Blackhawks

Owners' proposal now includes salary cap rollback

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Owners' proposal now includes salary cap rollback

Less than 48 hours ago, five initial proposals from NHL owners concerning CBA negotiations were released by RDS' Renaud Lavoie. And each point was, to say the least, a bit worrisome.

The owners' requests were rather drastic and make a lockout appear more realistic than we'd like to imagine.

But Sunday morning, additional information was shared by Larry Brooks of the New York Post, and unfortunately it doesn't show any new signs of hope for an easy future between the players and owners.

Brooks reported the proposal would include an enormous roll back of the salary cap. Needless to say, he didn't hold his feelings back concerning the matter:

"The NHL's Declaration of War presented to the Players' Association in the guise of a first proposal on Friday would roll back the salary cap to approximately 52.5 million for 2012-13. The drop of nearly 10 million from last season would represent the lowest number since 2007-2008, sources with knowledge of the league's scheme have told Slap Shots.

"The NHL wants to roll the clock back to the 1960s, when its athletes were powerless and utterly without leverage. A proposed five-year Entry Level system followed by five years without the right to salary arbitration before free agency after 10 accrued NHL seasons would leave every player in the league at the mercy of his team for a decade in a hard cap league.

"That means that a minimum of 130 million in guaranteed contracts would somehow have to be shed by 19 teams that are currently over the league's proposed cap.

When Donald Fehr first addressed the media at the NHLPA meetings held in Chicago, he said he believed a roll back of the salary cap wouldn't be part of the negotiations, considering the players, for the most part, consented to the league in the previous lockout. But Brooks' report shows that owners are apparently looking to make up for what they didn't do in the previous round of negotiations back in 2004.

Again, these are initial offerings and of course, they're going to be substantially higher than what can realistically be expected to see in the long run. But if owners are proposing changes greater than what was initially anticipated, the league could have a very long road ahead of them.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: