Blackhawks: Eddie Olczyk honored with Ring Lardner award


Blackhawks: Eddie Olczyk honored with Ring Lardner award

Eddie Olczyk talked of his love of covering the Blackhawks. The same went for the Kentucky Derby, which he’ll be covering again next month.

“I’m not embarrassed to say all I know is hockey and horses, pucks and ponies, whatever you want to call it,” he said.

Olczyk’s talent at calling hockey and horses earned him the 2016 Ring Lardner Award for Broadcasting, and Olczyk was honored for that at a ceremony on Monday night. Former Sun-Times sports columnist Ron Rapoport (Print) and the late Doug Buffone (Posthumous) were also honored.

For Olczyk, being recognized for his work behind the microphone is another great moment in an illustrious post-playing career.

Pat Foley, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame for broadcasting in 2014, said he figures Olczyk will be there some day, too. Foley, who called Blackhawks games when Olczyk played here, said the two hit it off immediately when they became broadcast partners.

“People ask about our chemistry. It’s been instantaneous because we go back a long way,” Foley said. “In terms of being honored, when he calls a hockey game, he acts like a coach. He watches the game like a coach. He takes every opportunity he can during a game to point out a teaching moment. I’ve been around the game for 40 years, and I learn things regularly [from him]. He’s a great teacher of the game and he’s always going to have a coaching element to how he approaches things.”

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Olczyk said he knew from the time he was 12 or 13 that he was going to be involved in sports, be it playing or as part of the media. He ended up doing both, turning a great NHL career into a great post-NHL one. He talked of his broadcasting career start on local radio. His first broadcast work on TV, which was to be April 21, 1999, was canceled in the wake of a tragedy. The Columbine massacre occurred that day, and the Colorado Avalanche opened that first-round series against the Sharks in San Jose, instead.

Olczyk was a finalist for the Blackhawks’ color analyst job in 2000 – Dale Tallon did it for those next few seasons – before getting the job in 2006. He and Foley have been the Blackhawks’ broadcasting tandem since 2008.

“We try to teach the game, make you laugh,” Olczyk said. “It’s the one thing I love about being with Pat: there’s incredible timing, incredible feel and we hope it comes across the broadcast each and every night, whether the Blackhawks are winning and losing.”

Olczyk joked that all he knows are pucks and ponies. His great knowledge of both has helped him enjoy a fruitful post-hockey career.

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?