NHL and NHLPA to meet Thursday; counter-offer expected

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NHL and NHLPA to meet Thursday; counter-offer expected

There was genuine curiosity waiting on a reaction from NHLPA to the NHLs Tuesday offer that broke a month's worth of ice in negotiations.
Would NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr reject the 5050 offer out of hand and enrage hockey fans that have been lulled into a false sense of security that the NHL regular season is now going to start on Nov. 2?
Would the players put their collective minds together and counter the NHLs proposal with a thoughtful rebuttal built off the leagues offer while staying true to their own idea of fairness?
It appears it will be more of the latter than the former as sources inside the negotiations confirmed to CSNNE.com that the NHLPA and NHL will meet in Toronto at 1 p.m. on Thursday. The NHLPA is expected to have a counter-proposal for the league at that time, and it should set off a week of intense negotiations provided the NHL is receptive to Fehrs modest proposal.
While the public release of the NHLs entire CBA offer on Wednesday morning was rather unorthodox by professional sports league standards, it appears Bettman and Co. were attempting to accomplish a pair of goals.
First, they wanted to put a little pressure on Fehr and the NHLPA after the league has been more bug than windshield during the CBA negotiations. The notion of a 5050 split of revenues is the kind of proposal that seems inherently fair to the public at large, and is the current CBA arrangements in both the NBA and NFL.
Secondly, theres a suspicion on the players side that the offers very public release was an effort on the NHLs part to get the verbatim offer directly in the hands of the 700 plus members of the NHLPA. There may be some concern on the NHLs part that Fehr is filtering their message to the players above and beyond the reasoning given that there have been widespread reports attempting to describe and characterize the terms of the offer that understandably are incomplete.
Either way, its simply a positive development that both sides are actively negotiating, and there will certainly be ups, downs and all-arounds over the next week as the two sides gamely attempt to preserve an 82-game regular season.

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.