Blackhawks

Report: Blackhawks agree to terms with defenseman Michal Kempny

Report: Blackhawks agree to terms with defenseman Michal Kempny

The Blackhawks have reportedly agreed to terms with defenseman Michal Kempny, according to ESPN's Craig Custance. It's a one-year, entry-level contract worth somewhere in between $575,000 and $925,000, according to generalfanager.com.

The 25-year-old Czech Republic native registered five goals, 16 assists and owned a plus-17 rating in 59 regular-season games this past season with Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. He also racked up four points (two goals and two assists) and had a plus-7 rating in 11 postseason contests.

Kempny waited until after the 2016 IIHF World Hockey Championship ended before making a decision. He had two assists in eight games during the tournament, and was tied for the team-lead with a plus-7 rating. His performance was good enough to be named one of Czech Republic's best players.

Kempny is a 6-foot, 194-pound left-handed defenseman who's known for his puck-moving skills and his ability to play well at both ends of the ice.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman spoke with Scott Powers of The Athletic earlier this month about the possibility of signing Kempny, and provided a quick scouting report on him:

“He’s a mobile defenseman,” Bowman said. “He’s got that mixture of offense and defense. I would call him a really well-rounded guy. He can defend well in his own end. Mobility, he’s a good skater. He can transition the puck. He can sort of play a well-rounded game, which I think as a defenseman, you’ve seen our team play a lot, you have to be able to defend for our coaches to be able to rely on you. He’s got that ability to sort of play both ways.”

Kempny gives the Blackhawks an NHL-ready defenseman with the potential to slot into a top-four role, or at least take some pressure off a blue line group that lacked the depth it's had in previous seasons.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

2-17_hawks_caps_fan.jpg
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:

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

2-17_toews_blackhawks_usat.jpg
USA TODAY

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

Win one game.

That was Joel Quenneville’s message during the Blackhawks’ eight-game losing streak, which finally came to an end on Saturday night.

How about a 7-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on home ice for a streak-breaker? Now that’s more like it.

Prior to Saturday, the Blackhawks hadn’t recorded a win in February — or a win at the United Center since Jan. 12. 

Though the Blackhawks will likely miss the playoffs for the first time since Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were rookies, a blowout win over the leaders of the Metropolitan Division Capitals had to have felt great.

"It’s a nice way to get over the hump," Toews said. "Sometimes you might just win a 2-1 game or just kind of grind it out, but it was nice for us to fill the net the way we did tonight."

Added Joel Quenneville, "Certainly feels 100 times better than coming in and trying to explain how we had a lead and were unable to sustain it. The complete 60 minutes, three periods the right way, more consistency in our game, way more pace than we’ve seen recently, composure with the puck, shooting around the net. It was fun but that’s one. Let’s see how we respond to this because there’s a lot of hockey left."

The Blackhawks are 25-26-8 with 58 points, and are 11 points out the final wild card spot, currently held by the Minnesota Wild.

Among the highlights:

— Seven different Blackhawks scored: Toews, Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman

— The Blackhawks are 74-6-4 in the regular season in which Kane and Toews both record a goal — and 41-0-0 in their last 41 games, according to NBC Sports Chicago stats guru Chris Kamka.

— Kane registered career assist No. 500, becoming the sixth Blackhawk with 500 or more. Kane is also the seventh U.S.-born player with 300-plus goals and 500-plus assists, joining Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Pat LaFontaine, Joe Mullen and Phil Housley, according to Kamka.

"You think about the amount of great Americans that have played the game, how many players actually play hockey in the United States... Growing up all I wanted to do was play hockey," Kane said. "That means a lot, especially when you talk about American-born players."

— DeBrincat's 22nd goal of the season has him tied for the rookie-lead with Tampa Bay Lightning's Yanni Gourde. DeBrincat and Kane also lead the Blackhawks with 22 goals.