Two sides 'making progress,' but no NHL deal yet


Two sides 'making progress,' but no NHL deal yet

There were plenty of NHL lockout observers checking their watches around midnight, but little happened between the NHL and NHLPA aside from a few small measures of progress. It was thought the Players Association had until midnight to file a disclaimer of interest and begin dissolving the union, but that never happened as the two sides negotiated for more than four hours.
In fact, the disclaimer of interest subject never came up during the lengthy Wednesday evening face-to-face negotiations.
Both NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr made some brief remarks to the media in the wee hours of Thursday morning at the NHL offices, and admitted progress was made. But it appears there is still work to do as both sides continue to sit at odds over core economic issues and other issues aside from the revenue split thats already been agreed upon.
We moved closer on some issues, but theres still a ways to go, said Fehr to reporters.
The biggest bone of contention appears to be the suddenly popular pension plan an issue that was thought to have been put to rest when the players and owners negotiated nearly a month ago.
The pension plan is a complicated issue, but its something we understand is important to the players, said Bettman to reporters. As long as the process continues then I am hopeful.
Both the NHL and NHLPA confirmed that a federal mediator was in attendance for Wednesdays negotiating sessions in New York City, and is expected to continue his participation when the two sides reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday morning. The NHL lockout has now passed 100 days and the league has put down a drop dead of Jan. 11 when the new CBA must be agreed to in principle. Both sides are pointing toward a Jan. 19 opening for a 48-game regular season, but will need to cover some ground in order to get there.
The players can still file a disclaimer of interest to dissolve the union if talks dont improve in the coming days, but they would have to hold another vote among their 700 plus NHLPA membership.

Bruins know they 'have to go all in' vs. Islanders to control playoff fate


Bruins know they 'have to go all in' vs. Islanders to control playoff fate

BROOKLYN, NY – The Bruins woke up on Saturday morning and found themselves out of the playoff picture for the first time in months by virtue of the one game in hand the New York Islanders have over the Black and Gold.

That makes Saturday night’s tilt against the Isles at the Barclays Center all the more important. A win will put the Bruins back into the lead for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and a loss would further drop them out of the playoff picture. It’s the biggest game of the season for the Bruins made that much grander in scale because Tuukka Rask is suddenly out with a lower body injury, and the Bruins will need a superior effort to snap a four game losing streak that has them teetering on the brink of playoff oblivion.

With all this swirling around, the Bruins know they can seize control of their playoff destiny with a win that will send them spinning off in the right direction. A loss will…well, that’s something the B’s don’t even want to entertain at this point after collapsing down the stretch in each of the last two seasons.

“With where we’re at right now, we can’t have any moral victories. Now it’s about doing the job and bearing down. We have to go all in tonight and have a big game. Hopefully the guys understand how important of a game it is and we have a big night,” said Brad Marchand. “I think we’re all excited. This is when we love to play when the game means so much, and it has a playoff feel. We’re fighting for our lives right now. It’s a great mood in the room, so hopefully we have a big bounce back.”

While the big picture can’t possibly be ignored given what’s happened with the Bruins this week, Bruce Cassidy also cautioned that simply viewing Saturday night as a two-point game was the best technique for success. Otherwise things could become overwhelming and packed with too much pressure when it should be something the Bruins are embracing rather than dreading.

“I hope our guys are creating some positive energy out there. This time of year you just need to have that mindset that it’s one game at a time,” said Cassidy. “You don’t look back, and you stay in the moment. That’s the message that gets conveyed to the group and for the most part they’ve done a good job with that. We just need to play our game and play it well.

“I truly believe they’ll bounce back. They didn’t have their best on Thursday and I think we’ve addressed that game. I believe they’ll take a lot of pride in their game tonight. Your leaders need to lead and your followers need to follow, and that’s a recipe for success for most teams. We’re no different and I expect that to be the case [against the Islanders].”

On the other side of the coin, it will be look out below if the Bruins drop a fifth straight game and continue a downward spiral as the Leafs, Lightning and Islanders are seem to be hitting their late season stride at the same time. 

Agudelo's two goals lead Revs past Minnesota 5-2 in home opener


Agudelo's two goals lead Revs past Minnesota 5-2 in home opener

Juan Agudelo scored two goals to lead the Revolution to a 5-2 victory over Minnesota United in New England's home opener before 11,571 Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

Agudelo scored in the fourth and 41st minutes as the Revs - held to one goal in their first two games - picked up their first points of the season after opening with losses in Colorado and Dallas.

New England's original home opener, two weeks ago against Orlando, was postponed by cold weather. 

After Collen Warner's goal in the 15th minute tied it for expansion Minnesota, Kei Kamara (21st minute) and Lee Nguyen (penalty kick in the 32nd) made it 3-1 before Agudelo completed a four-goal outburst in the first half with his second goal of the game.

Nguyen's tally moved him into a tie with Steve Ralston for second place on the Revs career goals list with his 42nd. They trail Taylor Twellman (101).

Chris Tierney, playing in his 200th MLS game, all with the Revs, capped the scoring with a penalty-kick goal in the 52nd minute.

The Revs next play Sunday, April 2 on the road against the Portland Timbers.