The Blackhawks announced Monday that they signed Mark McNeill and Phillip Danault to three-year contracts.The two were the Blackhawks' first-round selections at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft last summer, with McNeill selected 18th overall and Danault going 26th overall.The 18-year-old McNeill has 38 points this season with the Prince Albert Raiders, good for second on the team. He is also second in the Western Hockey League with four short-handed goals. McNeill has a point in 18 of his last 19 games and currently has a nine-game point streak (nine goals, eight assists).Danault, also 18, is second on the Victoriaville Tigres in scoring with 28 assists. He has 34 points in 33 games this season.
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:
Next, he clearly has had enough of whatever is being said, gets up to address the fans. pic.twitter.com/VLu4qHSSMy— Evan Sporer (@ev_sporer) February 18, 2018
After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:
Statement on the incident at tonight's game pic.twitter.com/7o02AaLQwz— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 18, 2018
Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident:
“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or in our country for racism.” — #Caps Coach Barry Trotz on an incident involving Devante Smith-Pelly on Saturday in Chicago. Four fans were ejected for taunting DSP when he was in penalty box. pic.twitter.com/kxn3uClSBY— Tarik El-Bashir⌨️🎙🏒 (@TarikNBCS) February 18, 2018
Win one game.
That was Joel Quenneville’s message during the Blackhawks’ eight-game losing streak, which finally came to an end on Saturday night.
How about a 7-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on home ice for a streak-breaker? Now that’s more like it.
Prior to Saturday, the Blackhawks hadn’t recorded a win in February — or a win at the United Center since Jan. 12.
Though the Blackhawks will likely miss the playoffs for the first time since Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were rookies, a blowout win over the leaders of the Metropolitan Division Capitals had to have felt great.
"It’s a nice way to get over the hump," Toews said. "Sometimes you might just win a 2-1 game or just kind of grind it out, but it was nice for us to fill the net the way we did tonight."
Added Joel Quenneville, "Certainly feels 100 times better than coming in and trying to explain how we had a lead and were unable to sustain it. The complete 60 minutes, three periods the right way, more consistency in our game, way more pace than we’ve seen recently, composure with the puck, shooting around the net. It was fun but that’s one. Let’s see how we respond to this because there’s a lot of hockey left."
The Blackhawks are 25-26-8 with 58 points, and are 11 points out the final wild card spot, currently held by the Minnesota Wild.
Among the highlights:
— Seven different Blackhawks scored: Toews, Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman
— The Blackhawks are 74-6-4 in the regular season in which Kane and Toews both record a goal — and 41-0-0 in their last 41 games, according to NBC Sports Chicago stats guru Chris Kamka.
— Kane registered career assist No. 500, becoming the sixth Blackhawk with 500 or more. Kane is also the seventh U.S.-born player with 300-plus goals and 500-plus assists, joining Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Pat LaFontaine, Joe Mullen and Phil Housley, according to Kamka.
"You think about the amount of great Americans that have played the game, how many players actually play hockey in the United States... Growing up all I wanted to do was play hockey," Kane said. "That means a lot, especially when you talk about American-born players."
— DeBrincat's 22nd goal of the season has him tied for the rookie-lead with Tampa Bay Lightning's Yanni Gourde. DeBrincat and Kane also lead the Blackhawks with 22 goals.