Blackhawks

Hawks to honor legends on Heritage Night

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Hawks to honor legends on Heritage Night

Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011
7:32 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The 1960-61 Chicago Blackhawks, who won the Cup 50 years ago, can relate to the remaining Blackhawks who won it last season. They remember the joy of claiming the Cup and the feeling of being on top. And since most were there again in 1961-62, they remember just how hard it was to do it again.

We had our eyes on it (in 61-62). We could beat certain teams. But there was always something in the second or third period, wed hit the post or it bounced off the guys stick or went off our ass. And everybody had a good club, said Stan Mikita, one of several 61 Blackhawks who are here to be honored at Sunday nights Heritage Night. Anybody can repeat. But you need luck to go with the talent.

Several of the 61 Blackhawks, including Mikita, Bill Hay, Bobby Hull, Glenn Hall and Ab McDonald will take the ice Sunday night before the 2010-11 squad hosts the New York Islanders. The 61 team will remember how great it was to hoist that Cup. On Saturday, they recalled how tough it is to hold onto it.

When you get to the top, everyone wants to knock you off. Its always that way, no matter what, McDonald said. Everybody wants to knock off No. 1. Whether they become No. 1 or not doesnt matter. They want to beat No. 1.

Wayne Hicks said, its just that it was so tough to win in those days and still is. It takes dedication and very hard work to do it. Any player whos won knows that.

The 61-62 Blackhawks finished the regular-season 31-26-13, third in the then six-team league, but lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup Finals. This years team has struggled, and was eighth in the Western Conference entering Saturdays games.

As for advice for this years team in weathering the storm, Mikita had this to say.

I would say to anybody if youre going to beat a guy, beat him with your best effort, Mikita said. The same goes for defense. You have to think, that guys not getting by me. Give him your best shot. If you dont have your best shot youre in trouble. If its the other way, youve got a chance.

Whatever advice comes, captain Jonathan Toews said its worth heeding.

No matter how good you are, you never know when youre going to be back there. To even get two rounds of the playoffs is a pretty tough thing. Obviously were learning that, he said. Last year we worked hard and now you see how difficult it is to get back to where you want to be. But were not going to let that shake us, thats for sure.
Halls take
Glenn Hall said Saturday hes amazed with how fast the pro game has become since his days. He was also struck by the size of the players and, of course, that goaltending equipment.

Even if it hits you, it doesnt hurt, he said. We had very little equipment. You used to beg to get new stuff. You figured you must be on the trading block because you asked for new equipment.

Hall faced his share of big shooters in his day. The biggest, however, was teammate Bobby Hull.

He had the hardest shot. Dont tell me how lucky I was that I didnt have to look at him in a game. I had to look at him 10 times a week in practice. It wasnt much fun facing Bobby.
They said it

I was president of the Calgary Flames for five years and I had to shower alone because I had the Indian head tattoed on my rear end. I didnt want to show them that. Former Blackhawks center Bill Hay

Lets see, whos the best-looking guy? Stan Mikita, on what current Blackhawk reminds him of himself.

Isnt he a super person? So humble. Hes an all-around hockey player. He does it all. Ab McDonald on Jonathan Toews

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night:
 
1. One too many penalties.

The Blackhawks flirted with danger in the first period when they handed the Lightning three straight continuous power plays, a four-minute double minor high-sticking penalty from John Hayden and a Jonathan Toews hooking call that resulted in a 5-on-3 opportunity for Tampa Bay for 43 seconds. 

The penalty kill unit that ranked fourth in the league entering the matchup, however, killed off all three of those penalties against the NHL's top-ranked power play, and did so in commanding fashion.

The Blackhawks went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in regulation, but couldn't stop the sixth one — a questionable slashing call on Nick Schmaltz —  in overtime when Brayden Point buried the winner on a 4-on-3 opportunity.

It was also interesting that Jon Cooper elected to go with four forwards (Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Point and Steven Stamkos) and zero defensemen during that man advantage, putting all of his offensive weapons out on the ice. It's something more teams should do in that situation.

2. Patrick Kane gets going.

After scoring just one goal in his previous 10 games, Kane found the back of the net twice in the opening frame against Tampa Bay and stayed hot against a team he historically plays well against. And he nearly netted a hat trick in overtime but couldn't cash in on a breakaway opportunity.

Kane has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 14 career regular-season games against the Lightning, and extended his point streak to five games. He has three goals and four assists over that stretch.

We wrote about how important it is for the Blackhawks' superstars to get going again with the offensive contributions mainly coming from role players as of late, and Kane getting into a groove is a perfect step in that direction.

3. How about that goaltending battle?

Corey Crawford and Andrei Vasilevskiy showed us exactly why they belong in the Vezina Trophy discussion, and as of this moment, it's hard not to include both of them as finalists. They put on a goaltending clinic, seemingly topping the other as the game went on.

The two teams combined for 71 scoring chances, and Crawford and Vasilevskiy came up big when their teams need them the most.

Crawford finished with 35 saves on 38 shots (.921 save percentage) in the loss while Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 31 (.935 save percentage), and improved to 15-2-1 on the season. 

4. Missed opportunities.

You couldn't have asked for a better start for the Blackhawks. They scored the first goal 3:49 into the game and the second on the power play at 15:54, killed off three penalties, including a 5-on-3, had 24 shot attempts (13 on goal) compared to the Lightning's 16 attempts (11 on goal) and led in even-strength scoring chances 9-6.

It was a different story the rest of the way.

The Blackhawks took their foot off the gas pedal a bit and let the Lightning back in the game by getting away from what they do best, and that's control the puck. Obviously, you expected the league's best offense to push back and it's certainly not an easy task to keep them off the scoresheet all together. 

But the Blackhawks had their chances to stay in front or retake the lead and just couldn't bury them. Tampa Bay had 50 shot attempts from the second period on while the Blackhawks had only 32, and finished with 44 scoring chances compared to Chicago's 27.

5. Richard Panik in the doghouse?

Joel Quenneville didn't go to his line blender in this one, but he did shorten some leashes. Panik, most notably, had a season-low 12:28 of ice time in the loss and had 15 shifts, which was second-fewest only to Ryan Hartman (13) on the team.

Panik had a prime chance to break a 2-2 tie in the third period but was denied by Vasilevskiy, who made a remarkable left-pad save. Instead, Panik extended his goal drought to 12 games and didn't get a shift in overtime.

He's certainly better and will get his scoring chances when playing on the top line with Toews and Brandon Saad, but the missed opportunities are magnified in tight losses. It doesn't look like a move down in the lineup is coming given the success of Alex DeBrincat, who gives the Blackhawks an offensive weapon on the third line, but perhaps it should be considered.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit first-place Lightning

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit first-place Lightning

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.

There hasn't been a more dynamic duo in the NHL so far this season than Kucherov and Stamkos, who have combined for 68 points (27 goals, 41 assists) through 20 games, and sit first and second in the scoring race.

They've each recorded a point in every game except three — which coincidentally have been the same games — and they've lost all three of those contests. Kucherov has also scored a goal in 15 of 20 games this season. That's absurd when you consider he's scoring on a consistent basis; it's not like they're coming in spurts.

To put all that into perspective, he reached the 17-goal mark in his 36th game last year and still finished second in the league with 40 goals. He hit the 17-goal mark in 16 fewer games this season. How many can he realistically finish with? 60?

2. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

Tampa Bay knows how dangerous Chicago's dynamic duo can be as well, as evidenced in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. The Blackhawks' superstars know how to get up for a big game.

In 13 career regular-season games against the Lightning, Kane has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists). Toews has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 14 games.

They're both producing at or above a point-per-game pace, and they're going to need more of that against this powerhouse Lightning team.

3. Something's gotta give.

Tampa Bay's offensive prowess is off the charts up and down the lineup. It has four lines that can come at you at waves, and a strong, active blue line led by potential Norris Trophy finalist Viktor Hedman and Calder Trophy candidate Mikhail Sergachev.

Although Chicago allows the fourth-most shots per game (34.0), it actually hasn't been bad at preventing goals — a large reason for that is Corey Crawford. 

The Lightning rank first in goals per game (3.95) and first in power play percentage (28.0) while the Blackhawks rank sixth in goals against per game (2.65) and four in penalty kill percentage (84.9).

Who's going to crack first?