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Monday, September 29, 2014

Torey Krug & Reilly Smith Both End the Most Peaceful Holdouts in Sports History

At least in my mind, there are a million good reasons to prefer hockey over any of the other major sports in the U.S. and today we added another check mark to the NHL's ledger. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug & forward Reilly Smith both ended their holdouts for the meager sum of one-year deals worth $1.4 million. If you weren't paying close attention, you might not have even known that either were holding out in the first place. It says something about hockey players' lack of ego that this didn't become a big topic at all like it always seems to be in the NBA, NFL and MLB.

It looked like Boston would have no choice but to trade some guys away, probably defensemen, in order to accommodate two of their better young players. No worries, now all they have to do is put Marc Savard on the long-term injured list (not sure why he's not there already?) and they'll recoup roughly $4 million. It is both refreshing but also kind of stunning how simple this seems (at least on the surface). Krug and Smith missed training camp and four preseason games but with nine days left before the season opener next Wednesday vs. Philadelphia and three preseason games remaining, they might have just enough time to get back in proper shape.

You can't assume that either will magically jump back in right away like they never missed a day but at the same time, with how smoothly the holdout went, you half expect that to be a breeze too. Krug is 23, last season (his first full one in the NHL) he had 14 goals (6 on the power play), 26 assists and he was +18. Smith is also 23 and he had 20 goals (6 on the power play), 31 assists and he was +28 in his rookie season.

Assuming that each performs to a similar type of level this season, they should be in line for raises next offseason when perhaps Boston's salary cap is less of a quagmire. Boston hosts the Islanders tomorrow night and then they play the Islanders on Friday in Bridgeport, CT on Friday and they wrap up the preseason on Saturday vs. Detroit. It'll be interesting to see when Krug & Smith see their first action and also how rusty them appear to be.

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