Ference in New York for NHL CBA discussions

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Ference in New York for NHL CBA discussions

Andrew Ference has always been a strong voice when it comes to NHLPA issues, and things concerning players in the NHL workplace. Because of his passion, the Bruins defenseman has found himself in the middle of some hot button events and conversations over the last few years. But it also means Ference is a welcomed players voice of reason when it comes to things like the NHL lockout.

So its a very good thing the 33-year-old Ference has been present in New York City for the last two days of face-to-face negotiations with the NHL as part of the NHLPAs negotiating committee. Ference was also present for discussions at the very beginning of the lockout in September, but had been in the Czech Republic playing hockey for the bulk of the last three months.

Ferences stint in Europe ended right around Christmas, and the Bs defenseman has been back on the East Coast for the last week. He even skated with the Noble and Greenough hockey team several days ago according to his twitter account, and took the short commute to New York City for a pivotal round of CBA negotiations. Joining Ference among the NHL players at the negotiating table are: Craig Adams, Brad Boyes, Chris Campoli, Mathieu Darche, Rich DiPietro, Shane Doan, Ron Hainsey, Jamal Mayers, George Parros, Marty St. Louis and Kevin Westgarth.

Thats a nice mix of superstars, blue collar players and veterans that have the respect of the entire NHLPA membership. NHLPA and NHL officials are meeting for a second straight day after trading CBA offers prior to a midnight deadline for the players association to decide if theyre willing to go through with a disclaimer of interest to potentially dissolve the union. That would potentially lead to the players filing anti-trust lawsuits against the NHL, and thats a path that neither side really wants to walk down if at all possible.

Meanwhile both sides have closed the gap on a number of issues, and are still in discussions on significant issues like pension and cap numbers in subsequent seasons before they can sign off on a workable CBA document. The two sides are getting closer and working toward a hopeful Jan. 19 start to the NHL season that would yield a 48-game shortened regular season.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Hawks hold decisive edge on the boards

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Hawks hold decisive edge on the boards

BOSTON – The return of Avery Bradley was a good thing for the Boston Celtics, but it wasn’t enough for them to control the action in the first half of Monday’s game against the Hawks who took a 51-47 lead into the half.

Bradley, who had missed previous 18 games and 22 of 23, had six points in the first half on 2-for-4 shooting.

The Celtics opened the game with a 7-2 spurt and led by as many as eight points (15-7) in the first before the Hawks begin to cut into Boston’s lead and eventually take their first lead of the night following a 3-point play by Paul Millsap with 4:20 to play in the quarter which put them ahead 18-15 as part of an 11-0 run.

Boston would regain the lead before both teams went into the second quarter tied at 24.

The second quarter saw Boston hit one of those scoring lulls that they go through from time to time.

But unlike last night’s win at Detroit when they went nearly four minutes without scoring, Atlanta’s offense did a much better job of taking advantage of Boston’s struggles.

Atlanta went on a 9-2 spurt in the second quarter capped off by a Kent Bazemore lay-up that put the Hawks ahead 35-31.

Boston rallied soon after with Bradley leading the charge.

Bradley drained a 3-pointer that cut Atlanta’s lead to 35-34.

A defensive stop by Boston led the way for an Isaiah Thomas lay-up that put the Celtics back on top, leading to the Hawks calling a time-out with 6:18to play in the half.

Atlanta tightened up defensively, doing just enough to go into the half with a four-point lead.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of tonight’s game between the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks.

 

STARS

Dennis Schroder

He really came out and set the tone for the Hawks, scoring eight of his 10 first-half points in the first quarter.

Isaiah Thomas

Atlanta did a nice job of blitzing Thomas and forcing him to pass the ball. But Thomas is a professional scorer so you knew it was a matter of time before he got going offensively. He led the Celtics with nine points at the half, in addition to dishing out five assists while also grabbing five rebounds.

Dwight Howard

The Celtics simply could not keep him from dominating play around the rim. He led all scorers at the half with 12 points while grabbing eight rebounds.

 

STUDS

Marcus Smart

When the offense seemed to stall, it was Smart who kept the Celtics within striking distance in the second quarter. He had seven points at the half along with three rebounds and an assist.

Paul Millsap

He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well (he missed six of his seven shots), but his presence was felt. He had five points at the half along with nine rebounds.

 

DUDS

Celtics rebounding

It really is an adventure when it comes to the Boston Celtics and rebounding the ball. Tonight, they have not been very good, with the Hawks holding a decisive 32-21 rebounding edge which has allowed them to hold a 28-14 advantage in points in the paint, an 8-2 edge on second-chance points in addition to leading the fast break points game, 7-4.

Mike Giardi: Don’t think Patriots will use franchise tag on Dont'a Hightower

Mike Giardi: Don’t think Patriots will use franchise tag on Dont'a Hightower

Mike Giardi discusses the odds that the New England Patriots franchise tag Dont'a Hightower and what he expects the Pats to get if they were to trade Jimmy Garoppolo.