The New York Rangers opened their lockout-shortened National Hockey League season with a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins.
The NHL scheduled 13 games yesterday for the start of the 48-game season after the lockout ended Jan. 12, when the players’ union and league signed a 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement. The teams have conducted six days of training camp.
“Let’s just move by that,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said when asked if he blamed the lockout for his team’s performance. “I’m not going to keep talking about the short season. We’ve started the season, and we did not play well enough to win. The Bruins did.”
Bruins’ Milan Lucic started the scoring four minutes into the game on his home ice at TD Garden.
“There was a lot of rust in the first period,” said Rick Nash, the 30-goal Columbus player acquired by the Rangers in the off-season. “There was a lot of hype in the last few days to play this game, and we didn’t play the way wanted to.”
Boston’s Daniel Paille added a goal midway through the second period before Brad Richards gave the Rangers their only score four minutes later.
“We definitely have a way to go,” Richards told reporters. “We have to learn some things pretty quickly.”
Johnny Boychuk ended the scoring with Boston’s third goal at eight minutes, 13 seconds into the final period.
The loss ended the Rangers’ four-game winning streak on Boston’s ice.
In other games yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks beat the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings 5-2, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 and Ottawa Senators topped Winnipeg Jets 4-1.
Chicago’s Patrick Kane scored a power-play goal three minutes, 41 seconds into the first period at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Marian Hossa scored the first of his two goals and Michael Frolik added another for a 3-0 first-period lead.
Jonathan Toews tallied the fourth goal for the Blackhawks one minute, 16 seconds after the start of the second period with Rob Scuderi scoring the Kings’ first goal with less than two minutes remaining in the period.
Jordan Nolan gave the Kings their second goal and Hossa added his second for the Blackhawks in the last period.
In other season openers yesterday, it was Toronto 2, Montreal 1; New Jersey 2, the New York Islanders 1; Tampa Bay 6, Washington 3; Florida 5, Carolina 1; St. Louis 6, Detroit 0; Columbus 3, Nashville 2; Dallas 4, Phoenix 3; Minnesota 4, Columbus 2; and Anaheim 7, Vancouver 3.
The shutdown began Sept. 16 and forced the cancellation of 625 games, or 51 percent of a schedule that originally had each team playing 82 games.
The lockout also forced cancellation of this year’s outdoor Winter Classic game on New Year’s Day and the All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio.
The NHL, which had $3.3 billion in revenue last season, gave up about $1 billion to get the 10-year deal that reduced the players’ share of the earnings to 50 percent, the New York Times reported without saying where it got the information.
The work stoppage was the second time in the last seven seasons that owners shut the league down following the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement.
The previous lockout resulted in the loss of the 2004-05 season, the only time a complete schedule of one of North America’s four major pro sports leagues was wiped out in a labor dispute. It also was the first year since 1919 that the Stanley Cup wasn’t awarded.
In the 1994-95 season, a lockout ended Jan. 11 and a 48-game schedule began on Jan. 20.
The newest dispute was focused on how players and owners would split revenue that grew 50 percent by last season from $2.2 billion in 2003-04. Under the previous agreement, players received 57 percent, or $1.9 billion, of league revenue.
The collective bargaining agreement runs through the 2021-22 season, with both sides having the right to opt out after eight years, according to the provisions.
Before the start of the 2011-12 season, the average NHL player salary was $2.4 million, up from about $1.5 million at the start of the 2005-06 season.
In comparison, National Basketball Association players made an average of $5.15 million, the highest among North America’s four major sports leagues, for 2011-12. The average salary for a National Football League player was $1.9 million, the lowest of the four leagues, with Major League Baseball’s $3.3 million average salary ranking second behind the NBA.