Andrew Desjardins ready to resume role with Blackhawks


Andrew Desjardins ready to resume role with Blackhawks

Andrew Desjardins had to adapt quickly to his Blackhawks surroundings last spring. He did so with flying colors, playing a key part of the team’s third Stanley Cup in the past six seasons.

As this season begins, he has another adjustment to make: trying to tune out Andrew Shaw, whose stall is now next to his at Johnny’s IceHouse West.

“We talked about that,” Desjardins said. “We may each have to get earplugs.”

[MORE: Blackhawks continue prepping for 3-on-3 OT]

From his friendships and verbal in-jest jousting with teammates to his play that helped him claim his first Cup last June, Desjardins has found his place with the Blackhawks. A trade-deadline acquisition that met with little mention or fanfare, Desjardins carved a niche on the fourth line where he developed great chemistry with Shaw and Marcus Kruger and signed a two-year deal to return to the Blackhawks in July.

Despite being one of the Blackhawks since last spring – he said he really started to feel comfortable when the first round began – Desjardins said it’s beneficial being with them from the start this season.

“It was good to go through the whole process of Notre Dame, being with the guys throughout camp," Desjardins said. "I think that can go a long way, [having] that little bit of bonding at the beginning and not just jumping in and the final push and everything’s go, go, go. So it was good to get there. It was good to get back with the guys. Not too much has changed; guys are kind of back to the norm.”

And despite coming off the shortest summer of his NHL career, Desjardins is more than ready for this season.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up for the 2015-16 Blackhawks season!]

“It was good, though. It’s amazing how you get back into it pretty quick with the short summer. It doesn’t seem like it takes as much,” he said. “You’re still working hard but you jump back into it pretty quick.”

The Blackhawks had plenty of roster changes this summer and lines will look different. If the Blackhawks want some familiarity to start, they could certainly put Shaw, Desjardins and Kruger back together. Who knows if that happens, but with uncertainty on combos and chemistry with other lines, there’s no doubt on this one.

No matter the line combination, which may or may not include his talkative Johnny’s IceHouse locker-room neighbor, Desjardins is ready to build off a very successful half season here.

“Whatever way it goes, I think we have to concentrate on our role. If we do we’ll be successful no matter who we play with,” Desjardins said. “[Line combos are] up to Q and that’s how we have to approach it. It’s great to be familiar with guys but we’re just trying to do the best we can to fill that role.”

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: