Patriots

Would Bruins use potential 'amnesty clause' on Thomas?

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Would Bruins use potential 'amnesty clause' on Thomas?

One interesting wrinkle to the extended talks between the NHL and NHLPA this week has been the mention of a contract amnesty provision.

Contract amnesty is something many assumed would be mentioned at some point, as the two sides finally settled down to the business of a new CBA. The New York Posts Larry Brooks indicated the subject was broached this week.

While infamously wasteful NHL contracts, like those to Rick DiPietro and Wade Redden, would be at the top of the amnesty candidates list for the Islanders and Rangers if it became a one-time CBA feature, it begs a different question altogether for the Boston Bruins:

Would Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli be tempted to use the contract amnesty feature to buy out goaltender Tim Thomas after he headed straight for his Colorado bunker after last season?

It was a downward spiral for the 38-year-old goaltender after he skipped the team's White House visit in honor of their Stanley Cup championship last January. Then Thomas decided he was going to skip the 2012-13 NHL season to get reconnected with friends, faith and family, according to his own Facebook post, and train for a spot on the 2014 Winter Olympics squad.

Some have given Thomas "attaboys" for being ahead of the NHL lockout curve, and credited the Cup Finals hero with seeing the work stoppage coming ahead of time. But it appears more and more likely there will be an NHL regular season in 2012-13, and it could start as early as Dec. 1. Thomas isnt expected to have a change of heart about playing, and the Bruins will attempt to trade his contract to another NHL team once the new CBA is activated.

But wait.

Theres also discussion of lowering the salary cap floor for NHL teams that are under water financially, and those were the exact teams the Bruins had targeted for a Thomas deal prior to the lockout.

So the cap-floor seeking teams may dry up under the guidelines of a new CBA. If that happens and the Bruins put Thomas on the suspended list, then the amnesty buyout clause will give the Bruins a chance to get his onerous 5 million cap hit off their books. This could be particularly important if the salary cap drops in the first few seasons of the CBA, and potentially hurts a Bruins team thats already spent 65.2 million this upcoming season and has 57.1 million committed for 2013-014.

The million dollar question is this: Would Bruins ownership decide to pay off the final year of the Thomas contract to get him off their books?

That would free him to sign with another team without the Bs seeing any trade value in return. But theres also been no indication that Thomas has been working out with a return to hockey in mind for this season, and his Facebook account has been silent since the beginning of August. An amnesty clause might finally allow the Black and Gold to close the chapter on a goalie who turned his back on them months ago.

Chris Hogan, David Andrews, Marcus Cannon miss full week of practice

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Chris Hogan, David Andrews, Marcus Cannon miss full week of practice

FOXBORO — It's safe to say Chris Hogan, David Andrews and Marcus Cannon won't play Sunday against the Dolphins.:

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The trio was not on the field for the media portion of Friday’s practice, completing a week in which the three did not practice at all. Hogan has been out with a shoulder injury, while Andrews missed last week’s win over the Raiders due to illness and Cannon has been dealing with an ankle injury. 

Martellus Bennett was also absent, making it two straight days in which he did not take the field. Bennett, who was released by Green Bay this season amid questions of whether he would undergo surgery, is listed on the injury report with shoulder and hamstring issues. 

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Morning Skate: Predators kicking it into gear

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Morning Skate: Predators kicking it into gear

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while anticpating the turkey leftovers, ready for the taking.
 
-- NHL referee Wes McCauley is at it again, this time going with a fun no-goal call after having some trouble with his microphone.
 
-- After getting humbled on Opening Night by the Bruins, the Nashville Predators are starting to get on a roll.

-- NBC Pro Hockey Talk has Kyle Turris excelling for the Predators, and Matt Duchene very much still stuck in neutral for the Ottawa Senators.

-- NHL stars go through their favorite traditions, and what they enjoy is a game that’s full of routine, superstition and tradition.
  
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ray Ferraro says “it looks rotten” with the Edmonton Oilers as they continue to struggle out of the starting gate.
 
-- Larry Brooks goes through an all-time ranking of the general managers for the New York Rangers, and it’s an illustrious list.

-- The Vegas Golden Knights could make the playoffs in their very first season, and are absolutely far ahead of expectations for a new expansion team.
 
-- For something completely different: Wild turkeys are making a major comeback in Massachusetts after being all but extinct here.