Board of Governors unanimously votes to ratify CBA

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Board of Governors unanimously votes to ratify CBA

The NHLs board of governors had their say. Now its left to the players.

The leagues board of governors voted unanimously on Wednesday to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement, the framework of which was reached after a marathon negotiation session Saturday nightSunday morning. Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs announced the unanimous vote at a press conference in New York before commissioner Gary Bettman spoke to the media.

Bettman then issued a personal statement.

To the players who were very clear they wanted to be on the ice and not negotiating, to our partners who support the league financially and most important to fans who have loved and missed hockey, I am sorry, he said. I know an explanation or apology wont erase hard feelings, but I owe you one nonetheless.

No words of apology or explanation will help ease the disappointment, Bettman continued. We have a lot of work to do to win back your trust and support. That effort begins today.

When asked what specifically would be done to win back fans trust, etc., Bettman wouldnt specify.

Thats in the process of being worked on and will be announced at appropriate time, he said. There are outreaches, campaigns and efforts that will be made clear.

It truly was a long, frustrating road to get to this point, to get any semblance of a season whatsoever. Apologies have abounded from Bettman to owners to individual players who know damage has been done to the game or at least to this leagues brand of it.

As far as realignment and NHL players possibly playing in the next Olympics, Bettman said, well get to that. Both are important to players and the league and clubs. We know we need to get to that.

Now it goes to the NHLPA, which reportedly will have voting Friday and Saturday on ratification. Bettman said NHL schedules will be released once the CBA is ratified by both sides.

Blackhawks look to keep rolling vs. Coyotes

Blackhawks look to keep rolling vs. Coyotes

The last time the Blackhawks faced the Arizona Coyotes was the first game the current top line of Nick Schmaltz, Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik were thrown together.

Yeah, the combination's worked out well. So has the Blackhawks' game in general, as they've won seven of eight including that Feb. 2 game. Now the Blackhawks will try to keep the momentum rolling with their lines and their game when they host the Coyotes Thursday night at the United Center.

The Blackhawks' current run of success started in the desert and part of that has been finding more consistent lines. Everything else has gradually improved off of that, from goal scoring to puck possession.

"I think it's puck possession, puck control, pace to the game," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we were very inconsistent in that early and we were defending way more than we were accustomed to. You're vulnerable for penalties, you're vulnerable for quality scoring chances against and not generating enough. I think that's the progression in our game now, it seems like all four lines are having the puck and having some zone time and having some rush chances, zone chances and it seems like every line's contributing there, and that's the big difference."

[RELATED: By the bye - Blackhawks keep rolling following break]

The Blackhawks' top line didn't have immediate chemistry but Quenneville kept them together and let them work on it. But as Toews said, it was about the group keeping the all-around game going, points or no points.

"Sometimes you just gotta work until things start clicking," Toews said. "Everyone seems to start paying attention when you start scoring goals, regardless of [the fact you're] doing things right. It's nice that we're scoring but we have to stick with what's making us a successful line at both ends of the rink right now."

Corey Crawford will start vs. the Coyotes. Niklas Hjalmarsson did not skate this morning but is expected to play. Quenneville said Michal Rozsival could draw into the lineup.

Broadcast information

Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: CSN
Live stream: CSNChicago.com

Blackhawks lines

Nick Schmaltz -Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Vinnie Hinostroza

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Rozsival-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries 

None

Coyotes lines (via Arizona Republic)

Tobias Rieder-Martin Hanzal-Radim Vrbata
Brendan Perlini-Christian Dvorak-Shane Doan
Max Domi -Alex Burmistrov-Ryan White
Jamie McGinn-Jordan Martinook-Josh Jooris

Defensive pairs

Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Luke Schenn
Alex Goligoski-Anthony DeAngelo
Jakob Chychrun-Connor Murphy

Goaltender

Mike Smith

Injuries

Lawson Crouse (lower body), Brad Richardson (tibia)

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