NHL is back on the ice, as tentative labor agreement is reached

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NHL is back on the ice, as tentative labor agreement is reached

The NHL nightmare is over.

After a marathon, 16-hour marathon session that began Saturday and stretched into the wee hours of Sunday morning in New York City, the NHL and NHLPA emerged with the framework of a deal that put pro hockey back on the ice. The work of FMCS mediator Scot Beckenbaugh was instrumental in working through some bumps in the road that cropped up Thursday, and the sides essentially locked themselves in a room until a deal was agreed in principle.

"We would be remiss if we didnt thank Scot Beckenbaugh for his assistance in mediation process, said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. "I want to thank NHLPA executive director Don Fehr. We went through a tough period, but it's good to be at this point."

There are still issues to be worked out (the start to regular season and training camps, players participating in the Olympic games etc.), but both Bettman and Fehr made the joint announcement shortly before 6 a.m. Sunday morning. Both the NHL Board of Governors and the NHLPA membership must ratify the agreement, but that's not expected to be a problem given the lateness of the hour.

When contacted by CSNNE.com about the agreement, Bs enforcer Shawn Thornton described his feelings in short and sweet terms:

Im just happy this madness is over so I can get back to work.

TONIGHT AT 6pm
Shawn Thornton on Chevrolet SportsNet Central

Andrew Ference was a member of the NHLPA negotiating committee over the last few days leading up to the deal, and had this to say on his @Ferknuckle twitter account: As players we can now do what we do best. Proudly pull on our jerseys and play with complete passion for our cities and fans. I hope that we can replace the intense negativity brought on our sport with a reminder of how great it can be when the action is on the ice. From my grandparents to our Bs fans, I am deeply sorry that we had to miss so much hockey. All we can do now is play our hearts out for you.

According to sources, the new CBA is a 10-year deal with seven-year term limit on individual player contracts (eight years if a player is re-signing with their current team), a 64.3 million salary cap ceiling in the second year of the deal and a new pension plan thats expected to be the only real win that the players received in negotiations. It was originally expected that training camp will begin next weekend with an NHL schedule of 48 games expected to begin on Jan. 19, but all of that could be enhanced given the early agreement.

The NHL could bump the schedule up to 50 games in length and start both training camp and the regular season schedule several days earlier. Its expected that an abbreviated training camp will be no longer than a week for NHL players and a handful of invitees from the AHL and junior hockey. The Bruins were scheduled to travel to the Bell Centre to face the rival Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 19 in the previous version of the NHL schedule, and that could very well still remain their season opening tilt.

The NHL lockout officially ended at 113 days of fighting, bile and as Thornton described it madness, and now guarantees that the league will have a long stretch of labor peace that is badly needed after two lengthy work stoppages in the last eight years.

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.

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

BOSTON - Drew Pomeranz pitched six strong innings and tied his career high with 11 strikeouts to lift the Boston Red Sox to a 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Xander Bogaerts and Deven Marrero hit their first home runs of the season helping Boston to their fourth straight win.

Pomeranz (4-3) made it as far as six innings for the third time this season and beat Texas for the first time in nine career outings.

Elvis Andrus homered and Nomar Mazara had two hits and an RBI for Texas, which has lost four of five overall and has lost 15 of 21 on the road.

Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland had RBI singles in the first inning as Boston got to Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez (1-3) early.