Boston Bruins

Shawn Thornton on why players haven't accepted deal

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Shawn Thornton on why players haven't accepted deal

Bruins winger Shawn Thornton joined Gary Tanguay and Mike Felger on UNO's Sports Tonight Tuesday night and discussed the current state of the NHL lockout.

So, how's he feeling about it all right now?

"Frustrated, angry, would like to just be playing but obviously it's out of our hands right now," Thornton said. "It seems like it's just another money grab and won't fix anything. It's kind of our stance so we're looking for ways to fix it but the league doesn't really want to hear our ideas."

Thornton, who expects the league and players to start up talks again soon, isn't sure about how long the lockout could last. But he knows why the players are taking a stand.

"Right now it's either a 24-percent roll back was the first offer from the owners," Thornton said. "The second one was 18-20 percent depending on certain numbers. We want to fix it. We know there's some markets that are in trouble and we want to help those markets by growing the game in those markets and going forward, but just reaching into our pockets and taking 20-percent of our contracts that we negotiated in good faith we don't think is the answer."

While some owners are crying poor, others are signing players with no issue. Some are both crying poor and signing players to big contracts.

"We had Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold in the negotiating committee for the league saying how terrible he was doing, then he signed 240 million (closer to 200 million) worth of contract for two guys over 14 years the next day," Thornton said. "So it's very confusing for everyone, us included. It's tough to believe it sometimes but we're trying to figure out a way to get through it."

Some NHL players can go to the KHL in Russia and still get paid a high enough salary to make it worth not signing a bad deal with the owners. Felger notes Penguins star Evgeni Malkin as one example.

But for a guy like Thornton, that money isn't available like that. Thornton admits he's starting to get his "ducks in a row" in terms of playing overseas if need be, but he also hopes it doesn't come to that.

"I'm still optimistic, I still hope we get this done in the next little bit," he said. "But I also don't want to get caught with my pants down either."

As far as missing an entire year of hockey, it would certainly hurt someone like Thornton's bank account. But just like players before him took a hit for the future of the game, Thornton is prepared to do the same.

Morning Skate: Ex-Penguin: Pens accepting White House visit 'embarrassing'

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Morning Skate: Ex-Penguin: Pens accepting White House visit 'embarrassing'

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while genuinely looking forward to the return of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

*Former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque, a former member of the team, calls the Penguins’ decision to accept an invitation to visit the White House “embarrassing.” Certainly, the timing was not good at all when it first came out last weekend, and that seems to be the majority opinion around the hockey world.

*College Hockey News comes out with their preseason Top 10 as NCAA hockey will get going in earnest very soon.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Roberto Luongo pushing through the mental and physical grind during his comeback from a hip injury. Luongo, and his health, will be a major factor in the hopes of the Florida Panthers getting back into the playoffs this season.

*Interesting action from the Vegas Golden Knights printing the names of their season ticket holders on the ice for their inaugural NHL season.

*Anaheim Ducks D-man Cam Fowler is getting more comfortable in a leadership role as time marches on for the young veterark=tw*n.

*For something completely different: So the on-screen chemistry between Jon Snow and Ygritte wasn’t fantasy after all.  

 

Stronger, feistier Spooner shows he can be effective

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Stronger, feistier Spooner shows he can be effective

BOSTON – Ryan Spooner talked about adding almost ten pounds of muscle to his frame over the summer and made a point to say that he needs to be more competitive if he wants to remain with the Bruins.

It appears that the action is going to meet the words as the speedy, skilled center lived up to some of those promises and played a strong game for the Bruins in their 4-2 preseason win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night at TD Garden. Spooner threw around his body on the first shift registering a pair of hits, including one that jarred loose the puck and eventually led to David Pastrnak’s sniper shot goal at the other end of the ice.

Spooner, 25, picked up the secondary assist on Pastrnak’s goal after Matt Beleskey worked the puck up the ice to the right winger, and finished with a couple of shot attempts, a couple of hits and a blocked shot along with a plus-1 rating in 16:32 of ice time.

“[The added competitiveness] is something that we’ve talked about, and it’s always good to get that kind of result. I think the thing for me right now is to just try to take it game by game. Just trying to do that and see how it goes for me,” said Spooner. “They told me that was something that they wanted to see me do and I’ve been trying to do it. It worked out there [on the goal].”

Spooner admitted that he was playing a little angry on the first shift after losing the opening face-off of the game, but whatever it takes to get a feistier player is better for both the center and for his team.

“He was a crusher on that [shift]. Buried a guy. I don’t know if physicality is the proper term. What I want to see is compete. We’ve talked about that," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "I don’t expect Ryan Spooner to lead our team in hits. But he has to win his share of pucks. How you do that, [being] hard on your stick, sometimes it is body position and sometimes it is knocking a guy off the puck. It was good to see, and it led directly to [the first goal]. We come back up the ice, he makes a play, [Matt] Beleskey passes it and we score a goal.

“Then the third period [we] specifically, put him out for a D-zone faceoff and he won one, he won maybe both. It’s just some situations that he knows he has to be harder in, and I think the rest of his game will take care of itself. I thought he was good in that area of the game tonight.”

Clearly, Spooner won’t be playing much with Pastrnak in the regular season as he was in David Krejci’s absence on Monday night, and the spike in battle and determination needs to carry over from the preseason into the regular season. But a who Spooner will do more of the little things to go along with skill and power-play acumen could portend some very good things for the Black and Gold, and a possible breakout season for No. 51 if he can keep it up.