'Spoiled' Blackhawks impressed with new state-of-the-art practice facility

'Spoiled' Blackhawks impressed with new state-of-the-art practice facility

The Blackhawks tooled around on the ice of their new building, the MB Ice Arena just a few blocks away from the United Center. To see it, which the Blackhawks had done a few times already, was one thing. To skate in it, work out in it and pretty much make it a second home was another.

“It’s a lot of fun. I’m excited to spend some time here. We’ll be up in that shooting room a lot playing some competitions and stuff,” Nick Schmaltz said of the second-floor target-shooting stations, one of the many perks at their new practice facility. “Hopefully we get an Xbox in the lounge. We’ll be here until 8 every night.”

The Blackhawks going from Johnny’s IceHouse West to this new facility is like Dorothy stepping out of the sepia-toned Kansas and into the Land of Oz. Besides the two NHL-sized rinks there’s the fitness center, the RapidShot shooting machines and a bigger Blackhawks locker room. The Blackhawks reveled in trying some of the amenities for the first time on Thursday.

“It’s always fun to fill it out for the first day,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I thought the ice was great, the boards are great, the building’s bright. Inside the [locker] room there is second to none, has everything you’d ever want, so kind of spoiled in a different fashion.”

Corey Crawford said, “We’re pretty lucky. We’re pretty spoiled to begin with, and now it’s another level. It’s a big facility, and we have everything we need here. It’s pretty great. Definitely thankful for this.”

The Blackhawks have upgraded. Players, coaches and staff already spent a lot of time at the rink. Considering some of the perks at the new place, they may be hanging around the rink that much more now.

“We have a few gadgets and toys that guys want to test out. Upstairs in the gym guys can test out their shot. They don’t have to be on the ice all day. There’s so much space. It’s a great facility all round for guys to take care of themselves – whether it’s during the season or the offseason,” Jonathan Toews said. “Guys are going to want to be around here all day every day.”

Patrick Kane now has the fifth-most points in Blackhawks history


Patrick Kane now has the fifth-most points in Blackhawks history

Patrick Kane made Blackhawks history on Sunday night.

With two assists against the Arizona Coyotes, the 29-year-old forward now has the fifth-most points in franchise history with 781, passing Doug Wilson who had 779.

Here's the new Top 5:

1. Stan Mikita — 1,467

2. Bobby Hull — 1,153

3. Denis Savard — 1,096

4. Steve Larmer — 923

5. Patrick Kane — 781

Not bad company, huh?

Kane's two-point game came at a pretty good time. Entering Sunday, he was held off the scoresheet for four straight games, the longest streak of such since the 2009-10 season.

Kane snapped his slump with two points in a minute and 45 seconds.

"He's fun to watch," said Tommy Wingels of Kane. "People in here, people in this city are very, very fortunate to have a world-class player like that in their city."

Gustav Forsling has big night in a game Blackhawks 'had to win'

Gustav Forsling has big night in a game Blackhawks 'had to win'

Gustav Forsling couldn't have picked a better night to record three points, including the game-winning goal.

Forsling helped the Blackhawks snap their five-game losing streak with a big, comeback win in overtime against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night at the United Center.

Already with a helper on Alex DeBrincat's goal in the second period, Forsling made his presence known in the third period and overtime.

With the Blackhawks on the penalty kill and trailing 2-1, Tommy Wingels redirected Forsling's shot from the point with 3:22 left in the third. Tie game.

Then in overtime, with 4.9 seconds left, Forsling sealed it when another shot from the point went under the pads of Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner. Ballgame. Blackhawks win 3-2.

Entering Friday, the Blackhawks were 0-3-2 in their last five games. It was their worst losing streak since 2011-12, when they lost nine games in a row.

Could the Blackhawks — who are now 13-11-5 and fifth in the Central Division — have used a bigger win than that?

"We had to win," coach Joel Quenneville said after the game.

Was this game the Blackhawks needed to turn things around?