Boston Bruins

Remaining Bruins players mulling European options

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Remaining Bruins players mulling European options

Nobody seems to know what will happen with the NHL CBA no matter how optimistic or pessimistic people from both sides spin the negotiation proceedings. But one thing thats happening with more frequency is more NHL players are weighing their options, and heading to Europe as things appear to be gaining in the grim category for hockey in North America. Johnny Boychuk was the 11th player to leave for Europe at the end of last week, and Bruins fourth line Gregory Campbell looks like hell be the next in line to leave Boston.

According to sources with knowledge of the situation Campbell has been in discussions with the HC Budejovice team in the Czech Republic thats also currently employing Andrew Ference. The Czech team is still trying to secure the private money needed to pay an NHL player like Campbell a common occurrence in NHL players heading to European teams when contract insurance becomes a factor. Campbells linemate, Daniel Paille, said he may also be headed to Europe in the next few weeks if progress isnt made on a CBA.

Paille, who serves as the NHLPA player rep for the Bs, said hed be most likely looking at the Elite League in England as an option if he does hop across the pond.

Im sitting on all the conference calls and having plenty of conversations with our guys about the current situation, said Paille. But it might get to the point in the next few weeks weve got to start exploring our options.

Were holding up pretty good here. For us its more of a mental battle and it gets a little frustrating. But at the same time we have to do this to come back, said Paille, of the dwindling number of NHL skaters bouncing from college arena to college arena to get their work in. Eventually were going to have to play some games somewhere. We dont know when thats going to happen, but weve got to stay ready.

Shawn Thornton, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand are among a group of Bruins players that havent yet really entertained playing in Europe as of yet, but that could change if games in December are cancelled next week. Thornton hasnt had any discussions with the Elite League, but that would be his best were he to play in Europe. Lucic is sticking around the Boston area with a pregnant wife expecting the couples first child, so the Bs forward isnt likely to leave soon.

Marchand has been bouncing between Boston where he was a regular attendee at the Boston skates for a good five week stretch and his Halifax hometown, but has indicated he probably wont be going to Europe unless the entire NHL season gets cancelled.

The Bruins already are tops among NHL teams with 11 players in Europe, and they could be adding to that number before the month of November is finished.

Morning Skate: Can BU's Keller break through with Coyotes?

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Morning Skate: Can BU's Keller break through with Coyotes?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while watching the worlds of sports and politics collide this weekend.

-- Can former Boston University standout Clayton Keller become the NHL’s newest rookie sensation for the Arizona Coyotes? The skills and the skating are certainly there, but we’ll have to see if he can remain in one piece all season with a middling team around him.

-- PHT writer Cam Tucker has Kris Letang returning to the Penguins on Sunday. It still blows my mind that Pittsburgh was able to win the Cup without him in its lineup last spring.

-- Speaking of the Penguins, they say they will accept the White House invitation to visit after last year’s Cup win, and offer a pretty non-committal statement about what’s going on in the other three major sports right now.

-- It was a tremendously successful opening of Little Caesar’s Arena for the Detroit Red Wings last night as they stomped the Bruins in preseason action.

-- The Maple Leafs' Nazem Kadri is out to prove that last season wasn’t a one-year wonder.

-- For something completely different: Good to see another Stoneham guy getting some accolades for a dead-on impersonation.

 

Kraft 'deeply disappointed' by Trump's comments; praises players

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Kraft 'deeply disappointed' by Trump's comments; praises players

Sunday morning, as President Donald Trump resumed his attack on the National Football League, Patriots president and CEO Robert Kraft issued a statement condemning Trump's call for NFL owners to "fire" players who protest against social injustice during the playing of the National Anthem.

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Said Kraft:

"I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday. I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities. Their efforts, both on and off the field, help bring people together and make our community stronger. There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics. I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal. Our players are intelligent, thoughtful and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful.”

Trump, meanwhile, was back on Twitter, renewing his demand for punishment -- or employment termination -- against such players:

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