Toews, Kane disappointed with lockout negotiations


The NHL opens a 48-hour window to allow team general managers to talk to players about negotiations -- unbeknownst to the NHLPA -- even though owners have been forbidden to talk publicly about it the entire time. The NHLPA wants to arrange talks with the league, and the NHL says no.

Welcome to the latest bits of drama in collective-bargaining negotiations that have been loaded with them. For players seeing the latest league moves, it seems like par for the course. And the lack of talks, including the attempted one just rejected by the league, is frustrating.

It goes with what I just said as far as them being on their own program, Jonathan Toews said following Wednesdays practice. When theyre willing to consider one thing we say, then theyll step up to the plate. Obviously now is not the time. It doesnt matter how much reasoning, how clear we are and how right we can be in any situation or any issue. They still have their minds made up on how theyre going to go about it. Give them one thing thats a tiny bit different and theyre not going to look at it for more than 10 minutes. Theyre consistent with that attitude so far.

The talk of an 82-game season hung on longer than it shouldve. It wouldve been difficult enough beginning on Nov. 2. Now? Forget it. Both sides have apparently reached a stalemate; too bad, since they seemed to be heading in the opposite direction just a week ago.

The now dour outlook has Patrick Kane packing his bags to play Swiss League hockey.

We want to be playing here in Chicago and hopefully the fans know that. This, deep down, is where we want to be. But its something that keeps delaying and going on and on, Kane said. For me, its time to make a move and try to play some games. So when this thing does end Ill be ready to play back here.

As far as that league-sanctioned, 48-hour window, Toews said none of the Blackhawks players to his knowledge talked to team brass.

Its another weird thing. That the league and owners have had their whole policy of no one saying a word to anyone and suddenly it changes, Toews said. It can be inconsistent.

When the league and NHLPA will talk again is anyones guess. The players thought they had something with the three proposals they offered last week. But the NHL has made it clear to the NHLPA: come with something new, come willing to work off the league deal, or dont come at all.

We said to (the NHLPA) that we are prepared to meet if you want to discuss our offer or if you want to make a new offer. They have no inclination on doing either and so there really was no point in meeting at this point, commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters in New York today. There are just some times where you need to take time off because its clear that you cant do anything to move the process forward and were at one of those points right now because we gave our very best offer.

The NHLPAs biggest desire is to have their existing contracts honored. Toews reiterated that on Wednesday.

To all of a sudden sign a deal that changes your life and makes things better for you and your family, someone tries to take that away from you, its insulting and, quite frankly, its embarrassing for (the league) as well, Toews said. We only have a limited time to play and earn a living as hockey player,s and were doing everything we can. Every guy has worked hard for that. We can be proud to stand up for what we stood up for so far, and theres no shame in that.

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