Bruins players staying optimstic amid game cancellations

913201.jpg

Bruins players staying optimstic amid game cancellations

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. While its difficult to remain optimistic with regular season games cancelled and Bruins players skating elsewhere all over the planet on Thursdays cancelled NHL opening night, the Bs players left behind are doing their best.

Greg Campbell, Johnny Boychuk, Brad Marchand and Daniel Paille are among a small group of Bs players still skating together in Boston and waiting for the NHL lockout to finally end.

Well, most guys are skating anyway.

Me and Campbell are built like Greek gods, so we dont have to worry about playing anywhere during the lockout, said Marchand with a laugh. You do almost feel lost right now, though. Youre used to having a schedule and a routine when hockey season comes, and its been that way for me since I was 15 years old.

Its a little weird, but were trying to stay in the routine as much as possible, Marchand said.

None of the four players have plans to skate in Europe at this point in time and they still hope for the best despite the gaping chasm that remains between the NHL and NHLPA for a new collective bargaining agreement. Paille is the NHLPA player rep for the Bruins and hes stayed abreast on all the labor discussions, and stresses that its about more than the money for the players.

Theres roughly a billion dollar gap between each side after union and league officials
tabled talks on Thursday, but the Bruins indicated their fight is about whats fair, whats
important for player rights and whats best for both the current and next generation of NHL players.

We dont want to be in this situation. Obviously we would have rather been in Philly starting the NHL season, said Paille. Its disappointing because we want to play. We have to see things through the next few weeks and then go from there. Theres a much bigger picture than just the money. I know thats a big part of it, but we have a lot more to lose than that.

The fact that games have been cancelled is disappointing on both sides," said Paille. "You try to get the job done and we havent gotten it done. Im optimistic that there will be a season, but
at this point in time its impossible to say when that will happen. Its anybodys guess. Hopefully we get something done sooner rather than later.

Campbell is equally optimistic there will eventually be a hockey season whether it starts in November or December, but had a difficult time zeroing in on what it will take for a deal to finally get done.

Its a combination of emotions. Its uncharted waters for me like it is for most other guys, said Campbell. You can think about it all you want, but it doesnt prepare you for once the season starts getting cancelled. Every year we show up to camp and get ready for the season, so the biggest challenge for players is to stay positive, stay focused and staying prepared as a professional whether the season starts soon or not-so-soon.

Theres no alternative rather than to stay optimistic. Weve put all of our trust as players
into NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr and Steve Fehr. Thats what theyre good at: making deals and making fair deals. They want to make a deal that benefits the players as well as the league and the fans. Its hard to read into whats written about the negotiations on a daily basis, so you just stay as informed as you can through the NHLPA contacts.

Lockout solutions and pathways to a middle ground are for union executives and league czars that are in the middle of their busy season rather than the players. You can bet on which one is more exciting to the disappointed, frustrated NHL fans now missing out on games, but the Bruins are doing their best to retain happy thoughts as regular season games begin getting deleted like worthless pieces of spam email.

Morning Skate: Larry Robinson parts ways with Sharks

Morning Skate: Larry Robinson parts ways with Sharks


Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while refraining from shoving any world leaders today.

*Larry Robinson and the San Jose Sharks are parting after working together for five seasons, per FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Kurz.

*Speaking of Kurz, he also has a Sharks mailbag on which players are most likely to be traded out of San Jose during the offseason. Somebody has got to go, and you’d think it would be somebody without much tread left on the tires.

*Moving on to other topics, Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler said that losing a Game 6 in the Western Conference Finals to the Nashville Predators was the “toughest” loss of his career. I don’t see how this is possible. You see, Kesler is no slouch at falling short. In fact, he’s a tremendous loser, having dropped a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at home in 2011 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, and also having lost a Gold Medal Game for Team USA at the hands of Sidney Crosby and Canada in 2010 in overtime that was also played in Vancouver. It took a simple Google search to find an actual postgame video of Kesler crying into his hockey glove on the bench in the aftermath of Game 7 vs. the Bruins. So, pardon me if I’m not buying Kesler talking about a conference finals loss as the worst of his career when he was one home win away from being a Stanley Cup champion in Game 7, and proceeded to lose like he’s done many, many times in the most important games of his career. Dude, you’ve been through tougher losses. Trust me on that one.  

*The idea of trading Alex Ovechkin might be gaining some traction with the Capitals fan base, but it doesn’t seem to be based on reality at this point.

*The pride of Melrose, Mass, Conor Sheary, delivered in Game 7 for the Penguins as they return to the Stanley Cup Final in back-to-back seasons.

*Bobby Ryan said his strategy for success in the playoffs, at least in part, was staying off the phone. Maybe he ought to try that a bit more during the regular season.

*Congrats to the folks at NBC for another successful Red Nose Day that featured a reunion of the “Love Actually” cast among other things.