IceHogs coach, forward suspended one game

November, 28, 2014
Nov 28
3:28
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Chicago Blackhawks AHL affiliate coach Ted Dent and forward Cody Bass were each suspended one game for their actions during the Rockford IceHogs-Iowa Wild game Wednesday, the league announced Friday.

Bass, who signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks in July, left the IceHogs’ bench after the Wild’s Curt Gogol committed a charging penalty at 5:31 of the third period Wednesday. Bass received a 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Gogol was given 30 minutes worth of penalties, including a game misconduct for charging and a game misconduct for being involved in his second fight of the night. Gogol received a two-game suspension Friday.

Dent was suspended one game after he received a game misconduct for abuse of officials at the end of the game.

Dent and Bass will sit out the IceHogs’ game against the Chicago Wolves on Friday. The IceHogs lead the AHL with 31 points and have a 15-4-0-1 record.

Wild forward Stephane Veilleux was also suspended two games for a boarding incident on Wednesday. Altogether, the IceHogs received a total of 69 minutes of penalties and the Wild had 46 minutes on Wednesday.

Blackhawks not looking past Ducks

November, 28, 2014
Nov 28
2:29
PM CT
Arritt By Dan Arritt
Special to ESPNChicago.com
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- With so much focus and energy placed on getting through the current six-game circus road trip with positive results and healthy bodies, Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville hasn’t had time to look ahead at what’s lurking once the team returns home next week.

Certainly not with a huge test awaiting the Blackhawks on Friday against the Anaheim Ducks, followed by Saturday night's contest against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.

“I think you just look at today’s opponent, knowing it was a tough loss last time, always a close game, always competitive games with Anaheim, and that’s our mindset,” Quenneville said outside Chicago’s locker room prior to its meeting with the Ducks.

After completing this season's second-longest road trip Saturday against the Kings, the Blackhawks will fly home and begin preparing for Wednesday’s clash against the St. Louis Blues, who began the day in second place in the Central Division, three points ahead of Chicago. Like the Blackhawks, the Blues will have three days off between games.

Two days later, Chicago is scheduled to host the Montreal Canadiens, who began Friday tied with the Ducks for the most points in the NHL (33). Then the Blackhawks head back out on the road for four games, the first against the Nashville Predators, who currently lead the Central Division by five points over the third-place Blackhawks.

Quenneville is aware of the stacked schedule that awaits his team, but any notes on future opponents are still tucked deep in his briefcase.

“Our next five games are all tough teams, top teams as well," Quenneville said, "but we don’t have time to look ahead.”

And that includes pinpointing the return of Patrick Sharp, the team’s leading goal scorer three of the last four years, who will miss his 10th consecutive game with a leg injury suffered in a 5-0 win against the Canadiens on Nov. 5.

Sharp is reportedly on the verge of returning, possibly as soon as Wednesday against the Blues, but Quenneville is only pondering how he can topple the Ducks, who beat his team 1-0 on Oct. 28 in Chicago. Among the positives, win would guarantee the Blackhawks a winning mark on the current road trip.

Chicago will have Corey Crawford in goal against the Ducks. Crawford didn't play in the earlier loss to Anaheim as he was sidelined with an upper-body injury. Quenneville wasn’t ready to name a starting goalie for Saturday’s game in Los Angeles, however.

That would be looking too far ahead, no doubt.

By the numbers: Crawford off to best start

November, 28, 2014
Nov 28
12:39
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Here’s a look by the numbers at the Chicago Blackhawks:

" Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford's .926 save percentage is the highest he’s ever had through 16 games of any season. His previous save percentages through 16 games have been .913 (2010-11), .904 (2011-12), .925 (2012-13) and .917 (2013-14).

" Eleven of Crawford’s 16 starts are categorized as quality starts. A quality start is considered a start where a goaltender has at least a .917 save percentage or allows two goals or less with a .885 save percentage.

" The Blackhawks have increased their 5-on-5 production, but it’s still likely to go up. The Blackhawks have a 6.58 shooting percentage in 5-on-5 situations, which ranks 25th in the league. They haven’t had less than an 8.01 shooting percentage in the previous five seasons. They ranked fifth last season with an 8.43 shooting percentage.

" One of the Blackhawks’ focuses this season was improving their record in one-goal games. They were 27th in the NHL with a .425 winning percentage and 17-8-15 record in one-goal games last season. So far, they have slightly improved. They’re 13th in the league with a .500 winning percentage and have a 7-6-1 record. They have won their last three games decided by one goal.

" The Blackhawks are tied for fourth with a 52.6 faceoff winning percentage. They were tied for fifth last season at 52 percent. Jonathan Toews is leading the way this season with a 57.4 percentage (281 of 49) and is followed by Marcus Kruger (56.8, 104 of 183), Ben Smith (51.6, 81 of 157), Brad Richards (48.0, 95 of 198) and Andrew Shaw (47.1, 98 of 108).

" The Blackhawks’ scoring by period has been a bit strange this season. They have scored 25 goals in the first period and 24 goals in the third period, but just 13 goals in the second period. Last season, they scored 68 goals in the first period, 102 in the second and 90 in the third.

" Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith rank seventh and eighth in the league in defensive zone faceoff starts. Kruger is at 47.3 percent and Smith at 47.2 percent. Kruger was seventh last season at 50.7 percent. At the other end, Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell and Kris Versteeg rank second (47.7), third (47.6) and fourth (47.2) in offensive zone faceoff starts.

" Hitting doesn’t matter in the Blackhawks’ game, but it’s always interesting to see how far they are away from the league’s leader. The Blackhawks rank 29th in the league with 349 hits. The Los Angeles Kings are first with 697 hits.

" Patrick Kane has had a lot to do with the Blackhawks’ power play this season. He is tied for sixth in the league with 11 power-play points.

" They don’t seem to come back to haunt the Blackhawks often, but Niklas Hjalmarsson has the third most giveaways in the league with 28. On the other side, Marian Hossa is tied for fifth with 21 takeaways.

" The Blackhawks have six players among the league’s top-25 Corsi for percentage leaders (minimum 200 minutes). Those players include Trevor van Riemsdyk (6th, 60.0), Hossa (7th, 59.7), Duncan Keith (11th, 58.6), Toews (19th, 57.9), Kruger (22nd, 57.6) and Hjalmarsson (25th, 57.4).

" The Blackhawks allow 0.98 goals against per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 situations (min. 200 minutes) with Smith on the ice. He ranks 12th in the league in that stat. Hjalmarsson is the best Blackhawks defenseman in that category. He ranks 13th among all defensemen with 1.21 goals against per 60 minutes.

Hawks thoughts: Hjalmarsson putting the hammer down

November, 27, 2014
Nov 27
12:14
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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Niklas HjalmarssonJohn Leyba/The Denver Post/Getty ImagesNiklas Hjalmarsson is in the midst of an excellent defensive stretch for the Blackhawks.

Here are six thoughts on the Chicago Blackhawks after their 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday:

1. This is how good Niklas Hjalmarsson has been on defense lately: He’s been on the ice for two goals in 5-on-5 situations over the past 10 games. That's really something. To compare, Brent Seabrook has been on the ice for 10 such goals, Duncan Keith for eight and Johnny Oduya for five. Hjalmarsson has a plus-45 Corsi over the span, with the Blackhawks having 176 shots for and 131 against with him on the ice in 5-on-5 play, according to war-on-ice.com.

2. How Marian Hossa didn’t score Wednesday is baffling. He had the quantity and the quality on the night -- nine shots on goal. Yes, nine shots on net, the most Hossa's had in a regular-season game since joining the Blackhawks in 2009. The only time he had more was in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals in 2013, when he had 10. He somehow didn’t score in that game, either. To say Hossa is due for some goals is an understatement. He has three goals on 70 shots for a 4.3 shooting percentage this season. He has one goal and 20 shots over the past five games.

3. Patrick Kane entered the list of the league’s top 20 points producers after his three assists Wednesday. After having just 10 points through 16 games, he’s accumulated 11 points over the past six. His spike can be accounted for him joining Brad Richards and Kris Versteeg on a line and the Blackhawks’ recent power-play success. Kane has eight even-strength points on the season, and five of them have come with Richards and Versteeg. Kane has five power-play points over the last six games.

4. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville made three significant strategic moves in Wednesday's third period: (A) He didn’t play rookie defenseman Adam Clendening for the final 13 minutes, 18 seconds of the frame. The trust obviously isn’t there. Quenneville probably needs to get there eventually with Clendening, David Rundblad or someone else. (B) He opted to skate Andrew Shaw with Kane and Versteeg late in the game. Quenneville has come around to Richards playing on the second line, but he still preferred Shaw in a defensive situation with the game on the line. (C) He double-shifted Kane and sat Daniel Carcillo late in the period. The move paid off as Kane set up Bryan Bickell's game-winning goal. Things can change in the next week, but Quenneville could bench Carcillo when Patrick Sharp returns. The line of Joakim Nordstrom-Marcus Kruger-Ben Smith was solid again Wednesday and could be something Quenneville doesn’t want to break up. If Quenneville prefers Carcillo in the lineup, Nordstrom would be the obvious player out.

5. The Blackhawks were fortunate a handful of giveaways didn’t cost them Wednesday. I counted two giveaways by Oduya, one by Keith, one by Richards, one by Michal Rozsival and one by Hossa that provided the Avalanche with scoring opportunities. Avalanche goaltender Calvin Pickard came up with some incredible saves, but the save of the night was Corey Crawford’s on Alex Tanguay's breakaway in the first period. Just as the Blackhawks have done too many times on the power play this season, Brent Seabrook couldn’t handle a pass near the blue line in the offensive zone and created a breakaway. Crawford denied what would have been the fifth short-handed goal the Blackhawks have allowed this season.

6. The Blackhawks’ power play takes a lot of heat when it’s not producing, and it deserves some credit lately. The Blackhawks have scored eight power-play goals over the past six games. During that span, they have gone from having a 17.2 power-play percentage and ranking 20th in the league to a 20.6 percentage and ranking ninth. The power-play points over the past six games have been distributed among Kane (one goal, four assists), Seabrook (one goal, three assists), Hossa (one goal, three assists), Versteeg (two goals, one assist), Jonathan Toews (one goal, one assist), Clendening (one goal, one assist), Keith (two assists), Shaw (one goal) and Bickell (one assist).

Kane heats up; Hawks cool Avs

November, 27, 2014
Nov 27
1:00
AM CT
By Brent W. New
ESPNChicago.com
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DENVER, Colo. – Patrick Kane couldn’t believe that not one of his four shots ended up in the back of the net at the Pepsi Center. Ask Marian Hossa how that feels -- he had nine attempts go for nothing Wednesday night.

Ouch.

But Kane still found a way to take over the game in the Chicago Blackhawks’ 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. The 26-year-old winger set up his offense with chances all night and poured on three assists, including a pretty fantastic one to Bryan Bickell for the game-winner late in the third period.

“It would be nice to see some pucks go in the net,” Kane said. “But the power play has been good, and for the most part, it seems like we’re scoring in a good amount of games here.”

[+] EnlargeChicago Blackhawks
Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY SportsNone of Marian Hossa's nine shots went in the net, but his team still got a hard-earned win over the Avalanche.

Kane just about made the Avalanche's defense tumble over itself when he went right and juked left -- something equivalent to a crossover move that breaks a defender’s ankles in basketball -- and fed it to Bickell, who put the Blackhawks up for good with 5:17 remaining.

Bickell said he was surprised to see the puck skid -- very slowly -- between his feet.

“I threw a half-decent pass to Kane, and I don’t know how he was handling when [the puck] was bouncing, but he made a play and got the puck to the net,” Bickell said. “I was lucky to stop and bury it home.”

The Hawks right wing passed captain Jonathan Toews for team points leader, with 21 (eight goals and 13 assists ) on the season. Yet his impressive numbers have been more of a recent affair, as seven of those points have come in the first four games of this road trip and 11 have been in the past six games.

Makes you wonder: Is he streaky, or has something clicked? Kane, for the record, thinks it has little to do with either.

“Oh, sometimes the puck goes in, and sometimes you find some different ways to play the game, and sometimes you are playing the game with some players that are feeling it, too,” Kane said.

Earlier, he also had a hand in power-play goals by Toews and Andrew Shaw in the second period, when the Hawks finally found a way to beat the wall that was 22-year-old goalie Calvin Pickard. First, Toews scored on the 25th shot of the game for Chicago, and then Kane set up Shaw less than three minutes later.

Overall, Kane said he felt good, especially with his back-and-forth chances with Toews. Truth be told, if not for hand-over-your-mouth saves by Pickard, the duo would have added even more to their stats on Wednesday.

“For us, that’s the name of the game -- finding ways to get some space out there and get those chances,” Kane said. “Obviously, we want to capitalize more on our opportunities, though.”

The Hawks had 45 shots on net and have now out-shot Colorado 244-to-146 in the teams’ past six meetings. For a while, it looked like the Hawks would again have more shots and better chances and still lose to the Avs for the fifth time in six meetings.

But Kane helped keep the pressure on Colorado’s net, and the Hawks improved to 3-1-0 on their six-game trip.

"It’s a good start to the second half of the road trip,” said Kane, whose team ends the trip with the Pacific-leading Anaheim Ducks and defending champion Los Angeles Kings over the weekend. “It’s a lot better being 3-1 through the first four games than 2-2."

Seriously, though, poor Hossa.

Bickell lifts Blackhawks over Avalanche, 3-2

November, 26, 2014
Nov 26
10:49
PM CT
video

DENVER -- Bryan Bickell scored late in the third period and the Chicago Blackhawks overcame strong goaltending from Calvin Pickard to beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 Wednesday night.

Corey Crawford made 27 saves, and Jonathan Toews and Andrew Sharp also scored for Chicago. Patrick Kane had three assists.

Pickard, making his first start after winning two games in relief of Reto Berra, kept Colorado in the game with a career-high 42 saves. He left for an extra skater with 2:15 remaining, but Colorado couldn't tie it.

Ryan O'Reilly and Max Talbot scored for the Avalanche, who had won two consecutive games.

Colorado tied it 2-all on O'Reilly's third goal of the season at 3:36 of the third. Chicago stepped up the pressure but Pickard kept it a tie game until Bickell's go-ahead goal at 14:43.


(Read full post)


Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 3, Avalanche 2

November, 26, 2014
Nov 26
10:45
PM CT
By Brent W. New
Special to ESPNChicago.com
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DENVER -- Here's a quick look at how the Chicago Blackhawks finally broke through and beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 at the Pepsi Center.

How it happened: It looked like the Mile High City would again prove to be the place the Blackhawks offense went to die. The Hawks had more shots and better chances but couldn't get past 22-year-old Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard for the better part of two periods, much like the way they couldn't figure out Avs starting goalie Semyon Varlamov in three losses last season at the Pepsi Center. But two power-play goals and a game winner from Bryan Bickell breathed new life in the thin Denver air. Patrick Kane juked around an Avs defender and fed it to Bickell, who scored his second goal of the season with 5:17 remaining.

Earlier in the second period, Jonathan Toews slipped behind Pickard on the crease and scored on Chicago's 25th shot of the game. His ninth goal of the season came after Brent Seabrook rifled a shot that popped out of the back of Pickard's leg pads and trickled slowly toward the left post. Less than three minutes later, Kane pushed a pass to Andrew Shaw, who beat Pickard with 5:39 remaining. Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly finished off a scrum in front of the net early in the third period to tie the game 2-2. The Hawks then killed a 6-on-5 in the final two minutes of the game.

What it means: The Blackhawks are 3-1-0 on their six-game road trip and 13-8-1 on the season. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said his team is starting to play better despite the 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, and his players backed it up with 45 shots in the win.

Player of the game: Corey Crawford made his 12th consecutive start in net and didn’t look affected by it whatsoever. He made stop after stop to keep an energetic Colorado team from blowing things open early on and then kept them from tying it late. He totaled 27 saves on the night. Kane was the star on the other end, as he totaled three assists.

Stat of the game: Already leading the NHL in killing power plays, the Blackhawks and Crawford -- a lot of Crawford -- shut down the Avs on both their tries on Wednesday. Meanwhile, they scored on two power plays of their own. Crawford and the Avs' Pickard were both special on this night.

What's next: On the last stint of this lengthy road trip, the Blackhawks face the Pacific-leading Anaheim Ducks on Friday before facing the defending champion Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

W2W4: Blackhawks at Avalanche

November, 26, 2014
Nov 26
5:39
PM CT
By Brent W. New
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Here are some key things to watch for as the Blackhawks visit the Avalanche.

Hawks won’t have to face Varly: For now, the Hawks won’t have to figure out the puzzle that is Avalanche starting goalie Semyon Varlamov, who is out of Wednesday’s game with a groin injury.

Varlamov was a brilliant against Hawks last season, totaling 168 saves on 175 shots against the Hawks. He was so good that the Hawks’ only win over the Avalanche last year came against his backup Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who they beat seven times in a 7-2 win in Chicago last December.

Instead, 22-year-old Calvin Pickard will go opposite of Corey Crawford, who is making his 12th consecutive start.

Will Daniel Carcillo pull a T.Y. Hilton-like celebration after the birth of his son?: Carcillo mulled over the thought for a bit. A chance to cradle the face of his stick after a goal in honor of his son -- in the same kind of fashion Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton did with a football after he caught a long touchdown on Sunday -- didn’t seem out of the realm of possibility for Carcillo.

But a win will be good enough, Carcillo said.

“We just need to find a way and win,” Carcillo said. “I don’t know if I would do anything like (Hilton) did. Maybe. But I don’t plan for that stuff.”

Carcillo left Vancouver Monday morning and raced to the hospital -- on the shoulder of the highway, mostly -- and made it in time for the birth of his son Austin later that night in Chicago.

The Hawks winger admitted he was still tired after he took a 7 a.m. flight to Denver on Wednesday morning.

“Yeah, it’s been crazy,” Carcillo said. “But I think the adrenaline will kick in and I’ll get a good nap before tonight’s game.”

Shaw is back: Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw will play against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

Shaw, who has three goals and three assists this season, said he nor his team can start slow against on their fourth game of a six-game road trip.

“They are a team that works hard and got a lot of skill, and we’ve had trouble in this building,” Shaw said. “We have to come out hard and we got to push early. They are a hungry team up there and they got a lot to prove, and so do we.”

Hawks try to grab back momentum for road trip, part II

November, 26, 2014
Nov 26
5:23
PM CT
By Brent W. New
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
DENVER, Colo. -- It’s hard to look at a hockey game in November and deem it as a must-win game while keeping a straight face. Joel Quenneville might be able to, but even that’s a stretch.

Instead, the Chicago Blackhawks coach stayed just short of it and called Wednesday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche “very meaningful.” He looked at it as a two-fold chance to bounce back from Sunday’s flop in Vancouver and start the second half of the six-game road trip on a positive note.

“I think this is a big two points for both teams tonight,” Quenneville said. “We want to basically start this portion of our trip in a positive way and capture that momentum we had going into Vancouver. Outside of that game, I thought our game was going in the right direction. And we want to make sure that we play the right way, which is the most important thing tonight.”

A win against the pesky Avalanche could go a long way in deciding what kind of road trip this ends of being for the Hawks.

Not only would two points be a nice shot of confidence heading into a back-to-back over the weekend in southern California to face the Pacific leading Anaheim Ducks and the defending champion L.A. Kings -- both seemingly better competition than the injury-savaged Avalanche -- but it would also be another step in the right direction after a good (though not great) start to the season, especially because it would be against a team they’ve recently had so many struggles against.

The Avalanche, who rallied late to win the Central Division last year, have won four of the past five meetings between the two teams and eight of their past 11 home games against the Hawks.

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Hawks prospect Johns moving on after getting hopes up over NHL

November, 26, 2014
Nov 26
11:15
AM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Stephen Johns had to laugh when his Rockford IceHogs’ teammates jokingly welcomed him back to the team last week.

Johns could see the humor in his situation, but it wasn’t his strong feeling. Disappointment trumped everything.

The Chicago Blackhawks used Johns and his salary purely for financial purposes when they recalled him Nov. 17 and reassigned him back to Rockford the next day. The transaction allowed the Blackhawks more cap space when they placed Trevor van Riemsdyk on long-term injured reserve.

The Blackhawks used the extra money to recall two players, neither of them being Johns. He had a vague idea what the Blackhawks were doing -- he never left Rockford -- but he still took an emotional hit from the experience.

“It was a little weird,” the 22-year-old Johns said Sunday. “I didn’t really know what was going on. Kind of figured it was kind of a business transaction. You have to realize it’s part of the business, and, you know, it happens. Unfortunately, it kind of got my hopes up a little bit, but it makes me more motivated to work harder and be up there for good.”

Johns’ teammates got him to laugh a little bit after he was reassigned.

“It was a little weird, but some of the guys had some good jokes in the locker room for me,” Johns said. “It was fun. Just welcome back, some stick-taps, just some jokes. It was good, clean fun.”

(Read full post)

Prospect watch: Goalies Carruth, Darling, Tomkins have big week

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25
6:54
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Here’s a look at how some of the Chicago Blackhawks’ prospects are doing throughout the world:

Mac Carruth, goaltender, Indy Fuel (ECHL), drafted 7th round in 2010
Carruth, 22, made 23 saves and recorded a shutout in the IceHogs’ 3-0 win over the Chicago Wolves on Sunday. It was his first AHL game of the season. He is 0-2-2 with a 3.69 goals-against average and .872 save percentage with the Indy Fuel in the ECHL this season.

Scott Darling, goaltender, Rockford IceHogs (AHL), signed as a free agent in 2014
Darling, 25, picked up two wins for the IceHogs over the weekend. He had 22 saves in a 4-3 win over the Iowa Wild on Friday and 38 saves in 3-2 win over the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday. He is 7-2-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .932 save percentage this season.

Matt Tomkins, goaltender, Ohio State (NCAA), drafted 7th round in 2012
Tomkins, a sophomore, was named the Big Ten Second Star of the Week on Tuesday. He had a 1.54 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in Ohio State’s series split with Michigan State last week. He recorded his first career college shutout with 29 saves in a 3-0 win on Friday. He had 17 saves in a 3-1 loss on Thursday. He leads the Big Ten with a 2.11 goals-against average. He is also 3-4-1 with a .917 save percentage.

Ryan Hartman, forward, Rockford IceHogs (AHL), drafted 1st round in 2013
Hartman, 20, had two goals in the IceHogs’ 4-3 win over the Wild on Friday. He has four goals and four assists in 19 games this season.

Garret Ross, forward, Rockford IceHogs (AHL), drafted 5th round in 2012
Ross, 22, scored two goals in the IceHogs’ 3-0 win over the Wolves on Sunday. He has six goals, six assists and is a plus-10 in 19 games this season.

Brandon Mashinter, forward, Rockford IceHogs (AHL), acquired from Rangers in 2013
Mashinter, 26, had a goal and two assists in the IceHogs’ three wins last weekend. He has five points in the last four games and has four goals and seven assists in 16 games this season.

Dennis Rasmussen, forward, Rockford IceHogs (AHL), signed as a free agent in 2014
Rasmussen, 24, had a goal and an assist in the IceHogs’ 3-2 win over the Admirals on Saturday. He has four goals and two assists in 19 games this season.

Chris Calnan, forward, Boston College (NCAA), drafted 3rd round in 2012
Calnan, a sophomore, had two goals in a 5-3 win over Massachusetts on Friday and an assist in a 4-1 win over Maine on Saturday. He has five goals and two assists in 11 games this season.

Michael Paliotta, defenseman, Vermont (NCAA), drafted 3rd round in 2011
Paliotta, a senior, scored a goal in Vermont’s 11-1 win over UMass Amherst on Saturday. He leads Vermont as a plus-9 and is tied for second with 10 points. He has three goals and seven assists in 12 games this season.

Anthony Louis, forward, Miami Ohio (NCAA), drafted 6th round in 2013
Louis, a sophomore, had a goal and an assist in Miami’s 5-2 win over Western Michigan on Saturday. He has three goals and 11 assists in 14 games this season.

Tyler Motte, forward, Michigan (NCAA), drafted 4th round in 2013
Motte, a sophomore, had a goal in Michigan’s 8-1 win over Penn State on Saturday. He has four goals and two assists in 11 games this season.

John Hayden, forward, Yale (NCAA), drafted 3rd round in 2013
Hayden, a sophomore, had a goal and an assist for Yale over the weekend. He leads the Bulldogs with eight points. He has two goals and six assists in seven games.

Fredrik Olofsson, forward, Chicago Steel (USHL), drafted 4th round in 2014
Olofsson, 18, had a goal and an assist for the Steel over the weekend. He has eight goals, eight assists and is a plus-4 in 17 games. His 16 points set a new career high for him in the USHL.

Anders Nilsson, goaltender, Kazan Ak Bars (KHL), acquired from Islanders in 2014
Nilsson, 24, stopped 17-of-19 shots in a 3-2 win over Barys on Monday. He’s 10-3-4 with a 1.80 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in 18 games this season.

Nick Schmaltz, forward, North Dakota (NCAA), drafted 1st round in 2014
Schmaltz, a freshman, continues to be out with a lower-body injury. He has missed the last four games for North Dakota. He has one goal and seven assists in nine games this season.

Shaw expected to play vs. Avs; Sharp close to returning

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25
11:36
AM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw is expected to play against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday after missing three games with an upper-body injury, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday.

“I think Shawzy is going to skate with us today,” Quenneville said on “The Coach Q Show” on WGN-720 AM on Tuesday morning. “He’s been skating on own, and he’s been working out on his own. And he wants to play; he wanted to play last game. We expect him to be playing [Wednesday] night.”

Shaw has three goals, three assists and is a minus-4 in 18 games this season.

Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp is also close to returning to game action, according to Quenneville. He said Sharp could play against the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 3. Sharp has been out since suffering a lower-body injury Nov. 4. He was expected to miss 3-4 weeks.

“Sharpie has been skating,” Quenneville said on his show. “It looks like he’s going to be close to be playing here at the end of this trip. I would likely see him starting when we get back playing when we got St. Louis in the next week.”

Sharp has three goals, six assists and is a minus-2 in 13 games this season.

The Blackhawks have three games remaining on their six-game road trip. They’re 2-1-0 on the trip.

Top 20 UFAs for 2015 

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25
10:28
AM CT
Custance By Craig Custance
ESPN Insider
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 Martin St. Louis, Paul Martin and Antti Niemi Getty Images Martin St. Louis, Antti Niemi and Paul Martin are the top impending free agents at their positions.
When Jason Spezza signed his four-year contract extension with the Dallas Stars worth $7.5 million per season, the initial thought was that it seemed high for a player on the downside of his career.

All it took was a quick glance at the 2015 free-agent center options, and suddenly that money didn’t look so bad.

The free-agent market seems to get thinner each year, making signing your current players a smart priority. That’s one reason why Spezza likely isn’t the last to get a deal done here in the next month or so.

“You’re going to see teams try to get deals done. There might be more of an urgency to get deals done,” said one agent with a couple of high-end players in contract years. “The cap isn’t going to go up significantly, so the prominent guys are being locked in.”

Spezza would have been one of the top three players available. What does the UFA list look like without him? Here’s an early look at the Top 20, with updates on where some of negotiations currently stand:


1. Martin St. Louis, F, New York Rangers

The Rangers were St. Louis’ preferred destination when he was leaving Tampa Bay, so there’s no reason to believe he’s going anywhere. He’s been a great fit with the Rangers, was their spiritual leader during their trip to the Stanley Cup finals and has 17 points through 20 games so far this season. At 39, he might be at the point where he’s willing to do one-year deals that come with bonuses that can be rolled over.

Bowman: NHL an escape from cancer

November, 24, 2014
Nov 24
7:35
PM CT
[+] EnlargeStan Bowman
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast"Life goes on, and you can't feel sorry for yourself," Stan Bowman said of having cancer.

Earlier this month, Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray revealed in an emotional television interview that he is battling stage 4 colon cancer.

That didn't stop him from showing up at last week's GMs meetings in Toronto. He put off a chemotherapy session to tackle mundane tasks such as discussing the dry scrape. He just went to work, as he always does. Business as usual.

Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman can relate.

Bowman is not far removed from his own battle with cancer. In 2007, he was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma, when he was just 33 years old.

Working, remaining involved in the daily activities of the NHL world, was a comfort to Bowman. It kept his mind engaged and his routine steady. He was able to show his two young boys, then just 2 and 5 years old, that their dad was still Dad. That some semblance of normalcy remained.

"I wanted them to have the illusion that things were going well," Bowman told ESPN.com. "Life goes on, and you can't feel sorry for yourself."


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Patrick Kane
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