B's players 'frustrated, disappointed' at canceled games

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B's players 'frustrated, disappointed' at canceled games

The Bruins players knew this day was inevitable, and its showed with nine members of the team looking for opportunities to play in Europe.

But there are also a number of Bs players still in Boston working out daily, and those still in the area were understandably disappointed and perplexed by the announcement that all regular season games through Oct. 24 had been cancelled. Six Bruins games are now off the books including the season-opener, the home-opener and back-to-back games against the hated Montreal Canadiens. Those dont figure to be the only games cancelled either, as both the NHL and NHLPA reached a rough patch and have broken off meetings in the CBA negotiations.

Theres plenty of skepticism among the players that the NHL had a lockout in mind all along, and that serious negotiations wont begin until the players have already lost 20 percent of this seasons salary due to cancelled games. It makes sense when one ponders how much money losing franchises like the Phoenix Coyotes, Florida Panthers and New York Islanders must be saving by missing the first few months of the season.

The question then becomes how willing do the NHL players become for an agreement when the owners have taken their pound of flesh. The NHL has wanted a 10-20 percent salary reduction in the new collective bargaining agreement, and they seem willing to get it by any means necessary.

Im disappointed that the league refuses to negotiate and would rather lock us out and try to sweat us out instead of negotiating in good faith, said Thornton to CSNNE.com. It seems like they are intent on cutting our pay whether by insisting we take their ridiculous offer or locking us out to achieve thisinstead of trying to find a reasonable agreement.

"Its very frustrating that it comes to this. Its awful to think this was the plan all along.

With the players and league owners at such odds over roughly a billion dollars in revenue over the course of any new deal, Andrew Ference thinks a schism among the 30 NHL owners is the only route to a fair solution. Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs is the Chairman of the Board of Governors and is said to be the driving force behind the lockout tactic being utilized. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman only needs seven other owners along with Bettman to impose a lockout, so it would need to quite an ownership revolt to impose progress.

But it would appear the NHL is direly in need of a forward-thinking owner like New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who was instrumental in bridging the two sides and avoiding an NFL work stoppage last season. Ference believes it will take much louder dissenting voices among NHL ownership to get something done.

The Bs defenseman will be leaving this weekend to play in the Czech League for at least the next few months, but he does so with a heavy heart.

Its disappointing because in most any other business you would continue working while negotiating a new union contract, said Ference to CSNNE.com. They were not forced to cancel games, it is voluntary by them. I remain optimistic that there are a number of owners who are just as unhappy as the players with this work stoppage and that they will be more vocal in their private talks with the league.

The damage done to the momentum that our sport has gathered over the past few years is something that we and some on the NHL side want to prevent. But seeing where their offers have come in, both in drastically eliminating dollars and players contract rights, its not surprising we are at this point right now.

So bitterness and hard feelings begin to fester between the players and the league officeownership of the NHL, and two sides remain no closer to starting their season than they did in the days following the Stanley Cup Finals in June. There have been great days for the NHL over the last eight years as revenues, ratings and popularity have all spiked, but Thursday marked the leagues crappiest day in a long, long time.

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

The Coyotes have hired former player Craig Cunningham as a pro scout, keeping the 26-year-old in hockey after a cardiac episode ended his playing career this season. 

Drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Cunningham played 34 games for Boston over parts of two seasons before he was waived and claimed by Arizona. He totaled 19 games for the Coyotes, but served as captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, the team’s AHL affiliate. 

Cunningham was hospitalized after he collapsed during pregame warmups on Nov. 19. He was kept alive by continual CPR, but had his lower left leg amputated the next months due to an infection from the episode. 

Known as a high-character player who was popular with his teammates, Cunningham’s transition to scouting lets him further his career after a scary break. 

"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my life with the Coyotes," Cunningham said in a statement released by the team. "I'm very grateful to John Chayka, Dave Tippett, the Coyotes and Roadrunners organizations, and all of the great fans across Arizona for the incredible support I've received over the past year. I'm looking forward to helping the Coyotes and I can't wait to get started in my new role."

Said Chayka, the team’s general manager: ”We're thrilled to have Craig join our hockey operations department as a pro scout. Craig was a smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game. We're confident that he will bring those same qualities to the Coyotes in his new role and that he will be an invaluable asset to our organization. We look forward to Craig helping us in several areas and are excited that he is staying with the club."
 

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while really enjoying what the CW does season in and season out with the Flash.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Don Brennan says that the Senators fans not showing up for Game 6 is their way of sticking it to Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.

*The talk is turning to the next captain of the Buffalo Sabres, and what they can do to help open up communication up and down the roster.  

*A guy that wore a Habs toque on his twitter avatar writes a glowing, praise-filled article about the performance of PK Subban during these Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s undoubtedly been good, but he just might have been wearing his Montreal Canadiens footie pajamas when he wrote this one, and rattling his fist at Habs management all the while.

*Interesting piece by Jason Gregor about the “window to win” for the Edmonton Oilers, and an odd notion that the window will close when Connor McDavid has moved out of his entry level contract. I’d say that’s kind of ludicrous.

*The Colorado Avalanche coaching staff has been let go after last year’s dreadful season, and that’s too bad for a really good guy in former Providence College head coach Tim Army. I’m sure he won’t be out of work long.

*Colin White made his Stanley Cup playoff and NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators in Game 6, and helped push Ottawa to a Game 7. It will be interesting to watch the Massachusetts native and former Boston College standout develop with the Senators as White was one of the players that the Bruins skipped over to instead draft Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. The others, Mathew Barzal, Travis Konecny and Kyle Connor, are all either in the NHL or knocking on the door as well, and it’s going to be a challenging road for both of Boston’s forward prospects to live up the justification of the B’s drafting them first. Granted DeBrusk and Senyshyn are also both doing their thing for the P-Bruins as they push into the conference finals of the Calder Cup playoffs, and they’re both bright prospects in their own right. It’s going to take years to determine the rights and wrongs of that first round, but White getting into the lineup for the Senators is proof of just how high that organization is on him.

*Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan says that Sidney Crosby handled the targeted abuse well from the Senators in a Game 6 loss that will push to a Game 7 between the Penguins and the Senators.

*For something completely different: A great message from Brookline homey and former Sox GM wonder boy Theo Epstein in his commencement address to Yale University.