Lucic, Thornton in New York for NHL labor negotiations

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Lucic, Thornton in New York for NHL labor negotiations

Its a big day in the CBA negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA as both sides will meet at an undisclosed location in New York City. It will be the first full bargaining session in 19 days since the NHL rejected a trio of NHLPA proposals. It took a midnight marathon session over the weekend -- one that lasted 13 hours according to one NHL player -- to break the ice and get things spinning back in a forward motion.

Its expected that the two sides are going to make progress in the areas of splitting hockey related revenue and the owners making whole on the contracts theyve signed to NHL players. A number of other player rights matters are also expected to be on the table.

The NHLPA will be represented by Executive Director Donald Fehr and lead counsel Steve Fehr along with 13 players while NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and a handful of owners were on hand for the talks. Its unknown if it will only be the Fehr Brothers, Bettman and Daly for the actual negotiating sessions, but bruising Bruins forwards Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton are among the 13 players.

The other NHL players in attendance are: Craig Adams. David Backes, Martin Biron, Chris Campoli, Sidney Crosby, Mathieu Darche, Ron Hainsey, Johan Hedberg, Manny Malhotra, Steve Montador and Kevin Westgarth.

While both sides are hopeful the talks will lead to new CBA agreement and the start to the 2012-13 season, it would be surprising if things were wrapped up in a matter of days without at least another snag or two from either side. If the NHL and NHLPA can find common ground quickly, its expected that the NHL will have a shortened regular season in the 64-game range that could start on Dec. 1.

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

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Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

New York’s mistake helped the Red Sox, and they weren’t playing the Yankees.

The Red Sox struck out 20 in a game for the third time in franchise history on Thursday night, and they were able to do so only after MLB’s replay team — based in Manhattan — gave Craig Kimbrel an extra batter to strike out in the ninth inning.

A 6-2 win over the Rangers featured 16 strikeouts for Red Sox pitching heading into the top of the ninth at Fenway Park. Kimbrel came on for a non-save situation because he had five days off previously.

There’s always that outside chance for a four-strikeout inning, and it happened. Even for a four-strikeout inning, however, this was bizarre.

The first batter, lefthanded hitting Nomar Mazara, swung and missed at a back-foot breaking ball for strike 3 — a literal back-foot breaking ball, because it hit him in that foot after he whiffed on the pitch.

On a swing and a miss with a pitch that hits the batter, the ball should be dead. He should not have been able to reach first base. But the umpires didn’t catch the ball hitting Mazara, and instead saw it as a wild pitch. 

Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review and the umpires went for one, but came back empty-handed. The crew was told, erroneously, that the play could not be looked at and the batter was awarded first base.

“It was just a swinging strike three, ball that go away and he obviously reached first base,” crew chief Alfonso Marquez told pool reporter Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “The only thing that I can tell you, and the only thing I will say is, this was a replay issue. New York will come out with a statement.”

You could say it worked out just fine. Kimbrel went on to strike out the next three, and got the Sox to 20 Ks.

Kimbrel and Tim Wakefield are the only Red Sox pitchers to fan four batters in a single inning. Wakefield did it in the ninth inning on Aug. 10, 1999. 

Kimbrel did it once before as well, when he was with the Braves on Sept. 26, 2012.

No one has struck out five in a major league inning, although Kimbrel has as good a chance as anyone.

“The guy strikes out the world,” Matt Barnes said. “It’s ridiculous. … His fastball is seemingly unhittable. Complement that with the breaking ball he’s got, which comes right off that same plane, when he’s commanding it like he is, the numbers kind of speak for themselves. It’s kind of ridiculous. It’s fun to watch.”

The Sox have struck out 20 in a nine-inning game three times since 1913. Roger Clemens' two 20-strikeout games are the other two.