Blackhawks

Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz releases statement on passing of Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch

Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz releases statement on passing of Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch

Detroit lost an iconic sports figure Friday.

Mike Ilitch, who bought the Red Wings in 1982 and has been the Tigers owner since 1992, died at the age of 87.

Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz released this statement on the passing of Ilitch:

On behalf of the Wirtz family and the Chicago Blackhawks, our thoughts and prayers are with the Ilitch family and the Detroit Red Wings organization. Mike was a very generous man who had an immeasurable impact on the city of Detroit, and the sport of hockey. Mike also touched many lives within our own organization. We mourn his loss with heavy hearts. He will be remembered as a successful businessman, philanthropist and an incredible family man.

Since Ilitch took ownership of the Red Wings, they have the best points percentage in the league at .587, and rank first in multiple categories such as playoff berths (30), division titles (16) and playoff series wins (37), according to TSN's StatsCentre.

They also won four Stanley Cups under his watch, which is the most since 1996-97.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also released this statement:

With the passing of Mike Ilitch, the Red Wings have lost the consummate owner, the National Hockey League has lost a cherished friend and passionate builder, Detroit sports has lost a legend and the city of Detroit has lost not only a devoted native son but a visionary and driving force in the rebirth of downtown. 

Mike’s commitment to excellence and to winning were unparalleled and his commitment to the community was unrivaled – as was his boundless support of youth hockey. He was a prolific philanthropist, and, above all, a devoted partner and husband to his wife of 62 years, Marian. At this moment of heartbreaking sorrow, we send deepest condolences to the entire Ilitch family and to all who were privileged to know him, play for him or work for him.

Scotty Bowman, the Blackhawks' senior advisor of hockey operations, spent nine seasons with Detroit and helped the Red Wings win three Stanley Cups during his tenure. He offered his condolences on Twitter on Friday night:

NHL, NHLPA finalize protocols for Phases 3 and 4 of Return to Play plan

NHL, NHLPA finalize protocols for Phases 3 and 4 of Return to Play plan

The NHL and NHL Players' Association have reached a tentative agreement on the protocols and terms of Phases 3 (formal training camps) and 4 (Return to Play plan), according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. 

The two sides continue to work on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which means nothing is official until the NHLPA executive committee and NHL Board of Governors ratify the package. A full player membership vote will also take place and includes members from the seven non-playoff teams.

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If all goes as planned and the deal is approved, here are the most notable items to circle from the 40-page document:

  •  Any player that opts out of Phases 3 and 4 will not be penalized in any way, but they must notify their NHL teams in writing three days after the ratification vote is complete. 
     
  • There will be a limit of 30 skaters and an unlimited number of goalies in Phase 3, and only players eligible to play in the 2019-20 season resumption are permitted to skate. A maximum of 52 personnel members — a minimum of three coaches and maximum of 31 players — will be allowed to travel for Phase 4.
     
  • Each of the 24 NHL teams in Phases 3 and 4 must submit its list of participating players by Thursday. Formal training camps are expected to open on Monday, July 13.
     
  • Players must undergo a pre-participate medical exam, and if both the doctor administering the exam and the team's infectious disease expert determine that a player is at "substantial risk of developing a serious illness," the player will be deemed unfit to play. The player will, however, be allowed to seek a second opinion.
     
  • If a player who tests positive for COVID-19 or develops symptoms in either Phase 3 or 4, the team is not permitted to share that information with the media or public, absent prior approval from the NHL, in consultation with the NHLPA.
     
  • If an individual leaves the bubble environment in the two respective hub cities without permission, the individual may be subject to consequences up to and including removal. In addition, violations could result in significant financial penalties for the club and/or loss of draft choices, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.
     
  • Players' families will be allowed to join the players for the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final, which will be hosted by Edmonton. 
     

Report: Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook aiming to return for NHL playoffs

Report: Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook aiming to return for NHL playoffs

A source told Scott Powers of The Athletic that Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook will try to play if the season continues and the NHL sees its 24-team playoff format kick off.

"Just a month ago, the Blackhawks didn’t think Seabrook would be far enough in his rehab to be considered an option, but he’s made strides and has expressed his desire to try to play again this season," Powers writes.

The three-time Stanley Cup champ Hawks blueliner had surgeries on his right shoulder in December, left hip in January and right hip February.

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The NHL is targeting July 13 for the start of team training camps and August 1 for the start of the postseason tournament, which has the Blackhawks taking on the Edmonton Oilers in a best-of-5 play-in series.

Related: Calvin de Haan takes next step in recovery process, joins Blackhawks for Phase 2

The two hub cities for the playoffs are reportedly Edmonton and Toronto.

Powers also mentioned that Seabrook hasn't been cleared for contact yet but that he has been skating. He last played December 15 in a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild