Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Bryan Bickell still feeling vertigo symptoms

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Blackhawks: Bryan Bickell still feeling vertigo symptoms

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Bryan Bickell said he felt like he was staying with the Blackhawks when he talked at the team convention back in July.

And as Blackhawks training camp begins, he is.

“There’s always rumors and thoughts but I felt comfortable from last year to be a Hawk,” Bickell said after the first day of camp finished at the University of Notre Dame. “You don’t want to leave a team like this where we’ve been through, where I’ve started in this system, as a team.”

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Bickell said he tried to tune out the rumors over the summer. Now he’ll try to get his health completely back after a frustrating end to the 2014-15 season. Bickell struggled with vertigo as the Stanley Cup Final began against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He reported feeling better at the convention, not long after he had a tooth pulled. But on Friday, he said he’s still feeling the affects of vertigo.

“There [are] still symptoms over the course of different situations but I’m working on it every day to get better and better and hopefully it leaves sooner than later,” said Bickell, who was frustrated when he was sidelined by it last spring. “You just want to be out there. Then [over] the course of the summer you think things are getting better, then you kind of take a couple steps backwards. But I think these last couple weeks we’re taking the right steps and just need to stick with the system that’s working and hopefully it doesn’t have to take a couple steps backwards. Just keep moving forward.”

Part of Bickell’s moving forward means having a stronger season. He’s still looking to match the play he had in the spring of 2013, when a stellar postseason led to his current four-year, $16-million deal.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“Bick, I think, is one of those players you’d like to find that consistency in his game. If he puts that all together, he’s that power forward every team craves,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ve seen him have good games, good stretches in the playoffs, regular season and in games [he’s had] good moments, but the total package is what we’re looking for. I don’t think anybody has a mulligan to have an ordinary year, in thinking that will be good enough. Everyone should have high standards, consistency; that’s where we want to have him nail it.”

Bickell needs to find that consistency again, especially since the Blackhawks lost several veterans via trade. They need remaining ones to step up and contribute that much more while youngsters/newcomers adjust. As of now, he’s got a chance to do that here.

“Chicago still wants me. And then to be here, to have this moment, I just need to have a great year. This is a crunching year for me to get ready,” Bickell said. “Hopefully I can stay here my whole career. If that was written down on paper, I’d take that for sure.”

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

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AP

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: