Celebrity NHL fans speak out on lockout

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Celebrity NHL fans speak out on lockout

The lockout is approaching an entire month lost to CBA negotiations, and this week represents a big milestone as the NHL regular season was expected to kick off this weekend.

The NHL and NHLPA have agreed to speak this week, and thats an encouraging sign. But both sides are also stuck at an impasse over core economic issues as the NHL wont entertain further negotiations until the players agree to some form of cuts from last years 1.87 billion slice of the Hockey Revenue pie.

It doesnt appear there will be progress until the NHL shows some bend so instead the AHL is set to debut this weekend and college hockey kicked off last weekend as New England's hockey placeholders in the NHLs absence.

The NHL has ticked off some fans with another work stoppage so soon after an entire year was lost to the 2004-05 labor war, and theyve pounded Gary Bettman and the NHL owners with impunity on social media avenues like Twitter and Facebook.

The most notably upset fans? The celebrities, of course.

The NHL loves to trot out their celebrity fans during the regular season and they get a spotlight during the Stanley Cup Finals while rooting for their favorite team. But the puck love of celebrities can be a double-edged sword, and many of those same familiar faces have taken to Twitter to express their displeasure with the NHL over the last few weeks.

Heres a sampling of those tweets while admitting that none of these celebrities exactly qualify as A-list, but theyre all superstars when it comes to the Twitter word:

The Iron Sheik: Famous WWF wrestler and bon vivant
NHL deserve german suplex and camel clutch The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) September 16, 2012

Wil Wheaton: Played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek and was in the classic movie Stand By Me
I turned on NHL13, and Gary Bettman came on my screen telling me the entire game is locked DLC. I offered to pay, but he wanted 57 more. Wil Wheaton (@wilw) September 30, 2012

Dave Coulier: Joey on Full House, with many smartly suggesting he should have told the NHL to cut it out
Hey @nhl you're not just locking out the players, but all the fans and workers as well. Dave Coulier (@DaveCoulier) September 17, 2012

Colin Hanks: Actor, son of Tom Hanks and big Los Angeles Kings fans

(12) Bummed that more NHL games have been cancelled due to lock out. But the little thought of fact that really stings? Colin Hanks (@ColinHanks) October 5, 2012

(22) This NHL lockout also means no billboard campaign this year with images of the LAKINGS holding the STANLEY CUP over their heads Colin Hanks (@ColinHanks) October 5, 2012

On one level, the anger and frustration is a good sign, but what has to concern the NHL is that so many other fans are turning the page and moving on without hockey. Theres a kind of indifference and a lockout-weariness that appears to be setting in with a fan base thats been left at the altar one too many times. Once games are missed and that really begins to catch hold, then anger turns into apathy, and the NHL will truly be killing a golden goose that poured 3.3 billion into their coffers last season.

Thats got to be a scary thought for the guy named Bettman thats pulling the levers and pushing all the buttons behind the curtain right now.

Morning Skate: Guy Boucher proves to be a man of the people

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Morning Skate: Guy Boucher proves to be a man of the people

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while putting the pieces together now that the hockey season is O-V-A-H here in Boston. 
 
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bruce Arthur takes a look at the end of the season for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who put on a good show with their young, talented crew. 
 
-- In the interest of self-promotion, here is this morning’s interview with Toucher and Rich where I talked about the Bruins taking a step forward despite their season being over. 
 
-- He might look and sound like a Bond Villain, but Guy Boucher was far from it in stopping to shake hands with Senators fans at the airport after their playoff win over the B’s. 
 
-- Interesting that John Stevens is named head coach of the Los Angeles Kings, since the change isn’t expected to be a big departure from what was already going on there. 
 
-- The San Jose Sharks are all done for this season, and one wonders if GM Doug Wilson is going to have to choose between Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau moving forward. 

 -- Speaking of the Senators, PHT writer James O’Brien has Clarke MacArthur and Craig Anderson making Ottawa’s playoff victory all the more emotional

 -- For something completely different: Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is coming to a theatre near you soon, and here’s a review. I’m looking forward to this one.

Haggerty: Cassidy should be rewarded for a job well done

Haggerty: Cassidy should be rewarded for a job well done

BOSTON -- After the Bruins were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs Sunday, nearly every player was in agreement in identifying the turning point of the season:

The coaching change.

The B's went 18-8-1 in the regular season after Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien and rallied to make the playoffs after a late-season, four-game tailspin had them in danger of missing out for the third straight year. And despite being ravaged by injuries, they showed fight and spirit in pushing Ottawa to six games, including a road victory in a double-overtime, Game 5 thriller, before eventually succumbing in overtime, 3-2, on Sunday.

Certainly there were moments of sloppiness -- ill-timed penalties, moments when the Bruins simply couldn't bust through Ottawa's 1-3-1 trap -- but Boston's gutty playoff showing, coupled with the regular-season surge, makes it seem clear Cassidy deserves to be awarded the full-time head coaching gig. 

Several Bruins players voiced their endorsement of Cassidy on Sunday, lauding him for bringing energy, offensive thrust, and open-mindedness to using younger players. 

"The results speak for themselves," said David Backes, who played some of his best hockey in Games 5 and 6 once he was paired with center Sean Kuraly. "We were climbing uphill when [Cassidy] took over and we made our way [to the playoffs] . . . [He] certainly did a heck of a job."

And how does Cassidy -- who had gone more than 13 years since his last NHL head coaching job before replacing Julien on an interim basis, and spending the previous eight seasons at the AHL level in Providence -- feel? 

"Absolutely. 100 percent," said Cassidy, when asked if he wanted the Boston job on a permanent basis.

And if he got it, perhaps those improvements would continue.

"Maybe a full year with him, he changes a few things," said Backes.

"That will be determined going forward by management whether I continue to be the head coach, and what players will be here will [also] be determined by management," said Cassidy. "So it's a tough question to answer [on what improvements need to be made]. I think we scored some goals this year. We were good on the rush as well and the power play . . . and we were always a good forechecking team. This series took on a personality that we were going to have to score on the forecheck. 

"I thought that's why you see guys like [Noel] Acciari and Kuraly get into the lineup and really contribute. It's the strength of their game, and maybe less so from other guys that are more line rush guys. Don't forget, we had a lot of neophytes going into this series in terms of National Hockey League playoffs. So there's a learning curve for them and that's part of the growth process that we hope that, if we're sitting here next year at this time talking about advancing, that they learn something from this year. That's what every team goes through and the [David] Pastrnaks of the world, [Charlie] McAvoy . . . pick your players that are new to it, and [they] have to learn from [it]."

The decision to start Anton Khudobin in Brooklyn late in the regular season after the Bruins had lost four in a row was a turning point-type move, where Cassidy certainly pushed some buttons with No. 1 goalie Tuukka Rask. And his insertion of Kuraly for Ryan Spooner in Game 5 worked on every level, and probably prolonged the series. So give him credit for both of those things along with the pumped-up offense he helped orchestrate in the final few months of the regular season. 

The Bruins won't be making any public statements or pronouncements on Monday, but one has to assume Cassidy holds the inside track on the job after guiding the team back into the playoffs for the first time in three years. Certainly there may be courtesy interviews for other candidates like Providence College coach Nate Leaman, but it's difficult to see anything else Cassidy would have to accomplish to be fit for the position. 

As Backes said himself, the results speak for themselves.