Blackhawks

Welcome back: Return to the booth is Eddie Olczyk's 'best medicine'

Welcome back: Return to the booth is Eddie Olczyk's 'best medicine'

ST. LOUIS – Eddie Olczyk’s morning at Scottrade Center was full of hugs and handshakes, of questions and encouraging words, of smiles and even some tears.

It was a busy morning but a good one for Olczyk, who Wednesday night will do his first hockey broadcast since being diagnosed with colon cancer in August. For the first time in a while, Olczyk felt like himself.

“It feels normal. It feels comfortable,” said Olczyk, who will be alongside Doc Emrick when the Blackhawks face the St. Louis Blues. “I just feel invigorated. Seeing a lot of familiar faces, guys busting chops and a lot of well wishes.”

Olczyk went through his usual game-day routine, including quick chats with Blackhawks players following skate. On Wednesday those talks were that much more special, for both sides.

“Great to see him,” said Ryan Hartman. “When I first saw I was pretty excited to see him back. It’s definitely a presence you know when you’re watching games, that voice you heard growing up. He looks good, looks healthy. He’s in a battle but he looks really good.”

Olczyk will also be in the booth on Thursday night when the Blackhawks host the Edmonton Oilers. Past that, he’ll play it by ear. He’s talked to NBC and Blackhawks president John McDonough, who Olczyk said gave him an “open canvas” in terms of scheduling. If Olczyk feels good on Saturday and the Blackhawks play on Sunday, he’ll try to get back in the booth.

“We think about him every day and we’ve had the pleasure of having him come by a couple of times. Having him be here today for a road game is great to know,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “But he has a tough battle ahead of him and he’s doing everything he can to fight it. We support him every single day.”

Olczyk started chemotherapy treatments in September and he has his good and bad days. Those will continue for a while. So will his fight to completely beat this. But for at least the next two nights Olczyk gets to return to a normal routine, and that’s the perfect panacea for a trying time.

“I’m overwhelmed with everybody,” Olczyk said. “But this is the best medicine I’ve had in a long time.”

Robin Lehner tweets hilarious cartoon ahead of Game 2 against Blackhawks

Robin Lehner tweets hilarious cartoon ahead of Game 2 against Blackhawks

Robin Lehner got the best of his former team in a 4-1 win — saving 19 of 20 Hawks shots — in Game 1 on Tuesday, but that didn't stop the 29-year-old goalie from having a little fun on Twitter ahead of Thursday's Game 2.

Related: Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner's birthday cake is ureal

During Game 1, Lehner had to have a skate blade repaired twice in the second period. The first time Lehner had trouble with his skate on Tuesday, the Hawks were able to hit a post before the next stoppage.

The tweet from Lehner posted at 11:03 a.m. CT on Thursday features a cartoon of a panda, which often represents Lehner in his other tweets, fixing his skates in front of a Hawk. 

The homage to Lehner and Game 1 appears to have originated from artist Juan Muniz.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.

How Blackhawks will try to generate more offense in Game 2 vs. Golden Knights

How Blackhawks will try to generate more offense in Game 2 vs. Golden Knights

It's no secret that the Blackhawks need to generate more offense on Thursday against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 2 of the first round Stanley Cup Playoff series.

The Hawks only had a short-handed goal from David Kampf to show for their efforts in Tuesday's 4-1 Game 1 loss. Although, Brandon Saad made one of the top plays in the postseason to set up the goal by stealing the puck in the Golden Knights' zone to set up Kampf. 

The potential for more offense is there. Chicago scored 16 goals against the Oilers in the qualifying round. The tallies ranged from greasy goals to snipes and power-play markers. 

Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton has the Hawks playing the Knights a little bit tighter with Vegas' ability to roll four lines, but he still thinks they can find a way to outscore their opponent. 

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.

"We have to protect the puck in the offensive zone a little more, establish a little bit more zone time, force them to defend for longer periods," Colliton said on Wednesday prior to a Hawks practice in the bubble. "I think they’re a big team, they’re good at getting pucks back, they want to overload in D zone. If you can hold it longer, sometimes you can create something. We just want to have possession more in the offensive zone and get out of our own end quicker."

Against a big goalie like former Blackhawk Robin Lehner, who saved 19 of 20 shots for Vegas in Game 1, the Hawks need to get to the net and create more traffic in front to inhibit his ability to play and see pucks.

"This time of year, it starts with possession down low. They box in pretty good getting shots from the point, but as forwards, we've got to work harder to get to that net to help our D-men and get eyes in front of Lehner," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Wednesday. "There were still some situations yesterday where we had some Grade-A chances and we didn't shoot the puck. We've got to take those shots, we can't hesitate. 

"They're throwing pucks from everywhere on Crow and trying to get ugly goals and that's how we're going to score this time of year in these playoff games. Against a team like Vegas, it doesn't have to be pretty. We need to test Lehner a little bit more, throw it at his feet, get in there and try and find some of those 'ugly goals' as we always say. It's pretty simple."

The Hawks scoring ugly goals against the Oilers was a big reason they advanced in the postseason tournament. Five of the Blackhawks' 16 goals against the Oilers came off deflections. 

They'll need to get to the net and try to score in similar fashion to even the series in Game 2. Otherwise it could get away from them.