Blackhawks

Playing overseas now on front burner for Toews

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Playing overseas now on front burner for Toews

Jonathan Toews has long been optimistic that at least some of the NHL season could be saved. But after Thursdays events in New York City, the Chicago Blackhawks captain isnt feeling the same.

And playing overseas has become a lot more likely.

Toews was part of talks in New York on Tuesday and part of Wednesday, back when things were going smoothly. But sometime Wednesday the mood change, and Thursday turned into an absolute mess of rejected proposals, items taken off tables and angry words.

Everyone talks about being optimistic but, really, what is there positive to take from whats gone on? Toews said Friday. Its unbelievable how hypocritical the leagues been in saying theyve tried so hard to make an effort to get a deal done when theyve pushed it this far to begin with. It doesnt matter what the players do, how much we sacrifice to make things happen. Its never been good enough.

The Hatfield-McCoy fracas between the NHL and NHLPA took its most bizarre twists on Thursday. Well summarize again in a nutshell: NHLPA director says the two sides are close and announces groups latest proposal. League rejects proposal via email. League commissioner blasts NHLPA and the were close talk. League deputy commissioner says some items were non-negotiable including those five-year player contract limits (the hill we will die on). Commissioner takes some items off the negotiating table.

Owners who had been meeting with players Tuesday and Wednesday, left on Thursday. Four of the owners released statements regarding the weeks talks.

Its all left Toews very frustrated.

Its mind-blowing that weve made it this far and their behavior hasnt changed one bit. Theyre great at trying to make (executive director Donald Fehr) and the players association look like the bad guys, he said. Theyre just trying to play any angle they can. So far, any angle weve had is to see and wait if the NHL wants to wait this long and they have. Im not too sure where we go from here.

Now Toews will look at where he goes from here. Fellow frustrated captain Sidney Crosby told Pittsburgh Post-Gazettes Dave Molinari that playing in Europe has moved to the front burner. Same go for Toews?

Absolutely it does, he said, adding that he doesnt have a specific location in mind yet. Its just sad in so many ways because your whole life you dream of playing in the NHL. You never dream that politics and things like this would get in the way of you playing and living out your dream. But thats obviously something you have to explore more at this point.

NHL Draft Profile: D Evan Bouchard

NHL Draft Profile: D Evan Bouchard

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

Evan Bouchard

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 193 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A highly intelligent defenseman with exceptional vision and offensive instincts. He reads the play very well and his passing ability allows him to be a constant threat in his team's transition game. He's one of the top offensive-defenseman in the Canadian Hockey League and magician-like when quarterbacking the power play."

NHL player comparable: John Carlson/Alex Pietrangelo

Fit for Blackhawks:

At 6-foot-2, 193 pounds, Bouchard is one of the most NHL-ready defensemen in this year's draft and that could be appetizing for a team like the Blackhawks, who are looking for immediate help on the blue line. But Bouchard is a right-handed shot, and drafting him would add a third high-end right-handed shot defenseman to the organization, along with prospects Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell.

You can never have enough of them, but there's only room for three before somebody would have to play on their off hand and that would mean the third would be playing on the bottom pairing. All three of these players have Top 4 potential.

Still, that may not even come into play here. The Blackhawks will seek to take the best available player, like they always have. And if they feel it's Bouchard, they'll do it.

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

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

Brady Tkachuk

Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 196 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"I know Tkachuk isn't a center, but Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) is another player who comes to mind with his combination of size, strength, skill and nastiness. Tkachuk has impressive hand skills and his upside has only begun because I think there's lots of maturity and growth to come. I've seen his speed and skating improve each of the past three years and I think he'll still get stronger and his balance will get better. His man strength will come and it'll be like, 'Oh boy, look out.'"

NHL player comparable: Matthew Tkachuk/Wayne Simmonds

Fit for Blackhawks:

If you're looking for a player that checks all the boxes in this year's draft, it's Tkachuk. And man could the Blackhawks use a player like him.

He's got offensive skill, willingly goes to the greasy areas, can provide net-front presence while playing a top-six role, and perhaps the most important part for the Blackhawks: he's very close to NHL ready. The Blackhawks will be patient with whoever they draft, but there's also some urgency to turn things around in 2018-19.

If they can draft a player like Tkachuk who can potentially jump into the lineup as early as this upcoming season, that would be ideal. Because he's the type of player that can make an impact, not just get by.