Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Konroyd's keys to a Game 2 win in Nashville

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Blackhawks: Konroyd's keys to a Game 2 win in Nashville

1. Better job at the dots.

Faceoffs are not only important in establishing puck possession, they are also the most basic form of a 1-on-1 battle. The Blackhawks lost a lot of these battles on Wednesday night in Nashville. Jonathan Toews and Marcus Krueger were a combined 17 of 49 in the faceoff department. Not good when you are a puck-possession team. Paul Gaustad and Matt Cullen really owned the dots for the Nashville Predators, so don’t take this area of your game for granted tonight because you won the last game. You need all five guys on the ice helping out on the draws.

2. Stay out of the penalty box.

The Hawks did a fantastic job of staying disciplined throughout the regular season. They were the second-least penalized team in the entire NHL, averaging just 2 ½ minor penalties per game. That wasn’t the case in Game 1 where they took six minor penalties, all of the hooking-holding-slashing kind.

 

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These are lazy penalties where your legs aren’t moving and you are reaching to slow a guy down. Nashville had 11 shots on net during their 10-plus minutes of power play time, yet they scored just one power play goal. Best way to kill a penalty is to not take one. Good power plays don’t have to score to generate momentum and crowd enthusiasm.

3. Keep the pressure on Rinne.

Pekka Rinne was pretty ordinary going down the stretch for Nashville, losing his last four starts. He didn’t look much better on Wednesday night. Yes, he closed the door during the third period and overtime, but even when he was making the stops, he looked awkward. Losing his crease is something we saw time and again, and top glove is always an option when he is going down. He now has a save percentage of .871 in his last five starts. Don’t let him off the mat now; shoot early and often in Game 2.

Why NHL All-Star appearances never get old for Patrick Kane

Why NHL All-Star appearances never get old for Patrick Kane

ST. LOUIS — Patrick Kane is in his 13th NHL season and he's participating in his ninth career All-Star Game this weekend, which is the most of any player that's attending. And both of those numbers will continue to go up.

But don't tell Kane that. He may be 31, but he sure doesn't feel like he's the old guy around here.

"I don’t want to be considered the Old Man," Kane said during Thursday's Media Day session. "I’m still only 31 years old. Obviously there’s a lot of young talent in the NHL and a lot of guys I like to watch playing and that I recognize are really good players, so it’s fun to meet them and talk to them and just talk about your seasons and your team and what’s going on around the league. I feel like I’m just another hockey player."

To Kane, he's just another hockey player. But to others around the league, he's more than that.

Twenty of the 44 All-Stars this season are participating in their first one and many of them have idolized Kane growing up.

Quinn Hughes, who played with Kane for Team USA at the 2019 IIHF World Championship, is one of them. Even as a defenseman, Hughes watched Kane every chance he would get as a kid.

"Yeah, thanks Quinn," Kane said with a smile. "I feel a little bit older now, so thanks."

But even though Kane is one of the older players here, he doesn't take it for granted. He attends every year because it's a good opportunity to represent the Blackhawks and the NHL, and it's also a chance to pay it forward.

“I can remember Joe Thornton being in the locker room, that was pretty cool to see him,” Kane said of who he was excited to meet at his first All-Star appearance. “I remember when I was in Ottawa, I was preparing for that little breakaway challenge ... and I had to go to the rink that morning to practice some of it and see how it’d all come together. And I remember [Pavel] Datsyuk coming to the rink as well and he got on the bike and just worked out. It was just me and him on this big bus and then whoever else we had with us.”

Each All-Star Game stands out for Kane. And now he’s looking to create more memories.

On Friday, Kane will participate in the “Shooting Stars Challenge,” where players will shoot pucks at a variety of targets from the stands. It’s the first time the NHL is incorporating this event into the competition.

On Saturday, Kane hopes to be on the winning side of the 3-on-3 All-Star Game because the Central Division has yet to win it since the format changed in 2016. 

“All of them have their own memories,” Kane said. “You look back on Montreal was my first one, Ottawa had the Superman thing, LA was the top 100, even Columbus we had like five of us there, or six of us. Each of them have their own memory. It’s one of things where, when you’re done playing, you look back and say, ‘I went to this many All-Star Games.’ That’s where my head’s at right there.”

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Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith make NHL's All-Decade First Team

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USA Today

Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith make NHL's All-Decade First Team

Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith were named to the NHL's All-Decade First Team presented by NBC Sports. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman informed Kane of the news prior to the NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Friday night. Kane joins forwards Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. Keith joins defenseman Drew Doughty with Marc-Andre Fleury in net. 

Here’s a look at the core members of the Blackhawks and the three-time Stanley Cup champs’ other achievements:

It’s always “Showtime” when Kane touches the puck, not because of what he’s already accomplished, but because of what else he can do. 

Kane, 31, recorded his 1,000th NHL point off an assist in Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. He has a total of 1,001 career points (381 G, 620 A) after scoring a goal against Joel Quenneville’s Florida Panthers in a 4-3 loss on Tuesday.

Kane, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NHL Draft and a nine-time NHL All-Star, has won a Calder trophy (2008), a Conn Smythe (2013), a Hart (2016), a Ted Lindsay (2016) and an Art Ross (2016). He also won an Olympic silver medal in 2010, losing to Keith’s Team Canada. 

Keith has been one of the best defensemen in the NHL throughout his 15 seasons with the Blackhawks. The blueliner has 597 points (99 goals, 498 assists) and a +/- rating of +153 in 1,119 games with Chicago. 

Keith has won a Conn Smythe (2015), two Norris trophies (2010, 2014) and two Olympic gold medals (2010, 2014). The 36-year-old was grabbed by Chicago at No. 54 overall in the 2002 draft and is a four-time All-Star.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

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.