NHL, NHLPA meet separately with mediators Wednesday


NHL, NHLPA meet separately with mediators Wednesday

The NHL and NHLPA met in what began as an undisclosed location on Wednesday, and they probably hoped it would stay that way. That didnt happen. Onlookers (fans, media, etc.) watched Wednesdays meeting and hoped some progress would be made.

Doesnt seem like that happened, either.

The two sides met or as reported, met separately with federal mediators -- in New Jersey on Wednesday. But reports out of the talks state that not much progress was made toward a new collective bargaining agreement and an end to a lockout that has now reached Day 88.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told reporters that, there is no conclusion to this round of the process right now.

Mediators reportedly told players that the leagues last offer was available if the union would accept it. But Brendan Morrison, who last played for the Chicago Blackhawks, told reporters the players still arent accepting that deal.

I thought the gap would be closed much quicker, but it hasnt come to fruition yet. So we have to keep working, Morrison said. Its good in a sense were here, and bad in a sense there is no progress.

It was the second time the two sides used mediators in negotiations. Two weeks ago mediators met with the league and PA for two days before deciding the sides were too far apart. Today, they talked with each side separately. Basically, it proved futile both times.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr told reporters, there were discussions of the various issues involved and now far apart we are and where we go from here. I cant tell you that any progress was made.

There are no new talks planned at the moment.

Blackhawks defenseman (and player representative) Steve Montador and forward Jamal Mayers were also at Wednesdays meeting.

Its extremely frustrating where we are, said Mayers, who talked of how close on Monday. The league maintains thats not the case. The leagues package deal, or take-it-or-leave-it offer, makes completing a deal difficult, considering all our movement in last Thursdays proposal.

Games are currently canceled through Dec. 30. Still, some optimism remains that the two sides will work things out and salvage a partial season. Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, who has played overseas with EHC Biel (Switzerland), is currently back in Chicago. Hes scheduled to go back to Switzerland on Sunday if the lockout remains unresolved; but he hopes things are, and that he stays to prepare for training camp instead.

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

After staying out of the public eye since his historic emergency relief appearance, Scott Foster emerged in Vegas at the NHL Awards and it was perfect. 

The 36-year-old accountant fittingly presented the Vezina Trophy award for the league's top goaltender and joked that he needed to speed it up because he had to get back to work.

Check him out on stage:

What a moment. And well done, NHL. 

Foster stopped all seven shots he faced in 14:01 of action in the Blackhawks' 6-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on March 30.

Nashville Predators netminder Pekke Rinne took home the award, but you can't argue against Foster's 1.000 career save percentage.

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Noah Dobson

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 180 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A very effective two-way defenseman with good puck distribution and a strong shot from the points on the power play. He is a point-producer with size, who defends and utilizes strong positioning and a good stick in the defensive zone."

NHL player comparable: Brent Burns

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks lacked defensemen that generated offense last year. They also lacked defenders than can ... defend. Dobson is a player who can do both, and if he slips past Vancouver at No. 7, the Blackhawks may have a difficult decision on their hands.

Dobson could solve some of those defensive issues, but it likely wouldn't be in time for the 2018-19 season. He needs time to develop properly.

The Blackhawks like to evaluate prospects based on what their ceiling is and where they're at in their development curve, and if they see major upside here, they'll go for it. It just depends if there's somebody available that they like better.