BRIGHTON -- Here's a blog post for your NHL time capsule, to be opened in 2020.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs said during Tuesday's media day at Warrior Ice Arena that he doesn't see a lockout coming between the NHL and the NHLPA in the near future, and those words certainly count for something since he's also the powerful Chairman of the NHL's Board of Governors.
The NHLPA can opt out of the current collective-bargaining agreement ahead of the 2020-21 season, and many of the signing bonuses being paid out in current contracts indicate the players, given the current climate, may go that route.
There is constant speculation that the NHL player participation in the Olympics, the high escrow payments shouldered by players, and the skyrocketing costs of second contracts for young star players might be big factors that will lead to another work stoppage. But Jacobs stated when asked that it doesn't make sense for anybody to have another work stoppage just seven years removed from missing a half-season in 2013, and that's encouraging at the very least.
"I think the 2020 lockout, I don't know if that is going to happen," said Jacobs, 77, who is entering the Hockey Hall of Fame in the "Builder" category a couple of months from now. "I think it's way too much in the future right now. I don't see, necessarily, a lockout. It will not be constructive to the game, and it won't be constructive to the players, and definitely not constructive to us here at the Bruins."
All that being said, it's the NHLPA that holds the cards ahead of a possible 2020 work stoppage, and the players are as unified as they've ever been under NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr. They have clear goals in mind during the next CBA go-around. Owners shouldn't underestimate the hard feelings the players have over the decision to skip the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, and the unflinching way both sides now approach these work stoppages since they believe the NHL will eventually recover from them.
It might have caused a ripple when Ryan Donato wasn’t on the ice on Tuesday afternoon in St. Louis for Bruins practice on the day after his brilliant, three-point NHL debut for the Black and Gold. But the 21-year-old Donato was still back in the Boston area fulfilling some class requirements at Harvard University to help him close out the current semester properly, and not lose the credits that will keep him in line with fulfilling his junior year at Harvard University.
Believe it or not, the schoolwork is important to the newest member of the Boston Bruins and he intends to study and hit the books on his road trips, and also intends to take classes in the summertime to still graduate on time next season.
“I’m planning on finishing the semester academically. I want to finish the semester academically,” said Donato, after Monday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena prior to last night’s debut vs. Columbus. “Obviously it’s going to be something that’s difficult, but for me it was a dream to graduate from Harvard. I’m putting that off a little bit, but I need to be able to finish this semester in order to have that opportunity, and not put it off for another couple of years. I want to finish out the semester.”
Donato is also still living in the Harvard dorms while “moonlighting” as an NHL hockey player for the rest of the season, but that isn’t all so uncommon among some of the college players that leave school early. Charlie McAvoy was similarly living in the Boston University dorms last spring through Boston’s playoff run, and didn’t clear out of his college living situation until after the Black and Gold had been eliminated by the Ottawa Senators last April.
Missing practices on an NHL schedule is certainly a new one with, Donato, however, and takes the student-athlete concept to a whole new level for somebody that's already turned pro. One has to expect this was one of the things being discussed in full when the Donato family, Ryan's agent and the Bruins discussed his contract terms over the weekend before coming to an agreement.
Along with Donato, who is scheduled to fly into St. Louis and play against the Blues on Wednesday night, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, David Backes, Jake DeBrusk, Rick Nash and Torey Krug were all missing from the ice at Tuesday’s team practice ahead of a four game road trip against Western Conference opponents.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while not really digging these forecasts of more snow.
*You know, if he weren’t making millions and millions of dollars I might actually feel bad for ol' Claude Julien up in Montreal busting out the “We’re not a very good team” soliloquy with the Habs. That team flat out stinks this season and these past few weeks it can’t be fun at all being the head coach of that dumpster fire.
*Darren Dreger says there is no rush for the Toronto Maple Leafs to bring back Auston Matthews before he’s ready to go, and that’s absolutely the case so close to the playoffs.
*Here are five Hart Trophy-caliber players that won’t get a sniff of the voting, but deserve some attention nonetheless. There are no Bruins players on the list if you’re wondering, but some pretty good ones in Johnny Gaudreau and Aleksander Barkov.
*The NHL general managers are weighing potential changes to the goalie-interference interpretation ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
*While it still looks a Swedish defenseman is going to be the No. 1 overall pick this June, there are some other players rocketing up the list.
*For something completely different: The definitive ranking of Girl Scout cookies from best-to-worst that we’ve all been waiting for.
*Song of the Week: Haven’t done one of these in a long, long time, but I like this Calvin Harris/Katy Perry/Pharrell Williams tune that I hadn’t heard until the past couple of days.