Glass Half Full of Ice? Sudden Optimism in NHL Labor Fight

Glass Half Full of Ice? Sudden Optimism in NHL Labor Fight

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Last week, the NHL cancelled the Winter Classic, and the
initial fear was it might be only a matter of time before the entire season came
next. Since then, negotiations between the league and players association on a
new collective bargaining agreement have picked back up, with some reports even
predicting a resolution could occur in the next two weeks.

Tim Panaccio has been keeping up on the so-called secret
meetings between representation for owners and union over the weekend, which
are expected to continue into this week. Panotch was willing to describe the
talks as progress,
while others are digging much deeper in their inferences to
the meaning and potential details of these discussions.

In the video above, Al Morganti views the silence
surrounding exactly what is being discussed at these meetings as a positive,
and goes so far as to say he believes the lockout could be over in 10 days – or
not at all. His sense is talks finally have a purpose, so if both sides are
going to cut to the heart of the issues, now is the time.

Frank Seravalli for the Daily News seems to be on the same
page as Morganti. In his Monday article, Seravalli agrees on a similar timeline
of agreement being possible “in the next 10 to 15 days,” and specifically
mentions a 64-game season as a possibility. It should be noted that’s similar
to the 66-game slate the NBA went with after its own lockout-shortened campaign
a year ago.

At this point, it’s all speculation, but speculation is
better than the hopeless feeling another season could be lost. If the players
and owners really do somehow manage to bridge their differences in the next two
weeks or so, not only could they save some face, but probably the sport along
the way.

Morganti is probably right though. If this situation isn’t
any closer to being figured out in the very near future, with the Classic gone
and precious little time to organize a season, then what is left to keep the
dispute from dragging on? We’re not out of the woods yet, but if either side is
committed to playing NHL hockey within the next couple months, something has
got to give soon.

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Temple cracks Top 25 in final CFP rankings, will play in Military Bowl

ap-temple.jpg
The Associated Press

Temple cracks Top 25 in final CFP rankings, will play in Military Bowl

After winning its first American Athletic Conference championship Saturday, Temple learned its postseason fate Sunday and it does not involve a New Year's Six bowl game.

The Owls will play Wake Forest in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Annapolis, Maryland. Temple also finished No. 24 in the final College Football Playoff rankings and No. 23 in the AP poll.

At 10-3, Temple has its first back-to-back 10-win season in program history. It's also the first time the Owls have been ranked in consecutive seasons. Head coach Matt Rhule now has 28 wins as Temple's head coach, tying him with Bruce Arians' for the sixth-most in school history.

Wake Forest finished the season 6-6 and on a three-game losing streak, but two of those three loses came to No. 2 Clemson and No. 13 Louisville. The Deamon Deacons have lost five of their last six games.

Flyers-Predators 5 things: Going for longest win streak since 2014

Flyers-Predators 5 things: Going for longest win streak since 2014

Flyers (13-10-3) at Predators (11-8-4)
6 p.m. on CSN and CSNPhilly.com

The Flyers have won a season-high four games in a row. They'll try to make it five Sunday night when they visit the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena for the second game of a back-to-back set.

Let's take a look at five things you need to know.

1. Streaking like 2014?
Not only do the Flyers have a chance to extend their season-best winning streak, but they're also looking to win their most consecutive games since March 15-22, 2014, when they also won five straight.

The Flyers have put up strong showings in the back ends of back-to-backs, going 4-1-1 thus far.

“You just have to have the work ethic night in and night out," Steve Mason said Saturday after the Flyers' 3-1 win over the Blackhawks. "And, I think we were struggling to find that. There are games when we were swarming and giving teams no other option, and other nights we were chasing the puck.

"We have another tough test going to Nashville to play. So, we’re going to have to follow up with another great effort.” 

2. A Provorov encore?
Ivan Provorov's confidence has to be at his highest of the season.

In Saturday's win, the 19-year-old blueliner scored two goals in a 31-second span to double his goal total through the first 25 games.

Provorov said he thinks defense first, but the offensive production is a good sign.

“Score one goal in a game, it’s a good feeling. Score two in one shift, it’s unbelievable,” Provorov said.

“Every time you score, it’s like a confidence booster."

3. Predators finding stride
After losing eight of their first 11 games, Peter Laviolette's Predators have gotten on track, going 8-3-1 since.

Nashville ranks in the top half of the league in goals per game (3.00 — tied for fifth), goals against per game (2.61 — 15th), power-play percentage (22.6 — sixth) and penalty-kill percentage (84.5 — 10th).

Last time out, the Predators blew a 4-1 lead in the third period for a 5-4 overtime loss to the Devils on Saturday, so they should be extra focused.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: On Saturday, Brayden Schenn scored just his second goal in his past 18 games. Schenn can be streaky so maybe he feeds off that goal. He's also a career plus-4 against the Predators, with two goals and three assists in eight games.

Predators: Let's go P.K. Subban, who isn't exactly a favorite among Flyers fans. He's off to a nice start in his first season in Nashville with six goals and 10 assists, and eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last eight games.

5. This and that
• Flyers goalie Steve Mason is 7-7-5 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 20 career games against the Predators.

• Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne is 3-2-2 with a 2.91 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in seven career games against the Flyers.

• Claude Giroux is four assists away from passing Rick MacLeish (369) and Eric Lindros (369) for fifth on the Flyers’ all-time list.