Players, coaches 'hopeful' for new CBA

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Players, coaches 'hopeful' for new CBA

When information about the NHLs opening collective bargaining agreement proposal was leaked last week, it raised eyebrows. The league is asking for a lot, as the NHL enters another summer of CBA uncertainty, and it would certainly be more than the NHLPA would be willing to give.
But while some are speculating the worst, that another full-season lockout could happen, the Chicago Blackhawks are hoping for the best. And as far as that first NHL proposal, it is still just July.
The reality is, it is early. But that is their proposal, Jamal Mayers said on Friday. Certainly well treat it seriously. I have all the confidence in the world in the (NHLPA) negotiating committee. Those are the guys taking time out of their summers to attend meetings and be part of the process.
The NHLPA has a bulldog in its corner in Donald Fehr, and as he said during the Chicago NHLPA meetings at the end of June, the players understand what happened last time. A bunch lived through it, and those who didnt have been told by the guys who did.
So finding the best deal is the players No. 1 concern, said Jonathan Toews, and the players have full confidence in Fehr.
We know his leadership abilities and were confident in what hes been doing for us and were going to continue to feel that way, Toews said. Everyone wants to know answers right now and its impossible to tell the future. Were confident in Don, were behind him 100 percent directing our NHLPA and well leave it at that.
Coach Joel Quenneville is also hopeful that the season is played at some point.
Im optimistic but Im realistic at the same time. Hopefully were starting in September, he said. I dont know if Im confident but Im hopeful. Thats how Ill look at it.
Its hard to fathom another full-season work stoppage for the NHL. No matter the sport and no matter what it is a stoppage, a strike, a lockout it can be debilitating. Fans flock to other sports and interests. The NHL has been enjoying record revenues for a few seasons now, but all of that could be undone if theres no hockey in 2012-13.
Yes, its way too early to say there will be no season. As first offers go, the NHLs was certainly eye-opening. Both sides, at some point, need to make it work.
We just want a fair deal, Mayers said. All the rhetoric you hear, its true: Guys want to play. They care about the game and care about the fans. We want to play but we want a fair deal. We made a lot of concessions last time and certainly we feel theres some ground that needs to be made up. Were still hopeful that it will be.

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

The Blackhawks' starts have been all over the map this season but their finishes have usually been strong. That was the case again on Sunday night as the Blackhawks took a lead, lost a lead and regained a lead for good in their 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

This one featured a little bit of everything. So let's just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks' victory over Vancouver.

1. Jonathan Toews breaks through. If the Blackhawks captain's confidence was a little shaken with his lack of scoring this season, it should've gotten a boost with his Sunday outing. Toews' goal and three assists were as big for him as they were the Blackhawks, who needed every bit of it late against the Canucks. In his last 12 games Toews has three goals and eight assists. He's getting there. Said coach Joel Quenneville, "it seems like he was around the puck way more and when he does that, usually good things happen."

2. Great start. This hasn't been written very often but it was more than evident on Sunday night. If this wasn't the Blackhawks' best opening period of the season it was pretty close, as they broke out to a 2-0 lead against the Canucks. The Blackhawks, outside of a 3 ½-minute sequence without a shot on goal, were tenacious and ready to shoot, taking an 18-9 shots-on-goal edge in that first.

3. Corey Crawford rebounds. Quenneville considered Scott Darling for this game, an understandable thought with Darling coming off a 30-stop shutout. But he wanted Crawford to get back to where he was prior to his appendectomy, and Crawford took a step in that direction on Sunday night. In stopping 26 of 28 shots Crawford got his 18th victory of the season and 200th of his career. Quenneville said Crawford "looked like he was in control."

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4. Michal Kempny’s tough stretch. When Kempny has been good this season he's been very good. When he's been bad... The defenseman was in the penalty box when the Canucks scored their first goal and he was beaten by Bo Horvat on the Canucks' second goal. Kempny didn't play the final 14 minutes of the game. Quenneville, who liked what Kempny brought on the team's road trip, said Kempny just has to work through some things. "Coverage with awareness and knowing sometimes it's man coverage, sometimes it's playing the puck and clearing the loose stuff," Quenneville said. "Defenseman is a tough position as you're growing and learning it, but the more you play the better you play and I still think he's making progress."

5. Brian Campbell gets to keep No. 500 this time. Campbell thought he had his 500th point against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night but it was taken away. Well he got it back on Sunday night, setting up Richard Panik's 11th goal of the season in the first period.