NHL cancels games through Dec. 14, along with All-Star Weekend


NHL cancels games through Dec. 14, along with All-Star Weekend

The expected announcement finally came on Friday afternoon,as all negative press releases normally do: the NHL has cancelled theirschedule through Dec. 14 and also whacked the NHL All-Star Game set to takeplace in Columbusat the end of January.

For the Bruins it means 29 total scheduled games have been wiped off the ledger, including 17 games at TD Garden. The first remaining game on the schedule for Boston is a Dec. 15 home tilt against the Florida Panthers.

The cancellations are due to the NHL lockout between the NHLand NHLPA thats been ongoing since Sept. 16, and once again spurred on anapologetic statement from NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.

The reality of losing more regular-season games as well asthe 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbusis extremely disappointing, said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. We feelbadly for NHL fans and particularly those in Columbus,and we intend to work closely with the Blue Jackets organization to return theNHL All-Star events to Columbusand their fans as quickly as possible.

The NHL has now cancelled 422 regular season games, or 34.3percent of the regular season schedule. The cancellations would also lead up tothe fifth paycheck cycle for the NHL players and would put them close to 30percent of their 2012-13 salaries lost due to the labor stoppage.

NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr also released his own statement wondering about the NHL's math concerning money lost to the lockout.

"On Wednesday the players presented a comprehensive proposal , once again moving in the owners' direction in order to get the game back on the ice. The gap that remains on the core economic issues is 182 million," said Fehr. "On Wednesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said that the league is losing 18-20 million per day during the lockout, therefore two more weeks of cancelled games far exceeds the current economic gap.

"It makes the NHL's announcement of further game cancellations, including the 2013 All-Star Weekend, all the more unnecessary, and disappointing for all hockey fans -- especially those in Columbus. The players remain ready to negotiate, but we require a willing negotiating partner."

The NHLPA submitted a full proposal to the NHL on Wednesdaythat the league admitted was movement in the leagues direction, but theleague opted to reject the offer without much in the way of a counter-proposal.NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr mentioned on Team 590 sports radio in Toronto on Fridayafternoon that the players wouldnt be making any more offers anytime soonafter the league took roughly an hour to shoot down their last proposal.

Fehr wouldnt reveal much about potential uniondecertification, but its expected that any move to decertify the NHLPA would bedrastic action: it would effectively break up the union and allow individualplayers to craft anti-trust lawsuits while seeking damages for last wages. Afull decertification would also essentially bust up the NHL as its currentlybuilt, and would wipe away the entry draft, the salary cap and the essentialstructure of the league as its been built by the owners.

The NBA players association threatened decertification lastyear during their lockout, and shortly afterward a December deal was reachedfollowed by a Christmas Day start to the season.

"Somebody wise once told me that labor relations islike domestic relations except there's no divorce, said Fehr during the20-minute radio interview that followed a similar radio spot for Daly.

The two sides spoke for 10 minutes over the phone on Friday,and indicated theyd both regroup over the weekend before possibly touchingbase again next week.

STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1


STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh rookie Jake Guentzel beat Nashville's Pekka Rinne with 3:17 left in regulation to put the Penguins ahead to stay in a 5-3 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.

Guentzel snapped an eight-game goalless drought to help the defending champions escape after blowing a three-goal lead.

Nick Bonino scored twice for the Penguins. Conor Sheary scored his first of the playoffs and Evgeni Malkin scored his eighth. The Penguins won despite putting just 12 shots on goal. Murray finished with 23 saves for the Penguins, who used the first coach's challenge in finals history to wipe out an early Nashville goal and held on despite going an astonishing 37:09 at one point without a shot.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Predators. Rinne stopped just seven shots.

The Penguins had all of three days to get ready for the final following a draining slog through the Eastern Conference that included a pair of Game 7 victories, the second a double-overtime thriller against Ottawa last Thursday.

Pittsburgh downplayed the notion it was fatigued, figuring adrenaline and a shot at making history would make up for any lack of jump while playing their 108th game in the last calendar year.

Maybe, but the Penguins looked a step behind at the outset. The Predators, who crashed the NHL's biggest stage for the first time behind Rinne and a group of talented defenseman, were hardly intimidated by the stakes, the crowd or the defending champions.

All the guys from the place dubbed "Smashville" have to show for it is their first deficit of the playoffs on a night a fan threw a catfish onto the ice to try and give the Predators a taste of home.

The Penguins, who led the league in scoring, stressed before Game 1 that the best way to keep the Predators at bay was by taking the puck and spending copious amounts of time around Rinne. It didn't happen, mostly because Nashville's forecheck pinned the Penguins in their own end. Clearing attempts were knocked down or outright swiped, tilting the ice heavily in front of Murray.

Yet Pittsburgh managed to build a quick 3-0 lead anyway thanks to a fortunate bounce and some quick thinking by Penguins video coordinator Andy Saucier. Part of his job title is to alert coach Mike Sullivan when to challenge a call. The moment came 12:47 into the first when P.K. Subban sent a slap shot by Murray that appeared to give the Predators the lead.

Sullivan used his coach's challenge, arguing Nashville forward Filip Forsberg was offside. A lengthy review indicated Forsberg's right skate was in the air as he brought the puck into a zone, a no-no.

It temporarily deflated Nashville and gave the Penguins all the wiggle room they needed to take charge.

Malkin scored on a 5-on-3 15:32 into the first, Sheary made it 2-0 just 65 seconds later and when Nick Bonino's innocent centering pass smacked off Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm's left knee and by Rinne just 17 seconds before the end of the period, Pittsburgh was in full command.

It looked like a repeat of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa, when the Penguins poured in four goals in the first period of a 7-0 rout.

Nashville, unlike the Senators, didn't bail. Instead they rallied.

Ellis scored the first goal by a Predator in a Stanley Cup Final 8:21 into the second. Though Nashville didn't get another one by Murray, they also kept Rinne downright bored at the other end. Pittsburgh didn't manage a shot on net in the second period, the first time it's happened in a playoff game in franchise history.

Nashville kept coming. Sissons beat Murray 10:06 into the third and Gaudreau tied it just after a fruitless Pittsburgh power play.

No matter. The Penguins have become chameleons under Sullivan. They can win with both firepower and precision.

Guentzel slipped one by Rinne with 3:17 to go in regulation and Bonino added an empty netter to give Pittsburgh early control of the series.

Posey stays out of the fray during Strickland-Harper brawl


Posey stays out of the fray during Strickland-Harper brawl

SAN FRANCISCO  — As an irate Bryce Harper charged toward the mound, Buster Posey just stood and watched from behind home plate.

And when the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants cleared their benches Monday and punches flew both ways, the All-Star catcher did his best to remain just outside the fray.

Not where some expected to find the Giants team leader with his pitcher, Hunter Strickland, exchanging head shots with Harper.

“Posey did NOTHING to stop Harper from getting to his pitcher,” former major league pitcher Dontrelle Willis wrote on Twitter. “I’ve never seen that before in my life.”

Posey declined to enter the fracas, instead remaining around its edges and watching as the players scuffled in “a pretty good pile,” as Giants manager Bruce Bochy called it.

Posey dealt with a concussion in April after being struck in the head by a pitch, but did not say he held back because of concerns related to that. He did say he was wary about the risk of injury.

“There were some big guys tumbling around out there,” Posey said. “You see Mike Morse and Jeff Samardzija are about as big as they come and he was getting knocked around like a pinball. So it was a little dangerous to get in there.”

Still, social media was abuzz at the sight of Posey not sticking up for his teammate.

“Strickland must have told @BusterPosey he was hitting him and let him come cause he didn’t even give a soft jog,” Willis wrote.

“Says all you need to know that Buster Posey didn’t bother to hold back Harper,” tweeted Fox broadcaster Kevin Burkhardt . “Let him go get his pitcher.”

Also absent from the fight: hard-nosed Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. As his teammates flew over the dugout railing, Bumgarner stayed put, perhaps because the left-hander is still recovering after injuring his pitching shoulder and ribs in a dirt biking accident in April.