Blackhawks

Elmhurst native Garret Sparks makes history with Maple Leafs

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Elmhurst native Garret Sparks makes history with Maple Leafs

Scott Darling isn't the only Illinois native to make history during his rookie season as an NHL goaltender.

Add Garret Sparks to that list.

The 22-year-old Elmhurst native became the first goaltender in Toronto Maple Leafs history to pitch a shutout in his first career NHL start, stopping all 24 shots in a 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night.

[MORE: NHL Central Division roundup: Blues display consistency in November]

Sparks was recalled from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League over the weekend to back up Jonathan Bernier after an undisclosed injury sidelined starting netminder James Reimer.

Sparks posted an 8-2-1 record with a 1.90 goals against average, .938 save percentage and two shutouts in 11 games with the Marlies this season. He was named the AHL's Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 8.

Sparks previously spent three seasons with the Ontario Hockey League's Guelph Storm and two years with the ECHL's Orlando Solar Bears. He was also part of the USHL's Chicago Mission under-18 team that won the 2009 national championship.

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Sparks was a member of the United States' gold-medal team at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships.

He was selected in the seventh round (190th overall) by Toronto in the 2011 NHL Draft. 

Sparks spoke to the hometown crowd following his NHL debut and got emotional during his postgame interview. Check it out in the video below. 

Blackhawks deal Michael Kempny to Capitals for conditional third-round pick

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks deal Michael Kempny to Capitals for conditional third-round pick

The Blackhawks dealt defenseman Michael Kempny to the Washington Capitals for a third-round pick. Kempny had seven points in 31 games this season.

Kempny, 27, recorded 15 points in 81 career games for the Blackhawks. He tallied an assist in Saturday's 7-1 victory over the Capitals.

Kempny signed a one-year extension through the end of this season back in May.

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.