Kane, Seabrook have three-point nights in Blackhawks win over Panthers


Kane, Seabrook have three-point nights in Blackhawks win over Panthers

The Blackhawks entered Thursday night’s game knowing that, in the wake of Duncan Keith’s absence, they’d need a little bit more from everyone.

They got it.

Brent Seabrook and Patrick Kane each had a power-play goal and two assists and Trevor van Riemsdyk played a career-high 22-plus minutes as the Blackhawks beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 at the United Center.

Artem Anisimov scored his third goal of the season and Corey Crawford stopped 16 of 18 shots in the victory. Crawford also got his first assist of the season, a secondary one on Kane’s power-play goal in the third period.

Keith is sidelined 4-6 weeks after having right-knee surgery earlier this week. He had a slight limp as he left the arena following Thursday’s game. But the Blackhawks don’t have much time to lament his loss. All they can do is try to pick up Keith’s responsibilities, and he has plenty of those.

“It’ll be a collective effort,” van Riemsdyk said. “Because not one human can do all the things he does out there.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

So a few humans picked up the slack. Van Riemsdyk played a career-high 22 minutes, 34 seconds, including time on the power play and penalty kill. Seabrook recorded his three-point night in a game-high 26 minutes.

The Blackhawks won the possession battle — having eight power plays didn’t hurt them in that department. Outside of the Panthers’ getting a 5-on-3 for 1:54 — Jaromir Jagr scored near the end of it — the Blackhawks kept their opponent in check.

“We had the puck in the offensive zone a lot didn’t give them many opportunities. I thought we played a real strong team game, had lot of contributions across the board. The young guys on the back end looked fine. It was a solid two points. [It was a] little haywire there with that 5-on-3, but we got through it.”

That’s a phrase the Blackhawks may use over these next few weeks. Keith is a big loss, and it’s going to be a bumpy ride without him. But if the Blackhawks get more team-wide performances like they did on Thursday night, the time without Keith may not be as bad.

“Any time he’s not out there you definitely miss him. But like I said, the guys stepped up; they did a good job. The defense did a good job of playing together. Our forwards did a nice job of coming back and helping out… and Crow was a wall again,” Seabrook said. “It was a team effort tonight and we’re going to need that going forward.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Seth Gruen (Big Ten Unfiltered) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) join Kap on the panel. 

The Blackhawks drop their 8th straight. So should their “One Goal” be to tank?

Plus, Jon Lester isn’t a fan of the new pace of play proposals. Is he right?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here:

With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?


With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

After losing their eighth straight game and falling 12 points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks' playoff chances have dipped to a season-low 0.2 percent. It would take a miracle for them to extend their postseason streak to 10 at this point, where getting just one win seems like a monumental task.

The Blackhawks were probably never really going to be buyers before the Feb. 26 trade deadline even if they were still in the hunt, but it's hard to imagine they had plans to be sellers. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has reiterated over and over again that he's confident in this group, one that's getting younger and faster.

But now they've reached a territory where they have to consider selling off spare parts simply to coup some draft picks or prospects that they could perhaps retain or use as sweeteners in the offseason.

So which players could the Blackhawks realistically sell?

Let's start with the two players getting rewarded with top-six ice time as of late: Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels.

These are two players that play with high energy and go to the greasy areas, something that's important in the playoffs when scoring goals becomes more difficult. They can clean up rebounds. Wingels, particularly, likely has more value and it's showing given his recent success on the power play as a net-front presence guy. He also isn't a stranger to the playoffs with 54 games under his belt compared to Bouma's five.

Both of them are pending unrestricted free agents and are making $1 million or fewer, which certainly works in the Blackhawks' favor considering they won't cost much and their cap hits are easy to fit in on any interested team.

Maybe a team would like to take a flyer on Tomas Jurco, who's a restricted free agent at the end of the season, but that would be a move somebody makes as more of a longer term project than strengthening your depth for a playoff run this spring.

On the back end, Michal Kempny and Jan Rutta could be in play for a contender looking to ensure some depth as a sixth or seventh defenseman. Again, each of them are making less than $1 million so it's a low-risk situation for clubs whose Plan A or B fall through and may be interested in at least getting something.

While they don't have much NHL experience, they're both 27 years old and have played the sport long enough to know what they can bring to the table.

Once Feb. 26 passes and potential roster spots open up, expect the Blackhawks to start calling up the kids. 

Matthew Highmore deserves a look after leading the Rockford IceHogs with 20 goals and 32 points. John Hayden has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 15 games since joining Rockford, and belongs in the NHL. Even Anthony Louis, who's taken a step forward, should get a taste of the action as he continues his development.

Carl Dahlstrom is getting his shot now. Erik Gustafsson is in that process as well. Gustav Forsling had another extended look during the first half of the season before the team decided it would be wise to continue his development in Rockford, where he can play top-pairing minutes.

All of this would give the Blackhawks a better indicator of how they can approach the upcoming offseason, and which young guys they can possibly add into the mix for 2018-19. But first, we have to see how the end of February plays out before making those calls.