Blackhawks

Finally: Blackhawks-Wild starts tonight

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Finally: Blackhawks-Wild starts tonight

The Blackhawks have had several days’ worth of practice and plenty of time to heal any bumps and bruises accumulated in the first round.

Enough talk: let’s get this second-round series going.

[MORE: Konroyd's keys to a Blackhawks' victory in Game 1]

The wait is over for the Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild, who meet in Game 1 at 8:45 p.m. tonight at the United Center. It’s been a lengthy wait for both teams; the Blackhawks eliminated the Nashville Predators on Saturday and the Wild did the same to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday afternoon.

So you can imagine everyone’s really ready to get going again.

“For sure, the guys are excited,” Andrew Shaw said. “Two days in practice, two days off just amp up the guys to get ready for this one. We expect a good team coming in here.”

The Wild play a steady game that begs an opponent to be patient. It can be frustrating to bide your time but that’s what the Blackhawks are going to have to do to be successful.

“Trying to make plays, sometimes, you’re giving up the juicier opportunity the other way,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Trying to manufacture plays that aren’t there leads to trouble. But knowing when they do have the puck there are a lot of options, and that’s one of the strengths of our team as well.”

[SHOP: Get the latest Blackhawks gear here]

The Wild come into this series, the third consecutive postseason one against the Blackhawks, brimming with confidence. They’ve overcome a lot to get to this point. But coach Mike Yeo said the Wild, who have yet to win a postseason game at the United Center, still have much to prove against the Blackhawks.

“There are a lot of reasons for optimism, a lot of reasons to feel confident. But we also know what we’re up against,” Yeo said. “The last several months we’ve been at it pretty good and we’ve had to be at our best but the bottom line is, until we prove something’s different, then nothing’s changed. We have to change something here along the way.”

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.