Morning Skate: Thursday, November 29

840305.jpg

Morning Skate: Thursday, November 29

Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo! Sports comes to the rescue with a plan for federal mediators to help solve the NHL lockout. Its all nicely and neatly laid out as the mythic middle ground.

Joe Corvo says its like 2004 all over again with the feelings the players are having about the current lockout. Thats not what anybody is looking for as the work stoppage slowly rolls toward December. The Bruins are just

Michael Russo has the sad story of NHL goaltender Josh Harding being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and his determination to overcome adversity.
 

The NHL might be nearing a deal, but the Detroit News makes the argument that it wont be a lasting one. The potential 48-game season to start in January is something Ive heard as well, but it doesnt seem like even that is anywhere close to happening as the NHL and NHLPA continue to disagree with each other.

Claude Giroux is not concussed. That is the good news and CSNPhilly.com writer Tim Panaccio has the inside scoop on it.
 

Dave Stubbs has the first of a two-part interview with Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban as he tries to remain busy during the NHL lockout. Subban has become a lighting rod for boos from Bruins fans because of the MontrealBoston rivalry, but its really difficult not to like the kid away from the ice.

Chris Johnston with an update on collective bargaining talks after the first day of separate federal mediation hearings with both sides.

For something completely different: Boston Magazine sits down for a Q&A with Boston Globe football writer Greg Bedard as he breaks down his weekly process of evaluating Patriots games. Its really interesting stuff.

Report: Ainge could prefer George to Butler with Nets pick

Report: Ainge could prefer George to Butler with Nets pick

Will the Celtics part with the right to Brooklyn’s 2017 first-round pick in order to get a star before Thursday’s trade deadline? 

MORE TRADE TALK

Citing a pair of NBA executives, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote this week that Danny Ainge’s willingness to trade the pick should be in doubt.

Sola named Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and Paul George as potential targets, adding that the C’s might include the latter.   

Wrote Isola: 

Two executives doubt that Ainge, who historically plays it close to the vest, would give up the Nets pick in a deal for Butler. However, Ainge might consider it in a trade for George, the Pacers-free agent-to-be who has expressed doubts over re-signing with the Pacers.

‘With Danny, no one ever knows what he might do,' said the executive. ‘He's one of the best. If he thinks he can make a run at the Cavs this season, considering all the injuries Cleveland has had, I can see him making a move.

‘Everyone is talking about Butler to Boston but Danny and Larry Bird go way back. Paul George could be the sleeper.’

This season, the 26-year-old George is averaging 22.3 points 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game. 

Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

LeGarrette Blount knows where he wants to be for 2017. Ever since he re-joined the Patriots in 2014 following a short stay in Pittsburgh, the 250-pound back has been very open about how he wants to play out the rest of his career in New England. 

Those feelings haven't changed, even as he faces free-agency after having recorded the best season of his seven-year career.

"I just want to make sure that I go to this free agency with an open mind, knowing that I definitely want to go back to New England," he told NFL Total Access on Monday. "I love it there. I love the culture. I love the players. I've become close with a lot of the guys. Obviously you know how my running back group is.

"We'll cross that bridge whenever we cross it. On that point, I feel great. I'm in amazing shape. I feel like I could play 100 more years if I have to."

Blount finished 2016 with career-highs in attempts (299) yards (1,161) and touchowns (18). His ability to help the Patriots close games in the fourth quarter was notable throughout the course of the season, and he was among the most effective goal-line backs in the league. His 18 rushing scores are a franchise record.

Toward the end of the season, as Dion Lewis worked his way back into the Patriots offense, Blount had his workload cut into, and his fumble in the Super Bowl was a near-catastrophic moment -- his devastated reaction to which was caught expertly by NFL Films. But a big-picture view of Blount's year would reveal that he  posted the most prodictive "big back" season the Patriots have had in more than a decade.

Blount signed a one-year deal with the Patriots last offseason after seeing his 2015 prematurely ended by way of a hip injury. He turned 30 in December.