Even after last week's turn of events, Fehr still hopeful

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Even after last week's turn of events, Fehr still hopeful

Donald Fehr concluded his speech with a bit of an icebreaker.
If anyone has a brilliant idea on how to solve the lockout, dont keep it to yourself, Fehr said when he addressed the Canadian Auto Workers in Toronto on Saturday. We express hope that were able to find a way through this and get the guys back on the ice sooner rather than later.
Fehr said the two sides were close to doing that on Thursday; but after a bizarre series of events and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman denying that, talks broke off. But on Saturday, Fehr reiterated that he believes the players and league are close to a deal.
I think were very close, he told reporters following his speech. But you have to keep talking. So far theyre unwilling to do it.
As for the possibility of decertification, Fehr said, thats always an option and it has been exercised in other sports. Beyond that, I cant comment.
The league and players association left Thursday on a nasty note. A visibly angry Bettman said the two sides were not close to a deal, that the league would not budge on certain items including five-year player contract limits and that no further talks were planned.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly, in an email to the Associated Press on Friday, said, I have no reason, nor any intention of reaching out to the union right now. I have no new ideas. Maybe they do. We are happy to listen.
Former Blackhawks defenseman Chris Campoli said the union remains very strong.
Dons our guy, our leader and we believe in him, he said. The last few years the associations come a long way in restoring respectability. Theres not going to be a deal without him there. He has the complete backing of our membership.
It was an interesting week, folks, no doubt. And while I rarely interject opinion into stories notice I didnt say Twitter Im going to now. I do believe the two sides are close. And I still believe a deal will be done. I said from the start that I thought theyd be playing some time in December or January, and I will go down swinging with that.
If Im wrong, Im wrong. Ill just add it to the tote board.

Jonathan Toews sets up game-winner as Team Canada wins World Cup

Jonathan Toews sets up game-winner as Team Canada wins World Cup

Jonathan Toews set up the game-winning goal to Brad Marchand as Team Canada rallied back to beat Europe, 2-1, to complete the two-game sweep in the final at the World Cup of Hockey.

After Patrice Bergeron tied the game with a tip-in on the power play late in the third period, Drew Doughty was sent to the box for tripping, giving Europe a power play for a chance to respond.

But midway through the man advantage, the Blackhawks captain retrieved the puck and carried it into Europe territory before dropping it off to Marchand, who snapped home the shorthanded game-winner with 43 seconds remaining in regulation.

It was the second goal in a span of 2:09, helping Canada capture their second straight World Cup title (2004).

Sidney Crosby was named MVP of the tournament after scoring four goals and seven assists in six games. 

Toews was fourth among all players in the tournament with five points (three goals and two assists).

Erik Gustafsson knows landing roster spot with Blackhawks won’t be easy

Erik Gustafsson knows landing roster spot with Blackhawks won’t be easy

Erik Gustafsson looked around the Blackhawks’ room at where fellow defensemen stalls would probably be as the season approached.

“You have Brian (Campbell) back, (Michal) Kempny here, obviously and all the other guys,” Gustafsson said. “It’s going to be tough, but I like it.”

The Blackhawks’ biggest Achilles heel last season was defense, especially after Trevor Daley was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That opened the door for young players, including Gustafsson, to get bigger opportunities. This year the defense should be stronger with Campbell’s return. So for guys like Gustafsson, cracking this lineup just got that much tougher.

During the summer, assistant coach Mike Kitchen talked potential pairings as Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson, Campbell-Brent Seabrook, Kempny-Trevor van Riemsdyk. As of now, the team is expecting Keith to be ready for the season opener. Keith has been participating in a practice a day but whether or not he plays in any preseason games is uncertain right now.

If it starts out that way, Gustafsson would be on the outside looking in.

But first things first: Gustafsson is focused on building off experience gained last season — he played 41 games, recording 14 assists — and cleaning up a few errors committed in training camp practices.

“You know all the guys on the team, you know how they want to play over here and in the NHL. Just go out and show them. I didn’t do that [Saturday] but this was the first game,” Gustafsson said. “I felt good with the puck but I have to play more defense in my own zone. Just a couple of small things I have to be better.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Nothing comes easy when you’re trying to make an NHL roster but it got that much tougher for a young defenseman with the Blackhawks this season. Hey, that’s the way it is, and players know it.

“Of course it’ll be tougher,” Gustafsson said. “It won’t be easy to take a spot. You just have to go out there, do your best and see what happens.”

BRIEFLY

- Patrick Kane could play in the Blackhawks’ game against St. Louis on Saturday. Assistant coach Kevin Dineen said, “don’t be surprised to see 88 politicking to get in the lineup. Pretty good chance we’ll see him on Saturday."

- The Blackhawks were off on Thursday. Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, Marcus Kruger and Hjalmarsson were expected to join the team at Friday’s practice

- Alexandre Fortin, who signed a three-year contract on Sunday, played 12 1/2 minutes in Wednesday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That included about two minutes of power-play time. Dineen wouldn’t mind seeing Fortin in another game. “He showed himself well all camp and I think [Wednesday] we saw some good spurts out there, and we’ll find that consistency in a young player as we move forward.”