Boston Red Sox

The latest on the NHL lockout

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The latest on the NHL lockout

From Comcast SportsNetresumeThursday after the players' union reviewed management's proposal and saw it as only a small step forward to ending the monthlong lockout.The NHL made the proposal Tuesday in what it said was an attempt to preserve a full 82-game schedule. The league publicly released the plan Wednesday.NHL players' union head Donald Fehr met with players to formulate the union's response. In a letter to players and agents, he said the management plan would cost his members more than 1.6 billion over six years."Simply put, the owners' new proposal, while not quite as Draconian as their previous proposals, still represents enormous reductions in player salaries and individual contracting rights," Fehr said in the letter, according to a report by TSN. "As you will see, at the 5 percent industry growth rate the owners predict, the salary reduction over six years exceeds 1.6 billion. What do the owners offer in return?"The lockout began Sept. 16 and last week the league canceled regular-season games through Oct. 24. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, in announcing the new proposal, called it "a fair offer for a long-term deal" and "one that we hope gets a positive reaction.""We're studying it and we're trying to get ready to give a response tomorrow," said union lawyer Steve Fehr, brother of the union leader.In the midst of their third lockout since 1994, owners gave the union what the league called a "proposal tosave82-game season." The NHL said it hoped a deal would be reached by Oct 25 and the season would start by Nov. 2, three weeks behind schedule."We do not yet know whether this proposal is a serious attempt to negotiate an agreement, or just another step down the road," Donald Fehr wrote. "The next several days will be, in large part, an effort to discoverthe answerto that question."NHL spokesman Frank Brown said the league was not responding to Fehr's letter.The NHL released details of its offer for a six-year deal with a mutual option for a seventh. The plan includes a 50-50 split in hockey related revenueThe NHL proposed in July to cut the percentage of hockey related revenue from 57 percent to 43 percent, then increased its offer in September to about 47 percent.Winnipeg Jets forward Olli Jokinen called the plan a "starting point," according to The Canadian Press."I hope we can get going ASAP," Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall told The Associated Press on Wednesday night. "We will be presenting something soon and hopefully this week's proposals will spark things in the right direction. Still some work to get done."Management included a provision to ensure players receive all money promised in existing contracts, but the union is concerned with what management termed the "make-whole provision." If the players' share falls short of their 1.883 billion in 2011-12, up to 149 million in the first year of a new deal and up to 62 million in the second would be repaid to players as deferred compensation. However, the union believes thatmoneywould be counted against the players' share in later years.The latest proposal also includes:--A listed salary cap of 59.9 million for the 2012-13 season, with a provision each team could spend up to 70.2 million during a transition season.--Changing eligibility for unrestricted free agency from age 27 or seven years of service to age 28 or eight years of service, down from 10 years of service in the league's earlier proposal.--Increasing eligibility for salary arbitration from four years to five years.--Including all years of existing contracts beyond five years against a team's cap, regardless of where a player is playing. If a player is traded and retires or stops playing, the applicable cap charge would be applied against the team that originally signed the contact.--The reduction of entry-level contracts to two years.--A term limit on any contract beyond that set at five years and a stipulation that the average annual value can only vary up to five percent. This is a mechanism designed to eliminate long-term, back-loaded contracts. The NHL wants to prohibit lengthy deals, such as the 98 million, 13-year contracts Minnesota agreed to in July with forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.--The elimination of re-entry waivers.--Increasing the annual revenue sharing pool by 33 percent to 200 million, assuming annual league revenue of 3.033 billion, with a provision that half the pool be funded by the 10 teams with the highest gross revenue. A cutout against clubs in large media markets, such as Anaheim, New Jersey and the New York Islanders, and clawbacks against not selling enough tickets would be eliminated. A new revenue sharing committee, which would include NHLPA representation, would have input to determine distribution.Among the items not addressed in the league's public detailing of its offer was realignment, drug testing or the NHL's participation in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Eduardo Rodriguez's delivery wasn't the same after knee injury, until recently

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Eduardo Rodriguez's delivery wasn't the same after knee injury, until recently

BALTIMORE — If you suspected Eduardo Rodriguez’s knee created a residual effect with his mechanics as he struggled in the second half, you were correct. 

It was here in Baltimore on June 1 that Eduardo Rodriguez hurt his right knee, suffering another subluxation, which he’s prone to. Once he came back — a month and a half later, after the All-Star Break — his performances didn’t match the competency he’d shown pre-injury.

Through the first nine starts back, Rodriguez had a 5.47 ERA. He appeared clearly outside of the playoff rotation picture.

The last three outings have left a different impression, and are a product of improved mechanics. The Red Sox feel Rodriguez is lifting  right leg, his lead leg, higher now.

“I think Eddy’s regained more confidence physically over his last three starts,” pitching coach Carl Willis said. “We’ve seen a better delivery. Really since he had come back the injury here, a little bit of abbreviated leg lift. He finally got a little more confidence in picking that knee up and getting a little more drive from his lower half. I think that’s made a huge difference. He’s using his changeup more which is also a huge difference, but I think that lower half has allowed him to do that.”

Rodriguez has a 2.55 September ERA. He has strikeout ability that could be appealing in a postseason setting, but he’s young and inexperienced compared to Rick Porcello and Doug Fister. The fact he’s had confidence issues with his delivery could factor into how the Sox decide their playoff rotation, but his upside and strikeout potential are undeniable.

Rodriguez had a knee subluxation in 2016 that affected his mechanics for a time as well.

Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"

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Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"

FOXBORO - If Alan Branch is worried about his spot with the Patriots, he isn’t acting that way. A notorious slow starter, Branch played just six snaps in Sunday’s win at New Orleans. And to hear him talk, it’s business as usual.

“It’s not like you can practice 3 technique on a store clerk,” said Branch late Wednesday afternoon. When informed that he probably could if he wanted, Branch smiled and noted “you’d probably get arrested for that.”

All kidding aside, it was stark to see Branch’s ample behind stapled to the bench. He earned a two-year contract this offseason, and his presence on the interior has been critical to the defense’s success. But after getting pushed around a bit too often in that opening night loss to the Chiefs, Branch spent a lot more time watching then playing. Did he know that he wasn’t a big part of the plan?

“That’s another question you gotta ask Bill, man” said Branch. “That’s not something I can talk about.”

Branch has - at times - come off as nonchalant about the game. Wins, losses, big plays, no plays, none of it seems to change his demeanor. Knowing that, I asked him if he was frustrated by his lack of playing time.

“I mean every player wants to be on the field so it is what it is,” he responded. 

Does he think that he’ll be more involved Sunday against the Texans?

“I don’t know what they plan to do with me,” he said. “i just need to go in there and keep my head to the grindstone and work.”

That may be Bill Belichick’s plan: sitting the player to motivate him. It would also seem to be potentially the last resort, and with someone who clearly marches to the beat of his own drum, it’s unclear how he’ll respond.