Blackhawks

Sources: Hawks, Seabrook close to extension

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Sources: Hawks, Seabrook close to extension

Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011
Posted 1:54 a.m. Updated 4:11 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Brent Seabrook has been a vital part of the Chicago Blackhawks success to this point. Now it appears hes set to be part of it moving forward, too.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said Saturday afternoon the Blackhawks are getting close to signing Seabrook to an extension. TSN, citing sources, reported early Saturday that the Blackhawks are close to signing Seabrook to a five-year extension for around 30 million. Bowman wouldnt comment specifically on details of the deal, other to say that he figures the deal will be done soon.

WATCH: Bowman optimistic with Seabrook; trade coming?

Its not completely done yet, but were getting close, Bowman said. Weve been working on it a long time and sometimes these deals take a while to get done. (Seabrook) is a big part of our group we have here. Hes been instrumental at getting us to the point were at and hell be instrumental at keeping us at this level.

Seabrook has four goals and 29 assists in 61 games this season. He averages 24 minutes, 25 seconds of ice time per game, second-highest on the team.

The 25-year-old Seabrook, who wouldve been a restricted free agent at seasons end, is making 3.5 million this season. Seabrook has gone about his business on the ice but said the contract situation has been on his mind.

Ive tried to just put it out of my mind but it is something Ive thought about, he said following Saturdays practice. Its one of those things that Im going to be very happy when its over.

Once Seabrooks deal is finalized, it locks up another key member of the Blackhawks defense. Bowman said that was important.

Defense is the key that makes everything go for us, he said. We have a lot of skilled forwards and were depending on having mobile, puck-moving defensemen. If you look around, the teams in the league that dont have a strong defense dont do very well.

Coach Joel Quenneville said its important to have Seabrook going forward.

Hes a big part of the team, Quennville said. Hes got great leadership qualities, plays good quality minutes and gives us a physical presence. That pair (Seabrook and Duncan Keith) was really instrumental in us winning the Cup. Hes part of that mix and itd be nice for him to be here a long time.

WATCH: Blackhawks are a destination team

"Hopefully that happens," team president John McDonough said. "It's a statement that a top-tier player wants to stay in Chicago and play for the Blackhawks. We try to keep that core together and the core is expanding. As that continues, we realize Chicago and the Blackhawks have become a real good destination."

Leddy here to stay

Nick Leddys days of doing the Rockford shuffle are over this season, Stan Bowman said Saturday. For Leddy, whos recently been paired with Duncan Keith, its a chance to keep developing with the Blackhawks on a daily basis.

Now hes up here for a regular basis itll be good for him. But you have to appreciate how quickly hes absorbed quality and quantity minutes and he seems to be comfortable no matter whos on the ice, Quenneville said. His imagination and patience level with the puck is high end. Hes very poised and he can only keep getting better off these levels.
Boynton to Flyers

Nick Boynton, who the Blackhawks placed on waivers on Friday, was picked up by the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. The move gives the Blackhawks some flexibility with the cap and roster.

Boyntons last game with the Blackhawks was Feb. 7 in Calgary. Hed been a healthy scratch since, replaced by Jordan Hendry.

I think Nicks been OK this year. He did a good job for us last year, especially coming into the finals the way he did, coach Joel Quenneville said. Weve gotten a look at Hendry and I think hes coming off his best game the other night. He had some quickness in his game.

Briefly

Niklas Hjalmarsson did not practice on Saturday. Quenneville said it was a maintenance day and that the defenseman will play Sunday night against Phoenix.

Corey Crawford will get the start Sunday against the Coyotes.

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?