No new meetings on the horizon for NHL, NHLPA

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No new meetings on the horizon for NHL, NHLPA

The NHL and NHLPA have been in contact this weekend, but as of yet, there are no new meetings set for negotiations.

The league and players association haven't formally talked since Thursday, when talks certainly ended in unusual fashion. NHLPA executive Donald Fehr stated at the time the two sides were close to a deal, something he reiterated when he spoke to the Canadian Auto Workers in Toronto on Saturday. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly categorically denied the two sides were close on Thursday.

Sunday marked Day 85 of the lockout. Games are currently canceled through Dec. 14, although more cancellations could come soon. The 2013 Winter Classic and 2012-13 All-Star Game have also been canceled.

Blackhawks re-sign defenseman Ville Pokka to one-year deal

Blackhawks re-sign defenseman Ville Pokka to one-year deal

The Blackhawks signed Ville Pokka to a one-year contract on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Pokka played in all 76 regular-season games for the Rockford IceHogs last season, recording six goals and 24 assists.

The Blackhawks’ defensive depth has already taken a hit this offseason, with Niklas Hjalmarsson traded to Arizona – Connor Murphy came here in the deal – and Trevor van Riemsdyk, selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, then traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. While the Blackhawks will probably explore free-agent options this offseason, Pokka could vie for an opportunity at training camp.

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

Dennis Rasmussen was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks, a source confirmed on Tuesday. Rasmussen will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Rasmussen was coming off a one-year deal worth $575,000. He was expected to be among those the Blackhawks extended qualifying offers – the deadline was Monday afternoon – but he was not.

The 26-year-old played 68 games for the Blackhawks this past season, recording four goals and four assists. He gave the Blackhawks some options, as he also played some wing and was part of the penalty kill. But he was a surprise healthy scratch more often than not as the regular season continued.

The Blackhawks will enter this season without Rasmussen and, if Marcus Kruger is traded, the team will have some holes to fill at center.