NHL, NHLPA conclude second straight day of talks

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NHL, NHLPA conclude second straight day of talks

NEW YORK -- NHL Players' Association head Donald Fehr and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman held a second round of private talks on Saturday in an effort to move closer to an agreement that would end the ongoing lockout.

While negotiating teams from the union and the league discussed definitions of what makes up hockey-related revenue -- the pool of money the sides are trying to figure out how to split up -- Fehr and Bettman talked about the differences that are keeping the sides apart.

"I spent a few minutes with Gary talking about the overall situation, and we agreed to keep in touch," Fehr said Saturday outside of the NHL's New York office. "I am sure we will talk again (Sunday). I don't know whether will meet again (Sunday). That remains to be seen.

"I am not going to talk about the specifics, but in general we're trying to discuss how do we find a way to make an agreement. How do we bridge the gap on the major issues that are between us."

The sides met for about four hours before finishing for the day. They agreed to meet again on Sunday.

They talked for a second straight day on matters separate from the core economic issues that ultimately will have to be hammered out. In the recently expired collective bargaining agreement between the league and the union, the players received a 57 percent share of hockey-related revenue.

The NHL wants to cut the number down to under 50 percent in the new deal. The league imposed a lockout on Sept. 16, when the previous agreement ran out, and the sides didn't meet again until Friday.

"Their position on the big stuff has been that a major move consists of changing the players' share from a reduction of 24 percent to 17 12 percent," Fehr said. "Our initial proposal made a move in their direction. We have amplified that by giving them several different ideas to consider about how to lengthen the agreement to how to be more in line with what they wanted."

Fehr said discussing what exactly makes up hockey-related revenue is significant, because that will determine how much money is there to be divided.

Some progress was made on Friday on secondary issues related to player safety and drug testing, areas that weren't expected to be contentious. The league and union held two sessions then that totaled about five hours and included an initial meeting between Bettman and Fehr.

"I wish we had spent (Friday) on what we consider to be the more meaningful issues, but it is what it is," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said on Friday. "We really need to hear from the players' association on those. We need some kind of sign that they are prepared to compromise their economic position because we haven't had that since Aug. 14.

"We'll see if we get there."

At least they got back to talking -- which hadn't happened since a few days before the NHL locked out its players.

"It was a good day," Daly said. "We went through a lot of the areas we'd covered over the summer. We started closing off some agreements in some areas, and some continued areas of disagreements in others. It's part of the process."

All of the issues, big and small, must be ironed out before hockey can get out of the board room and back on the ice. So while the divisive topics still need to be tackled, the smaller ones have to be worked on, too.

"I don't want to use the adjective optimistic, but it was a productive discussion," NHL Players' Association special counsel Steve Fehr said on Friday. "We had a good session, and hopefully it will continue and build momentum."

The sides still aren't moving closer to a compromise while they talk about other issues.

And that is where the frustration lies. The NHL is waiting for the players' association to make a counterproposal to one the league made in the previous bargaining session more than two weeks ago.

"I don't think it's anybody's turn," Donald Fehr said Saturday. "If they have a good idea, I assume they will tell us. If we do, too, I certainly will not stand on ceremony."

But the NHL contends it has stated its position and needs the players' association to make what the league would consider a meaningful counter.

"We can't make them talk about what they don't want to talk about," Daly said. "In fairness, we do have to cover these issues if we're going to reach an agreement. What we're doing today is important, it's just not the most important things we can be doing.

"We've made at least two consecutive moves in significant dollars in their direction, and they haven't moved a single dollar in our direction since Aug. 4."

Former player Mathieu Schneider, now an NHLPA special assistant to the executive director, said Friday morning that there were agreements on more rigorous drug testing, expanding it to parts of the year during which testing is not currently done.

Neither side sees the use of performance-enhancing drugs as a problem in the NHL.

"We're in agreement that it's not an issue in our sport," Schneider said. "I think it's in the players' best interest as well as the sport to close off any possible time during the year where players could use."

Monetary issues are not expected to come up for discussion in this round of talks. Neither side has indicated it is prepared to make a new offer now regarding how to split up the more than 3 billion annual pot of hockey-related revenue.

"In general, when you're dealing with collective bargaining, when you start to have agreements on smaller issues, it can lead to bigger issues," Schneider said, "but it's still too early to say."

Saturday's talks came two days after the league canceled the remaining preseason games. The regular season is scheduled to start on Oct. 11.

If a deal isn't reached soon, regular-season games will be in danger of being lost. The NHL canceled the entire 2004-05 season because of a lockout that eventually led to the collective bargaining agreement that expired this month.

"The calendar continues to tick along," Daly said. "My guess is as time goes on, regular-season games are at risk. I don't think it can be any more urgent than where we are now. We've had that level of urgency for a long time. In some respects you can meet all you want, but if there is no compromise or no movement or no new proposals I am not sure at the end of the day what you're meeting over.

"There is a very high degree of urgency certainly on our side. I can't speak for their side, but I am sure they would tell you there is a degree of urgency there, too."

Steve Fehr contended that the players' association is willing to discuss any issues at any time to try to make a deal soon.

"We can discuss the core issues whenever they want to do it," he said. "Bargaining is not ping pong. There are no rules on who has to serve."
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J.B. Shuck: White Sox prospect Tim Anderson doesn't 'get rattled by anything'

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J.B. Shuck: White Sox prospect Tim Anderson doesn't 'get rattled by anything'

NEW YORK — J.B. Shuck is very impressed with the play of White Sox prospect Tim Anderson.

Recalled Monday from Triple-A Charlotte, Shuck said he thinks Anderson could handle a promotion to the big leagues if the White Sox were to make the call.

At Charlotte for almost six weeks, Shuck had plenty of time to watch the young shortstop play. He thinks Anderson, who is hitting .305/.332/.397 with 11 extra-base hits and 10 steals in 209 plate appearances, wouldn’t scare were he to go in a slump.

“He could come up and do well,” Shuck said. “He has that personality where he’s not going to get rattled by anything. I think he’ll do well when he gets his chance.”

The team’s top position player prospect, Anderson has been torrid since he started the season 9-for-53 with an RBI, 16 strikeouts and no walks. Shuck likes how Anderson handled himself during the stretch, continuing to go about his business until “it clicked.” Since then, Anderson is hitting .354 with three homers and has an .850 OPS in 156 plate appearances over 33 games.

“He went on a stretch where I don’t think he got out for like six games,” Shuck said. “That’s just his personality, and that’s why I think when he does get up here, he’s going to do well.”

Anderson’s production has become more noticeable as the White Sox have struggled to get production from their shortstops. Jimmy Rollins and Tyler Saladino have combined for a .617 OPS this season, which ranks 23rd out of the 30 teams in the majors.

But it’s not just Anderson’s bat that has caught Shuck’s attention.

“He’s athletic. He makes a ton of plays, and he looks good.

“It’s amazing. I’ve never played with him. You see him a little bit in Spring Training, but yeah, he just goes out and has fun and I think that’s why he does so well. He just goes up and hits. It’s amazing. I hope he continues, and he’s going to do well up here when he gets his chance.”

White Sox won't place Austin Jackson on disabled list for now

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White Sox won't place Austin Jackson on disabled list for now

NEW YORK -- As hot as he is, the White Sox want to prevent Austin Jackson from going on the disabled list.

So even though they’re not sure how long Jackson will be out, the White Sox are hopeful it won’t require 15 days. Jackson was out of the lineup Monday against the New York Mets and in the trainer’s room after he exited Sunday’s game with turf toe on his left foot. Jackson is hitting .464/.484/.607 with four RBIs over his last 31 plate appearances.

The White Sox recalled J.B. Shuck before Monday’s game and started him in center field in Jackson’s stead.

“We don’t necessarily if that’s DL worthy at this point,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We’re going to try to treat him today, see how well it is. We know he can’t go today, but we don’t necessarily want to lose him for two weeks right away. With J.B. coming up it gives you a chance to fill out that outfield spot with a left-handed bat.”

“He’s been playing well, and I think that’s another part of it. You don’t necessarily want to lose him for two weeks if you don’t have to. If we can save a few days in there and get him back five days before a DL stint, it makes sense.”

88 Days to Kickoff: Warren Township

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88 Days to Kickoff: Warren Township

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 1, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 26.

School: Warren Township Blue Devils

Head coach: Bryan McNulty

Assistant coaches: Brandon Schild, Josh Williams, K.C Lange, Jim Voutiritsas, Luke Mueller Jr., John Hergenreder, Mark Mika, Cameron Campbell

How they fared in 2015: 6-5 (4-2) North Suburban Lake. Warren Township made the Class 8A state playoff field. The Blue Devils defeated Chicago Curie then lost to Naperville Central in second round action. 

Biggest storyline in 2016: Can the Blue Devils win the North Suburban Lake conference crown this fall?

Names to watch this season: WR Micah Jones QB Luke Schmidt OL/DL Cameron Shaw

Biggest holes to fill: The Blue Devils welcome back 14 starters (8 on defense) but who steps up to replace graduated RB Darrius Crump?

EDGY's Early Take: Warren Township will again have a ton of talent and if the underclassmen group can fill in at a few key spots beware of this team.