Lockout continues amid latest proposals

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Lockout continues amid latest proposals

The NHL was still reviewing the NHLPAs latest proposal, one that looked to bridge the gap between the two parties, when the Blackhawks were wrapping up practice on Friday afternoon.

This is really our effort to save the season, Jamal Mayers said at the time. The reality is a lot of guys didnt want to go this far. But the hope is we can salvage a good chunk of the season if we can make a deal quickly here.

Jonathan Toews hoped it would lead to traction.

Both sides need to show desperation and lack of carelessness, I guess, is one way to put it. We have to show we want to get things done for each other and the fans, he said post practice. Well see how they react to it.

By midday on Friday, however, it looked like the league wasnt reacting very favorably to it.

There was no progress made on Friday, day 67 of the lockout, when the NHLPA offered a new five-year proposal to the league in New York. Some details of the latest proposal were in a memo from Fehr to the players, which was leaked to the media. In the memo, Fehr told players that it is now undisputed that the gap (between the league and PA) is only 182 million over five years.

Other details, according to the memo:

Honouring Players ContractsTransition payments: Players Share will equal 50 percent of HRR plus fixed payments in the first four years to partially honour player contracts and ease the transition to 5050:

2012-13 - 182M
2013-14 - 128M
2014-15 - 72M
2015-16 - 11M
Total 393M
The owners had previously proposed 211M

Long-term back-diving contracts Cap benefit recapture rule so clubs no longer benefit from front-loading contracts (move in the owners direction)

Contracts in the minors Clubs take a cap hit on contracts in the minors over 1M (move in the owners direction)

Four Recall Rule Unlimited recalls after regular season (move in the owners direction)

Salary Arbitration Elimination of walk-away from arbitrators decision, but clubs can still walk-away by not qualifying a player.

League commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters that the two sides were still far apart, yet offered some optimism.

Hopefully theres some momentum so we can bring this to a conclusion, he said.

The NHLPA planned to have a conference call with players later today. Fehr didnt sound quite as optimistic as he departed Fridays talks.

One of you is going to ask me what happens next, Fehr told reporters. And the answer is I don't know."

Jonathan Toews practices but won’t play vs. Flyers

Jonathan Toews practices but won’t play vs. Flyers

Jonathan Toews sounded somewhat frustrated but cognizant of the situation.

If it were the postseason there’s no doubt he would be playing right now. That’s not a surprise to hear, considering what hockey players put themselves through when the playoffs start. But this is early December. There are too many games remaining. And with it coming down to making sure he’s healthy for the long haul, it’s an easy call.

Toews practiced on Friday for the first time since being hurt, but he won’t travel to Philadelphia when the Blackhawks face the Flyers on Saturday afternoon. It will be the fifth consecutive game Toews has missed since he was hurt against the San Jose Sharks on Nov. 23. Still, him skating on his own and then practicing with teammates for a few minutes is a good sign that Toews is closing in on a return.

“Just come back and check in again [Saturday], see how it is and hopefully, I guess as they say, re-evaluate for Sunday,” Toews said on Friday. “It’s never fun to miss any time, especially when the team is playing as many games as they are. So nice to get back out there and move around and get going a little bit.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Toews was placed on injured reserve on Friday, retroactive to Nov. 24, the day after he was injured.  Coach Joel Quenneville said he’ll see how Toews feels on Saturday and, “we’ll get a better idea going forward. But he’s not on the trip.”

“You gotta be fully recovered and want to make sure guys are 100 percent before they can play,” Quenneville said. “Jonny plays at a certain pace and it’s all out, so let’s make sure he’s more than ready when he’s coming back.”

Several have reported that Toews has a back injury, and the captain was doing several back stretches during Friday’s session. Toews left in the second period of the Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss to the Sharks, moments after he went down awkwardly. But Toews said he wasn’t hurt on that play. 

“I think it was just something that started to aggravate in the first period. I tried playing in the second and that instance right there, just went down like a ton of bricks,” Toews said. “I was trying not to aggravate the injury more than I already had. That wasn’t where I got hurt; [it was] probably the instance people were looking for to see what the explanation was.”

If this were April and the playoffs were about to begin, Toews probably wouldn’t be as patient with his injury. But it isn’t, and he will be. It’s not worth making worse. The Blackhawks have managed to get points in his absence, going 3-0-1 so far.

“It’s the type of thing most guys would be able to suck up and play if it were a playoff game and putting everything on the line. But at this point, with the amount of games left in the season, it’s not something you want to continuously deal with,” he said. “If you aggravate it, it’ll keep coming back to haunt you. It’s tough to hold back and do less than you know you can, but in the long run, trying to make sure I get back to 100 percent.”

BRIEFLY

- Trevor van Riemsdyk was activated off the injured-reserve list and is expected to play against the Flyers.

- Marian Hossa took practice off. He is expected to play.

-  Corey Crawford will start vs. Philadelphia.

Blackhawks Road Ahead: Feasting on the East

Blackhawks Road Ahead: Feasting on the East

Pat Boyle, Steve Konroyd and Jamal Mayers have the latest on Joel Quenneville's group in this edition of the Blackhawks Road Ahead, sponsored by Chicagoland NW Indiana Honda dealers.

The Blackhawks are once again taking care of business, going 3-0-1 with their captain Jonathan Toews on the sideline. They're also 6-2-2 against the East this year, and they'll get another chance to add to that record when they take on the Flyers this week.

Here's what our Blackhawks Postgame Live crew had to say about the team's upcoming matchups in this week's Honda Road Aehad.