Full Bruins contingent headed to NYC for CBA talks

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Full Bruins contingent headed to NYC for CBA talks

WILMINGTON, Mass. The Bruins win as a team. They lose as a team.

They also show their player solidarity as a team.

The entire contingent of Bruins players minus their erstwhile goaltender holed up in his Colorado compound hopped on a train Wednesday morning bound for the NHLNHLPA negotiations in New York City.

Their train trip came immediately after the bulk of Bs players skated for 60 minutes at Ristuccia Arena at a captains practice led by Zdeno Chara. Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle and Edmonton Oilers defensemen Ryan Whitney along with former UMass hockey player Alex Berry were skating along with the host of Bruins players including
Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Chara, Milan Lucic, Tyler Seguin, Tuukka Rask, Anton Khudobin, Johnny Boychuk, Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell, Jordan Caron, Chris Bourque, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid and Rich Peverley.

As many as 300 players are expected to head into NYC for the NHLPANHL talks over the next two days with a possible lockout beginning at midnight on Sept. 15 if a deal isnt reached between the two sides. The Bruins players know that a show of solidarity is important, and Ference later tweeted on Wednesday afternoon that all members of the Black and Gold roster were headed to the Big Apple for the CBA showdown.

Its good that a lot of guys are going to find out where were at as a union. Were going to have some long meetings tonight and tomorrow morning, and were going to get more clarity of what to expect over the next few weeks, said Milan Lucic. With all of the players
showing up, it shows that were against the lockout and we want this game to grow and continue.

Its no secret that the game has grown tremendously over the last few years and its headed in a really good direction. Don Fehr is very black and white with us, so we know exactly whats going on. The large attendance in New York City really shows our solidarity.

The NHL has scheduled a Thursday afternoon press conference with the expected likelihood that theyll announce a lockout, and thats something the Bruins players are bracing for despite being hopeful headed into the informational meetings. Gregory Campbell said he
expects progress once the NHL announces a lockout of the players, but theres also the inevitably there will be some kind of lockout.

The biggest thing for us is how to prepare as players for a lockout. Do you go home? Do you stay in your NHL city if youre a guy with kids and a family? said Campbell. Im trying to take an optimistic approach. The lockout deadline almost seems inevitable
from everything that Ive heard about the talks. Thats the owners plan. Theres nothing written in stone and even if we are officially locked out on the 15th Im still optimistic that as soon as the deadline comes there will be progress.

Once the deadline hits its for real and the season wont start until it gets sorted out. Hopefully thats a time when people really get serious and try to work something out here. I dont think the game is in that bad of a shape. Its certainly a lot better than it was when I
came into the NHL.

There is still a glimmer of hope that the NHL and NHLPA can overcome their hurdles and find some common ground over the next two days, but it wont be easy. The NHL has to back off the rollback of salaries and the promises of salary escrow that the players bitterly accepted
during the last CBA negotiations, and the players will have to give back generously from the 57 percent share of the Hockey Related Revenue theyve earned over the last six seasons.

Perhaps Fehr and Gary Bettman will meet face-to-face and hammer out their disagreements with the Sept. 15 lockout date looming, and end the battle over NHL profit margins appearing to drive the fundamental disagreement.

Whatever happens the Bruins players are once again showing theyre in harmony as a hockey club with the battle having been transferred from the ice to the board room this week in New York City.

Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

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Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

It’s only a coincidence that it will air the same week that the Boston Bruins went Hollywood with their annual three-game road trip through California, but David Backes and his wife Kelly are going to get some solid TV time this weekend. The animal-loving couple are going to be featured Saturday night in the all-new Animal Planet special "Stars to the Rescue," which highlights the Backes family’s excellent work to ensure every animal has a ‘furever’ home.

The lifelong animal lovers have adopted five rescue pets that all made the move from St. Louis to Boston this summer, and launched Athletes for Animals in 2013, a non-profit organization supporting professional athletes and animal advocacy efforts. The 32-year-old Backes chose a Boston animal shelter as his first setting to meet with the Boston media this summer after signing with the Bruins in free agency, and spoke glowingly about his inspiration for marrying two of his passions: helping animals and sports.

“The full story is that in college we wanted an animal or two, but it just wasn’t responsible because we were renting and the landlords didn’t approve," said Backes, the proud owner of four dogs (Maverick, Rosey, Marty and Bebe) and two cats (Sunny, Poly). "We just didn’t really have the time or resources to support them, so we volunteered at the local shelter for the three years I was in school.

“When my wife [Kelly] and I moved to St. Louis, we wanted to connect with the community, be a part and use our voice to influence social change to do our part making the world a little bit of a better place. So we said, ‘Why not connect with the animal welfare rescue community?’

“We absolutely love doing it: Walking dogs, scooping litter boxes and cleaning kennels. Let’s use our voice to kick this off and see what we can do, and it really just snowballed from that to then trying to tie other guys into it. It’s not limited to the animal stuff, but the animals that don’t have a voice, and the kids that don’t have a voice, really tug at our heart strings. We want to help them with this blessing of a great voice we’ve been given as professional athletes, and to really use that to give them some help.”

The “Stars to the Rescue” special premieres on Saturday night at 8 pm on Animal Planet where there will be a full segment on the Backes family, but here’s a clip where Backes talks about his well-publicized involvement with a number of stray dog rescues during his 2014 Olympic Hockey stint with Team USA in Sochi, Russia.

Backes isn’t the only Boston athlete featured during the Animal Planet special as it also chronicles the stories of other well-known athletes and celebrities and the dogs they can't live without: Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley, Selma Blair, ESPN Correspondent Michelle Beadle, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and more. From training buddies to comforting companions, “Stars to the Rescue” shows first-hand how these celebrities first met their cute rescued canines and how their dogs have impacted and transformed their lives for the better.

What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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