NHL, NHLPA need to start talking -- to each other, that is


NHL, NHLPA need to start talking -- to each other, that is

In terms of NHL-NHLPA negotiations, Wednesday was just another day. It was just another day of the two sides not getting together to negotiate, just another day of a stalemate, just another day with no hockey.

Meanwhile, the Canadian radio airwaves were abuzz with league and players association brass interviews. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly did two, including one with Hockey Night in Canada in which he said, yes when Elliote Friedman asked him if we have a season. Donald Fehr was talking, too, to Sportsnet 590 The Fan, prior to Daly joining the station later in the day.

Yes, they were all talking, and the links to each interview link is in this link. But we digress. Lets just say that there will be hockey this season. Great. Awesome. Its what weve all wanted to hear since, oh, September. But heres a novel idea: if were going to have hockey, how about the brass gets back to talking to each other instead of radio hosts. Now.

Even if that 48-season is saved, with the two sides starting in mid-January and at this point, thats about the only time frame remaining to start not talking for nearly a week now is ludicrous. Its Dec. 19, six days before Christmas, when were all reminded to be good to each other, to have peace, and that its better to give than to receive. But laid-off team employees arent receiving a thing. Vendors whose shifts have been cut or lessened arent receiving much either. Local businesses are receiving less. Fans arent receiving their moneys worth of games.

And through the airwaves, the league and PA say they have nothing more to give.

Merry Christmas.

For those who were hoping there would be even a training camp around this time and that includes myself forget it. The hope that things would get resolved after the last cancellation of games has dissolved into mist. And, as Daly said on both radio interviews today, more cancellations are likely this week. The same Daly who said yes when asked do we have a season.

The breaking point is just about there. That 48-game season can only fit in a certain amount of space. The NHL needs to get back on the ice to avoid irreparable damage. Both sides are aware of that. So now get together and talk about it. And dont stop talking until the deal is done.

Dennis Rasmussen taking advantage of opportunity with Blackhawks

Dennis Rasmussen taking advantage of opportunity with Blackhawks

During training camp, Mike Kitchen talked of what Dennis Rasmussen had to do entering this season.

Be proactive, the Blackhawks assistant coach said at the time, be bold.

“That’s what they told me,” Rasmussen recalled. “Since I got called up I have to do things a little bit quicker, I have to create a little bit more and be more active.”

Rasmussen got the message, and in the time he’s been in the lineup he’s done what the Blackhawks have wanted him to do. He scored his first goal of the season on Tuesday, when he took advantage of a fallen Philadelphia defender, and he’ll be on the fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Jordin Tootoo again on Friday when the Blackhawks face the Columbus Blue Jackets.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“He showed a lot of character and determination to find a way to make an impact in the game. He bided his time here and then got in there, and he’s done a great job for us,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Gives up some size, gives us some depth, gives us some usefulness as far as playing a couple positions and can take face-offs, kill penalties as well. He’s turned out to be very useful and in a situation where we needed someone to come in and take advantage of it.”

The Blackhawks needed someone to step in after Ryan Hartman was injured last week in Nashville. Rasmussen, who’s played center most of his career, is currently on the wing. It’s different, but Rasmussen isn’t complaining.

“I haven’t played a lot of wing since I moved over here but it’s great. I like to play with Kruger, too, because we can take each other’s spots and cover for each other,” Rasmussen said. “I feel comfortable right now.”

Rasmussen’s in the lineup at the moment but how long will that last? Marian Hossa is out of Friday’s game with a lower-body injury but could come back on Saturday. Still, even when the Blackhawks are healthier they may have to keep Rasmussen in there. As long as he’s playing, he’ll keep trying to be the proactive forward the Blackhawks want him to be.

“I just try to work as hard as possible, win a lot of loose pucks and try to create some chances,” Rasmussen said. “At the same time be reliable, stay on the right side of the puck and be a two-way player.”

Marian Hossa out, Trevor van Riemsdyk in vs. Columbus

Marian Hossa out, Trevor van Riemsdyk in vs. Columbus

Marian Hossa will be out and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

Coach Joel Quenneville said “it’s possible” that Hossa, who suffered a lower-body injury against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, could play Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Meanwhile, it looks as if Trevor van Riemsdyk will be back in the lineup against the Blue Jackets. Van Riemsdyk, a healthy scratch the previous three games, was paired with Gustav Forsling the past two practices. Brian Campbell could be a healthy scratch, although Quenneville wouldn’t say for sure.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

The Blackhawks have eight defensemen this season, and Quenneville said, “we don’t want to see the same guys sitting out for extended periods of time.” Van Riemsdyk, who played in all 82 games last season, was scratched the previous three games.

“We have a lot of great players here, so you can’t get too frustrated about it or anything like that. Sulking around or feeling sorry for yourself won’t get anything done, so you just have to come to the rink every day and make the most of it, even when you’re watching games,” van Riemsdyk said. “Even though you may not want to be, you can learn a lot just watching.”

Campbell’s natural side is his left but he’s been playing on the right while paired with Forsling. He said there are some adjustments that come with that.

“I know it should be natural and it comes and I’m obviously getting used to that so it’s just different things. You’re not as open to the ice, but you have to find a way,” Campbell said. “I felt good last game. Felt like even last game might’ve been one of my better games, but I just have to keep working hard. That’s all I’ve ever done in my career.”