NHL, NHLPA need to start talking -- to each other, that is

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NHL, NHLPA need to start talking -- to each other, that is

In terms of NHL-NHLPA negotiations, Wednesday was just another day. It was just another day of the two sides not getting together to negotiate, just another day of a stalemate, just another day with no hockey.

Meanwhile, the Canadian radio airwaves were abuzz with league and players association brass interviews. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly did two, including one with Hockey Night in Canada in which he said, yes when Elliote Friedman asked him if we have a season. Donald Fehr was talking, too, to Sportsnet 590 The Fan, prior to Daly joining the station later in the day.

Yes, they were all talking, and the links to each interview link is in this link. But we digress. Lets just say that there will be hockey this season. Great. Awesome. Its what weve all wanted to hear since, oh, September. But heres a novel idea: if were going to have hockey, how about the brass gets back to talking to each other instead of radio hosts. Now.

Even if that 48-season is saved, with the two sides starting in mid-January and at this point, thats about the only time frame remaining to start not talking for nearly a week now is ludicrous. Its Dec. 19, six days before Christmas, when were all reminded to be good to each other, to have peace, and that its better to give than to receive. But laid-off team employees arent receiving a thing. Vendors whose shifts have been cut or lessened arent receiving much either. Local businesses are receiving less. Fans arent receiving their moneys worth of games.

And through the airwaves, the league and PA say they have nothing more to give.

Merry Christmas.

For those who were hoping there would be even a training camp around this time and that includes myself forget it. The hope that things would get resolved after the last cancellation of games has dissolved into mist. And, as Daly said on both radio interviews today, more cancellations are likely this week. The same Daly who said yes when asked do we have a season.

The breaking point is just about there. That 48-game season can only fit in a certain amount of space. The NHL needs to get back on the ice to avoid irreparable damage. Both sides are aware of that. So now get together and talk about it. And dont stop talking until the deal is done.

Ryan Hartman returns for Blackhawks vs. Penguins

Ryan Hartman returns for Blackhawks vs. Penguins

PITTSBURGH — Ryan Hartman has played on the right side of that line for most of this season. Now back in the lineup, he knows he has to stay on it.

Hartman will play after missing Monday's game as a healthy scratch when the Blackhawks face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. Hartman took a few bad penalties, including an unsportsmanlike conduct, against the Florida Panthers last weekend, so he sat vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning. The rookie knows he has to get back to the more disciplined hockey he's played most of the season. 

"I don't change my game. I think you take the message and deliver the message," Hartman said. "Obviously, no one likes to not play, everyone wants to play games and no one likes to sit out games. It's definitely something that I took to heart. I'm just going to go out there and just try to play like I've been playing and get on the scoresheet. Just stay off it for the wrong reasons."

Coach Joel Quenneville said Hartman has to stay on the right side of the line.

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"Know there are boundaries and sometimes you get watched a little bit more," Quenneville said. "The way they're calling the game, the way it's being officiated, be respectful. You still have to be hard to play against and find that limit, how far you can push it but you get a good feel on that early in games."

The Penguins are on a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) and are dealing with some injuries. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that, while Evgeni Malkin (shoulder) is close to returning, he won't play against the Blackhawks.

Broadcast information

Time: 7 p.m.
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: NBC Sports app
Radio: WGN 720 AM

Blackhawks lines

Nick Schmaltz-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Tanner Kero-Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
John Hayden-Dennis Rasmussen-Tomas Jurco

Defensive pairs 

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Johnny Oduya-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries 

Artem Anisimov (left leg)

Penguins lines

Conor-Sheary-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Chris Kunitz-Nick Bonino-Patric Hornqvist
Scott Wilson-Carter Rowney-Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl-Oskar Sundqvist-Josh Archibald

Defensive pairs

Brian Dumoulin-Justin Schultz
Ian Cole-Chad Ruhwedel
Cameron Gaunce-Mark Streit

Goaltender

Marc-Andre Fleury

Injuries

Evgeni Malkin (shoulder), Trevor Daley (knee), Daniel Sprong (shoulder), Jake Guentzel (concussion), Olli Maatta (hand), Kris Letang (upper body), Carl Hagelin (foot), Ron Hainsey (upper body)

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd discuss the latest slump and how much does Artem Anisimov's injury play a role in their struggles?

Konroyd tells us he was surprised by Ryan Hartman's benching in Tampa.

The guys play the game, playoff minutes or press box minutes?  They run through the players who are on the bubble when it comes to postseason play.

They also discuss the Hawks chances of overtaking Washington for the President's trophy.

Plus, Konroyd breaks down possible first round opponents: St Louis, Calgary and Nashville.