From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Negotiations between the NHL and the locked-out players' association ended after nearly six hours Wednesday. Just as they did a night earlier, the sides agreed to get right back to the bargaining table.Representatives for the owners and players will resume talks Thursday, marking the third straight day they will meet face-to-face. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and union special counsel Steve Fehr also met alone Saturday when in-person talks restarted for the first time since Oct. 18.The sides met for a total of about 13 hours over Tuesday and Wednesday at an undisclosed location in New York. Neither side offered any details of what was discussed on Wednesday."The NHLPA and the NHL met today to discuss many of the key issues," NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said in a statement. "We look forward to resuming talks (Thursday)."Daly also was reserved after the talks ended for the day."Not providing any specifics on today's meetings," Daly said in an email to The Associated Press.On the 53rd day of the lockout, the sides discussed revenue sharing between teams and held talks on the "make-whole" provision, which involves the payment of player contracts that are already in effect.Those hot-button topics are scheduled to be on Thursday's agenda, too.Eight players were in attendance for Wednesday's talks, but a handful of players -- including Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby -- who took part Tuesday left New York to try to avoid an impending storm that brought snow to the area, the union said.There was already common ground before negotiations began Tuesday. The players' union adhered to the league's request to keep the meeting location a secret. With no outside distractions, the sides talked from afternoon until night.Once they broke for the day, neither side gave any hint of what was discussed or if progress was made, but both pointed to the next round of talks.Steve Fehr met with Daly on Saturday, and neither provided many details of what was discussed, but both agreed that the meeting was productive.Time is becoming a bigger factor every day a deal isn't reached. The lockout, which went into effect Sept. 16 after the previous collective bargaining agreement expired, has already forced the cancellation of 327 regular-season games -- including the New Year's Day outdoor Winter Classic in Michigan.Whether any of the games that have been called off through Nov. 30 can be rescheduled if an agreement is made soon hasn't been determined. But the NHL has already said that a full 82-game season won't be played.Back in October, the players' association responded to an NHL offer with three of its own, but all of those were quickly dismissed by the league -- leading to nearly three weeks without face-to-face discussions. Daly and Steve Fehr kept in regular contact by phone and agreed to meet last weekend.Both sides have made proposals that included a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues.The NHL has moved toward the players' side in the contentious issue of the "make-whole" provision and whose share of the economic pie that money will come from. But work will still need to be done to get an agreement.Other core economic issues -- mainly the split of hockey-related revenue -- along with contract lengths, arbitration and free agency will also need to be agreed upon before a deal can be reached.The players' association accepted a salary cap in the previous CBA, which wasn't reached until after the entire 2004-05 season was canceled because of a lockout. The union doesn't want to absorb the majority of concessions this time after the NHL recorded record revenue that exceeded 3 billion last season."The issues the players are concerned about remain the same," Donald Fehr said Tuesday. "The players haven't seen any need to go backward, given the history of the last negotiations and given the level of revenue increase since then. Player-contracting rights are very important to them."Before we have any agreement, both sides have to see everything on paper and make sure that they all understand it right. That's about all I can say about it at this stage. I don't want to prejudge or indicate that I have any particular impressions or expectations. That's what the meetings are for," he said.
BOSTON – While there were some warning signs over the last few weeks that the Bruins might be getting away from their game, it didn’t really hit home until Thursday night’s frustrating loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Bruins blew through three different one-goal leads in the second period in the 6-3 loss to the Bolts at TD Garden, and each time surrendered a tying goal to Tampa in less than two minutes after initially scoring. It was a clear indicator that the Bruins weren’t fully focused on the task at hand despite having already lost three games in a row, and that their ability to bounce back from adversity is going away from them again.
That much was obvious when the bottom dropped out in the third period, and Jonathan Drouin and Nikita Kucherov turned into a two-man Lightning wrecking crew outscoring the Bruins by a 3-0 margin in the final 20 minutes.
“I think the frustration is more in-game, where we’ve got to have a stronger mental capacity to handle those [challenging] situations in-game. Let’s face it, when you get on a bit of a losing streak, all those things creep in, whether it’s in October or whether it’s in March,” said Bruce Cassidy. “You have doubts, you start pressing, and again, it’s my job to alleviate the kind of attention in those situations.
“But, as I told you, we all have to be accountable and be responsible for ourselves, and that’s where we just need to have better focus and better discipline in those areas. It was there when it was 3-3 [on the scoreboard]. We’ve got to push back after they score, and that’s where I thought we started to come apart a little bit where we should’ve stuck together and stuck with the program. [We needed to] get ourselves slowly back into the game. We had 10 minutes to even the score, and we weren’t able to do it.”
Clearly this wasn’t just the coach alone in his pointed observations, however, as the lack of focus showed unfortunately in a rudderless second period for the Black and Gold where they couldn’t gain any separation from Tampa Bay despite scoring three goals.
“[It’s] not being focused, not being sharp, and obviously at this time of the year it’s unacceptable, and it’s up on us to be better,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “Those kinds of situations shouldn’t happen. So, for sure, we need to address those things and hold each other accountable.”
One thing is clear: The Bruins have a lot of work to do if they hope to avoid the same kind of late season tailspin that doomed them each of the last two seasons, and already seems to be happening over their last four losses to varying levels of hockey talent.
Here are the talking points from the Boston Bruins' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.