NHL owners express their disappointment

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NHL owners express their disappointment

NHL owners have been quiet during this lockout, a league bylaw forbids them to, and stiff monetary penalties are possible if they do. But after being part of talks with players this past week in New York, four owners released statements regarding the now broken-down collective bargaining agreement negotiations.

Some statements were strong. Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, stated, I question whether the union is interested in making an agreement. I am very disappointed and disillusioned. Had I not experienced this process myself, I might not have believed it.

Here are the four owners statements, per the NHL, in their entirety:

Ron Burkle, Co-Owner, Pittsburgh Penguins

"The idea to put players and owners together in the same room was a refreshing idea. Commissioner Bettman should be thanked for proposing it and the Fehrs should be thanked for agreeing to it.

The players came with a strong desire to get back to playing hockey. They were professional and did a good job of expressing their concerns and listening to ours. We wanted to move quickly and decisively. We have all spent too much time without any real progress at the expense of our fans, our sponsors and the communities we serve. It was time to make bold moves and get a deal. Many people think we got over our skis and they are probably right, but we wanted to do everything we could to get back to hockey now. We didn't hold back.

We made substantial movement on our end quickly, but unfortunately that was not met with the same level of movement from the other side. The players asked us to be patient and keep working with them. t's not what they do and they wanted us to know they were committed.

We understood and appreciate their situation. We came back with an aggressive commitment to pensions which we felt was well received. We needed a response on key items that were important to us, but we were optimistic that we were down to very few issues. I believe a deal was within reach.

We were therefore surprised when the Fehrs made a unilateral and "non-negotiable" decision - which is their right, to end the playerowner process that has moved us farther in two days than we have moved at any time in the past months.

I want to thank the players involved for their hard work as we tried to reach a deal.

I hope that going backwards does not prevent a deal."

Mark Chipman, Chairman and Governor, Winnipeg Jets:

"I'd like to thank the NHL for giving me the opportunity to participate in this very important process.

I came here optimistic that we could find a solution. That sense of optimism grew after our first few sessions, including the small group discussions late last night.

Regrettably, we have been unable to close the divide on some critical issues that we feel are essential to the immediate and long-term health of our game.

While I sense there are some members of the players association that understand our perspective on these issues, clearly there are many that don't.

I am deeply disappointed that we were unable to bring this extremely unfortunate situation to a successful conclusion and I wish to apologize to our fans and sponsors for letting them down."

Larry Tanenbaum, Chairman of the Board, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment

"I was pleased to be asked to join the PlayerOwner negotiation sessions. I had hoped that my perspective both as a businessman and as one of the owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs would be helpful to the process. Like all other teams, this work stoppage has hurt our fans, our employees and our business. Neither the owners nor the players will ever recover the losses incurred with this work stoppage.

I understand how important it is to have a strong league and 30 healthy teams. I must admit that I was shocked at how things have played out over the last 48 hours. The sessions on Tuesday felt cooperative with an air of goodwill. I was optimistic and conveyed my optimism to the Board of Governors at our Wednesday meeting. However, when we reconvened with the players on Wednesday afternoon, it was like someone had thrown a switch. The atmosphere had completely changed. Nevertheless, the owners tried to push forward and made a number of concessions and proposals, which were not well-received. I question whether the union is interested in making an agreement.

I am very disappointed and disillusioned. Had I not experienced this process myself, I might not have believed it. Like all hockey fans, I am hopeful this situation can be resolved as soon as possible. I miss our game."

Jeff Vinik, Chairman and Governor, Tampa Bay Lightning:

"After working this week with our players toward what we hoped would be a new agreement, owners presented a proposal we believed would benefit those great players, ownership, and, ultimately, our fans for many years to come. While trust was built and progress was made along the way, unfortunately, our proposal was rejected by the Union's leadership. My love for the game is only superseded by my commitment to our fans and I hold out hope we can soon join with our players and return the game back to its rightful place on the ice."

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Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

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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.