Blackhawks

Blackhawks have to build on what progress they’re making on PK

Blackhawks have to build on what progress they’re making on PK

Coach Joel Quenneville gave a bit of a grin and a laugh when asked about the penalty kill, which has, if you’re looking for positives, killed off six of its last seven penalties.

It’s progress, right? Especially when those successful kills have come at the end of the Blackhawks’ last two games, leading to three of four points?

“It was a big chance to kill it down a goal, and have to kill one at that stage of the game, certainly gave us a chance. [Brent Seabrook] makes a big block on a 2-on-1 and we get a chance to score and tie it up. We were fortunate at the end of the day,” said Quenneville, speaking specifically of the Blackhawks’ late kill against the New Jersey Devils, who they came back to beat on Saturday. “But I still think there are some areas we have to be better at and look to build on the positives we’ve achieved.”

That last part is important. The Blackhawks still haven’t gotten through a game where they’ve been perfect on the penalty kill but they’ve been better the last few games.

As Marcus Kruger said, “we have to start somewhere.”

“It’s more about us being on the same page, being in shooting lanes, blocked shots. We need all of that. It’s not just one thing,” Kruger said. “It’s been a little bit better here. Every day we talk about it and learn from previous games. It would be nice to have a game where we kill all of them off.”

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So why have recent late-game kills been successful? Is the urgency that much higher in the third periods?

“I think urgency right now is, from the get-go, pretty much there,” Kruger said with a grin. “Some of those kills have been late in games, and maybe we’ve been a little bit sharper. I don’t know. But we want to do the same thing every game, every penalty kill.

“I don’t think it’s the urgency, really,” Kruger continued. “But it can give us confidence, killing them off late in games and getting a chance to tie it like we did last night.”

As a whole, this season is more of an early work-in-progress early than the Blackhawks have experienced the last few years. The kill just happens to be part of that.

“As a group, let’s take pride in working together, let’s make sure we’re getting good pressure up ice, good pressure on entries, good clears, [get in] shooting lanes, all the things that have an effect on a penalty killing unit,” Quenneville said. “Let’s think of getting good rotations where we’re going short, and it gets energy among the whole group.”

Forsling improving

Defenseman Gustav Forsling, who suffered an upper-body injury against Calgary on Monday, returned to practice on Saturday. While Quenneville originally said Forsling could come back Sunday vs. the Los Angeles Kings, he’s now targeting Forsling’s return for Tuesday against the Flames.

“I’m feeling better and better every day. It’s progress with practice today and I’ll try to get back as soon as possible,” said Forsling. “I want to be good when I’m back.”

Briefly

- Marian Hossa did not practice on Saturday (maintenance day) but is expected to play on Sunday.

- Corey Crawford will start vs. the Kings.

- Vinnie Hinostroza is expected to play against the Kings. He was a healthy scratch the previous four games.

- Andrew Desjardins (lower body) skated prior to the Blackhawks’ practice on Saturday. Said Quenneville, “we’ll get a better indication, see how he progresses, from [Saturday] to [Sunday.]”

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: