Blackhawks

Why Blackhawks will be forced to play one skater short against Blues

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AP

Why Blackhawks will be forced to play one skater short against Blues

The injuries continue to mount for the Blackhawks, whose injury report got even longer on Monday after two more players were added to the list. But there's an interesting twist to the equation as they prepare to host the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.

The Blackhawks will be forced to play one skater short — 11 forwards and six defensemen — due to financial reasons.

Let's recap the situation:

— Drake Caggiula (concussion protocol) has been skating for a week now, but he's not eligible to return from long-term injured reserve until Thursday against Boston.

— Dylan Strome (concussion protocol) skated on his own Sunday and joined the team for morning skate on Monday but has not been cleared to play.

— Duncan Keith (groin) was ruled out for the second straight game and Andrew Shaw will not play either because of an undisclosed injury.

— Robin Lehner is dealing with flu-like symptoms and won't dress on Monday. The Blackhawks recalled Kevin Lankinen from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis.

Because Lehner, Keith, Shaw and Strome are all out and Lankinen was recalled to serve as Corey Crawford's backup, the Blackhawks had to make a corresponding move to become cap compliant, so they reassigned defenseman Ian McCoshen to Rockford.

In theory, the Blackhawks could have opened up a roster spot by placing Strome on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 23, but they wouldn't get cap relief from it and that's the problem. According to Cap Friendly, the Blackhawks have $362,499 in cap space as of Monday. Even though the remaining daily cap hit of a potential recalled player wouldn't cost that much, the full cap hit must be accounted for before it starts to accrue and that's why the Blackhawks' hands are tied even if they had an extra roster spot open.

You don't see teams dress only 17 skaters at the NHL level very often, but it's not uncommon in the minor leagues, albeit for different reasons. It's not an ideal situation in the bigs though.

"Happens all the time in the American [Hockey] League," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Guys will get to play more. We haven’t played since Saturday and we don’t play again until Thursday. So of course, there are guys missing we’d love to have, but it’s no excuse."

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Blackhawks star Patrick Kane’s legacy will live on forever in London after jersey retirement

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Bolt London

Blackhawks star Patrick Kane’s legacy will live on forever in London after jersey retirement

LONDON, Ont. — Patrick Kane will forever be linked to the London Knights after having his No. 88 jersey retired on Friday in a special pregame ceremony. And it was an emotional moment for the Blackhawks superstar, which doesn’t happen often.

“I didn’t really expect that,” Kane told NBC Sports Chicago. “I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest with you. I spent one year here. It was a great year. It felt like more than one year with all the memories I made here and all the friends and relationships I have today.

"The video was pretty special. Obviously with the things that happened in London but even more-so maybe the things that happened in Chicago and everything coming together. You’re just standing there and that’s your career over 13 years, so I think that started hitting me.”



Kane became the ninth player in Knights history to have his number retired, but the first to receive the honor after playing just one season. It’s because it was a historic one.

As a 17-year-old, Kane registered 62 goals and 83 assists for a league-leading 145 points in 58 games during the 2006-07 campaign and was named the Canadian Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year. He went on to post 31 points (10 goals, 21 assists) in 16 playoff games before falling short in the Conference finals.

But before he committed to the Knights, Kane wasn't drawing as much attention as he would've thought. Draft experts projected him to go in the third round and Kane wasn't buying it.

“I couldn't believe it to be honest with you,” Kane said. “I thought I was a lot better than that."

Did he ever prove them wrong.

Kane quickly started to separate himself from the pack in London, and after a strong performance at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, his name was now being discussed for No. 1 overall. And that's exactly what happened.

“Just coming here, not really worrying about that stuff,” Kane said of the draft hype. “I mean, obviously there's outside noise when it's your draft year but I always said the ice rink is my sanctuary out there. That's what I love to do the most and feel the most comfortable, is being on the ice and playing hockey, making plays and trying to score goals.”

Back in London, Kane got a chance to reflect on how far he's come since his days with the Knights. He's a three-time Stanley Cup champion and a former Hart Trophy winner who's still at the top of his game at age 31.

But touring his old locker room — which he said "looks the exact same" — was a reminder for Kane on how quickly his hockey career has flown by.

"It's crazy to think I'm in my 13th year now," Kane said. "We were just looking for our team picture in the room and I was way too far from the recent teams to where I should've been looking. A little bit of time has passed."

A lot of time has passed, but Kane's impact on the organization and community is everlasting.

Screaming young fans in No. 88 Blackhawks jerseys were in awe that Kane was within reaching distance. He signed autographs, took pictures with as many as he could, shook the hand of longtime faculty members and arena workers that he recognized from his playing days in London and smiled his way around the Budweiser Gardens — which Kane knows as The John Labatt Centre.

Kane even gave the Knights a pep talk in the locker room before the game. Even though he didn't play in London very long, it says something about your legacy when aspiring players are choosing to play for the Knights because they look up to No. 88.

“That’s what it’s all about right there,” Kane said. “I remember being a little kid and looking up to certain hockey players too and wanting to be just like them, so if that’s the way this younger generation looks at me, that’s what it’s all about for me. I enjoy that. That excites me, that makes me happy.”

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NHL.com names Blackhawks 'Franchise of the Decade'

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USA Today

NHL.com names Blackhawks 'Franchise of the Decade'

We all knew the 2010s were good to the Hawks and their fans, this salute is just the cherry on the sundae. There's no arguing that with three Stanley Cups (2010, 2013, 2015) in six seasons, they're incredibly deserving of the title.

Chicago ended a 49-year Stanley Cup drought in 2010 and captured first place in the Central Division in 2010, 2013 and 2016. The Hawks also won the President's Trophy awarded to the team with the most points in the NHL in 2013 after starting the season 21-0-3. 

Who can forgot moments like beating the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the 2013 Western Conference Semifinal after trailing the series 3-1, Kane's Game 6 overtime goal in 2010 to snag the cup, 17 seconds and winning it on home ice in 2015.

"It's been special," Jonathan Toews told NHL.com. "At the end of the day it's not easy, it's a lot of hard work. A lot of teammates and friends have come through this locker room and left to play for other teams or retire -- there's always a different scenario -- but I'm pretty thankful for what I've been able to be a part of. For me, Chicago has become a home. You're around the city, people are thanking you for the championships and that will never get old. Great memories and obviously a pretty special time when were able to make those Cup runs."

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

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