NHLPA offers proposal, both sides expected to meet Tuesday

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NHLPA offers proposal, both sides expected to meet Tuesday

After going through the NHLs 288-page proposal this weekend, the NHLPA handed their much-shorter proposal to the league during talks on Monday. And the two will spend New Years Day talking more.

The players association offered their own proposal when the two sides met today in New York City. As the New Years Eve revelry increased outside the NHL offices near Times Square late Monday afternoon, the two sides broke off talks for the day.

But theyll get back together soon.

Their response was a comprehensive one dealing with the full slate of issues that we raised and proposals we put forth, league commissioner Gary Bettman told New York media tonight. Were in the process of reviewing their response. Were going to do that tonight, and the expectation is well contact them tomorrow morning and get back together hopefully by midday.

Bettman did not talk specifics about the NHLPA proposal. NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, when asked if the players made any movement on their latest proposal, said yes, but Im not going to describe it beyond that. SportsNets John Shannon reported that the NHLPA proposal was 26 pages.

We covered the range of subjects they covered. Their document included a very long list of contract language as opposed to bullet-point items, Fehr said.

Asked if owners could come back into the negotiation picture, Bettman said, thats not currently contemplated. Well see how things develop.

This is as congenial of talks that the league and NHLPA have had in quite some time. We all remember Dec. 6, when Fehr went to the podium in New York and proclaimed the two sides close to a deal. An angry Bettman followed shortly after, saying that was not the case.

Both sides are scurrying to draw up a new collective bargaining agreement in the hopes of at least a 48-game hockey season.

We need to drop the puck by Jan. 19 if were going to play a 48-game season, Bettman said. It doesnt make sense to play a season shorter than that.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Expectations for John Hayden in the playoffs

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Expectations for John Hayden in the playoffs

On this episode of the Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Tracey Myers and Pat Boyle breakdown Tuesday's controversial ending with Vancouver. They discuss whether Darling was interfered with on the game winning goal and did Toews deserve a penalty for running into Ryan Miller?

They also discuss the expectations for John Hayden and the tough lineup decisions at forward, that Joel Quenneville will have in the playoffs.

Tracey weighs in on who has been the more impressive goalie tandem, Crow and Emery in 2013 or this year's pair, Crow and Darling?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks want to finish strong while staying fresh for postseason

Blackhawks want to finish strong while staying fresh for postseason

Every team has goals it wants to hit at various parts of the season. At the start you want to be strong so you can save yourself a mad scramble to get into the postseason. In the middle, you want to just keep pace, get through that drudgery known as games 40-60.

But what about the end? If you're a playoff-bound team it's about reaching balance: you want to play your best hockey but also want to get your rest and conserve energy for the "next season."

The Blackhawks are in this mode right now. The postseason berth has been wrapped up. They've hit the 100-point mark and still maintain a six-point lead in the conference/division. So with nine games left the Blackhawks will try to get that overall play they had through most of February while being mindful of rest.

"We have [nine] to go and want to make sure we're fresh. At the same time, we want to be competitive," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We're looking to play games and in games, if we have a chance to back off a little bit, that'll be dictated by the score, the time of the game."

Entering their last two games trailing by two, the Blackhawks haven't had the chance to back off. They've had to do the opposite. Quenneville has said the team's four-line rotation, which was great in February, hasn't been there the past few games. Part of that could be due to injury. Artem Anisimov has missed the last three-plus games with a left-leg injury and is still expected to miss another 2-3 weeks. The Blackhawks have found ways to win despite that, but want to get back to more consistent hockey.

"Obviously we still want to try to win our division you want to be playing well," Brian Campbell said. "The last [few] games have been OK, spurts and stuff, so we want to ramp it up. There are some guys who can probably back off if they need or want to, there are those situations. It's a good situation to have. But this team's been around, they know how to prepare and get ready for it."

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So does Quenneville. We've reached that time of the season when the Blackhawks won't practice much, if at all. They're playing every other day and their morning skates are their versions of practice. As for in games, the Blackhawks know how to keep their energy up there, too.

"I think just playing good hockey and taking short shifts is key. You're not extending shifts to a minute and a half, two minutes," Ryan Hartman said. "You're conserving some long-term energy."

The Blackhawks are nearing the regular-season finish line but another race awaits them. They want to be ready for the postseason but they don't want to get too relaxed down the stretch.

"It's still the regular season. Nobody's taking the foot off the gas pedal. We're still trying to win hockey games and you want to come into the playoffs with a winning atmosphere and winning attitude," Hartman said. "Take every game one at a time and don't try to play conservative. Play good and winning hockey."