Even after last week's turn of events, Fehr still hopeful

847459.png

Even after last week's turn of events, Fehr still hopeful

Donald Fehr concluded his speech with a bit of an icebreaker.
If anyone has a brilliant idea on how to solve the lockout, dont keep it to yourself, Fehr said when he addressed the Canadian Auto Workers in Toronto on Saturday. We express hope that were able to find a way through this and get the guys back on the ice sooner rather than later.
Fehr said the two sides were close to doing that on Thursday; but after a bizarre series of events and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman denying that, talks broke off. But on Saturday, Fehr reiterated that he believes the players and league are close to a deal.
I think were very close, he told reporters following his speech. But you have to keep talking. So far theyre unwilling to do it.
As for the possibility of decertification, Fehr said, thats always an option and it has been exercised in other sports. Beyond that, I cant comment.
The league and players association left Thursday on a nasty note. A visibly angry Bettman said the two sides were not close to a deal, that the league would not budge on certain items including five-year player contract limits and that no further talks were planned.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly, in an email to the Associated Press on Friday, said, I have no reason, nor any intention of reaching out to the union right now. I have no new ideas. Maybe they do. We are happy to listen.
Former Blackhawks defenseman Chris Campoli said the union remains very strong.
Dons our guy, our leader and we believe in him, he said. The last few years the associations come a long way in restoring respectability. Theres not going to be a deal without him there. He has the complete backing of our membership.
It was an interesting week, folks, no doubt. And while I rarely interject opinion into stories notice I didnt say Twitter Im going to now. I do believe the two sides are close. And I still believe a deal will be done. I said from the start that I thought theyd be playing some time in December or January, and I will go down swinging with that.
If Im wrong, Im wrong. Ill just add it to the tote board.

Fast Break Morning Update: Hawks smash Penguins; Are Cubs better than last year?

Fast Break Morning Update: Hawks smash Penguins; Are Cubs better than last year?

Big first period paces Blackhawks over Penguins

On paper, have Cubs put together a better roster than last year's World Series team?

Why the Bears finally feel like they're in striking distance of a winning team

Tyler Saladino, Jose Abreu homer as White Sox tie Padres in Arizona finale

Bastian Schweinsteiger says he is ready for new challenge with the Fire

NBA Buzz: Nikola Mirotic making Bulls' offseason decision tougher

Cubs finalize Opening Day 25-man roster

Bears Chairman George McCaskey sets 2017 demands for Ryan Pace, John Fox

Comfy Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

White Sox pitching staff nearly complete with prospect Zack Burdi headed to Triple-A

Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

usatsi_9979827.jpg
USA TODAY

Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

PITTSBURGH – Well, that looked more familiar, didn’t it?

The Blackhawks put talk into action on Wednesday night, storming out to an early lead and never letting up in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re sitting in a good spot right now, sporting a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild – yes the Wild still has that game in hand – and, with five games remaining, they once again played the complete game they’d been missing.

The schedule doesn’t let up, so let’s get to the notables.

What Worked: The Blackhawks’ first period. If there’s such thing as a statement 20 minutes, the Blackhawks made it in Pittsburgh. If the Penguins made a bad pass, the Blackhawks turned it into an opportunity and, a few times, a goal. The Blackhawks had a similarly sharp first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. On Wednesday, however, they didn’t lose any steam later.

What Didn’t Work: The power play. Yeah, you really have to reach to find something that didn’t work for the Blackhawks in this one. Their power play, however, didn’t do much. Their best chance on it was a Jonathan Toews shot on their second power play; that shot was blocked before it got to Marc-Andre Fleury. Their third power play, which came on a phantom tripping call on Conor Sheary, was their quietest of the night.

Star of the game: Tanner Kero. The kid’s been alright at second-line center, and he did a little bit of everything on Wednesday night. Kero had five shots on goal, the secondary assist on Artemi Panarin’s early goal and added a breakaway goal of his own early in the third period. He also won five of 11 faceoffs. Centering Patrick Kane and Panarin could be daunting but in his short time there, Kero’s handling it very well.

He Said It: “It’s a nice opportunity that he’s taken advantage of in a short amount of time. You get a little more defensive responsibility. The upside with him is we wanted him to get better offensively as well, so it’s been a good couple of games.” Coach Joel Quenneville on Kero.

By the Numbers: 

850 – Career coaching victories for Quenneville.

524 – Career goals for Marian Hossa, who scored his 25th of the season late in the first period.

39 – Time, in seconds, in which the Blackhawks scored two goals late in the first period (Marcus Kruger at 19:05 and Marian Hossa at 19:44).

6 – Consecutive victories for the Blackhawks over the Penguins. They’ve outscored the Penguins 20-8 over that span.