NHL labor talks break off after only one hour

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NHL labor talks break off after only one hour

The momentum that seemed to be carrying the National Hockey League toward a labor settlement crashed into a brick wall Thursday afternoon, as a negotiating session between the league and the players' union lasted little more than a hour with commissioner Gary Bettman calling the players' counterproposal to the league's offer a "step backward".

"I am, to say the least, totally disappointed," Bettman said at a hastily called news conference after the session broke off.

The players shared Bettman's pessimism, if not his feeling as to who's to blame. David Backes of the St. Louis Blues, in a text to ESPN's Pierre LaBrun, said, "We feel our newest proposal took a great step towards getting a deal done. It's too bad the owners don't feel that way."

Backes added: "I fear that we may miss an extended amount of time now."

The league on Tuesday had proposed a 5050 split of all hockey related revenue, an offer that the National Hockey League Players Association spent most of two days studying. On Wednesday, association president Donald Fehr said the proposed deal would cost the players 1.6 billion over the six-year life of the contract, and the union prepared a counterproposal for Thursday's negotiating session.

Bettman, however, said the players' offer did not "even began to approach a 50-50 split" and that the sides were speaking different languages. He said the talks broke off after only an hour "because there was really nothing there."

The union yet to meet officially with the media, but one of the players who attended the session -- speaking to CSNNE.com's Danny Picard on the condition of anonymity -- disagreed with Bettman's assessment.

"We gave the owners three different ways to get to 50 percent," he said. "We again moved towards them in every one."

"I don't know what the next step is," said Bettman, who added he is concerned by the lack of progress in negotiations.

The player told Picard: "We have to continue to work with the owners. If they want to play so badly, they can repeal the lockout."

More to come . . .

Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

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Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

The Bruins will add another veteran defenseman to their training camp group fresh off the World Cup of Hockey as German D-man Christian Ehrhoff is headed to Boston on a PTO (professional tryout agreement). CSN has confirmed that Ehrhoff has indeed agreed to a PTO with the Bruins, and he'll report to the team sometime this weekend.

The 34-year-old Ehrhoff had three assists in six World Cup games for Team Europe, and had two goals and 10 points in 48 games for the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season while clearly starting to slow down a bit. He’s clearly no longer the player that averaged 14 goals and 47 points for the Vancouver Canucks from 2009-2011, and is another left-shot defenseman to add to a team that already has Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.

But it behooved the Bruins to bring in at least one “name” veteran D-man on a tryout basis during this training camp with so many needs for upgrades on the back end, and with a host of young players that might not be ready for prime time. This might also be a warning sign for young veteran Joe Morrow, a left shot D-man that has struggled a bit in training camp after coming off an erratic first full season at the NHL level.

Clearly the Bruins need more than Ehrhoff, however, even if he’s somehow re-energized with the Bruins after playing pretty well in the World Cup. The Kings were down enough on his game to put him through waivers last season, but he was a top-4 defenseman for the previous eight seasons for San Jose, Vancouver, Buffalo and Pittsburgh prior to getting bounced around between the Kings and Blackhawks last season.

The added bonus with taking a look at Ehrhoff is that there’s no risk associated with a PTO, and the Bruins can simply walk away with no cost if the B’s coaching staff decides he’s not a good fit for the group in Boston. On the other hand, bringing in a Kris Russell-type would cost a great deal in terms of money and term in a free agent contract, and it might not benefit the Black and Gold club in the end result. 

Carlo "ready for everything" as he looks to build on strong camp

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Carlo "ready for everything" as he looks to build on strong camp

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- Brandon Carlo enjoyed about as good a game as one could possibly hope for in his preseason debut earlier this week.

The 19-year-old was smooth and poised with the puck on his stick, and picked up an assist when Danton Heinen redirected his point blast to the back of the net. He was also a little dirty, mean and nasty in his own end throwing bodies around in front of the net, and at one point taking a penalty call when he was a little overzealous throwing an opponent down in the crease.

So the 6-foot-5 prospect gave a pretty good glimpse into what he can offer at his best, but the youngster also knows it will keep getting more and more difficult as the games get closer to the end of the preseason.

“In that first game I felt like I was doing a lot of really good things. I was moving the puck well, playing well and doing all of the things that I wanted to do. So I’m really excited to build on that opportunity. I feel like I started myself off well, but it’s about building throughout the camp to reach your main goal at the end,” said Carlo, who may be in line for top pair duties again on Friday night after skating in that role in his first game. “Throughout camp I got three games last year, and I noticed that with each game the action got harder and faster. So I’m ready for that. I feel like it’s going to be a lot of fun out there. I’m ready for the speed, and I’m ready for the physicality. I’m ready for everything.”

Carlo will again team with veteran puck-mover John-Michael Liles on Friday night in a road exhibition game against the Detroit Red Wings, and both he and the Bruins will be looking for him to build on that first outing’s promise. If the youngster can keep it up then the Bruins will have a really difficult choice on their hands with seven D-men already signed to NHL contracts ahead of the young prospect types, so Carlo would have to displace somebody.

But that’s another problem for another day, and will require young Carlo to keep impressing on people , and being extremely hard to play against, when the Bruins take the ice against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Friday night.