Celtics

Mottau in limbo during NHL lockout

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Mottau in limbo during NHL lockout

Last season was one of the high points in the career of former Boston Collegedefenseman Mike Mottau. The 33-year-old SouthShore native got a chance to skatewith the hometown Boston Bruins and even got into a few playoff games with the Blackand Gold. The hope was that hed return to Boston as a spare defenseman this season.

Instead Mottau is skating at local colleges with other Bruins still in Boston, hoping hellknow his fate sooner or later. The father of four kids aged seven and under hadsome offers from European clubs prior to the start of the season, but he would have been forced to commit to staying overseas for the entire year.

Mottau wasnt ready to do that. So the former Devils,Islanders and Bs defenseman has bonded together with fellow skaters like ShawnThornton, Daniel Paille and Milan Lucic that have remained in Boston throughout the lockout.

Now hes hoping for a CBA resolution so he can figure outhis plans for the rest of the year. In addition to arena employees, needycharities and local businesses that are hurting badly while missing the800,000 in revenues each NHL game pumps into the Boston economy, journeymen veterans likeMottau are the biggest victims on the players side.

He doesnt have the millions in the bank that someestablished players can use as a soft landing while missing out on paycheckcycles.

Hes made 3.1 million over the last four years before agentfees, taxes and other overhead costs and hes invested wisely. But its alsovery unlikely hes going to become outspoken on the regularly-held NHLPAconference calls that have become passionate as players grow frustrated withthe deliberate process of CBA talks.

Mottau simply wants to know what happens next for him.

It would be nice to know when things will resolve, andwhere Ill be playing this season. Over the summer I was hoping wed have a newCBA right now and things would have worked out with the Bruins, said Mottau. NowIm hoping to catch on with somebody when the new CBA finally gets hammeredout. I still think theres a good chance of that, but well see.

If something doesnt happen in the next month, Mottau thinkshe may end up playing Europe for a few months.But that also becomes a problematic scenario with all of the North Americanplayers flooding places like Germany,Finland, Czech Republic,Russia and England.

Justas the discussions leave no easy answers for the NHLPA or the league, guys likeMottau are stuck in hockey limbo just like everybody else.

Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

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Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

PHILADELPHIA – For the third time in as many games, the Boston Celtics will field a different lineup.

It will have a domino effect on Boston’s usual starters, but no one more than Al Horford who will slide over to power forward with Aron Baynes inserted into the starting lineup where he’ll be charged with trying to defend Sixers 7-footer Joel Embiid.

Meanwhile, Horford will be assigned to defend Robert Covington who is one of Philadelphia’s better perimeter scorers.

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“I feel like one of my strengths is being able to play multiple positions,” Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “It presents a different challenge for me, which is making sure I do a good job of covering him out on the perimeter, staying between him and the basket.”

In Philadelphia’s 120-115 season-opening loss to Washington, Covington led all Sixers with 29 points which included him going 7-for-11 from 3-point range in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.

While Covington will be Horford’s first defensive assignment, he knows he will also be called upon at times to defend Embiid who ranks among the best centers in the NBA despite having played just 32 games over the course of three NBA seasons.

In the loss to the Wizards, Embiid had a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Horford’s defense will be critical for Boston (0-2) to get its first win of the season, but the Celtics will also need him to take advantage of scoring opportunities as well.

“We have some guys down, but that creates opportunities for other guys to step up and contribute,” Horford said. “It’s going to all of us, the veterans, the young players, all of us to get that first win.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens agreed.

“I think that’s how we have to look at it,” Stevens said. “We’re going to have to make a few tweaks on how we do things, obviously. Hey, it’s gonna be something that we’re going to have to do really, really well on the fly.”

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