Blackhawks

Former Blackhawks looking to spark Flames

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Former Blackhawks looking to spark Flames

CALGARY, Alberta – Brandon Bollig said he and former teammate Jonathan Toews almost dropped the gloves in their last meeting in Chicago.

Almost.

“I asked him last game, he said yes and I kind of backed down. I got scared. I didn’t want to get beat up by one of the best players in the league,” Bollig said to laughs. “Maybe tonight I’ll muster up the courage.”

All possible pugilist matchups aside, former Blackhawks' Bollig and Michael Frolik and the Flames are looking to fight their way back into the playoff picture. The Flames went to the second round of the playoffs last spring; the Anaheim Ducks ended their run in that round. But they have struggled for consistency this season; they've won just two of their first 10 games and have been playing catch-up ever since.

[MORE HAWKS: Marko Dano out vs. Flames]

So what gives?

“I definitely don’t have the answers as to what happened, or else I think we may be in a better spot,” said Bollig. “We surprised a lot of people, we flew under the radar of a lot of teams last year and had a lot of third-period comebacks and late goals that helped us out a lot. Making the playoffs, making the second round was a huge surprise for a lot of people. We knew what we had in this room. This year we were hoping to duplicate that with a good tart and obviously that hasn’t happened.”

Frolik was an offseason addition, the forward signing a five-year, $21.5-million contract as an unrestricted free agent over the summer. Frolik, who was an offensive-minded player in Florida before becoming a defensive/checking guy for the Blackhawks, is back to being more of a top-six forward. He has four goals this season but three of those came on Oct. 31 against the Edmonton Oilers. Frolik, who’s a dad now – his daughter is 11 months old – is enjoying his new team and surroundings.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“It’s obviously more fun when you get a little more ice time and the role is a little bit bigger. For sure it’s more fun and I tried to enjoy it. I’ve changed teams a few times so it’s always something new,” Frolik said. “I’m starting to settle down here and I think it’s been good so far.”

The Flames aren’t surprising anyone this season. Theirs is an uphill fight in the standings but they’re hoping to start putting things together.

“We’ve done a lot of positive things,” Bollig said. “Playing teams like the Hawks, we know in order to be successful we have to beat teams like this. So that’s a big key for us and there are plenty of positive things we’ve been doing. We just have to go out and get the results because ultimately that’s all that matters.”

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: