Blackhawks

Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz, Stanley Cup visit premature babies at Northshore

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Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz, Stanley Cup visit premature babies at Northshore

The Stanley Cup tracker is a wild phenomenon post-Blackhawks championship wins, as it should be. But sometimes, a visit or two does more than simply garner the attention of young fans ready to show up at any given bar at any given notice.

Sometimes, the Cup carefully holds premature babies as they navigate their first few months outside the incubator.

On Tuesday, Blackhawks chairman, Rocky Wirtz, took the Cup to the infant special care unit at Northshore Evanston Hospital and as CSN's Chuck Garfien put it, "did some healing."

Calvin Phillip Tietz was born three months early and spent a month in an incubator after dodging a surgery when doctors successfully repaired a hole in one of his tiny lungs. That was three months ago when he was two pounds.

Now, he's eight. And that is progress, says his father Kevin Tietz of Grayslake.

"He has been growing so much and he's been so much more aware," says Tietz. "As soon as we walk in and start talking to the nurses, he starts waking up and looking around for our voices."

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Kevin and his wife Barbara hope to take their little guy home in 3-4 weeks. And after a thoughtful pep-talk from Rocky Wirtz, they tell Garfien about life outside the hospital and Calvin's bright future as a Blackhawk.

"He's gonna receive his first pair of hockey skates in a year and a half or so and we have a pond by our house," said Tietz. "And we hope someday he'll be lifting the Cup instead of sitting in it."

So do we.

To see the full story on Calvin, check out the SportsNet Central clip above.

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Brady Tkachuk

Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 196 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"I know Tkachuk isn't a center, but Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) is another player who comes to mind with his combination of size, strength, skill and nastiness. Tkachuk has impressive hand skills and his upside has only begun because I think there's lots of maturity and growth to come. I've seen his speed and skating improve each of the past three years and I think he'll still get stronger and his balance will get better. His man strength will come and it'll be like, 'Oh boy, look out.'"

NHL player comparable: Matthew Tkachuk/Wayne Simmonds

Fit for Blackhawks:

If you're looking for a player that checks all the boxes in this year's draft, it's Tkachuk. And man could the Blackhawks use a player like him.

He's got offensive skill, willingly goes to the greasy areas, can provide net-front presence while playing a top-six role, and perhaps the most important part for the Blackhawks: he's very close to NHL ready. The Blackhawks will be patient with whoever they draft, but there's also some urgency to turn things around in 2018-19.

If they can draft a player like Tkachuk who can potentially jump into the lineup as early as this upcoming season, that would be ideal. Because he's the type of player that can make an impact, not just get by.

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Quinn Hughes

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 170 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He's got the puck skills, is a good skater, and is a guy with some high-end offensive talent. He wants to get right in there and play where it's hard and where you get rewarded. When he gets that puck on his stick, he wants to bury it."

NHL player comparable: Torey Krug/Kris Letang

Fit for Blackhawks:

It's no secret the Blackhawks are looking to restock their pipeline with some high-end defensemen. Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell are on the way. But the former isn't a lock to be a full-time NHLer this season and the latter will continue playing in college for the 2018-19 season.

Hughes, who shined at Michigan and the IIHF World Championship with Team USA, would have the best chance of the three to crack the Blackhawks lineup first. The problem is, he likely won't be available at No. 8, so if Hughes is the guy they're locked in on, they'd need to trade up to grab him. 

If they did that, Hughes would give the Blackhawks a third blue line prospect they can get excited about. He's a left-handed shot, which evens out the balance in the system, and he would become a prime candidate to eventually replace Duncan Keith as the team's No. 1 defenseman.