Lucic, Komisarek rekindle hated rivalry with another brawl

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Lucic, Komisarek rekindle hated rivalry with another brawl

When the most-recent incarnation of the BruinsCanadiens rivalry was at its height, a mutual hatred was born between players brought straight out of Central Casting. One is the brawling, brawny power forward voted amongst his peers as the most fearsome force in the NHL, and the other is the antagonistic force that keeps coming back for beating after beating.

Milan Lucic and Mike Komisarek dropped the gloves in another major brawl during Monday night's win, and it was equal parts frustration and anger for Bostons top left winger. Komisarek had pursued Lucic toward the benches and threw a shot at the Boston forward when it was clear the score was out of hand, and the Leafs were looking some way -- any way -- to change the game's momentum.

So how did Lucic react to the cross-checking infraction courtesy of his sworn enemy through the battles against Montreal and Toronto?

About as violently as one would expect with Lucic throwing punches at the head of Komisarek, and all of nasty business contained therein. It wasn't as violent as the beating Lucic handed Komisarek when the then-Montreal defenseman ended up with a shoulder injury, but it was just as one-sided.In the end Lucic will always have mastery over Komisarek when it comes to the physical batles, and that wasn't going to change in the Toronto D-man's first hockey fight this season.

The Montreal fights seem like so long ago. But hes a guy whose definitely gonna compete and hes just trying to show some emotion in a time like that, said Lucic. Obviously, you dont ever like to be on the other end of things. Whatever happened, happened there. Fortunately for me I came out on top in the fight.

Hes a competitor. Hes the type of guy thats going to show that hes not gonna back down. Hes going to stick up for himself and, like I said, try to show some emotion. Youve definitely got to respect that.

It looked like the linesmen was going to step in between Lucic and Komisarek to cool things down, but both players wanted nothing to do with it at first. Despite a separated shoulder the last time Komisarek then a Habs player was dropped by Lucic, he kept right on coming Monday night despite the circumstances.

It appears that decision was a little hasty considering the rain of punches that came down on Komisarek.

Komisarek and Lucic are both big bodies and there was plenty of pushing and shoving, and Komisarek even slipped a couple of punches toward Lucics face. But the Bs left wing returned Komisareks volley, and waited until the Maple Leafs opened up his chinwithin his hockey-fighting stance.Then Lucicunloaded four uppercut punches on Komisarek that snapped the Leafs defensemans head back, and left him red-faced gasping for air when the combatants were done. It was a heavy price paid to attempt jump-starting his hockey club when they were already trailing in the first period, and in the end it really didnt work for Komisarek.

Youre down a couple goals and we dont have any shots on net. Schenny Luke Schenn steps up and tries to show up by fighting Campbell, said Komisarek. Im not going to wait for Grabo Mikhail Grabovski to go out there and fight their tough guy.

"You go out there and just try to show up, and give a couple licks, take a couple licks, and step up I guess. So, its pretty tough.

In Komisareks case he certainly took a few heavy licks from No. 17, but it doesnt appear there was any lasting damage. So thats an improvement for a physical player that damaged his shoulder fighting with Lucic just a couple of years ago.

Despite discord, Goodell's reign may not be nearing end

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Despite discord, Goodell's reign may not be nearing end

Monday may have marked a low point in the relationship between the NFL and its on-field employees.

The fight between the league and its best player of the past two decades was in the headlines again. Tom Brady, tied to the NFL’s bumper and dragged around for almost 500 days, had his NFLPA legal team baring its teeth again in the Deflategate mess. The eye-gouging and hair-pulling in that imbroglio over a puff of air allegedly being removed from footballs has cost the league and the PA about $25M so far.

Meanwhile, NFLPA President Eric Winston was saying the league "cannot be trusted to do the right thing when it involves players.” That comment flowed from a Congressional report alleging the NFL tried to exert influence over who would conduct studies regarding Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), the condition that’s been blamed for a myriad of former players winding up addled, incapacitated or dead.

I say “may have marked” because the relationship between the two sides has cratered so frequently over the past two years, it’s hard to know exactly what the low point has been. Or how much lower it can go.

And, with the 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement only half done, there is ample opportunity for things to get worse. Because, really, why would they get better?

With the NFL’s owners safe knowing that their emperor/puppet/human shield is still in place to take the hits and do their dirty work, there’s seemingly no groundswell among that group to relieve Roger Goodell of his duties. Despite reports of growing owner discontent over Deflategate, the Ray Rice investigation, and an appeal of a case in which the league was found to have withheld $100M from players, there is no Sword of Damocles dangling over the league to cut ties with Goodell.

He was able to oversee the league’s re-entry in Los Angeles (though that “triumph” was fraught with owner acrimony), is going to get a game played in China, keeps edging closer to getting a franchise based in Europe and may even land one in Las Vegas, has enhanced the league’s reach on social media (the announcement of some games being aired on Twitter) and keeps making billions hand over fist.

Goodell’s presence won’t be an impediment to a new labor deal getting done for another five years. By then, when the issues of Goodell’s role in player discipline, drug testing and his relationship with the union come to the fore, the owners might feel compelled to cut him loose after 15 seasons in charge.

But even then, the league’s owners will be in the business of pointing out to the players how good they’ve had it under the current CBA. The league’s salary cap structure – decried as a disaster in the first years of the deal – has seen the cap grow from $120M in 2011 to $155M this year. Players’ practice time and the wear and tear on their bodies has been reduced thanks to the new limits on contact enacted. Benefits are better. Retired players are getting better care. Players have more off-field marketing opportunities with companies that want to affix themselves to the most popular sport in the United States.

As bad as the headlines have been for Goodell, in five years (or probably fewer since negotiations on a new CBA will begin in 2020) who will remember the disaster that’s been Deflategate? How inspired will players be to miss games and paychecks for the satisfaction of knowing Goodell can’t be his own arbitrator anymore?

To sum it up, Goodell’s dark disciplinary reign may well continue unabated for a few more seasons. But as long as the league rains money on its players through the end of this decade, the clock isn’t ticking on Goodell and the owners in the form of labor strife.

Smith: Brady made an 'incredibly generous offer' to settle Deflategate

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Smith: Brady made an 'incredibly generous offer' to settle Deflategate

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith joined the Dan Patrick Show -- hosted by Ross Tucker on Monday -- to discuss the petition that was eventually filed to the Second Circuit requesting a rehearing for Tom Brady's case. 

During the discussion, Smith insisted that Brady made a settlement offer long ago that might've resolved things. But because the NFL wanted more, a deal was never struck. Now here we are, almost 500 days since the AFC Championship Game in January of 2015, and Deflategate is still a living, breathing thing. 

"Tom's a standup guy," Smith said. "And I think he made a settlement offer to resolve this. The league chose not to take it, and that's where we are . . . I don't want to go into details, but it was an incredibly generous offer to resolve this. The league asked for something that no man should agree to do."

Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran explained on Monday's episode of Quick Slants that Brady was willing to accept a one-game suspension for a lack of cooperation at the outset of the investigation. But the league was looking for a face to take the blame, Curran explained. 

Both Jim McNally and John Jastremski were willing to take the heat off of Brady, but Brady insisted that he would not throw anyone else under the bus because he believed that there was no wrongdoing on his part or anyone else's when it came to the preparation of game footballs. 

With no one offered up to shoulder the blame, the NFL declined to agree to any proposal from Brady's camp. At that point, it would have been almost impossible to predict that this case would one day be only a step or two from getting the US Supreme Court involved. 

Yet here we are.