Blackhawks

Chicago Pro Hockey League set to kick off at MB Ice Arena

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USA TODAY

Chicago Pro Hockey League set to kick off at MB Ice Arena

Hockey in July? Sign us up.

The Chicago Pro Hockey League is set to begin on Wednesday at MB Ice Arena — the home of the Blackhawks practice facility — which will feature more than 80 professional hockey players from the NHL, AHL and ECHL, along with 80 elite amateurs from various Division 1 colleges, junior teams and AAA programs. 

Among the notable participants: Brandon Bollig, Alex DeBrincat, Connor Carrick, Ryan Dzingel, Christian Dvorak, Christian Fischer, Ryan Hartman, Vinnie Hinostroza, Henri Jokiharju, John Moore, Jordan Oesterle, Brandon Saad, Nick Schmaltz, Garret Sparks and Tommy Wingels. USA Olympic gold medalist Kendall Coyne is also slated to play and will be the only female to do so.

Patrick Kane was originally listed as part of the roster but is no longer on it, although he could make an appearance if his schedule allows it.

Joel Quenneville spoke at the NHL Draft about the summer league and plans to attend.

"I probably will stop by and watch some games," he said. "I'm looking forward to it. It's good for the agents, good for the players. The Boston league seemed to work well and players have fun with it. One game, no contact situation. It's good for their conditioning and keep their skills a little sharper and I think they'll have some fun with one another as well."

There will be four games every Wednesday — two for each league at 6:20/6:30 and 7:50 p.m — across seven weeks, with each team scheduled to play six regular-season games, one playoff game (Aug. 22) and the potential to advance to the championship game on Aug. 23. The games will be played at 4-on-4 with two 25-minute halves. Overtime will be played at 3-on-3 for five minutes, followed by a shootout if the score remains tied; playoff games will be played at 5-on-5, but overtime rules will remain the same.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. on game days and the cost is $5 to attend, but for those not able to, all games will be broadcast and streamed live on the CPHL website as a way to keep up with the action.

Blackhawks hoping to get players back on road trip

Blackhawks hoping to get players back on road trip

The Blackhawks were still without Duncan Keith (groin injury) and Andrew Shaw (concussion protocol) at practice on Wednesday before hopping on a flight to Boston for Thursday's game and then to New Jersey for Friday. 

With Keith out, defenseman Dennis Gilbert was recalled from the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL and participated in practice. 

Dylan Strome (concussion protocol) and Drake Caggiula (concussion protocol) will travel with the team and will be evaluated prior to Thursday's game per Hawks head coach Jeremy Colliton. Olli Maatta missed practice with "flu-like symptoms" but should be good against the Bruins. Robin Lehner, who missed Monday's game with the flu, practiced Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Tough matchup

The Blackhawks, 1-5-1 in their past seven games and last place in the Central division, will have their work cut out for them against the Bruins, who sit in first of the Atlantic division and haven't lost a regulation game at home.

"We know we have to be better at the end of the day," Hawks rookie Kirby Dach said. "It kind of starts from the top and comes all the way down, we have to find a way to compete every night, pull the rope in the same way. With the leadership group we have, they've been through so much, I'm confident in them and our coaching staff to help us, especially me, get through this."

New Jersey, last in the Metropolitan division, could be a different story. The struggling Devils underwent a coaching change, firing head coach John Hynes and naming Alain Nasreddine interim head coach a couple hours before their 4-3 loss to the Golden Knights on Tuesday.

Close one

Patrick Kane went in early during practice after incidental content with Zack Smith's arm during a drill, but Colliton said he'll be fine and good to go Thursday. 

Moms! 

The Blackhawks players will be accompanied by their mothers on the road for the annual mom's trip.

"I think it’ll give everyone a boost," Colliton said. "It’s always nice to have family around and obviously whether it’s moms or important people in your life, it’ll be good for the group to have them around."

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A decade since the Blackhawks signed Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane to extensions

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USA Today

A decade since the Blackhawks signed Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane to extensions

On Dec. 3, 2009, the Blackhawks wrote some of the grandest chapters of their rich history, along with some checks to fund them. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith all signed contract extensions with the Hawks on this day before going on the lift the Stanley Cup three times in a Hawks sweater.

Toews was 21 and the youngest captain in the NHL at the time he inked his five-year extension with a $6.3 million average annual value. The two-time Olympic gold medalist and Selke and Conn Smythe trophy winner played his 900th game with the Blackhawks on Monday and has 769 points (331 goals, 438 assists) with Chicago.

Kane, whose extension mirrored Toews', was also 21 at the time of the deal and went on to capture Calder, Art Ross, Conn Smythe and Hart trophies in addition to being the No. 1 overall pick of the 2007 NHL Draft and grabbing Olympic silver. Kane has 971 points (370 goals, 601 assists) in 930 games with the Hawks.

Toews and Kane signed another extension on July 9, 2014, with equal terms sporting an average annual value of $10.5 million through eight years. It was the highest AAV in the league when the contracts kicked in during the 2015-16 season. They are locked up through 2022-23 with a no movement clause.

Keith was 26 when he signed his 13-year extension with an AAV of $5.54 million. The defenseman, currently out with a groin injury, went on to win a Conn Smythe and two Norris trophies in addition to two Olympic gold medals. He's under contract with a no movement clause through 2022-23. Keith has a career +/- rating of +157 and 589 points (99 goals, 490 assists) in 1102 games with the Hawks.

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