Blackhawks

Blackhawks acquire Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise from Montreal

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Blackhawks acquire Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise from Montreal

After acquiring Andrew Ladd on Thursday night, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was asked if he’d be looking for anyone else as the trade deadline loomed.

“There are still a few days to go,” Bowman said. “It’s our job to continue to look to see if anything makes sense to improve the team.”

Apparently, he found something.

The Blackhawks acquired Dale Weise and Tomas Fleishmann from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Phillip Danault and their second-round pick in the 2018 NHL draft. In two days of acquisitions, the Blackhawks have now given up their first-round selection of the 2016 draft as well as their second-round pick and conditional pick in the 2018 draft.

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The 27-year-old Weise is in the final season of his current contract ($1.025 million). The right winger has 14 goals and 12 assists in 56 games with the Canadiens. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Canadiens will retain 30 percent of Weise’s salary in the deal.

Fleischmann, a left wing, has 10 goals and 10 assists in 57 games with Montreal. Fleischmann was invited to the Canadiens’ camp on a professional tryout last fall and made a strong impression, signing a one-year deal worth $750,000.

The additions of Weise and Fleischmann provide forward depth for the Blackhawks, who, despite a great record this season, haven’t had that usual four-line rotation throughout it. The second line of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane has been tremendous from start to the present. The top line has had a few good spurts but it took until December for Andrew Shaw to take and hold that left wing spot.

[MORE: Blackhawks acquire Christian Ehrhoff from Los Angeles for Rob Scuderi]

Ladd was brought in to join Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, who should return in the next week or so from a lower-body injury. Weise and Fleischmann will be expected to bolster the third and fourth lines. The Blackhawks have been looking for more consistency and production from their bottom six, and these two could provide that.

For Danault, going to the Canadiens will be somewhat of a homecoming; Danault hails from Victoriaville, Quebec, about two hours from Montreal. The 23-year-old Danault, the Blackhawks’ 26th overall selection in the 2011 NHL draft, got his big chance with the team this season in the wake of Marcus Kruger’s fractured wrist in mid-December.

Danault had five points in 30 games with the Blackhawks this season. He centered the third line for a good part of his time with the Blackhawks before moving to the fourth line in recent games.

The Blackhawks made three additions prior to last year’s trade deadline – Andrew Desjardins, Antoine Vermette and Kimmo Timonen. With this year’s deadline still a few days away (Monday at 2 p.m. central time) they’ve already brought in four: Ladd, Weise, Fleischmann and defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, whom they got from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Rob Scuderi earlier on Friday. The Blackhawks are looking for their fourth Stanley Cup in the past seven seasons. They’ll find out soon enough if these moves lead to that.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

Jimmy Greenfield, Connor McKnight, and Matt Spiegel join Kap on the panel to discuss Corey Crawford back on the ice for the first time in 10 months. The Bears have good news when it comes to Khalil Mack, who injured his ankle against the Dolphins.

Plus, Fred Hoiberg announces that Jabari Parker is coming off the bench for the season opener.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

Niklas Hjalmarsson 'wasn't happy' about trade, but remembers time with Blackhawks fondly

Niklas Hjalmarsson 'wasn't happy' about trade, but remembers time with Blackhawks fondly

Apparently time doesn’t heal all wounds. 

Nearly a year and a half since being traded to the Coyotes, Niklas Hjalmarsson will return to the United Center ice on Thursday playing for the visiting team.  

“It’s going to be strange coming in as the away team and being in the other locker room,” said Hjalmarsson on Wednesday. “I bet it’s going to be a lot of emotions and mixed feelings.” 

This is also the first time Hjalmarsson has been back to the city of Chicago since he was traded, a city he called his “second home.” A home where he spent parts of 10 seasons, and never really planned on leaving.

“I wasn’t happy, to be honest with you,” said Hjalmarsson of the trade to Arizona. “I was shocked. It took me a couple days to actually realize I wasn’t going to play for the Hawks anymore.”

Including the playoffs, Hjalmarsson played 751 games in the Indian head sweater. Despite that and the team’s three Stanley Cup victories, the Blackhawks shipped him off to Arizona for Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin in June of 2017.

“You kind of let it go after a while,” he said. “Now I’m just hoping all the success for the guys over here too.”

Hjalmarsson was known for his toughness, repeatedly blocking shot after shot, giving up his body, while never missing a shift. He credits his long-time teammates — Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook — for a lot of his success and identity on the blue line.

“I couldn’t have had better role models coming into a team,” he said. “I’m very thankful to have played on the same team as those guys and created a lot of success together. We’re always going to be connected with the Cups that we’ve had.”

The third championship won by that defense-trio was on United Center ice against the Lightning in 2015, but that isn’t the memory that stands out most for Hjalmarsson.

“The first Cup is always going to be pretty special,” said the 31-year old. “Even just going to the conference final (in 2009), even when we lost against Detroit that year, the year before was great memories too. The first time for me going into the playoffs and playing deep.”

The tables have turned now for both Hjalmarsson and the Blackhawks. 

The Coyotes have yet to score an even-strength goal this season, while the Blackhawks have claimed eight of a possible 10 points thus far through five games and expect to have their starting goaltender back between the pipes. 

But you won’t hear any ill-will from Hjalmarsson, he’s still rooting for the Hawks.

“I always think that Chicago deserves to have a team in the playoffs,” he said. “It’s not that I wish them not to do well. It’s the total opposite. I want them to have continued success.”