Blackhawks

Why Patrick Kane and Corey Crawford are Blackhawks' biggest threats for Oilers

Why Patrick Kane and Corey Crawford are Blackhawks' biggest threats for Oilers

Even though the Edmonton Oilers had the top two points leaders in Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid in the league when the NHL paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12 and would enter the play-in series at No. 5 in the Western Conference against the No. 12 Blackhawks, they know they could still have their work cut out for them against the Hawks.

On the latest Blackhawks Talk podcast, Sportsnet's Mark Spector discussed the pluses and minuses for the Oilers as they get ready to take on the Hawks under the NHL's 24-team playoff format to come out of the pause.

"The Hawks beat Edmonton two out of three times this season, which is notable. As you look at the Blackhawks as an opponent, they give up chances in a lot of categories more than any other team in the league: high-danger chances, scoring chances, a lot of shots against. 

"So you're going to get your shots at the Blackhawks' net and usually some pretty good ones. In the playoffs, when goals get a little harder to get, you don't mind looking at an opponent that has a hard time keeping the puck out of their net, and I think that's not an unfair statement for Chicago.

Related: Patrick Kane was a reason players voted against best-of-3 series

"What scares you are two things here: Patrick Kane is one of the best money players of our generation. If they can keep a game close and it's in the waning minutes and they need a goal, Patrick Kane's the guy. . . or in overtime he'll kill you. And Corey Crawford: one-hundred percent healthy, won a couple Stanley Cups. In a shorter series, this guy if he can't steal it from you, he can certainly play the role of keeping it close so the finishers on Chicago can get you late." 

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Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook practices for first time since surgeries

Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook practices for first time since surgeries

On Thursday, Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook joined the team for voluntary small-group workouts — under the NHL's Return To Play plan guidelines — at Fifth Third Arena.

The Hawks are scheduled to begin their training camp for the league's 24-team playoffs at Fifth Third, their practice facility, on Monday before taking on the Oilers in Edmonton beginning Aug. 1 in a best-of-five play-in series.

Related: If Seabrook returns, where does he fit in Blackhawks' postseason lineup?

The three-time Stanley Cup champion had surgeries on his right shoulder in December, left hip in January and right hip February. Thursday marked his first practice with the team since the surgeries.

On Saturday, The Athletic reported the blueliner wanted to suit up for this year's camp and postseason. 

Seabrook last played December 15 in a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild.

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Blackhawks restructure hockey operations department, remove eight from roles

Blackhawks restructure hockey operations department, remove eight from roles

The Blackhawks restructured their hockey operations department by changing the titles of nine staff members and removing eight others from their respective roles, according to the team's website. The Athletic's Scott Powers first pointed out the news.

Most notably, Norm Maciver was demoted from assistant general manager to vice president of player personnel. He had been in the assistant GM role for eight seasons and previously served as the director of player personnel for one and director of player development for three.

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The Blackhawks also made five promotions: Kyle Davidson's title went from assistant to the GM to assistant GM of hockey administration, Mark Eaton went from director of player development to assistant GM of player development, Ryan Stewart went from vice president of pro scouting to assistant GM of pro scouting, Mike Doneghey went from head USA scout to director of player evaluation and recruitment and Rob Facca went from amateur scout to head USA scout.

In addition, it appears three others were moved into part-times roles: Barry Smith, who previously served as the director of player evaluation, and Pierre Gauthier, who previously served as the director of player personnel, are now senior advisors of player personnel while Ron Anderson, who previously served as the director of player recruitment, is now the senior advisor of player recruitment.

The eight members who were removed from the team's website included pro scouts Derek Booth, Greg Hawgood, Steve Leach, Michael Mottau, Allan Power and Tom Younghans, player development coach Derek Plante and Rockford IceHogs/European strength and conditioning coach Kristian Skarphagen.