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Bettman, Fehr outline CBA strategies

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Bettman, Fehr outline CBA strategies

NEWARK, N.J. The Collective Bargaining Agreement for the NHL will be terminated in September, but thats about the only thing thats a certainty after hearing from both NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr at the Prudential Center prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Bettman addressed the media at his customary press conference prior to the start of the Cup Finals and among other things announced that the NHL broke league records with 3.3 billion in revenue in 2011-12.
The commissioner also addressed the upcoming CBA negotiations with Fehr and the NHLPA that could go one of two ways: come to an agreement prior to next season that will keep a growing league on an upsurge or result in a work stoppage that could truly cripple a league that has fully recovered from the lockout in 2004-05.
"I'm hoping something works out because labor peace is much more preferable to the alternative, said Bettman.
The commissioner said that the NHLPA has expressed interest in beginning the bargaining conversation, and thats expected to take place in the next couple of weeks. Once the Stanley Cup Finals have been completed, then both sides can push forward with informal discussions that will then lead to negotiations.
As for the scope of talks, it will include a multitude of things: Olympics involvement in the future, improvement in player safety, the player suspension appeal process and of course the player and league share of the revenue pie.
The players currently get 57 percent of the NHL revenues, which would mean close to a 70 million salary cap next season under the current CBA. There is plenty of speculation out there that the NHL wants something closer to a 5050 split of the league revenue, and the players wont be willing to grant the same 24 percent salary rollback that ended the last NHL lockout.
Dont you like me in this job? cracked Fehr when asked if the players would again agree to roll back their salaries as they did during December 2004. All I can say is that we wont make any economic proposals that the players arent aware of or dont approve of. Thats first and foremost. Secondly they recognized that they made enormous concessions in the last round of bargaining. That is part of the backdrop that leads us into this round of negotiations along with a myriad of other factors.
Well see what happens when we get to that. I dont make predictions. Coming to mutual agreement is the goal. Hopefully thats a goal that everybody shares.
Fehr wouldnt come right out and say it, but its no secret that many NHL players werent happy about sacrificing 24 percent of their salaries, and they wont be endorsing that kind of a concession this time around.
Even if the CBA negotiations are weeks away from truly gaining steam, it appears that the first round of positioning and posturing has begun with Bettman and Fehr outlining their bargaining stances with a long summer ahead of them.

Julien thankful for B's video tribute, 'happy he can move on'

Julien thankful for B's video tribute, 'happy he can move on'

BOSTON – It was the final piece of closure for former Bruins coach Claude Julien when he made his return to TD Garden for the first time as the bench boss for the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. Julien stood on the visiting bench, watched a first period video tribute of appreciation for his 10 years guiding the Bruins and then received the warm, thankful ovation from the B’s fans that still very much appreciate his efforts that resulted in a 2011 Stanley Cup title. 

Unfortunately for him and the Canadiens he also presided over a lifeless, limp effort from his Montreal club in a 4-1 loss to the Bruins where his team simply couldn’t derive any emotion or juice from his return to Boston. Julien said in both French and English that that his Habs simply “laid an egg” on the road, and that was disappointing for him given that Montreal already has its back against the wall for a possible playoff spot. 

Instead Julien’s biggest bright spot in the game turned out to be the video tribute from the Bruins midway through the first period, for which he was greatly appreciative. 

“It’s always something that you kind of dread a little bit because it’s a little emotional, and at the same time [you’re] trying to keep your emotions intact there so you can coach a game and stuff like that. But, you know, I appreciate what they did for me,” said Julien following his second loss to the Bruins in five days. “As I said, I’ve got nothing but good things to say about this organization that gave me the opportunity to spend 10 years here. At the same time I’m kind of happy it’s over so we can move on now, but that doesn’t mean you forget what’s happened here. It’s always going to be with you. But now I’m in another chapter of my coaching career, and I’ve got to think about that.”

Julien’s counterpart, Bruce Cassidy, called the video tribute a “classy move” by the Bruins organization after the game had been settled, and there’s no doubting it was the right move for a coach that won over 400 games during his 10 years leading the Bruins. It was also the final chapter in his Bruins book as Julien now has completely moved on to his new gig guiding the Canadiens where it seems like his work is most definitely cut out for him. 

Spooner's strong play continues as B's dominate Habs

Spooner's strong play continues as B's dominate Habs

GOLD STAR: It had to feel good for Ryan Spooner. The speedy forward played a great game, finished with the game-winning goal in Claude Julien’s return to Boston and had both four shots on net and four registered hits in 16:07 of ice time. His goal was a level of grit and buy-in that he didn’t always have when Julien was the coach, but it’s one that he’s found more and more since Bruce Cassidy took over behind the B’s bench. Spooner drove the puck straight toward the net, and attempted to throw a pass backdoor to Matt Grzelcyk. But instead the puck bounced off Jonathan Drouin’s skate and ended up in the back of the net to make it a 2-1 game in the second period. For a player that long struggled under the watchful eye of Julien, Spooner’s night continued a stretch of very strong play since coming back from injury. 

BLACK EYE: Jonathan Drouin was supposed to be a game-changing center for the Canadiens after being moved from Tampa Bay, but he hasn’t even been close to that, or actually being a center, for the Habs this year. Drouin really didn’t bring much of anything on Wednesday night with a couple of shots on net, a giveaway and a 1-for-9 on the draw in his 17:04 of ice time. He was like so many of the other players on the Montreal roster that didn’t show up with their best in a rivalry game between the Bruins and the Habs. Even worse than that they didn’t show up in a game they desperately needed to win if they wanted to stay relevant in the playoff race. With the minus game again on Wednesday, Drouin is also now a minus-20 on the season in what’s been a truly disappointing year. 

TURNING POINT: The Bruins bounced back strongly after giving up a goal on the first shift of the game, and really took things over after the fortunate bounce for Jakub Jerabek got the Habs on the board early. The Bruins outshot the Canadiens by a 25-13 margin in the first two periods, dominated play and posted a goal in each of the first two periods to get the B’s on the board. From that point on it was smooth sailing and Boston only needed to collect a couple of insurance goals in the third period to truly seal Montreal’s fate. What was surprising was that the Habs showed little fight or pride while slowly sinking into the mud during the game, and never ever provided any real challenge to the Bruins in a game that was still separated by just a single goal until later in the third period. 

HONORABLE MENTION: David Krejci had one of his better games for the Bruins with a goal, two points and a plus-2 rating in 15:58 of ice time. It was an empty net goal that rounded out the scoring in the third period, and he finished with four shot attempts, a takeaway and 16-of-20 face-off wins in 15:58 of ice time. In general the Bruins frontline centers absolutely and thoroughly dominated Montreal’s poor excuse for players down the middle of their lineup, and Krejci was a big part of that in helping set up Spooner’s game-winner as well. Krejci was also a player that had his differences of opinion with Julien when he was coaching the Bruins, so the big game for him on Wednesday night also must have felt pretty cathartic when it was all said and done.   

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 – the number of games for Tuukka Rask’s current point streak where he’s put together a 13-0-2 record that dates back to his four game benching in the middle of November. He finished with a solid night’s work of 21 saves in the win over the Habs.  

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We laid an egg.” –Claude Julien said that phrase in both French and English to discuss a truly pathetic performance for his Canadiens team in what should have been an intense Bruins/Habs rivalry game on national television. 

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