Toews, Kane disappointed with lockout negotiations


Toews, Kane disappointed with lockout negotiations

The NHL opens a 48-hour window to allow team general managers to talk to players about negotiations -- unbeknownst to the NHLPA -- even though owners have been forbidden to talk publicly about it the entire time. The NHLPA wants to arrange talks with the league, and the NHL says no.

Welcome to the latest bits of drama in collective-bargaining negotiations that have been loaded with them. For players seeing the latest league moves, it seems like par for the course. And the lack of talks, including the attempted one just rejected by the league, is frustrating.

It goes with what I just said as far as them being on their own program, Jonathan Toews said following Wednesdays practice. When theyre willing to consider one thing we say, then theyll step up to the plate. Obviously now is not the time. It doesnt matter how much reasoning, how clear we are and how right we can be in any situation or any issue. They still have their minds made up on how theyre going to go about it. Give them one thing thats a tiny bit different and theyre not going to look at it for more than 10 minutes. Theyre consistent with that attitude so far.

The talk of an 82-game season hung on longer than it shouldve. It wouldve been difficult enough beginning on Nov. 2. Now? Forget it. Both sides have apparently reached a stalemate; too bad, since they seemed to be heading in the opposite direction just a week ago.

The now dour outlook has Patrick Kane packing his bags to play Swiss League hockey.

We want to be playing here in Chicago and hopefully the fans know that. This, deep down, is where we want to be. But its something that keeps delaying and going on and on, Kane said. For me, its time to make a move and try to play some games. So when this thing does end Ill be ready to play back here.

As far as that league-sanctioned, 48-hour window, Toews said none of the Blackhawks players to his knowledge talked to team brass.

Its another weird thing. That the league and owners have had their whole policy of no one saying a word to anyone and suddenly it changes, Toews said. It can be inconsistent.

When the league and NHLPA will talk again is anyones guess. The players thought they had something with the three proposals they offered last week. But the NHL has made it clear to the NHLPA: come with something new, come willing to work off the league deal, or dont come at all.

We said to (the NHLPA) that we are prepared to meet if you want to discuss our offer or if you want to make a new offer. They have no inclination on doing either and so there really was no point in meeting at this point, commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters in New York today. There are just some times where you need to take time off because its clear that you cant do anything to move the process forward and were at one of those points right now because we gave our very best offer.

The NHLPAs biggest desire is to have their existing contracts honored. Toews reiterated that on Wednesday.

To all of a sudden sign a deal that changes your life and makes things better for you and your family, someone tries to take that away from you, its insulting and, quite frankly, its embarrassing for (the league) as well, Toews said. We only have a limited time to play and earn a living as hockey player,s and were doing everything we can. Every guy has worked hard for that. We can be proud to stand up for what we stood up for so far, and theres no shame in that.

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After loss to Mavs, Wade says Bulls 'keep putting (their) hand on the hot stove every day'

Dwyane Wade sounded every bit like a frustrated 35-year old father when talking about the repeated ills and so-called growing pains of his Bulls, as they surrendered yet another game against a sub-.500 team.

Sometimes it's the New York Knicks whom the Bulls are offering temporary refuge. Or maybe the Minnesota Timberwolves as they are all-too-generous to roll out the welcome mat for returning figures to Chicago.

Tuesday it was the Dallas Mavericks, the second-worst team in the Western Conference, who stormed into the United Center and escaped with a 99-98 win, courtesy of Wesley Matthews' triple with 11.7 seconds left followed by him locking down Jimmy Butler on the ensuing possession.

Wade was forced to take a contested 21-footer that went awry, but the Bulls' ills went far beyond the last two possessions, when the Mavericks exploited their strategy yet again.

"Either you learn the lesson or figure out," Wade said. "Keep putting your hand on the hot stove every day.

"We just gotta figure out not to put our hands on that stove. And understand when we come in the kitchen, that stove is hot, don't touch it. As I continue to say, this is a very young team and they have to play in these games and have to go through these moments. The one thing you want, whether it's this year or next year, is to not make the same mistakes."

The Bulls are apparently insistent on touching the stove and keep burning themselves, the most recent time with the confusion or the bad strategy in defending the Mavericks' final offensive possession.

Deron Williams found himself with Nikola Mirotic defending him off a switch from Jimmy Butler. Not the quickest afoot, Mirotic gave Williams an easy path to the basket and Wade was the backside help, not wanting to leave Matthews on the wing for a triple.

But with the bench commanding Wade to help, Williams easily found Matthews for an open 3 as Wade had no help for his man. With the Bulls up two, one could see how Wade didn't want to leave Matthews.

"I'll have to go back and watch, but it looks like Deron got downcourt, Wade went over to help and we didn’t rotate accordingly," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We obviously need to do a better job of staying in front of the other end."

Mirotic was supposed to be brought back slowly in his return from strep throat, but he played the entire fourth quarter and 22 minutes overall, having lost eight pounds with his illness that had him miss four games.

[SHOP BULLS: Get your Bulls gear right here]

Their issues were game-long and have been seasonlong as the Mavericks were supposed to absorb a shellacking from a Bulls team that felt a 25-point beatdown in Texas last month.

Instead, they would've been happy with settling for an escape when Butler rose up over his college teammate Matthews for a 20-foot wing jumper with 22.8 seconds left.

Butler nearly added a triple-double and clutch moment to his growing resume with 24 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds but was dogged by Matthews all night, the defender who wouldn't give him airspace, went chest-to-chest and even earned a technical foul when he felt Butler exaggerated some contact in the third quarter.

"He took away my space, wouldn't let me get to my spot," Butler said of Matthews. "Good for him. I should've did something different."

Wade missed 13 of his 21 shots, scoring 17 with five rebounds on his 35th birthday

With scoring at a premium, Robin Lopez had a season-high 21 points being guarded by Dirk Nowitzki — and they were necessary considering the Bulls were without Taj Gibson (ankle injury) and Doug McDermott couldn't repeat his 30-point showing from Sunday in Memphis.

Rick Carlisle has long been regarded as one of the top strategic coaches, and though he doesn't have the usual personnel from the Mavericks' salad days, he had enough tricks up his sleeve to throw the Bulls off.

Six Mavericks scored in double figures, led by Harrison Barnes' 20 points and Seth Curry's 18, as Barnes, Matthews and Curry combined for eight triples — spreading the Bulls out and picking them apart defensively.

The Mavericks started Nowitzki at center, going to an almost all-small lineup. And though Lopez scored 14 points in the first half, trying to feed him seemed to take the Bulls out of it in the second half.

The energy was tardy to the party, as they shot just 41 percent in the first half but woke up a little in the third quarter — continuing their all-too familiar trend of half-hearted efforts against lesser teams.

And it looks like the ever-optimistic Wade is dishing out some realism, probably something that comes with the perspective of turning 35.

"You can't keep getting stressed out or frustrated. We've been going through this all year. We'll get back in in the morning.

"Once you realize who you are, you're better off. I sleep better at night. Once we want to be a better team and start winning games, we will. I'm not mad, I'm not frustrated, I'm not stressed. Just taking the hits."