Brad Marchand on Olympic decision: ‘Let players make their choice’

marchand olympics
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Brad Marchand took to Twitter Tuesday afternoon to follow up on his comments about NHL players not participating in the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

The Bruins forward questioned how the league and NHLPA could change the Collective Bargaining Agreement to allow “taxi squads” but not do the same during the Olympics. Why can’t players go to the Olympics in February while NHL teams play on with added players, he wondered.

Here’s Marchand’s full Tweet:

“The NHL and NHLPA can change the rules of the cba to add a taxi squad so that they don’t miss any games and don’t lose any money… which has already been agreed upon that the players will pay back in escrow until the owners are made whole from what they have lost during this pandemic, regardless of how many games are missed… yet they can’t do a taxi squad during The Olympics so they can honor the agreement they made so the NHL players can go [to the Olympics].

“Please tell me that’s not bulls—… and for all of you who want to pipe back about forfeiting pay while being gone… yah not a problem .. let the players make their choice.”

You’ll recall that as part of the 2020 CBA, the NHL promised the NHLPA that it would attempt to make a deal with the IOC and IIHF in order to pause the 2021-22 regular season for three weeks and allow players to take part in the tournament. A deal happened but with the caveat that in agreement with the union, there was a pull-out option should there be a “material disruption” of the regular-season schedule.

[MORE: No surprise, NHL players disappointed to miss 2022 Winter Olympics]

At the time the NHL and NHLPA announced players wouldn’t be going to Beijing (Dec. 22) there had already been 50 regular-season games postponed due to COVID-19 issues. That number is now up to 70 as of Tuesday.

A call for best-on-best

Marchand’s Tweet was a continuation of his comments from Sunday when he was asked about the NHL/NHLPA decision.

“I know at the end of the day, [the NHL does not] care about the Olympics, they don’t make money on it, and that’s ultimately what this is,” Marchand said. “It’s a business and we’re an asset. Let’s just call a spade a spade.”

He’s 100% correct, but everyone knows the league’s reasons against participating (Union leadership was also understanding of the decision, too). The only reason the NHL promised to attempt to make a deal with the IOC and IIHF was because it was part of CBA negotiations, and they ended up with labor peace through at least the 2025-26 season as part of it.

Would Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs be cool with sending Marchand to Beijing while getting nothing at all in return?

Marchand wasn’t the only player to voice his opinion on a second straight Olympics without NHL players. Oilers captain Connor McDavid, one of Canada’s first three men’s players announced, called it “disappointing,” but added “we can’t dwell on it.”

Without the Olympics as an option for at least four more years, McDavid did make a plea to have of best-on-best tournament in the meantime. It’s a stage players want to be on.

“We can’t go six, seven, eight years without playing best-on-best,” said McDavid, who was part of Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. “NHL players haven’t played at the Olympics since 2014 when Canada won the gold medal. You want to play at the Olympics. For me, it’s the biggest stage in sport. Every league in sport does a version of the World Cup. The Olympics is a stage that’s such a global scale. I think everybody wants to play on that stage. The World Cup would still be a great second option.

“We just want to see best-on-best. That’s what everyone wants.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

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BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

“That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

“It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

“It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

“We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

TAKE NOTE

The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

“We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

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TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.