BOSTON — Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs started off his pregame news conference by apologizing to the media for keeping them waiting.
Then he did the same for hockey fans everywhere.
“Like all of you, I wanted nothing more than to have the season start on time in October. Make no mistake: It should have. The fact that we were unable to reach an agreement until just recently is a disappointment,” he said before the Bruins opened their lockout-shortened season on Saturday night with a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers.
“I want to personally apologize to our fans and others who depend on this team for their livelihood. But these are just words. The best way to make it up to you is to play hard and win.”
NHL owners locked players out of training camps in September and canceled the first 3½ months of the season while the sides squabbled over a new collective bargaining agreement.
They reached an agreement early in the morning Jan. 6 after a 16-hour bargaining session and teams opened their weeklong training camp on Sunday.
The 48-game sprint to the Stanley Cup playoffs began on Saturday night.
The Bruins tried to make it up to fans by offering them a $5 doughnut shop gift card when they entered the parking lot and leaving a T-shirt at every seat. Fans received a selection of free concession items and discounts on team paraphernalia.
“I’m getting real sick of watching reruns,” he said. “My wife is getting very sick of my sitting around being very sick of watching reruns. Getting hockey going, I think that’s very New England, very much Bruins. We want this game on.”
Jacobs said that if the sides hadn’t reached an agreement when they did, “I think the whole season would have been gone.”