Blackhawks

How NHL's expansion to Seattle affects the Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

How NHL's expansion to Seattle affects the Blackhawks

After the incredible success the Vegas Golden Knights had in their inaugural season, the NHL announced Tuesday that it will welcome a new franchise to Seattle in the 2021-22 season.

What does that mean for the Blackhawks? A couple things.

With the league expanding to 32 teams, the Western Conference will see some realignment in its divisions.

Starting in 2021, the Central Division will expand to eight teams with the Arizona Coyotes moving in to make way for the Seattle franchise in the Pacific Division. An already tough division only gets tougher.

Second, there will once again be an expansion draft which will impact all rosters around the NHL. 

When the Vegas team had their expansion draft in 2017, the Blackhawks were able to protect 11 players. The only player lost directly to Vegas in the draft was defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, who was traded shortly after to Carolina.

In 2021, the NHL will follow the same rules, with the Seattle team needing to select one player from every existing club except for the Golden Knights.

The Blackhawks – and every other team – have the option to protect seven forwards, three defenseman and one goaltender. Or, they can protect eight total skaters and one goalie. The incentive to keep more than seven forwards or more than three defensmen – depending on the team – would result in the penalty of exposing more players to the expansion draft.

Players with no movement clauses in their contracts will be forced to be protected and count towards the allotted total of protected players.

The Blackhawks currently only have five players signed to contracts into 2021: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Connor Murphy. All but Murphy have no movement clauses. 

First and second year players, as well as unsigned draft choices, are exempt from the draft and do not need to be protected. 

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Toronto cancels city-wide events until June 30: here's what it means for the NHL

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USA Today

Toronto cancels city-wide events until June 30: here's what it means for the NHL

Tuesday afternoon Toronto Mayor John Tory announced the city would cancel all major city-wide events until June 30. For baseball fans hoping to start their season and basketball and hockey fans hoping to get back into the swing of theirs, the news makes it hard to envision live sports returning before July. 

What does this mean for the NHL? Well, technically the ban is for city-wide events such as parades, events, festivals, and other cultural programs, excluding the NHL. 

However, professional sports will have to contend with the province of Ontario, which banned gatherings of more than five earlier this month. 

The NHL recently reached out to arenas asking for their availability in July and August. 

The idea of finishing out the 2020 season in summer is becoming more and more likely as governments continue to grapple with the severity of COVID-19. There have been speculations about what this new schedule will look like for the NHL, including a shortened 2020-21 preseason and eliminating by-weeks and All-Star weekend. This will present its own unique challenges, including arenas in warmer climates struggling to maintain ice quality for summer games. But if more major cities follow Toronto’s lead, all we know for certain is that a return to normalcy may be longer than anticipated. 

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Which teammate would Jonathan Toews most and least want to quarantine with?

Which teammate would Jonathan Toews most and least want to quarantine with?

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews spoke with the media on Tuesday for the first time since the NHL was paused on march 12.

Toews, along with defensemen Roman Josi (Nashville Predators) and Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis Blues) represented the Central Division on a video conference call held by the NHL.

The trio answered a variety of questions, including which teammates you'd most and least want to be quarantined with.

"I guess I'll start with the most. I'd probably say Corey Crawford," Toews answered. "He's just kind of an easy going guy. Whatever you want to do, he's down for whatever."

And for who he'd least like to be quarantined with? You could probably guess.

"And I'd say least, since I roomed with him for so long, I'd have to say Kaner (Patrick Kane). There's some ups and downs through that relationship there."

The three players were also asked what they missed the least about playing one another. Pietrangelo and Josi had interesting responses on Toews.

"Jonny's just a pain in the a** to play against. Oops, pardon my language," Pietrangelo responded. "I battled a lot with these two guys (Toews and Josi). More so Jonny because he's a forward, but we've had a lot of battles. 

"But, you know what, God, I’d welcome those battles. I think right now we miss those battles. I don’t know about you guys, but we could use a few of those battles."

"Like [Pietrangelo] said, I obviously see a lot more of Jonny, as a forward, but I mean just chasing him around in our zone, for I don't know how long, and can't take the puck away from him, trying to cross-check him," Josi answered. "Just him around the net it's not fun as a defenseman, you can't really get the puck off him. We had some really good battles against Chicago, some really good playoff series. We all miss it."

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