Blackhawks agree to three-year deal with Marcus Kruger


Blackhawks agree to three-year deal with Marcus Kruger

Marcus Kruger was patient with the process last summer.

He knew the Blackhawks had little cash over the summer, despite all the moves they made and the personnel they lost. So he agreed a shorter deal with a smaller raise in the good faith that he would be signed to a more long-term deal during this season or over the summer.

That deal came this afternoon.

Kruger agreed to a three-year deal worth $9.25 million on Tuesday. The deal gives the center the security he really hasn’t had these past few seasons. It also gives him a very nice raise. Kruger’s current deal, which didn’t get done until September of last year, was for one year, $1.5 million. General manager Stan Bowman talked earlier this season of Kruger doing what worked for him and the team this offseason.

“I think we both wanted to do a longer-term deal, just weren’t able to fit it in. Luckily he understood that and he wanted to be here. That says a lot for what Marcus is like as a person,” said Bowman, who added at that time that he hoped to sign Kruger at some point this season. “Our goal is to keep him here. We were hoping to make it a longer deal.”

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Kruger, who has now won two Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks, said he was willing to be patient.

“I know the deal from the beginning. I know the situation here and everything, it might be hard,” he said after signing that one-year deal. “I’m happy to sign here again and be a part of this team and this organization again.”

Kruger, who has been sidelined since December with a fractured wrist, has been skating for a few weeks now. Once thought out until the postseason began, Kruger could now come back for a few late regular-season games.

The Blackhawks will see two raises kick in next season: Kruger’s and Brent Seabrook’s. Andrew Shaw becomes a restricted free agent this summer — he’s in the final season of his current deal, which carries a $2 million cap hit. It’s probably going to be another offseason salary-cap juggling act for the Blackhawks, but they’ve done that for several years now.

Kruger was due a raise and more term. He got them both on Tuesday.

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period


Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

Well, things could be going better for the Blackhawks during Sunday's game against the Lightning.

In the second period Sunday, the Blackhawks surrendered 33 shots on goal, tying a franchise record for most in a single period. The previous instance occurred March 4, 1941 against the Boston Bruins, a game that the Blackhawks lost 3-2.

While the Blackhawks tied a franchise record for shots on goal allowed, they actually set an NHL record at the same time. The NHL did not begin recording shots on goal as an "official" statistic until the 1997-98 season.

Consequentially, Sunday's 33 shots on goal allowed in the second period is the "official" record, even though the Blackhawks accomplished the "feat" nearly 80 years ago. Confusing, huh? 

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they also surrendered three goals and scored zero in addition to the plethora of shots on goal allowed. They recorded just six shots on goal in the second period themselves, trailing 4-1 by the time the third period started.

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


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 Marcus Kruger redirection goal. The next one was the dagger, a beautiful give-and-go play by Brent Seabrook and Kane, who buried home a wide open net to give the Blackhawks a 3-1 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."