Players, coaches 'hopeful' for new CBA


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.

Blackhawks still trying to solve penalty kill issues

Blackhawks still trying to solve penalty kill issues

When considering the Blackhawks’ penalty kill, you can look at their 3-3-1 record in two ways: their record is mediocre because of it, or they’re still getting points despite it.

No matter how you look at it, however, the penalty kill’s malaise has to stop.

In seven games this season, the Blackhawks’ penalty kill has allowed 14 goals on 26 opportunities. Through their first seven games last season the Blackhawks were shorthanded 18 times, allowing three goals.

Looking at seasons overall, the Blackhawks allowed 46 power-play goals over 82 games last season. The kill allowed a scant 35 goals during the 2014-15 season and 46 goals in 2013-14.

Yes, the Blackhawks know it’s a big problem and they’ve talked about it and worked on it. So far, they just haven’t seen the results on it. Some have come off faceoffs. Some have come from long distance. Some have come off rebounds. It doesn’t seem to matter what they do: goals get scored. The Blackhawks will keep going back to the drawing board until they restore that penalty kill to its normal success rate.

“We talk a lot about the way we’re forcing it up ice, how we’re forcing it in the neutral zone, forcing entries, how we’re moving together as units, the personnel changes,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ve tried a number of different looks on the back end, as pairs up front. We’re trying to find something that clicks. we haven’t gotten that confidence yet where we’re comfortable with just about any pairs right now. hopefully we can get that stabilized.

[SHOP BLACKHAWKS: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

“We know the importance of that influencing the outcome of games and sometimes it can win a game for us. But it’s been a real negative so far,” Quenneville added. “We got through three in a row there. hopefully that’s the start of something positive.”

The Blackhawks killed off the final three penalties they took against the Calgary Flames on Monday night. It was a shot of confidence for a group that needed it, and now they have to repeat that more often.

“We just kept our feet moving. We were working. Our shifts were 20 to 30 seconds tops,” Jonathan Toews said. “When you go that short you have the energy to outwork the power play and make up for being down one man. Yeah, I mean, I think that’s the key right there, and I think our systems fall into place when we’re all moving and we’re all skating the right way.”

Artem Anisimov said those three successful kills were “intense.”

“We were skating. We didn’t give so much time to set up in our zone,” Ansimov said. “It was like, always clear. We cleared the puck 200 feet and it was successful.”

The Blackhawks have been talking “baby steps” regarding their penalty kill the past few games. Killing three in a row off on Monday night could be one, but it means nothing if they allow another one in their next game. The penalty kill is broken. The Blackhawks will keep trying to fix it.

Check out Jonathan Toews' scary Halloween costume

Check out Jonathan Toews' scary Halloween costume

Jonathan Toews isn't doing himself any favors of trying to drop the Captain Serious nickname that has stuck with him since 2008.

[SHOP: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

The Blackhawks captain and his girlfriend dressed up for a Halloween party on Tuesday night, and their costumes were on point:

Mr. and Mrs. Dead Serious. 💀👻☠️#happyhalloween

A photo posted by Jonathan Toews (@jonathantoews) on

We wonder how long it took to wash that paint off their face.