Players' ratification vote scheduled to begin Thursday night

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Players' ratification vote scheduled to begin Thursday night

The NHL owners announced they unanimously ratified the new collective bargaining agreement on Wednesday. Now it's the players' turn to vote on it starting tonight.

The players' ratification vote will begin at 7 p.m. CT tonight and conclude at 7 a.m. CT on Saturday, according to the NHLPA. The secret ballot vote will be done electronically; once voting closes on Saturday morning, the players' association will send out a release regarding it. Once ratified, NHL training camps will begin on Sunday and the regular season will start on Jan. 19. The Chicago Blackhawks will open at the Los Angeles Kings at 2 p.m. CT on Jan. 19.

Brian Campbell hopes second stint with Blackhawks lasts longer than one season

Brian Campbell hopes second stint with Blackhawks lasts longer than one season

Brian Campbell returned to the Blackhawks with a one-year deal on Friday.

And while there's a whole year between now and the next time Campbell would be eligible to become a free agent, the 37-year-old defenseman was not shy about sharing his hope that his second stint in Chicago will last more than just one year.

"It's exciting for us to be home, to be a part of the great organization of the Blackhawks hopefully for a lot of years," Campbell told CSN's David Kaplan on Friday's edition of SportsTalk Live. "I know I just signed a one-year deal today, but hopefully we can keep this going for a few more."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Campbell's first go-round with the Blackhawks lasted three seasons and featured a Stanley Cup win in 2010. But he's made his offseason home here ever since — even after getting traded to the Florida Panthers, where he spent the past five seasons — and his wife is a Chicagoland native, meaning he's got a strong desire to remain in the Windy City.

Taking the seemingly annual salary-cap squeeze out of the equation, will Campbell's body allow him to remain an attractive addition to future Blackhawks squads? He thinks so, saying he doesn't feel his age.

"I feel great. You know what I put into it. The offseason training is so important, especially when you get older. I really don't feel 37," Campbell said. "I feel good, I've still got my legs skating, and I'm doing everything to take care of myself. My biggest goal is to come back here and win again. I think I still have a lot left in the tank. I think I can fit in nicely into a good role here and produce and help out in a big way."

Brian Campbell: 'I don't care what my role is' with Blackhawks

Brian Campbell: 'I don't care what my role is' with Blackhawks

Plenty of time has passed since Brian Campbell was one of the top defensemen on the team that lifted the Stanley Cup back in 2010.

So now that Campbell is back with the Blackhawks following his five-season stint with the Florida Panthers — the 37-year-old agreed to a one-year deal to return to Chicago on Friday — how much different will his role be from his previous stint?

Campbell said he doesn't care what his role is with the 2016-17 edition of the Blackhawks.

It's not too hard to envision him as one of the top four defensemen alongside his once-again teammates Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson. But Campbell is cool with whatever Joel Quenneville wants him to do.

"I don't care what my role is. I want to contribute," Campbell told CSN's David Kaplan on Friday's edition of SportsTalk Live. "Everybody wants to play a lot, but whatever they put me in, I'm happy with. I can see myself being in a top-four, I know I can be in a top-four role still. I still know I can produce at that level and be good at that and not just be OK. I can be great at that role. So if that's what they want me to do, I'm in for it.

"Last year, I played the most minutes on my team for a D-man. I played in top-four, top-two role, so I'm fine with that. I feel like I've got it in me to do that. I played with Hjalmarsson when I was here before, and obviously knowing the other guys, too. It's up to the coaching staff and what they want to do, but I think they can put me in anywhere they want and I'll be the hardest worker doing it."

Like most veteran free agents that have come to the Blackhawks in recent seasons, Campbell expressed his confidence in the team's ability to win another championship. This offseason has featured another salary-cap squeeze for the Blackhawks, with Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen all traded. But surely Campbell isn't far off in his feeling that he can end this season with the Blackhawks the same way things ended in 2010.

"I think some of these young guys who are going to come up and play important roles need to show themselves. There's a lot of good competition, and you're going to need those kids coming up and it's time for them to prove themselves. I think that's going to help," Campbell said of the Blackhawks chances at another Stanley Cup in 2016-17. "And obviously when you have the best leader in hockey leading your team, you've got a chance every single night. There's a lot of will and determination in that locker room, and it's just a time for us to jump on board and get going. I wouldn't have came here if we didn't have a chance to win. That's a big reason why I came here, and I truly believe there is a chance."

Blackhawks agree to terms with Spencer Abbott on one-year deal

Blackhawks agree to terms with Spencer Abbott on one-year deal

The Blackhawks have agreed to terms with forward Spencer Abbott on a one-year deal, the team announced Friday.

The 28-year-old winger scored 14 goals and 21 assists in 42 games last season with the Frolunda Indians of the Swedish Hockey League. He also tallied one assist in nine postseason games.

Abbott is familiar with the Blackhawks organization, spending some time during the 2014-15 season with the Rockford IceHogs, where he appeared in 19 games and registered 12 goals and nine assists. He also recorded three goals and three assists in eight playoff games.

Abbott will likely begin the season in Rockford, but gives the Blackhawks some depth up front at a low cost.