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Claude Julien leads Winthrop youth team to 3-2 win

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff October 28, 2012 03:58 PM


HAVERHILL -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien, back behind a bench today at Haverhill Valley Forum, helped coach the Winthrop Squirt B hockey team to a 3-2 win over Watertown.

Julien was coaching to benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation and Massachusetts youth hockey. The Winthrop team won Julien's services via a raffle.

"It was a lot of fun to get behind the bench and deal with young hockey players again," Julien said. "They were having fun and enjoying the game. They were an excited group."

Winthrop coach Steve Indrisano led the Winthrop club. During the game, Julien offered tips to the coaches and players. Following each goal, Julien applauded his players. After each shift, Julien gave them taps on the helmets and fist bumps.

Like everyone else in the NHL, Julien is awaiting the end of the lockout. The NHL has scrubbed games through November.

"Unfortunately, I'm just a bystander like everyone else, waiting for the signal to go back to work," Julien said. "That’s all I know and that's all I can say. Like anybody else, I think the fans want to see hockey back. I'm no different. I think the people involved with those negotiations want the same thing as well."

Bruins' Thornton: NHL 'not willing to negotiate'

Posted by Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff October 26, 2012 02:39 PM
Bruins winger Shawn Thornton today accused the NHL of 'strongarm' tactics, following the announcement this afternoon that the league has wiped out all games through Nov. 30.

Thornton, contacted by Toronto-based Josh Rimer (@joshrimerhockey), noted his frustration over a Collective Bargaining process that has yet to yield an agreement between the league's owners and players.

"We keep trying to meet," Thornton said, tweeted by @joshrimerhockey. "They keep declining. They are obviously not willing to negotiate."

"They would rather put the game in jeopardy and try to strongarm us and shake us down."

The league has been in lockout, the third in its history, since the CBA expired on the evening of Sept. 15. The NHL's latest offer, made public last Tuesday, was withdrawn just hours before the league today announced the cancellation of all games through Nov. 30. The league made that offer in hopes of finalizing an agreement by this week and beginning a full 82-game season by Nov. 2.

The Players' Association last Thursday, responding to the league's offer some 48 hours earlier, tried to engage the league in dialogue over what it portrayed as three counteroffers to the NHL proposal. The league dismissed those three proposals within minutes and earlier this week declined a PA invitation to resume talks.

With today's cancellations, the league now has erased 326 regular games, or 26.2 percent, from the 1,230-game regular-season schedule. If play were to resume at the start of December, the existing schedule would have the Bruins begin the season Dec. at TD Garden at 7 p.m., against the Sabres.

Claude Julien excited to coach Winthrop youth hockey team

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff October 26, 2012 10:26 AM

On Sunday at 2 p.m. at Haverhill Valley Forum, Claude Julien will be back behind the bench. The Bruins coach will lead the Winthrop Squirt B youth hockey team against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.

The team won Julien’s services via a raffle to benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation and Massachusetts hockey.

“It’s one of those situations where you can go and put a lot of smiles on faces,” Julien said. “I’m going to have fun with it. It’s for a great cause, with the money being raised for minor hockey and the Boston Bruins Foundation. Hey, maybe I can get the rust out of my game.”

During the lockout, Julien has been evaluating Providence, scouting Dougie Hamilton and Malcolm Subban, and reviewing video of earlier Bruins games. Julien and his staff are preparing for the lockout’s eventual end and a rapid start to a compressed training camp.

“The goal is to minimize everything as small as possible, not to overwhelm players when it’s time to get back to work,” Julien said. “We’re doing the best we can to prepare for a season that’s probably going to start quickly.”

* As expected, Julien declined to disclose who his starting goalie will be on Sunday.

Agent: Tuukka Rask not seriously injured

Posted by Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff October 24, 2012 07:43 AM
Bill Zito, agent for Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, said Rask did not seriously injure his groin Tuesday during a game in the Czech Republic.

"He's fine," Zito wrote in an email. "Just a little tweak and he didn't want to push it. Probably play Friday."

Rask, 25, joined the Czech League's club in Plzen early in the NHL lockout (now in its 39th day) and on Tuesday, according to reports out of the Czech Republic, pulled himself out of a game after the first period. One report noted that he had a groin injury.

Rask sustained a serious groin injury March 3 against the Islanders, ending his 2011-'12 season and sending the Bruins into a mad scramble to find relief in net for top 'tender Tim Thomas.

After prolonged rest and physical therapy, Rask over the summer reported that he was back at full strength and signed a one-year contract extension. Once the NHL gets back in business (still waiting), Rask projects as the club's No. 1 goaltender, backed by Anton Khudobin.

Thomas, with one year left on his contract, told the Bruins over the summer that he likely won't play the upcoming season and possibly will retire.

Claude Julien to coach Winthrop youth hockey team

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 23, 2012 04:52 PM
Bruins coach Claude Julien will coach the Winthrop Squirt B hockey team on Sunday, the Bruins announced Tuesday.

The Winthrop team, which plays in the Valley Hockey League, won a raffle conducted by the Boston Bruins Foundation.

The game will be played Sunday at the Haverhill Valley Forum against an undetermined opponent.

NHL makes new offer -- 50-50 split -- and hopes to start season Nov. 2

Posted by Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff October 16, 2012 02:07 PM

By Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff

The NHL today made a somewhat surprising offer to its players in an attempt to end the lockout and kick-start the 2012-13 season on Nov. 2 -- which would represent approximately a three-week delay from its original Oct. 11 start.

According to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, the league is willing to split the Hockey Related Revenue, 50-50, with the players. In its first offer to the players in July, the league sought to share a much smaller percentage, possibly as little as 43 percent, according to how the NHL Players Association deciphered the offer.

The 50-50 share in itself is encouraging, but it is a steep drop from the 57 percent the players have pocketed since the start of the salary cap system that was instituted out of the 2004-05 lockout. So while 50 percent is certainly better than 43 percent, it still represents a substantial drop in hard dollars for the players, considering the league's HRR last season was some $3.3 billion.

It is not likely that union leadership will easily accept the idea of falling back from $1.88 billion (at 57 percent) to $1.65 billion (at 50 percent). Net loss: $230 million.

''I'd like to believe, after we are done [reviewing] this [offer], that it's an excellent starting point and there's a deal to be made,'' said Donald Fehr, the NHLPA executive director.

The NHLPA will spend at least the next few hours, into Tuesday evening, assessing the offer. Bettman and his top lieutenant, Bill Daly, have told Fehr that they are ''on call'' for further deliberations or clarifications.

Left unsaid by both Fehr and Bettman in their media briefings today, is what other changes (if any) the league has made to other crucial elements of its offer. In its initial laundry list of changes, the league sought drastic amendments in the length of entry-level contracts and also wanted to abolish salary arbitration. Initial media reports, including many posted on Twitter, suggested the league has softened many of the proposed changes, but neither Bettman nor Fehr offered details.

Bettman did say the league made a long-term offer but would not specify the number of years. Fehr, though, said the offer was for ''at least'' six years.

According to Bettman, a Nov. 2 start to the season would allow for a full schedule, 82 games, as well as a full playoff format (four rounds, best-of-seven), all of it wrapping up by the end of June 2013.

Bettman also said that a compressed slate of 82 games would necessitate a slight increase in scheduling, meaning that players would play one extra game every five weeks, in comparison to their current rate. If the union were to object to such frequency over a season that lasts some six months, it conceivably would return with an offer to play only a 76-game regular season.

What might have happened in the Bruins' season opener

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 11, 2012 03:47 PM

Yes, there is hockey being played. Russia's KHL was on ESPN this week, the puck has dropped on the college season, and the Providence Bruins play their home opener Friday.

But none of it is the National Hockey League, which would have begun Thursday night with a marquee matchup if not for the lockout. The Bruins were scheduled to open at the Flyers.

Enter video game maker Electronic Arts, which has filled a fraction of the void by simulating the season using its NHL '13 game. The first week's simulation report was released Thursday, including the Bruins opener.

Tyler Seguin had a goal and two assists, and Dennis Seidenberg scored the game-winner as the Bruins defeated the Flyers, 4-3, in the simulation. Goalie Tuukka Rask had an assist as well, on the Bruins' first goal, scored by Mike Mottau.

Watch the Week 1 recap video EA provided above. More details on the first week simulation are on EA's NHL 13 blog, including the Bruins' second game, which would have been Saturday at New Jersey.


This screengrab provided by EA Sports shows Dennis Seidenberg's winning shot in a simulation of the Bruins' season opener, which would have been Thursday night.

Bruins raffling coach Claude Julien's services

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 10, 2012 05:08 PM
One Massachusetts youth hockey team is going to have a decided advantage this season.

The Boston Bruins Foundation http://www.nhlalumniraffles.org/Raffles is holding a raffle in which the prize is having Bruins coach Claude Julien coach a youth hockey team's game. Tickets are $5 each (minimum purchase is two), and can be purchased until 1 p.m. Oct. 22, with the winner drawn that day at 5 p.m.

Julien will be behind the bench for a game Oct. 28 at the Haverhill Valley Forum. Julien guided the Bruins to the Stanley Cup championship in 2011.

Zdeno Chara, Alex Ovechkin square off on ESPN2

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff October 9, 2012 09:32 AM
ESPN, the network where the NHL has been an afterthought, will kick off its KHL coverage on Tuesday. At 1 p.m. on ESPN2, Zdeno Chara's Lev Praha club will play Alex Ovechkin and Dynamo Moscow. The game will re-air on ESPN2 at 8 p.m.

Chara has appeared in one game for his KHL team. Ovechkin has scored one goal and has one assist in two games.

Steve Levy and ex-Lightning coach Barry Melrose will call the game.

Had the NHL not been locked out, Chara would be preparing for Thursday's season-opening game against Philadelphia.

Bruins stars Chara and Bergeron sign deals in Europe

Posted by Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff October 2, 2012 02:00 PM

With the NHL in mothballs, star Bruins Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron have decided to keep their games fresh and tuned in Europe. The two veterans on Tuesday struck separate deals, Chara with Prague in the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League and Bergeron with Lugano in southern Switzerland.

Chara's deal is with HC Lev Praha and Bergeron's with HC Lugano. Like all NHL players who have defected to Europe with the NHL in lockout, both Chara and Bergeron can return to the Bruins immediately if/when NHL league owners and players finally craft a new CBA.

"He's flying out of Boston tonight," said Chara's longtime agent, Matt Keator, confirming that the defenseman has signed with HC Lev Praha, a club that operated last season in Slovakia. "There's every reason to expect that he'll be playing games this weekend."

According to Kent Hughes, agent for Bergeron, the Bruins center will drive to Boston Wednesday from his home in Quebec City, then fly to Europe Thursday or Friday. He likely will play his first game in the Swiss League late next week.

Chara and Bergeron are not the first high-profile Bruins to bolt for Europe.

Only days after signing his six-year contract extension, worth $5.75 million per season, young star winger Tyler Seguin agreed to play for Biel, Switzerland. A handful of other Bruins also have headed to teams overseas or said they will do so in the near future, all as a means to stay in shape during what is the third lockout in NHL history. Seguin and Bergeron now will face off against each other on opposing teams.

Chara, 35, grew up not far from Prague in Trencin, Slovakia, which Keator estimates is three hours from his new team's home. As a teen-ager in the months leading up to his draft year (1996), Chara moved from home to play in Prague, an experience he often credits with helping him catch the eyes of pro scouts.

"It's a comfortable fit for Z," said Keator. "He loves Prague. He knows some of the guys on the team, like [captain] Jiri Novotny and Marcel Hossa [brother of Marian Hossa].

"So, good city, good guys, and a way for him to keep his game at a high level so he can step right into it when the NHL gets back in business."

According to Hughes, Bergeron also had an offer to play in Finland, but was more intrigued by the Swiss offer, in part because of a more accommodating travel schedule.

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