to once again be a finalist for the award, and to be lumped in with a couple of the NHL’s best players in Kopitar and Barkov.

“It is a great honor to be considered for the Lady Byng Trophy, an award that has been won by some of the best players of all time,” said Eriksson, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1 after three seasons in Boston. “There are many deserving candidates so to be named one of the finalists with Anze Kopitar and Aleksander Barkov is very exciting for me. Thank you to my teammates and the coaching staff and I appreciate all those who voted.”

The last Bruin to win the Lady Byng Trophy was Rick Middleton back in 1981-82, and Eriksson is the first B’s finalist for Lady Byng in more than 10 years.

Bruins will select 14th overall in first round

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Bruins will select 14th overall in first round

The Boston Bruins basically had a three percent of moving up into the top three of the NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday night, but they didn’t strike it draft rich when it was all said and done up in Toronto.

With Bruins general manager Don Sweeney in attendance representing the Original Six franchise, the Black and Gold were the first team logo selected in the draft lottery meaning they will own the 14th overall pick in the first round for the second straight summer.

Instead the Toronto Maple Leafs will select first overall after putting together the worst record in the NHL last season, and the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets won the lottery to move up into the second and third slots in the draft.

This marks the sixth time in franchise history that the club has owned the 14th overall selection in the NHL Draft. The Bruins drafted Jake DeBrusk 14th overall last summer in Florida at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Stephane Quintal 14th overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, Normand Leveille 14th overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, Douglas Halward 14th overall in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft and Terry O’Reilly 14th overall in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft.

Based on finishing with the highest point total of all non-playoff teams for the second straight season, the Bruins owned a 1.0% chance of winning the 2016 Draft Lottery overall and a 3.4% chance of securing a top-three pick.

The 2016 NHL Draft will take place on June 24-25 at the First Niagara Center home of the Sabres in Buffalo just a couple of months from now, and the Bruins also own the first round pick of the San Jose Sharks that will end up somewhere in the 20’s based on the fact they’re still currently alive in the playoffs.

Saturday, April 30: Preparing for the lottery

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Saturday, April 30: Preparing for the lottery

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating Greek Easter this weekend by way of my in-laws. Christos Anesti.  

*Pro Hockey Talk writer James O’Brien has everything you need to know about tonight’s NHL Draft Lottery.

*Brent Burns is recognized as a Norris Trophy finalist after his best season as a member of the San Jose Sharks. For the record, the top three of Drew Doughty, Burns and Erik Karlsson were also the top three votes on my awards ballot, and exactly in that order.

*Puck Daddy eulogizes the Anaheim Ducks, who lost in the first round and promptly got their head coach fired.

*Speaking of the Ducks and a great man and good coach in Bruce Boudreau, who is now out of work, Anaheim GM Bob Murray is now getting ready to round up the candidates for a new coach.

*Spector has a number of hockey rumors, including what’s expected for offseason changes for the Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks now that they’re on the golf course.

*If the Edmonton Oilers win the draft lottery again, two things will happen: a lot of people will be angry, and Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will have a lot of options at his disposal.

*Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk bring the Stanley Cup pedigree to an Islanders team that’s voyaging deep into the playoffs.

*For something completely different: Kevin Faulk gets mad props for wearing the Tom Brady jersey to the NFL podium to help announce New England’s draft picks.