Blackhawks

Blackhawks commit six penalties in shutout loss to Flyers

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Blackhawks commit six penalties in shutout loss to Flyers

PHILADELPHIA – The Blackhawks have shown glimpses in this early season of what they can do when they’re on the same page. They showed on Wednesday what happens when they’re not.

Sam Gagner scored his first goal in a Philadelphia uniform and Michal Neuvirth stopped all 30 shots he faced as the Flyers beat the Blackhawks 3-0 on Wednesday night. It was the first shutout of the season for the Blackhawks, who haven’t won a regular-season game in Philadelphia since Nov. 9, 1996.

The Blackhawks got into penalty trouble early in this one and never really recovered. After taking just four penalties in their first three games, they took five in the first two periods on Wednesday. That gave the Flyers power plays, life and eventually a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

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“It’s the opposite talked about it this morning: we took some careless penalties,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We gave them momentum. They had pace and we stood around and watched a majority of the game.”

The Blackhawks had their chances and had five power plays themselves, but they couldn’t capitalize on anything. Neuvirth was a big reason for that. At other times the Blackhawks just missed great opportunities.

“I just think we had our chances at the end, but sometimes you don’t come out with the work ethic you need,” Jonathan Toews said. “We weren’t winning the puck races, we weren’t winning the battles, all those little details you hear us talk about. You don’t get the bounces if you don’t do that. That’s kind of what it came down to tonight and translated into us taking some penalties and having to kill off a few and us not generating a whole heck of a lot on the power play.” 

Their second line has been the driving force in the early season. But on Wednesday the combination of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane – who was booed every time he touched the puck – yielded nothing. The Blackhawks’ other three lines haven’t generated much. That includes the top line, which had another left-wing tryout – Viktor Tikhonov – with Toews and Marian Hossa by the end of this game.

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“You try things,” Quenneville said. “You’re not happy but certainly tonight wasn’t what we were looking for. It wasn’t about trying different things tonight. We were brutal.”

The Blackhawks won’t have a lot of time to think about this one, as they face the Washington Capitals tomorrow. Scott Darling is “likely” to start, Quenneville said. They’ve done some good in this early season but they’ve also got some things they need to fix.

“I guess it’s still feeling each other out as a team, making sure we’re all prepared, we’re all ready to go before the game, and we’re all on the same page,” Toews said. “It starts with the guys that have been here for a number of years, guys that know what it takes, especially early on. We’ll make sure we carry out a better effort tomorrow night.”

Sports Talk Live Podcast: What will be Stan Bowman's next move?

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Sports Talk Live Podcast: What will be Stan Bowman's next move?

Gabe Ramirez, Vinnie Duber, and Jay Cohen join Kap on the panel to discuss game two of Cubs vs. Braves and the battle of the Soxes.

Plus with the start of free agency coming up, what will be Stan Bowman's next move?

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Calvin de Haan on unexpected trade to Blackhawks and what he brings to the table

Calvin de Haan on unexpected trade to Blackhawks and what he brings to the table

Calvin de Haan knew that the Carolina Hurricanes had a logjam on defense going into this summer and that somebody was going to be dealt to create a spot. The move was also driven by financial reasons as the Hurricanes look to re-sign a handful of players, most notably Sebastian Aho.

He just wasn't expecting it to be his name on the move.

"I'm still kind of in shock, to be honest," de Haan said on Tuesday's conference call. "I didn’t think it was going to be me. After Carolina signed me last summer my fiancée and I thought we were going to have some roots there, but I get it, it’s a business. Looking back on it now, it’s only been 16 hours or whatever, but it’s been a whirlwind. I’m really looking forward to it now. Obviously Stan [Bowman] and the Blackhawks made a deal for me and I feel like I’m wanted and I’m really looking forward to this opportunity with this organization."

De Haan, who signed a four-year, $18.2 million contract with Carolina last offseason, admitted that the Blackhawks didn't show any interest in him when he was an unrestricted free agent. But he's excited about being in an organization that values his services, and the feeling is mutual because he's filling an immediate need on the back end for the Blackhawks: a player who can log big minutes, is a sound stay-at-home defenseman and can play an effective role on the penalty kill.

Jeremy Colliton, who was the captain for the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers during de Haan's rookie season in the pros from 2011-12, will certainly appreciate what his former teammate brings to the table.

"I just like to think my position’s good," de Haan said of his game. "I like to think I move well on the ice. I’ve always tried to play a simple game. I saw some tweets yesterday that I might be the next best thing to Nik Hjalmarsson that the Blackhawks have had in a while, so that’s a compliment. That guy’s had a great career and that’s a player I like to play like. Nothing flashy, just kind of get the job done and I hope Blackhawk fans will really appreciate my game. It’s something I’m really looking forward to this season."  

De Haan underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in May — exactly five weeks from Tuesday — and was given a four-to-six month timeline, putting his availability for training camp and the season opener in jeopardy. But he's hoping to be cleared by the time training camp rolls around in September and be ready to go for the season opener on Oct. 4 in Prague.

"Things are progressing well," de Haan said. "I like to think I’m ahead of schedule. I’ve had shoulder surgeries in the past as well where I know how this goes and I’m gonna make sure I’m ready for camp. Then it’s going to be up to the training staff and the doctors whether they want me to play or take a few weeks here and there and just progress slowly. But my main goal is to be ready for camp. I don’t want to sit on the sidelines. I want to be on the ice with the guys and out there grinding away and try to get the team back in the playoffs."

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