Blackhawks

Despite trade rumors, they're still here

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Despite trade rumors, they're still here

This season will decide what kind of goalie Corey Crawford will be. Is he the kid who put up impressive numbers as a rookie two seasons ago and outplayed Roberto Luongo in the playoffs? Or is it the slumping sophomore, who wasnt helped at all at times by lackluster defensive play around him?

The team made a three-year investment in him a year ago, and there are no legitimate indications hes being aggressively shopped. At least without a realistic, sure-fire upgrade on the market.

Both Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville have stated with confidence that Crawford has learned his lessons and will bounce back. But that didnt prevent the general manager from pursuing the 40-year-old Martin Brodeur, who holds virtually every career goaltending record and took the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup Final. Eventually, Brodeur re-signed with the only NHL team hes played for.

Having a chance to get a guy like that, hes a great goaltender, Crawford said Friday at Blackhawks Convention. But I cant really focus on that stuff. Ive got worry about what Im doing and how Im preparing myself. All that other stuff can just become a distraction for you.

Niklas Hjalmarssons name has been one thats come up in trade discussions for teams talking with Bowman. Its been associated with teams looking for veteran defensive help, including Edmonton and Ottawa.

Not really, Hjalmarsson responded when asked if any of the rumors affect him. I cant really do much about it or think about it too much. Its up to the management. I just try to control the things I can control. Thats never really bothered me.

That doesnt affect his focus at all?

No, he said, matter-of-factly.

That doesnt bother him?

No, Hjalmarsson shrugged, looking quite believable.

As for recent far-fetched reports of Dave Bolland being shipped to Vancouver in a package for Luongo, the newlywed smiled and said, next question.

What, he wouldnt mind being a teammate of the Sedin sisters, as he once called them?

Oh, there ya go, he smiled and laughed, not wanting to take the bait.

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:

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

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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.