Blackhawks

Report: Blackhawks almost traded Duncan Keith for Jeremy Roenick and Tony Amonte

Report: Blackhawks almost traded Duncan Keith for Jeremy Roenick and Tony Amonte

Ever wonder how many Stanley Cups the Blackhawks could have won without Duncan Keith? According to a former Chicago GM, Hawks fans almost had to see the answer to that very question play out. 

Former Blackhawks general manager Mike Smith told the Athletic's Mark Lazerus that the franchise came "this close" to trading then prospect now two-time Norris Trophy winner and three-time Stanley Cup champ Keith to the Philadelphia Flyers to bring back Jeremy Roenick and Tony Amonte.

Smith said his successor, Bob Pulford, intended to package Keith — who was drafted by the Hawks at No. 54 overall in 2002 — with three other players to return the two Blackhawks legends, who were 34 at the time, to Chicago. The 2004-05 NHL lockout prevented the deal from happening with the trade market being frozen for the year.

Keith had a standout season in the American Hockey League with the Norfolk Admirals during the lockout and made the Hawks roster out of camp the next season. Things probably worked out for the best...

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Calvin de Haan takes next step in recovery process, joins Blackhawks for Phase 2

Calvin de Haan takes next step in recovery process, joins Blackhawks for Phase 2

Calvin de Haan took the next step in his recovery process by joining the group of Blackhawks at Fifth Third Arena for Phase 2 of voluntary skates and off-ice workouts, the team announced Thursday. 

De Haan underwent right shoulder surgery in December and was put on a four-to-six-month timetable, which would have ended his 2019-20 season under normal circumstances. But because the COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to put its season on pause, the lengthy hiatus has afforded players like de Haan to rehab their injuries and be ready to go for the 24-team Return to Play plan, pending an overall agreement between the NHL and NHL Players' Association.

"I would expect him to be ready," GM Stan Bowman said of de Haan's status in June.

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Even though Phase 2 didn't open until the second week of June, de Haan has been ahead of the curve compared to other skaters as far as on-ice conditioning goes. He was spotted skating in Ottawa in late May with a small group of players, so getting back up to speed shouldn't be too much of a challenge.

If de Haan is, in fact, cleared to play for the qualifying round, it would be a major boost for the Blackhawks, who could use his presence on the top-four against a speedy Edmonton Oilers team.

"It would be great,” head coach Jeremy Colliton said. “Obviously we've got get him on the ice and go through camp and hopefully everything continues to progress as far as his health. But I thought the games he did play, he’s steady back there and plays a hard game. He’s not overly physical, but he makes contact and he can get a stop in D-zone. Very direct, makes simple plays with the puck, underhandles it and he can make plays on the offensive blue line as well.

“And just his experience, he’s a bit of a bridge between the young group that we have and the group that’s been here. I think that’s good. He’s been in other organizations and helps the new guys to fit in because he’s a new guy, too. We’d love to get him back.”

Phase 3 of formal training camps was originally scheduled to begin on July 10, but that date is likely to be pushed back to July 13.

Report: Edmonton expected to host Stanley Cup Final for NHL's 24-team playoff

Report: Edmonton expected to host Stanley Cup Final for NHL's 24-team playoff

On Wednesday, it was reported Edmonton and Toronto would serve as the two hub cities for the NHL's 24-team playoff format under the league's Return To Play plan.

Thursday, TSN's Bob McKenzie reported Edmonton was the favorite to host the Stanley Cup Final, as well as the Conference finals, of the two cities.

"With Edmonton and Toronto being chosen as the two NHL Hub cities, the question most often asked now is, which of the two will play host to the Stanley Cup final and Conference finals? The answer, apparently, is Edmonton," McKenzie tweeted.

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He also guessed as to why Edmonton seems to be the choice to close out the playoffs on Twitter:

"I’m guessing the rationale for that decision is simply based on public health/safety/numbers. Whatever the reason(s), Edmonton it will be."

The Blackhawks are slated to take on the Oilers in a best-of-5 play-in series, expected to be played in Edmonton, on the Oilers' home ice.

Chicago was reportedly a top-4 finalist to be a hub before cuts were made.

Team training camps to lead up to the postseason are scheduled for July 10.