Blackhawks

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Niklas Hjalmarsson, Coyotes

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Niklas Hjalmarsson, Coyotes

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Niklas Hjalmarsson's new home.

Brace yourselves, Chicago. It's going to be a weird site seeing Hjalmarsson in a different sweater other than the Blackhawks, where he spent his first 10 NHL seasons and won three Stanley Cups.

Now he serves as an alternate captain and blue-line anchor for the Coyotes, who are the only team still seeking its first win of the season. You know they'll be hungry to snap that skid, especially when there's extra motivation for a player on their team facing a bunch of old friends.

2. Connor Murphy returns to Arizona, too.

The man Hjalmarsson was traded for will also be returning to a place he called home for four years. Murphy's role with the Coyotes increased every year before he was dealt to the Blackhawks as part of a shake-up for both teams, so you know he's going to play with something to prove.

Murphy is a physical defenseman, and has laid several notable big hits this season. His former teammates surely know it, and may want to keep their heads up.

3. Patrick Kane 2.0?

Ever since he was drafted with the No. 7 overall pick in 2016, Clayton Keller has drawn comparisons to Kane. They're both undersized, offensive playmakers, possess supreme stick-handling abilities and are American-born players.

Keller got a brief taste of NHL action last year, but he's secured a full-time spot with the Coyotes this season and has been arguably their best player so far.

The 19-year-old forward paces all rookies with five goals and ranks second with seven points, and leads the Coyotes in both categories. Expect to see his name as a finalist for the Calder Trophy for the league's top rookie at the end of the season.

Blackhawks receive Joseph Cramarossa from the Penguins in minor league trade

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USA Today

Blackhawks receive Joseph Cramarossa from the Penguins in minor league trade

The Blackhawks have acquired forward Joseph Cramarossa from the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward Graham Knott in a minor league trade. Cramarossa will report to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.

The 27-year-old had three points (two goals, one assist) in nine games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this AHL season. Cramarossa was the alternate captain during the 2018-19 in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, playing 56 regular-season games, scoring four goals.

Cramarossa was initially drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the third round of the 2011 NHL Draft, making his NHL debut on the Ducks in 2016. He played with the Ducks until he was traded to the Vancouver in 2017, playing in 10 games for the Canucks. He signed with Calgary as a free agent in September 2017 before being acquired by the Penguins in February 2018. Throughout seven seasons in the AHL (2013-2019) playing for the Norfolk Admirals, San Diego Gulls, Stockton and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Cramarossa recorded 72 points (32G, 40A) in 294 regular-season games.

Graham Knott is a 22-year-old forward selected by the Blackhawks in the second round of the 2015 NHL draft. Knott had eight goals in 126 career games with the IceHogs. The Blackhawks have now traded their top draft selections from 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2009. Only Dach (2019), Boqvist (2018) and DeBrincat (2016) remain from this decade.

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Patrick Kane unhappy about Sebastian Aho cross-check: 'I just don't like that play'

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NBC Sports Chicago

Patrick Kane unhappy about Sebastian Aho cross-check: 'I just don't like that play'

Patrick Kane is as durable an athlete as they come. 

Since the start of the 2015-16 season, he’s missed only one game and it was because of an illness on Oct. 31, 2018 vs. Calgary, which ended a 258-game Iron Man streak.

The only time he’s missed significant action in his NHL career came during the 2014-15 campaign when he broke his collarbone and was sidelined for the final 21 games of the regular season.

Tuesday ignited some flashbacks for the former Hart Trophy winner.

With under a minute to play in regulation and the Blackhawks trailing by one, Kane went to retrieve the puck along the boards in the offensive zone and was cross-checked from behind by Sebastian Aho. Kane took a heavy, scary spill into the boards and it looked very similar to the hit Florida Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic laid on him on Feb. 24, 2015 that ended his MVP-type regular season.

"I just don't like that play," Kane said after practice on Wednesday. "I'm pretty sensitive to that play because that's kind of how I broke my collarbone four or five years ago. I just don't like that play where you're going in, your back's turned, you get the cross-check in the back when you're unsuspecting and the puck's not there, so I think that's where the frustration came from."

There was no penalty called and Kane threw his hands up in disbelief. The unfortunate part about the play is Aho probably gets a penalty if Kane stays down on the ice, but Kane’s instincts kicked in and he quickly got back up to try keeping the puck in the zone.

Frustrating boiled over after Aho scored the empty-netter with 17.6 seconds left to ice the game. Kane skated over to Aho and gave him a cross-check of his own, which resulted in a 10-minute misconduct. 

"When I got hit like that I was just trying to keep the play alive because I thought they would for sure call it, to be honest with you,” Kane said. “But there's plays throughout the game that don't get called and that's just the way it is. That one's probably more magnified because of the situation and how much time was left."

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.