'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.”

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.

Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.

"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.

"What was said this time around crossed the line."

The Capitals released a statement about the incident:

"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."

The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.

Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.

"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."

The Capitals released the full interview.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals


Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: