As expected, the NHL’s Board of Governors unanimously ratified the league’s new collective bargaining agreement today in New York.
But it was commissioner Gary Bettman’s personal message to the players, sponsors, and “most importantly to our fans,” that stood out:
Bettman acknowledged that no explanation was going to erase the hard feelings that the lockout caused.
“I read the letters, I followed the tweets, I read the blogs,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do.”
Part of that work, according to the commissioner, will involve “outreaches” and “campaigns” aimed at reconnecting with the fans.
Bettman went on to praise the 10-year CBA as one he believes is good for the long-term health of the league.
“This is a good deal, this is a fair deal,” he said he told the owners, while admitting that ”not everyone gets what they want…on either side.”
As for his own future, Bettman called any talk of his departure “unfounded speculation” and that he’s looking forward to growing the game.
Now it’s the players’ turn to approve the deal. The NHLPA is expected to finish voting electronically by Saturday, with training camp likely to open Sunday.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.