Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks return to action against Canucks


Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks return to action against Canucks

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 8 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Anton Forsberg, you're up.

Corey Crawford is expected to miss some time with an upper-body injury, meaning the Blackhawks will have to rely heavily on Forsberg until their starting goaltender is ready to return. It's a good thing Forsberg is well rested, because the upcoming slate will be a busy one.

Tonight is the first of a back-to-back, and a stretch of three games in four days for the Blackhawks against teams who are also fighting for a wild card spot in the Western Conference. And there's a good chance Forsberg will start in all of them, with 32-year-old journeyman Jeff Glass having zero NHL experience.

2. David Kampf's NHL debut.

Lost in the Crawford injury news, the Blackhawks brought up Kampf to help provide some stability up the middle. During Wednesday's practice in Vancouver he was skating in between Alex DeBrincat and Vinnie Hinostroza on the third line. It's a young trio, but there's lots of speed and skill there.

Kampf, 22, is fourth on the AHL's Rockford IceHogs with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 30 games this season, and has seven points (three goals, four assists) over his last seven contests. He's coming in with confidence, and it helps alleviate a bit of pressure that he's playing with fellow IceHogs linemate Hinostroza and 20-year-old DeBrincat. 

3. Brock Boeser. 

We get it if you haven't watched a Canucks game this season, but this guy is the reason you should.

Boeser, a first-round pick (No. 23 overall) by Vancouver in 2015, has been among the Calder Trophy discussion as the league's top rookie for the entire season, and he's got a hot stick right now. The 20-year-old winger ranks second in the NHL among rookies with 34 points, and has scored a goal in three straight and seven of his past eight games.

Boeser has averaged at least 20 minutes of ice time in his last three games, so expect to see a lot of him, especially on the power play. He has the most goals (six) and points (15) among rookies with the man advantage.

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: