Players, coaches 'hopeful' for new CBA

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Players, coaches 'hopeful' for new CBA

When information about the NHLs opening collective bargaining agreement proposal was leaked last week, it raised eyebrows. The league is asking for a lot, as the NHL enters another summer of CBA uncertainty, and it would certainly be more than the NHLPA would be willing to give.
But while some are speculating the worst, that another full-season lockout could happen, the Chicago Blackhawks are hoping for the best. And as far as that first NHL proposal, it is still just July.
The reality is, it is early. But that is their proposal, Jamal Mayers said on Friday. Certainly well treat it seriously. I have all the confidence in the world in the (NHLPA) negotiating committee. Those are the guys taking time out of their summers to attend meetings and be part of the process.
The NHLPA has a bulldog in its corner in Donald Fehr, and as he said during the Chicago NHLPA meetings at the end of June, the players understand what happened last time. A bunch lived through it, and those who didnt have been told by the guys who did.
So finding the best deal is the players No. 1 concern, said Jonathan Toews, and the players have full confidence in Fehr.
We know his leadership abilities and were confident in what hes been doing for us and were going to continue to feel that way, Toews said. Everyone wants to know answers right now and its impossible to tell the future. Were confident in Don, were behind him 100 percent directing our NHLPA and well leave it at that.
Coach Joel Quenneville is also hopeful that the season is played at some point.
Im optimistic but Im realistic at the same time. Hopefully were starting in September, he said. I dont know if Im confident but Im hopeful. Thats how Ill look at it.
Its hard to fathom another full-season work stoppage for the NHL. No matter the sport and no matter what it is a stoppage, a strike, a lockout it can be debilitating. Fans flock to other sports and interests. The NHL has been enjoying record revenues for a few seasons now, but all of that could be undone if theres no hockey in 2012-13.
Yes, its way too early to say there will be no season. As first offers go, the NHLs was certainly eye-opening. Both sides, at some point, need to make it work.
We just want a fair deal, Mayers said. All the rhetoric you hear, its true: Guys want to play. They care about the game and care about the fans. We want to play but we want a fair deal. We made a lot of concessions last time and certainly we feel theres some ground that needs to be made up. Were still hopeful that it will be.

Blackhawks look to keep rolling vs. Coyotes

Blackhawks look to keep rolling vs. Coyotes

The last time the Blackhawks faced the Arizona Coyotes was the first game the current top line of Nick Schmaltz, Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik were thrown together.

Yeah, the combination's worked out well. So has the Blackhawks' game in general, as they've won seven of eight including that Feb. 2 game. Now the Blackhawks will try to keep the momentum rolling with their lines and their game when they host the Coyotes Thursday night at the United Center.

The Blackhawks' current run of success started in the desert and part of that has been finding more consistent lines. Everything else has gradually improved off of that, from goal scoring to puck possession.

"I think it's puck possession, puck control, pace to the game," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we were very inconsistent in that early and we were defending way more than we were accustomed to. You're vulnerable for penalties, you're vulnerable for quality scoring chances against and not generating enough. I think that's the progression in our game now, it seems like all four lines are having the puck and having some zone time and having some rush chances, zone chances and it seems like every line's contributing there, and that's the big difference."

[RELATED: By the bye - Blackhawks keep rolling following break]

The Blackhawks' top line didn't have immediate chemistry but Quenneville kept them together and let them work on it. But as Toews said, it was about the group keeping the all-around game going, points or no points.

"Sometimes you just gotta work until things start clicking," Toews said. "Everyone seems to start paying attention when you start scoring goals, regardless of [the fact you're] doing things right. It's nice that we're scoring but we have to stick with what's making us a successful line at both ends of the rink right now."

Corey Crawford will start vs. the Coyotes. Niklas Hjalmarsson did not skate this morning but is expected to play. Quenneville said Michal Rozsival could draw into the lineup.

Broadcast information

Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: CSN
Live stream: CSNChicago.com

Blackhawks lines

Nick Schmaltz -Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Vinnie Hinostroza

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Rozsival-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries 

None

Coyotes lines (via Arizona Republic)

Tobias Rieder-Martin Hanzal-Radim Vrbata
Brendan Perlini-Christian Dvorak-Shane Doan
Max Domi -Alex Burmistrov-Ryan White
Jamie McGinn-Jordan Martinook-Josh Jooris

Defensive pairs

Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Luke Schenn
Alex Goligoski-Anthony DeAngelo
Jakob Chychrun-Connor Murphy

Goaltender

Mike Smith

Injuries

Lawson Crouse (lower body), Brad Richardson (tibia)

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