Lockout continues amid latest proposals

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Lockout continues amid latest proposals

The NHL was still reviewing the NHLPAs latest proposal, one that looked to bridge the gap between the two parties, when the Blackhawks were wrapping up practice on Friday afternoon.

This is really our effort to save the season, Jamal Mayers said at the time. The reality is a lot of guys didnt want to go this far. But the hope is we can salvage a good chunk of the season if we can make a deal quickly here.

Jonathan Toews hoped it would lead to traction.

Both sides need to show desperation and lack of carelessness, I guess, is one way to put it. We have to show we want to get things done for each other and the fans, he said post practice. Well see how they react to it.

By midday on Friday, however, it looked like the league wasnt reacting very favorably to it.

There was no progress made on Friday, day 67 of the lockout, when the NHLPA offered a new five-year proposal to the league in New York. Some details of the latest proposal were in a memo from Fehr to the players, which was leaked to the media. In the memo, Fehr told players that it is now undisputed that the gap (between the league and PA) is only 182 million over five years.

Other details, according to the memo:

Honouring Players ContractsTransition payments: Players Share will equal 50 percent of HRR plus fixed payments in the first four years to partially honour player contracts and ease the transition to 5050:

2012-13 - 182M
2013-14 - 128M
2014-15 - 72M
2015-16 - 11M
Total 393M
The owners had previously proposed 211M

Long-term back-diving contracts Cap benefit recapture rule so clubs no longer benefit from front-loading contracts (move in the owners direction)

Contracts in the minors Clubs take a cap hit on contracts in the minors over 1M (move in the owners direction)

Four Recall Rule Unlimited recalls after regular season (move in the owners direction)

Salary Arbitration Elimination of walk-away from arbitrators decision, but clubs can still walk-away by not qualifying a player.

League commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters that the two sides were still far apart, yet offered some optimism.

Hopefully theres some momentum so we can bring this to a conclusion, he said.

The NHLPA planned to have a conference call with players later today. Fehr didnt sound quite as optimistic as he departed Fridays talks.

One of you is going to ask me what happens next, Fehr told reporters. And the answer is I don't know."

Blackhawks ink Anton Forsberg, Tomas Jurco

Blackhawks ink Anton Forsberg, Tomas Jurco

When the Blackhawks traded to get Brandon Saad back, they also acquired Anton Forsberg, who they believe is ready to be their latest backup goaltender. On Monday they signed him to a two-year deal.

The Blackhawks inked two players on Monday, Forsberg, whose contract runs through the 2018-19 season, and Tomas Jurco, who agreed to a one-year contract extension.

Forsberg joins the Blackhawks having very little NHL experience – he’s played 10 career games at this level, going 1-8-0. But the Blackhawks’ previous two backup goaltenders, Antti Raanta and Scott Darling, hadn’t made an NHL appearance before joining the Blackhawks. Forsberg led the Cleveland Monsters, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ AHL-affiliate team, to a Calder Cup title in 2016; during that run he went 9-0 with a 1.34 goals-against average and .949 save percentage.

On Friday, when the Blackhawks acquired Saad and Forsberg from Columbus for Artemi Panarin and Tyler Motte, general manager Stan Bowman said the team is, “optimistic about Anton’s potential.”

“We like his profile as a goalie,” he said. “He’s a big guy, takes up a lot of net, has that mobility and makes good positional saves as well as athletic saves. A year ago, led his team to the [Calder] Cup championships, so he knows what it’s like to put a team on his back. It was the AHL but he’s had a lot of success there. He’s earned the right to be an NHL goalie.”

Jurco, acquired by the Blackhawks from Detroit in February, played 13 games with them down the regular-season stretch. Bowman said shortly after the trade that Jurco would get a chance here.

“We’ll be patient with him but we really think there’s a good fit there, looking at his skills and the style of hockey we play,” he said. “I think a lot of ways, sometimes guys need different opportunities. It doesn’t work out in every place. A fresh start will be great for Tomas.”

Blackhawks notebook: A busy draft, free agency and RFAs

Blackhawks notebook: A busy draft, free agency and RFAs

Eight draft picks in about 3 ½ hours. It was a busy Saturday for the Blackhawks, and when general manager Stan Bowman talked that afternoon about the team’s Day 2 haul, he came prepared.

“I have my little cheat sheet,” Bowman said of the paper on which he had written the Blackhawks’ eight newest prospects.

After a few days’ worth of moves the Blackhawks focused on the future, taking nine players over two days at the NHL Draft. It was a successful weekend for the Blackhawks, who hosted the draft for the first time and built up assets, especially on the blue line. Five of the Blackhawks’ nine selections were defensemen.

“One of the things we talked about was looking at the market. There’s a high value on defensemen. We’re not necessarily looking at the draft but our team this year and over the next couple of years; those are the assets that are valuable around the league,” Bowman said. “Look at the trade Calgary made [for Travis Hamonic], defensemen are a valuable commodity. That was a priority coming in and we were able to accomplish it.”

What comes next

The Blackhawks got what they wanted at this weekend’s draft but the focus will soon shift, as free agency opens on July 1. It remains to be seen what the Blackhawks will have cap-wise come a week from now. Currently, according to CapFriendly.com, they’re $1.445 million over the $75 million cap. It’s doubtful the Blackhawks apply the long-term injured reserve tag on Marian Hossa during the offseason. It’s possible they could still trade Marcus Kruger to gain some space. Bowman said, one way or another, “there will be some movement.”

“We’ll bring some players in, I don’t know how many, what position or what level,” he said. “This is where there’s a lot of activity, the couple weeks in the middle of June until the middle of July. That’s when the most changes happen. We’ll go to work, now that we’re past this.”

Wait for it

The Blackhawks also have to decide whether or not to qualify restricted free agents Dennis Rasmussen and Tomas Jurco. Bowman said that’ll be decided by Monday.

“I’ve had discussions with both agents,” he said. “I don’t have an answer right now but we’ll have that worked out in the next day and a half.”