Blackhawks

Blackhawks have to turn the page quickly

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Blackhawks have to turn the page quickly

The open place in the rafters, the one that’s sitting there among several Stanley Cup banners, was easy to spot. Blackhawks players saw it, for sure.

“Yeah, I noticed it,” Jonathan Toews said. “It didn’t slip by me.”

The Blackhawks will raise their third banner of the last five years on Wednesday night before they open their regular-season schedule against the New York Rangers. For the Blackhawks, opening night the past few years has been a balancing act: enjoy the banner raising for what it is, revel a few minutes more in what they accomplished last season and then move on. Pronto.

[MORE HAWKS: Five Questions heading into the Blackhawks season]

“They’re all special. It’s a very proud moment. The crowd gets into it, brings back some great memories,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “It was a special year. That was definitely the toughest Cup we ever had to win, or try to win. It was a tough one. It seemed like it was never going to end. It was hard earned. It’ll be nice to reflect but then let’s turn the switch.”

As tough as winning the Cup last season was, it will be even tougher to repeat. It’s not completely about the Blackhawks coming off a short summer and adjusting to offseason changes. It’s also about the competition, which always gets a little better and a little more determined to knock the Blackhawks off the perch.

“You think of a team that feels like they have something to prove, they've been sitting around since April last year,” Toews said. “So it's not so much our shortcoming; I think it's more other teams that are trying to come flying out the gate. So we have to be ready for that as well.”

The pomp and circumstance will take up part of the evening. For the rest of the night, however, the Blackhawks will have to focus on the present. The latest Cup was a triumph and a tough one to attain. Trying to win the next one will be even tougher.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“We’ve been stressing to try to get off to a good start, not only tonight’s game but also the first couple of months of the season. We know how important that is,” Patrick Kane said. “We went through it in 2010-11 after our first Stanley Cup when we got behind the 8-ball, had to play catch-up and snuck into the playoffs in the eighth spot. Our division’s tough this year, our conference is tough, then you open with a couple tough games against the Eastern Conference, too. No game’s going to be an easy game this year. Teams are going to give us their best, and we have to be ready.”

BRIEFLY

-Ville Pokka did not participate in morning skate on Wednesday. Quenneville said Pokka’s call-up and Viktor Svedberg’s reassignment to Rockford were more procedural than anything, and that Svedberg will “likely” return soon.

-Defenseman Kyle Cumiskey signed a professional tryout (PTO) with the IceHogs.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks scratch out a win and Kirby Dach recalled

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks scratch out a win and Kirby Dach recalled

Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis welcome Nick Gismondi into the fold before discussing Friday's win over Columbus. Robin Lehner played stellar and is forming quite a tandem in net with Corey Crawford (4:10), while the DeBrincat/Kane connection is alive and well (6:10), and the Blackhawks' struggles at even strength continued (12:10). Then, the guys react to the breaking news of Kirby Dach's recall from Rockford and discuss where he might fit into this lineup (15:10).

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Oct. 19, 2007: An important Blackhawks milestone

Oct. 19, 2007: An important Blackhawks milestone

Oct. 19, 2007 — The Blackhawks beat the Avalanche 5-3 at the United Center. Pulling up the webpage shows an ordinary early-season NHL game, but it’s quite significant for a few reasons — and not only because of Jonathan Toews’ incredible highlight-reel goal at 06:59 of the first period to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead (please take a minute to find that highlight if you can. It’s a great goal).

Patrick Sharp added a goal at 08:29, and at 14:36, Patrick Kane scored a goal of his own. It was the first goal of Kane’s NHL career AND the first time that both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane scored a goal in the same game.

About five years ago, I started keeping track of when they both scored a goal in the same game. It became a thing that I’d post on Twitter whenever it happened. And people started asking what their record was when it happened, so I’d have that too. It was, and still is, one of my favorite things to follow when the Blackhawks take the ice.

As of this writing, Toews and Kane have scored a goal in the same game 96 times (102 including postseason). And the Blackhawks are 84-7-5 when they do so (with an additional 6-0 in playoffs), which is to be expected when your best players combine to do good things.

I was curious, so I enlisted the help of the Elias Sports Bureau to take things a bit further.

Believe it or not, Toews & Kane do NOT have the lead among current teammates in instances with a goal in the same game. Here’s that list (regular season only):

101 — Nicklas Backstrom & Alex Ovechkin (Capitals)

96  Jonathan Toews & Patrick Kane (Blackhawks)

94 — Sidney Crosby & Evgeni Malkin (Penguins)

64 — Patrick Marleau & Joe Thornton (Sharks)

63 — Dustin Brown & Anze Kopitar (Kings)

What is probably NOT as surprising is that they don’t have the Blackhawks record in instances with a goal in the same game. Because the Blackhawks have two all-time greats who played a long time together. Here’s that list (regular season only):

139 — Bobby Hull & Stan Mikita

96 — Jonathan Toews & Patrick Kane

88 — Steve Larmer & Denis Savard

77 — Bobby Hull & Kenny Wharram

75 — Dennis Hull & Stan Mikita

Toews and Kane may not top the list of current teammates, but the duo from the Nation’s Capitol have but one Stanley Cup together whereas the Chicago tandem has three (though Crosby and Malkin are right there with them). As for trailing Hull & Mikita… well, there’s no shame in that. Plus there’s time to add to that total. There’s a good chance they break triple digits this season, and that will be fun to track. Where will they end up when they hang up the skates? That remains to be seen, as they both seemingly have plenty of good hockey left to be played.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.