Dennis Rasmussen

Dennis Rasmussen 'fired up' after leaving Blackhawks for new role with Ducks

Dennis Rasmussen 'fired up' after leaving Blackhawks for new role with Ducks

Dennis Rasmussen wasn’t sweating free agency. The Swedish forward, who turned 27 on Monday, had heard from his agent that there were some opportunities there. Between that news and his first trip to Wimbledon, Rasmussen was enjoying his summer.

On Friday he got a new deal with his new team, a one-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks. And as much as Rasmussen enjoyed his time with the Blackhawks, he’s ready to see what he can bring out west.

“I got some calls from my agent; he said there were a couple of possibilities, some interest from other teams. But after talking I really got fired up for the Ducks,” Rasmussen said in a phone interview on Saturday afternoon. “I’m really happy about it. I’m fired up to start right away.”

As the summer progressed all signs pointed to the Blackhawks extending Rasmussen a qualifying offer; but as the deadline for doing so approached, the Blackhawks didn’t. Multiple reports said Rasmussen turned down an extension in March; he was a healthy scratch in seven of eight games from March 4-21. Rasmussen said, “with respect to Chicago and my agent,” that he didn’t want to discuss that.

“I have nothing bad to say about Chicago,” he said. “It was great to play there, the coaching staff, the organization, everything. It was really good for me and I’m happy with the opportunity I got there.”

[MORE: Moving forward, who are the Blackhawks’ center options?]

The Blackhawks lose one more potential center with Rasmussen gone. As for Rasmussen, he’s eager to see what he can do with the Ducks. He doesn’t expect the transition to be too difficult. Rasmussen knows a few players there already, including forward Jakob Silfverberg.

“Silfverberg and a few other Swedes are probably going to take care of me,” he said. “Of course it helps a lot. Especially off the ice, it’s really helpful for someone who speaks your own language and know how it works.”

While he’s mainly known for his two-way game in the NHL, Rasmussen would like to have the production he did back home. He had 16 goals and 24 assists in his final season with the Vaxjo Lakers of the Swedish Hockey League.

“I feel I have more to give on the offensive side,” he said. “I played better offensively in Sweden, and that’s something I hope I can bring in the NHL, too.”

Rasmussen will likely head to California in late August. He’s grateful for the time he had with the Blackhawks but he’s ready to see what he can do in Anaheim.

“My biggest dream was to play in the NHL, and I got the opportunity in Chicago to do that. There are a lot of things I learned [with the Blackhawks] and thankful for that,” he said. “At the same time, I’m really pumped to go to Anaheim and excited about the opportunity.”

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

Dennis Rasmussen was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks, a source confirmed on Tuesday. Rasmussen will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Rasmussen was coming off a one-year deal worth $575,000. He was expected to be among those the Blackhawks extended qualifying offers – the deadline was Monday afternoon – but he was not.

The 26-year-old played 68 games for the Blackhawks this past season, recording four goals and four assists. He gave the Blackhawks some options, as he also played some wing and was part of the penalty kill. But he was a surprise healthy scratch more often than not as the regular season continued.

The Blackhawks will enter this season without Rasmussen and, if Marcus Kruger is traded, the team will have some holes to fill at center. 

Blackhawks fall into 3-0 hole with overtime loss to Predators

Blackhawks fall into 3-0 hole with overtime loss to Predators

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Blackhawks had finally broken through Pekka Rinne. Twice. They had their first goals of the series. They had their first lead of the series.

But after taking the initiative in the second period the Blackhawks went more into a defensive mode again. Against the Nashville Predators, who have shown they’ll take advantage of any chance, hop or bounce they get, it was an opportunity.

Now the Blackhawks are on the brink of elimination.

Patrick Kane scored his 50th career postseason goal but the Predators came back, with Kevin Fiala getting the overtime winner to beat the Blackhawks 3-2 on Monday night. The Predators take a commanding 3-0 series lead; they’ll have their first chance to eliminate the Blackhawks in Game 4 on Thursday night.

The Blackhawks were subdued after this one. Save a period or so, the Predators have outplayed the Blackhawks in these three games. Now the desperation is at an all-time high.

“Yeah, it’s not easy. It’s not easy. It’s a good team and they want it. They’re pushing themselves to the limit. But we have no choice. We’ve got to find a way to put pressure on them,” Jonathan Toews said. “We’ve got to make them realize that winning that fourth game is the toughest for any team in any series. We can be that team to try and frustrate them and put pressure on them, especially in their own building in the next game. You never know what can happen, so we’ll just focus on winning the next one.”

The Blackhawks had a 2-0 lead after two, thanks to goals from Kane and Dennis Rasmussen, whose first career postseason goal snapped the Blackhawks’ postseason scoreless streak at 177 minutes, 45 seconds. The 2-0 lead after two is edge that usually meant a victory for the Blackhawks in recent years. But nothing about this Blackhawks postseason has been typical, and just over 14 minutes into the third period, thanks to two Filip Forsberg goals, they were tied 2-2.

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“We got that 2-0 lead that was nice to have and even worse to give up,” Kane said. “They kind of took over in the third, we kind of sat back. They had way more chances than we did in overtime. It would’ve been nice to have a little pushback there, especially after it was tied up.”

Coach Joel Quenneville saw it a bit different, although he still saw a big shortcoming with the Blackhawks.

“I think even parts of the first two periods, our puck management tonight wasn’t as good as it had to be. It got us in trouble on a couple of plays but all three [Nashville goals] were pretty innocent how they materialized and turned into goals,” he said. “We didn’t give up many chances over 60 minutes and overtime but we didn’t generate much at the end because we didn’t keep the puck, put it in good areas or win enough puck battles. It might have come down to that.”

Playoff goals can be different, and the Predators’ third-period ones were. The puck caromed high off the glass behind the net and bounced in front, where Filip Forsberg punched it in. Ten minutes later it was Forsberg again, tying it 2-2. The Blackhawks challenged for goaltender interference but video review ruled it a good goal.

Crawford, who stopped 46 of 49 in the loss, didn’t have much to say about the wonky first goal or the challenged second one.

“I don’t know. The game is over,” he said to both. He was more vocal regarding the Blackhawks’ current state.

“I felt pretty good but there were some tough breaks on the goals. I think everyone is a little pissed off and a little angry. We should be,” he said. “We haven’t played our best hockey yet so it’s time.”

It has to be time. The Blackhawks haven’t put together a 60-minute game yet this postseason. They really haven’t come close. Maybe you can compare this to deficits in the past but, at the same time, times change. Personnel changes. Situations change. Can the Blackhawks come back from this?

“We’re going to have to,” Quenneville said.