If you haven’t heard the positive news yet, it’s beginning to look like there may be a season after all.
The NHL submitted a somewhat favorable proposal on Tuesday, which opened the door for some serious negotiating between the league and the players union. The players are expected to submit their own proposal and meet with the owners on Thursday. If all goes well, we could be in for an intense week and perhaps a season starting within the next few weeks.
That’s great news for the Chicago Blackhawks and everyone else around the league, whether a player or associated with it in any other way possible. But for the Blackhawks, there is another positive with this lockout potentially coming to an end. It’s their patience during this time.
Some teams have seen their players rush off to join clubs in Europe, mainly in Russia and Sweden, while others have stayed put. Some held out hope that a deal would get reached, while some took advantage of the extra time to recover from an injury or a short summer.
The Hawks, overall, have been one of the more patient teams out there. Only three players have sought out spots with clubs overseas: Michael Frolik, Michal Rozsival, and Viktor Stalberg. Frolik went to Czech Republic, as did Rozsival, while Stalberg headed for Sweden.
The big names on the team have stuck around, though. Jonathan Toews has been leading informal practices with Blackhawks new and old. We’ve seen names like Dan Carcillo, Patrick Kane, and Jamal Mayers all attend these sessions at some point during the summer.
That’s huge. The veterans on this team, save the three playing overseas, will be well rested should a season come within the next couple of weeks. Between them and Marian Hossa, who is recovering from his concussion, we could be looking at a completely fresh Blackhawks team.
There’s also the matter of the youngsters playing down in the AHL. This time should also benefit them in the long run, particularly Brandon Saad. Guys like Saad, Andrew Shaw, and Jimmy Hayes, among others, need to be playing, so this time in the AHL, however brief it might end up, is beneficial.
It’s still no guarantee that we’re going to see a season, but with the positive news this week in the labor negotiations, we could have some traction for an actual deal to get done. Now it’s just a matter of hammering out the details. If and when that happens, this Hawks team could be as ready as any.