“Cons” artist

- December 5th, 2012

Chris Kelly returned from Switzerland on Saturday because he missed his family, not because he thought the end of the lockout was imminent.
But after his first skate back in Canada, the always-affable Boston Bruins centre was in even better spirits than usual.
Kelly joked about asking someone to remind him never to play for Carleton coaches Marty Johnston and Shaun Van Allen, after those two put the NHLers and their own team through a strenuous on-ice workout Wednesday.
He then had a good laugh when talking about his friend Erik Condra – Switzerland’s new scoring sensation.
Condra tore up the Swiss ‘C’ league – scoring eight goals and 11 assists in seven games for a team called Fuessen EV – before moving to the same ‘B’ league where Kelly played. Not bad for a guy who only had eight goals in 81 games for the Senators last season, right?
Even at the higher level, Condra has seven goals and five assists in seven games. On his own ‘B’ league team, Kelly knew of only one guy that had another job to supplement his income. He was a mechanic, and Kelly doesn’t remember seeing him play.
Kelly kiddingly said that in the ‘C’ loop, guys are going from the “assembly line” to the rink, and maybe stopping for a post-work beer on the way.
Meanwhile, he said, “Cons” is sleeping in, then going to the gym, then heading to the rink. And when his teammates are trudging through the arena doors, they get there to see him skipping rope, all refreshed and ready to go.
Come game time, Kelly joked, “Cons” is able to go five-hole on goalies at will.
Yes, Kelly was in a great mood today, and a part of it no doubt had to do with seeing his kids and wife for the first time in about a month.
But every other NHLer at Carleton was much more upbeat than we’ve seen them in weeks, too. They like to tell reporters “we know as much as you do” about negotiations on a new CBA, but it was almost like they knew a little more this morning.
Of course, it’s more likely that the progress made in discussions between 18 players and six owners in New York on Tuesday had much to do with it. The players here again used the words “cautiously optimistic” that an agreement will soon be reached, but their actions and the vibe they exuded suggests they can stop including the “cautiously” part.
Meanwhile, it sure does look like Boston TV reporter Steve Burton will be able to have the last laugh on all the experts closely covering the story. Burton, who apparently doesn’t regularly follow the Bruins or the NHL, said on Monday that a source had told him high-ranking officials from both sides had met that night and he predicted the lockout could end very soon.
Some media people mocked him, but Burton also was the first to report Phil Kessel’s testicular cancer a few years ago. Why his report wasn’t taken seriously, I don’t understand. So what if he doesn’t regularly cover the league. That even gives him more credibility, as far as I can tell. He therefore wouldn’t come out with such stuff unless his source was a very good one. For all anybody knows, he could be close friends with Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs.
Because right now, it’s starting to look like Burton is going to be batting 2-for-2 in the hockey scoops department.

Categories: Hockey

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1 comment

  1. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    Good hearing from you Don!

    A deal should be reached but will it? This is Fehr’s first run at the NHLPA and he will want to win, if not save face.
    The players hate Bettman (oddly enough, met the man at the All-Star here and he was affable and generous with his time) and that is likely why progress is being made.

    We’ll see. Word is that the players are having trouble with the CBA length (10 years or 8 + option) and are balking at the contract length issue, which is understandable. In the end though…the players need to know they cannot win this match and that the owners will succeed. It’s just a matter of each side giving enough to salvage its pride.
    Now “make whole” folks so I can get back to my favourite hobby, grousing about the team I love!

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