Blackhawks

Alumni Game Preview: Jeremy Roenick excited to rekindle rivalry

roenickalumnigame.png

Alumni Game Preview: Jeremy Roenick excited to rekindle rivalry

Comcast SportsNet will air the Stadium Series Alumni Game at TCF Bank Stadium on Feb. 20 between the Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild/North Stars. To get you ready for the game, read more about these former Blackhawks below.

Jeremy Roenick knows what it was like to be a part of the Blackhawks-North Stars rivalry back in the 90s, which began long before that.

It was no holds barred when the division rivals met.

The two teams will rekindle that rivalry during Saturday's Alumni Game on CSN, and while the intensity may not reach the level it did back in the 80s and 90s, it will certainly be entertaining for those that remember the bad blood between them in those days.

[SHOP: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

"It is going to be a blast, cause if you remember our old heydays, the North Stars vs. the Hawks, it was bedlam," Roenick said during SportsNet Central on Tuesday "There were a lot of animosity, there were a lot of great games. I think probably the worst loss that I've ever had as a professional athlete was in 1991 when we won the Presidents Cup Championship with the Hawks, No. 1 in the league, and we ended up losing in the first round to Minnesota. As I'm walking off the ice, I get hit in the face with a hot dog by this little 9-year old; talk about taking a beating off the ice and on the ice.

"There's a lot of good memories, a lot of crazy memories."

Roenick spent 20 seasons in the NHL with the first eight in Chicago, where he ranks ninth in franchise history with 596 points. In 82 career playoff games with the Blackhawks, he compiled 77 points (35 goals and 42 assists), which also ranks ninth in franchise history. Eight of those goals were game-winners.

Roenick was drafted by the Blackhawks with the No. 8 overall selection in the 1988 draft.

Check out the full rosters below.

Blackhawks Minnesota
D Adrian Aucoin D Fred Barrett (North Stars)
G Murray Bannerman G Don Beaupre (North Stars)
D Ed Belfour F Brian Bellows (North Stars)
F Dave Christian D Brad Bombardir (Wild)
F Denis Cyr F Neal Broten (North Stars)
F Eric Daze F Andrew Brunette (Wild)
F Reggie Kerr F Jack Carlson (North Stars)
D Steve Konroyd D Jon Casey (North Stars)
F Cliff Koroll F Dino Ciccarelli (North Stars)
F Dave Mackey F Jim Dowd (Wild)
F Peter Marsh D Curt Giles (North Stars)
F Grant Mulvey D Craig Hartsburg (North Stars)
F Troy Murray F Darby Hendrickson (Wild)
F Brian Noonan F Antti Laaksonen (Wild)
D Jack O'Callahan D Reed Larson (North Stars)
F Eddie Olczyk F Dennis Maruk (North Stars)
F Jeremy Roenick D Brad Maxwell (North Stars)
D Phil Russell F Basil McRae (North Stars)
F Denis Savard G Gilles Meloche (North Stars)
F Reid Simpson F Mike Modano (North Stars)
G Jimmy Waite F Richard Park (Wild)
  F Steve Payne (North Stars)
  F Willi Plett (North Stars)
  D Gordie Roberts (North Stars)
  F Bobby Smith (North Stars)
  F Wes Walz (Wild)
  F Tom Younghans (North Stars)

Check back for more alumni player profiles leading up to the game.

Four takeaways: 'Vintage' Corey Crawford steals two points for Blackhawks

crawford-1020.jpg
AP

Four takeaways: 'Vintage' Corey Crawford steals two points for Blackhawks

COLUMBUS — Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Saturday:

1. Corey Crawford steals the show

The Blackhawks had no business winning this game. They were being outshot 28-15 through two periods, committed four penalties and gave up 18 high-danger chances in the game. 

But Crawford bailed out his team like he often has done in the past, and was zoned in from the moment the puck dropped. He finished with 37 saves on 38 shots for a save percentage of .974, picking up his first win since Dec. 17, 2017.

"Yeah, I felt good," Crawford said. "I think everyone was playing hard, rebounds, taking away sticks. That was a great effort by everyone."

"He was standing on his head for us," Patrick Kane said. "As Q would say, that’s a goalie win for us."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was vintage Crow."

2. Tic-tac-toe leads to go-ahead goal

The Blue Jackets were clearly the better team through two periods. The Blackhawks were fortunate to go into second intermission with the game still tied at 1-1.

The next goal was crucial, and they got it thanks to a give-and-go play by Brent Seabrook and Kane, who buried home a wide open net to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead with 4:14 left in regulation.

Was Kane expecting Seabrook to pass it back?

"No. Not a chance," Kane said laughing. "That’s his wheelhouse, coming right down there. He scores a lot of goals from that area. Saw it was like a 2-on-2, he was coming late, he jumped in the play on the first goal, did a great job, jumped in the play on that goal. Made a great pass. When I saw it come back, I just tried to stay patient, settle it down and make sure I hit the net, because I knew I had the whole open net."

3. Busy night for PK

The Blackhawks penalty kill was very busy. It was also on it's A-game, partly because their best penalty killer was Crawford.

The Blackhawks spent 6:31 of the first 40 minutes killing penalties, allowing 11 shots total on it. But most importantly, they killed off all four penalties.

"We had some tough clears, but I thought we did some good things," Quenneville said. "We withstood some extended PK zone time there and found a way to keep us in the game. Obviously that next goal was huge and that second period was a big part of them having so much zone time, keeping us in our end. We'll say, hey good job, but Crow was the best penalty killer tonight."

4. Catching up with Kane on Artemi Panarin

Kane and Panarin spent only two seasons together, but they brought Blackhawks fans out of their seats on a nightly basis and it was amazing to watch the instant on-ice chemistry they shared. And most of it was non-verbal, which made it even more impressive. They were always on the same wavelength.

"Sometimes it takes time to build some chemistry but that was one of those things where it was like, I don't want to say instant chemistry, but after one or two preseason games we kind of new that maybe something special was going to happen," Kane told NBC Sports Chicago. "I think he scored in his first game in the NHL, we had a really good game, we had the puck a lot, we sensed that this could be a fun way to play hockey."

Off the ice, Kane said Panarin would use Google translate on his phone to communicate while Kane would try using a Russian accent while saying English words.

The two of them got a chance to hang out for a little bit on Friday and Kane still keeps tabs on his former linemate.

"I always really enjoy watching him," Kane said. "If we have an off night or something, he's a really fun player to watch."

Blackhawks and Blue Jackets both going through own challenges of Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad trade

saad_panarin_usa_today.jpg
USA TODAY

Blackhawks and Blue Jackets both going through own challenges of Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad trade

COLUMBUS — The Blackhawks and Blue Jackets blockbuster trade from the 2017 offseason is always a hot topic in Chicago when things aren't going great. It especially is when the two teams square off against each other, like Saturday at Nationwide Arena for the first time this season.

If it wasn't already apparent in Chicago, Artemi Panarin has emerged as a real NHL superstar and is set for a giant payday when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2019. He set a Blue Jackets record with 82 points in a single season and has nine points (three goals, six assists) through six games this season.

Brandon Saad, on the other hand, had a challenging first year back with the Blackhawks in 2017-18 after netting only 35 points in 82 games and is off to a slow start this year as well with zero goals and two assists through six games. After a demotion to the fourth line, he was close to being a healthy scratch on Thursday, which only magnifies where things are at as the two get ready to clash.

But Saad was never going to be able to replace Panarin's offensive production. Everybody knows that. Yet, the offensive comparisons will always be there as a barometer and that's something Saad doesn't think about, no matter how much fans talk about it.

"I don't think I do it," he said. "We're different players. He's a great player. Fans are going to do whatever comparisons they want, but at the end of the day you've got to be true to yourself and do what you bring to the table. He's a great player around the league. You can see his highlights and his goals, he's definitely a special player. But at the end of the day I've got confidence in my abilities too. We both bring different attributes, but they're going to make comparisons regardless."

A big reason why the Blackhawks reacquired Saad, other than his ability to play a 200-foot game, is because he carries a $6 million cap hit through 2020-21, which is two years more than Panarin at the same cap hit. (It's also important to note that the Blackhawks hoped they were getting a reliable, young backup goaltender in Anton Forsberg, but the injury to Corey Crawford thrust him into a role he wasn't exactly prepared for.)

It's not all rainbows for Columbus right now regarding where things stand with Panarin, who has made it clear he's not ready to sign a long-term extension. All signs point to the 26-year-old winger hitting the market, putting the Blue Jackets in a tricky situation ahead of the trade deadline. The Blackhawks very well could have found themselves in this position, too, had a deal not been made.

Both sides are dealing with their own challenges of the trade. Saad is still a key piece to the Blackhawks' puzzle and they're hoping to get more out of him, for no other reason than the team's overall success.

"You want to have success regardless of who you're playing for, who you're traded for, things like that," Saad said. "Naturally, just as competitors, you want to bring that excitement and you want to have success with the team and personally."