Detroit’s Cleary: Players think lockout can go a year, “maybe longer”

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Those looking for positive developments regarding the NHL lockout, avert your eyes.

Detroit Red Wings forward Dan Cleary — a veteran of the last lockout — told the Free Press this current work stoppage could be as long, if not longer, than the one that wiped out the 2004-05 season.

“I think people don’t think it can go a year,” he said. “As players, we think it can. Maybe longer.”

Cleary, 33, has been a prominent voice throughout the current strife.

He’s attended numerous labor meetings and while he isn’t on the NHLPA’s 31-player negotiating committee — Henrik Zetteberg is the Wings’ rep — Cleary understands the importance of being an active part of the process.

“It’s important to have veteran presence there, and to represent Detroit,” he told USA Today back in August. “It’s not too far to go, either; the meetings are usually either in New York or Toronto.”

Three weeks before the expiration of the CBA, Cleary put the odds of a lockout at 50/50, saying he was optimistic when the NHLPA made its first offer but less optimistic upon hearing the owners’ counter-proposal.

Now, pessimism reigns.

“Just trying to be realistic,” Cleary said. “I think the league is waiting for us to make the move, and we’re waiting for them to move.

“So someone has to move. And I don’t see it coming from our end.”

On the other end of the spectrum sits Washington forward Mike Ribeiro. He feels the owners are waiting until players miss their first few paychecks — in what would essentially mimic a rollback of around 20 percent.

“This time I think we’re more optimistic,” Ribeiro told CSN Washingon. “Hopefully [this ends] by the end of November, so we can have December with hockey. But [the owners’] game plan, at least in my opinion, is that they’ll start paying guys after a month and a half or two months, after they get the 20 percent they wanted.

“They want their 20 percent [rollback of salaries] and the players don’t want to give it back, so let’s just not play until the 20 percent is not spent.”

NHL players usually receive their first paycheck in late October but, this year, they are expected to receive eight percent escrow checks at that time.

As such, many players won’t feel the financial pinch until well into November.

Crosby: Penguins ‘probably deserved better’ vs. Senators in Game 6

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If you didn’t know that the Stanley Cup Playoffs can be awfully cruel, then the last week or so of action should make it pretty clear.

The Nashville Predators lost top center Ryan Johansen to a scary ailment few would have seen coming. The Anaheim Ducks fell in both games to the Johansen-less Predators, even after dominating significant chunks of Game 6. At least one Ducks player wondered if the better team won.

Much like in life, “fair” and “deserve” only matter so much. Sports have a scoreboard to serve as the ultimate deciding factor.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have similar thoughts after falling 2-1 to the Ottawa Senators tonight, extending the Eastern Conference Final to a decisive Game 7. You can nitpick questionable penalties and missed chances, but really, how negative can you be after Craig Anderson puts forth a blazing 45-save performance (with no overtime)?

Mike Sullivan and others echoed such thoughts.

” … Obviously, we’re disappointed in the result, but I don’t think we can get discouraged by that,” Sullivan said. “I think we’ve got to take the positives from it, and we’ve got to build on it, and we’ve got to become a more determined team for Game 7.

That’s not the sort of take that’s going to make the Senators angry in Game 7. The tone of the Senators’ discussions was likely very different after they lost Game 5 by a 7-0 score, yet maybe there was similar self belief.

Anderson puzzles Penguins as Senators force Game 7

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Who could blame fans for chanting “Andy” tonight?

The Ottawa Senators said they would choose to fight in Game 6, and Craig Anderson truly battled in this one, refusing to allow this unlikely run to an end on Tuesday. They wouldn’t roll over, even after a 7-0 humiliation in Game 5.

The underrated goalie continued his memorable (and emotional) 2016-17 season with a brilliant performance, making 45 saves to help Ottawa manage a gutsy 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With that, hockey fans get a true treat: the Eastern Conference will go to a Game 7 on Thursday.

The Senators opted for a “bend but don’t break” strategy for much of the contest, possibly to Guy Boucher’s preference. Even so, the Penguins managed to grind their way to a 1-0 win thanks to another hard-work goal from Evgeni Malkin.

Mistakes would come back to haunt the Penguins, however, as Bobby Ryan broke Ottawa’s lengthy power-play drought to tie things up on a 5-on-3.

With their season in question thanks to a 1-1 tie in the third period, Mike Hoffman sent a booming shot by Matt Murray, and that ended up being all the Senators needed to tie the series 3-3.

Anderson was the standout, but Erik Karlsson was a hero in the way his detractors might not expect.

You can watch Game 7 on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. The game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports App.

Report: Avalanche get permission to speak with Leafs assistant GM Dubas

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Could one of the most hapless possession teams of this more analytics-leaning era nab arguably the most promising analytics-leaning executive in the NHL?

It’s a reasonable question, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the Colorado Avalanche asked for and received permission to speak to Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas.

Current GM Joe Sakic recently got a vote of confidence and also cleaned out some of the coaching staff around Jared Bednar, so this is certainly a time of change for the Avalanche.

It will be interesting to see what kind of role Dubas would receive if he did join the fold in Colorado. Would he still be considered an assistant GM, only with more sway with what would likely be a smaller group of decision-makers? Could we see Sakic move up and give Dubas the full GM title (or eventually transition that role to the young upstart)? Might there be some other factor that would qualify as a more “outside the box” idea?

One thing seems clear: the Avalanche might want to be decisive, as demand could be significant for Dubas if he’s even somewhat on the market.

This could be interesting, especially if you’re a nerd for team-building storylines.

Video: Senators score twice to take 2-1 lead in Game 6

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The Ottawa Senators have defied odds during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they’ve done so with what’s often been an ice-cold power play.

They finally struck gold on the man advantage on Tuesday, and at a key moment. The Pittsburgh Penguins were dominating much of the game and pressing for an even bigger edge after Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0.

Maybe the Penguins got overzealous, or maybe officials … finally started making some calls. Either way, the Senators ended up with a 5-on-3 advantage for almost a minute-and-a-half. With that opportunity, Bobby Ryan scored a huge goal for Ottawa on a shot that was both oddly and perfectly placed.

Moments later, Kyle Turris narrowly missed a golden opportunity, so the contest remained tied 1-1.

Despite a late push by the Penguins to finish the second, Game 6 will enter the third period with a 1-1 score.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6

Update: Mike Hoffman‘s booming shot gave the Senators a 2-1 lead in the third. We’ll see if Pittsburgh can tie it up.