Blackhawks

Blackhawks fall, make playoffs after Stars lose

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Blackhawks fall, make playoffs after Stars lose

Sunday, April 10, 2011
Posted: 2:01 p.m. Updated: 7:35 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The looks on some of the Chicago Blackhawks faces were telling: frustrated, bewildered, stunned. They had their playoff destiny in their own hands and in their own building.

But they squandered their chance. Now they need someone else to give them a second one.

Michael Frolik, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith scored, but the Detroit Red Wings played the spoiler role well in their 4-3 victory at the United Center on Sunday afternoon.

The Blackhawks, who needed one point to clinch a playoff spot, finished with the eighth seed thanks to the Minnesota Wild's 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars Sunday night.

Its so frustrating that its come down to this. Im pretty much speechless, said Jonathan Toews. The fact that were completely at another teams mercy right now, I cant believe it.

Coach Joel Quenneville, who along with many Blackhawks players will be watching that Wild-Stars game, said I should call the (New York) Rangers. The Rangers needed Tampa Bay to beat Carolina on Saturday to get to the playoffs; the Lightning did.

Were certainly not where we want to be, he said. Its a rotten spot to be in, fingers crossed, rooting for your season.

Patrick Sharp echoed those sentiments.

Its a horrible feeling to be sitting here. Youre helpless, he said. But well watch that game and see what happens.

The Blackhawks got the lead they wanted when Frolik scored about five minutes into the second period. But just one minute, 38 seconds later a bad Viktor Stalberg pass went right to Tomas Holmstrom, who scored. Sixty-two seconds later, Pavel Datsyuk gave the Wings a 2-1 edge.

That was tough, said Patrick Kane. We score and then we gave up one a shift or two right after and then another. Its tough when you do that. We had chances in the third and chances to tie it up. It just didnt go our way, I guess.

Detroit took two-goal leads twice, with the Blackhawks narrowing them down to one each time. Seabrooks laser shot made it 3-2 about four minutes into the third before Daniel Cleary put the Wings up 4-2. Keiths backhand rebound made it 4-3.

The Blackhawks got three power plays, including one in the final three minutes of regulation. But they couldnt find the tying goal.

On power plays, sometimes you need to keep it simple and get pucks to the net and get a greasy goal, Keith said. The puck was bouncing out there, and especially when its bouncing on the ice you have to keep it simple.

Now the Blackhawks play the toughest waiting game of all. The Red Wings spoiled their Cup banner-raising ceremony in the home opener. They may have demolished the Blackhawks Cup defense chances in the home finale.

I dont know how many times we seemed to address the same question: You wanted to avoid the situation where you were playing game 82 to get in, Quenneville said. We didnt get that luxury. Now we have to root for game 83.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Blackhawks acquire Olli Maatta, send Dominik Kahun to Penguins

Blackhawks acquire Olli Maatta, send Dominik Kahun to Penguins

One of the Blackhawks’ priorities this summer is to add pieces that will help shore up the defensive part of their game after they gave up the second-most goals in the NHL last season. And they didn’t waste much time doing it.

Less than a week before the 2019 NHL Draft, the Blackhawks announced Saturday that they have acquired defenseman Olli Maatta from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Dominik Kahun and a 2019 fifth-round pick.

Maatta is 24 years old, carries a left-handed shot and is a two-time Stanley Cup champion. But he battled injuries last season and fell out of favor in Pittsburgh, where he was a healthy scratch for three games in the first round of the playoffs.

The Blackhawks are hoping a fresh start could help Maatta find his game again, and do it in a place that may better utilize his skill-set. Where he could help is in the defensive part. 

According to The Point, Maatta ranked 9th among defensemen in blocked shots per game (2.05), 26th in defensive zone puck battles won (2.45), 40th in blocked defense zone passes (3.77) and 47th in outlet passes (8.95). 

Maatta, who was taken in the first round (No. 22 overall) in 2012, had 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) in 60 games last season. His best year came in 2017-18 when he tallied 29 points (seven goals, 22 assists) in 82 games. He has three years remaining on his deal that carries a $4.083 million cap hit.

It’s worth noting that when Maatta signing his extension with Pittsburgh on Feb. 26, 2016, the contract included a modified no-trade clause in his final two years, according to Cap Friendly. The Blackhawks will have the option to either honor that clause or nullify it.

The Blackhawks are expected to have some heavy competition among the forwards at training camp with the signings of Dominik Kubalik and Anton Wedin. That likely made Kahun expendable despite a rookie season in which he compiled 37 points (13 goals, 24 assists) in 82 games.

2019 NHL Draft Profile: RW Kaapo Kakko

2019 NHL Draft Profile: RW Kaapo Kakko

From June 10-20, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile one top prospect per day — 11 total — leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft as the Blackhawks prepare to pick third overall.

Kaapo Kakko

Position: Right wing
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 194 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report from The Draft Analyst's Steve Kournianos:

"Multi-tooled winger with size and coordination who incorporates his impressive puck skills with a desirable physical package that consistently exhausts opponents. Blessed with incredibly soft hands and tight-quarter quickness, Kakko is a reliable stickhandler who uses timing plays to either get open or create space for his linemates.”

NHL player comparable: Mikko Rantanen

Fit for Blackhawks:

Alright, let’s get this out of the way with: Kakko isn’t going to be on the board when the Blackhawks pick at No. 3. He’s expected to be taken second overall by the New York Rangers.

But, hypothetically, if he did slip, Kakko is probably one of two players in this draft class who could step onto an NHL roster today and make an immediate impact. He’s that good, and we saw it at the 2019 IIHF World Championship when he scored six goals to lead Finland to a gold medal. 

Kakko would give the Blackhawks a dynamic winger on the right side to go along with Patrick Kane, meaning they wouldn't have to worry about their top-six right wingers for many years to come. You shouldn't draft a winger this high unless he's as close to a sure-fire prospect as they come, and Kakko would qualify.

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