Blackhawks avoid the penalty box


Blackhawks avoid the penalty box

The Chicago Blackhawks are behaving themselves.

Exhibit A: their penalty box on Saturday night. The official there had a lonely night because no Blackhawks went in there all evening. Its the first time since last March the Blackhawks went a whole game without taking a penalty.

OK, that may be an anomaly. But the Blackhawks have kept their penalty totals down during this early season. In seven games theyve taken just 20, an average of 7.7 penalty minutes a contest. Both numbers are the lowest among NHL teams.

Its helped the Blackhawks avoid the penalty kill and the fatigue that goes along with that job. Their goaltender doesnt mind avoiding power plays, either.

It makes a huge difference when youre not killing penalties, said Corey Crawford, who only had to face Colorados highly ranked power play twice in two games. And it saves guys legs, too; guys arent as tired. When youre killing six or seven penalties a game it wears on you. Were playing every two days; it may not get you tired for that game but itll drag on for maybe the next couple.

Patrick Kane said fewer penalties are becoming a league norm.

It seems like a lot of teams are becoming more disciplined, maybe more accustomed to the rules, he said. If you take bad penalties youll sit a few shifts. Weve been really good as far as not taking penalties.

There may be something to that. But one thing remains certain: stay out of the box, improve your chances of winning. Just look at the leagues top four in low penalty minutesgame:

Team PIMG Record

Chicago 7.7 4-1-2

Washington 8.1 7-0-0

Colorado 8.5 6-2-0

Detroit 9.0 5-1-0

And this is coming from a Blackhawks team that made a concerted effort and deals to get more physical this season. Theyve done that, but theyve nevertheless avoided major penalties.

We have more guys who are more physical this year, but that doesnt give anybody a green light to take penalties just because were being more physical or harder to play against, coach Joel Quenneville said. I think the last few years weve been aware of what the standard is and adapting to that is how we want to play.

Shootout work

The Blackhawks are 0 for 6 in two shootouts this early season, so it was one of the first drills they did on Monday morning. Patrick Kane said perhaps they need to just take a simpler approach.

Sometimes you have so many moves in your head you think can work, maybe you have to just try to stick with one, maybe see what the goalies give you, said Kane, who doesnt foresee this being a long-term issue. Its a matter of time before we get better at that. Theres too much talent in the room and too many players who should score who arent. Well be fine.

Quenneville said the coaches are discussing everything from shooting order to shooters to figure out a solution.

Its something you want to talk about but you dont want guys having more anxiety, he said. Their strength is being comfortable. Its a recent trend; were not as effective as we were. Were visiting all phases. When things dont work we look at options.


Corey Crawford will start against Anaheim on Tuesday night.

Jamal Mayers celebrated his 37th birthday on Monday.

Brandon Saad, who started this season with the Blackhawks, was named the Ontario Hockey Leagues player of the week on Monday. In three games with the Saginaw Spirit last week, Saad tallied six goals and four assists, as well as a plus-2 rating.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Reacting to Round 1 of NHL Draft


Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Reacting to Round 1 of NHL Draft

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Round 1 of the 2018 NHL Draft.

They discuss the pair of puck-carrying defensemen that the Blackhawks selected on Friday, Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin. When can we expect to see these first-round picks play in the NHL?

Boyle also goes 1-on-1 with Boqvist and Beaudin. The guys spoke with Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville on Friday.

The guys also share their biggest takeaways from those interviews, which includes your daily Corey Crawford update and Quenneville appeared excited that the team has plenty of cap space to spend in free agency.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks add another defenseman to pipeline, draft Nicolas Beaudin at No. 27

Blackhawks add another defenseman to pipeline, draft Nicolas Beaudin at No. 27

DALLAS — Despite taking Adam Boqvist with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Blackhawks took a second defenseman at No. 27 with the selection of Nicolas Beaudin.

Beaudin is a 5-foot-11, 172-pound defenseman who prides himself on playing strong at both ends of the ice and tries modeling his game after Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins.

"I’m a two-way defenseman," Beaudin said. "I can provide offense, too. I’ve got a great IQ. I think in my zone I’m just getting better and better."

Beaudin is also a left-handed shot, which is something the Blackhawks could use more of in the organization along the blue line when it comes to impact-type players.

"Nicolas is a very efficient defender," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "He’s got a really nice skill set. He makes the game look pretty easy. He’s a smooth player, not a lot of panic to his game. He’s a good skater so when he has to turn back and get to the puck he can get there first. Usually he just gets his setup and makes the simple play.

"You watch him play and he makes it look really easy. He’s not a guy that’s getting run over a lot. He’s not a real big player, but he uses his brain really well and he had over a point a game, too. He’s got a good feel for making plays and scoring points."

The 18-year-old registered 69 points (12 goals, 57 assists) in 68 games with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL, and added three goals and eight assists in 10 postseason contests.

Beaudin is the third defenseman the Blackhawks have taken in the first round the last two years, with Henri Jokiharju and Boqvist being the other two.

"It’s a winning culture in Chicago," Beaudin said. "They won a lot. I know they’ve got some young guys coming in. For sure in the next few years I want to earn my place and I want to try to learn a lot from a guy like Duncan Keith."