Blackhawks

Another move doesn’t bother Kris Versteeg

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Another move doesn’t bother Kris Versteeg

Kris Versteeg should get a discount with moving companies by now.

The former two-time Blackhawks forward approached this latest trade deadline with an open mind because he knew it was damn likely he could be headed elsewhere again.

Sure enough, he was.

“When you stop getting traded is really the time I’m going to worry,” said Versteeg, now with the Los Angeles Kings. “It’s part of the game. But it’s exciting to come to another team that’s a contender. They’re a good team every year with great players, great guys and I’m just trying to help out.”

Versteeg has gotten used to moving around. Since coming to the NHL in 2007, Versteeg has played for the Blackhawks (twice), Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes and now the Kings, who will play the Blackhawks tonight at the United Center.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans]

The forward has always been cognizant of the business side of the league. Versteeg doesn’t sweat this stuff anymore. Still, he’s got other considerations now. He and his wife welcomed their first child last June, and they have another on the way. But Versteeg said his family handles it all well.

“It’s exciting for them, too, to go around and visit new plays, kind of be touristy,” he said. “It’s maybe difficult at the start of the process when you have to move everyone out and have to find a home. Besides that it’s work as usual, and I think they’re happy with that.”

Versteeg is once again part of a contending team. The Kings have won seven of their last 10 games entering tonight and Versteeg isn’t surprised they’ve continued to have success year after year.

“You knew when you were playing the Kings that you had to keep your head up for 60 minutes, or someone was going to try to take it off for you. It’s a team that keeps you honest for an entire game. Now coming in and seeing it first hand, these guys finish every check, they keep other teams honest,” Versteeg said. “Just like every top team, they’re always hungry and determined to be better each game.”

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Corey Crawford’s season debut after missing nearly 10 months with a concussion.

Mayers talks about the Kitty system that Niklas Hjalmarsson and Vinnie Hinostroza probably dealt with in their returns to Chicago.

The guys also discuss what’s next for Crawford, the upcoming matchup against Artemi Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Blackhawks’ biggest areas for improvement.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center on Thursday:

1. Return of the Crow

The Blackhawks got their man back between the pipes after a 10-month layoff due to a concussion. And he looked like same old "Crow."

Crawford stopped 27 of 30 shots for a save percentage of .900. He faced 12 shots and eight scoring chances in the first period, but nothing too out of the ordinary. The biggest save he made was on a Michael Grabner breakaway in the third period, bailing out a turnover in the neutral zone.

"I think I felt better in the second and third," Crawford said. "But they really didn’t get that many opportunities early. It was nice. I think they flipped one in for the first one, so that was kind of good just to get in it and feel one early. We were close in that one all game and we created a lot. I thought [Antti] Raanta played really well.

"It was a tough, tough break at the end. Still felt I should have stopped that one. We were right there, we were creating a lot and gotta try to come up with that one. Just gotta forget about it and worry about the next game."

2. Alex DeBrincat, Jonathan Toews extend point streaks

The hot start continues for the Blackhawks' two leading scorers, both of whom assisted on Erik Gustafsson's goal in the second period to stretch their point streaks to six games. DeBrincat and Toews each have 10 points this season.

3. Overtime streak ends

The Blackhawks made history by forcing five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team has ever done in the four major sports (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB). But they didn't have the comeback magic in them this time.

Entering Thursday, the Blackhawks were 1-0-1 when trailing after two periods. They were 5-28-2 last season for a win percentage of .143.

4. Familiar faces, new places

Five former Blackhawks took the ice for the Coyotes: Vinnie Hinostroza, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Oesterle, Richard Panik and Antti Raanta.

It was Hjalmarsson's first trip back to Chicago since being traded in the 2017 offseason. He received a nice video tribute during the second TV timeout of the first period, which made him very emotional.

"I almost got emotional too seeing his reaction," Toews said. "He's one of those guys you'll never forget what he meant to this locker room. He was a quiet guy in the room but we all know how he played and put everyone else before himself. Pretty cool reaction from the fans too. I think we were all sad to see him leave this locker room, he did a lot of special things and was a massive part of our championship wins. Happy for him to get that reception. It's well-deserved and obviously we miss having him around."

As far as the game, Hjalmarsson logged a team-high 22:18 of ice time and blocked three shots. Oesterle registered a secondary assist on Arizona's first goal, which was its first 5-on-5 of the season.

Hinostroza, who was also part of the Marian Hossa trade over the summer, scored twice in his return to his hometown, beating Crawford with a wrist shot to make it 2-1 in the second period and an empty-netter in the third; his second goal turned out to be the game winner, the fourth of his career and first as a member of the Coyotes.

Panik recorded four shot attempts (three on goal). And Raanta improved to 16-0-3 in his career at the United Center, a remarkable record for any goaltender in any situation.