Blackhawks

Acquiring Patrick Sharp helped change the Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

Acquiring Patrick Sharp helped change the Blackhawks

Patrick Sharp, Jake Arrieta and Paul Konerko. Three names Chicago sports fans will never forget and they have something else in common. 

You build championship teams by making the right choices on draft day. The Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox have all done it in the last 15 years. All three teams also made some shrewd trades that changed the future of their franchises.

In December 2005, Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon made one of the best trades in team history. Unquestionably top three. "We addressed a need for speed and skill in getting Patrick Sharp," Tallon told reporters after acquiring the 23-year-old winger from the Phialdelphia Flyers.

The deal turned out to be outragously lopsided, as Matt Ellison and a third round pick went to Philly. Ellison never scored another NHL goal and played just seven games for the Flyers.  Sharp played 749 games in the Blackhawks sweater. He scored 249 goals and piled up 532 points. He was a key part of three Stanley Cup championships.

So, what does Sharpie have to do with Jake Arrieta and Paul Konerko? They were all part of franchise changing trades that led to championship parades in downtown Chicago.

Anthony Rizzo was Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer's first big trade. Kris Bryant and Rizzo turned into Wrigley's Kane and Toews. But Arrieta's move to the Cubs was just as lopsided as the Blackhawks swap for Sharp. A third key piece to the puzzle. The Cubs found a way to fleece Baltimore in July 2013, acquiring Arrieta and Pedro Strop for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Arrieta helped change the Cubs culture by transforming himself from a struggling starter that once had a bright future into a dominating Cy Young winner who threw two no-hitters and helped win a historic World Series championship. He didn't stay in town as long as Patrick Sharp, but his impact was undeniable.

Paul Konerko was a Sharp-like piece for the White Sox. On Nov. 11, 1998, the Sox stole Konerko from the Cincinnati Reds. The price for their future captain was Mike Cameron, who was certainly more accomplished than Scott Feldman, Steve Clevenger or Matt Ellison.

The Sox won big, as Konerko joined Mark Buehrle and developed into one of the faces of the franchise while winning it all in 2005. In 16 seasons on the South Side, Konerko ripped 432 home runs and drove in nearly 1,400 runs.

Three great trades in Chicago sports history and with Sharp waving at center ice this weekend, all three have now said goodbye. Thanks for the memories and the parades.    

 

Blackhawks not going to 'freak out' about 0-2-1 start

Blackhawks not going to 'freak out' about 0-2-1 start

The Blackhawks wanted to get off to a strong start this season because they know how hard it is to climb out of a hole in the Central Division. Last season was proof of that.

Well, they've picked up only one out of a possible six points through three games and are one of three teams still searching for their first victory of the season. But they're not going into panic mode just yet.

"We know there's things we have to improve upon," Jonathan Toews said. "Jeremy [Colliton] always talks about doing the right thing and over time eventually you're going to get results. I don't know if we can say we're doing things the right things that we want to and we're playing complete games right now, so even having said that, midway through the San Jose game and even against Winnipeg we were in a position to take control of the game going into the third period and we let teams back in. So I think there's a lot of ways we can play better.

"But having said that we're in those games and giving ourselves a chance to win. Obviously that's not good enough, but we're not going to freak out and say, 'we've got to start winning games.' Of course that's the goal, we wanted to get two points the other night."

The quest to pick up their first two points of the season doesn't get any easier for the Blackhawks on Monday night. The Edmonton Oilers are coming to town with a 5-0-0 record, and they're clicking on all cylinders. They have the second-best power play unit (41.2 percent), second-best penalty kill percentage (94.1), the NHL's leading point-getter in Connor McDavid (12) and leading goal scorer in James Neal (seven).

The Blackhawks know at some point they have to start stringing together some wins, but they're not living and dying by the standings right now because everything looks out of proportion. They're focused on the process and putting together a full 60-minute effort.

"It's always magnified at the start of the year," Colliton said. "Your special teams, you got [teams] with 100 percent PK, you got [teams] with 40 percent power play, and all the little things they look way bigger than they are. Would be nice for us to get a win, get some positive feelings but any three-game window among the 82, it's not going to be looked upon as closely as this one.

"So again, we've just got to focus on playing hard, playing the game the right way, do the right thing time and time again and we'll get the results." 

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Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Oilers

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USA Today

Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Oilers

Corey Crawford will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they take on the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night. He's 0-2-0 with a 4.63 goals-against average and .875 save percentage this season.

In 18 career appearances against the Oilers, Crawford is 9-7-0 with a 2.53 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and one shutout. 

The decision is a little surprising, given how well Lehner performed on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets and what his career numbers are against the Oilers. In eight starts vs. Edmonton, Lehner is 5-1-2 with a 1.86 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and one shutout.

"We're going to continue to ... both guys are going to get in," coach Jeremy Colliton said after Monday's morning skate. "They're both going to play. I'm not going to give you the road map, but today it's Crawford and we'll go from there."

The Blackhawks are seeking their first win of the season (0-2-1) against an Oilers team that's 5-0-0.

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