Blackhawks

Blackhawks' Patrick Kane named 2016 Hart Trophy finalist

Blackhawks' Patrick Kane named 2016 Hart Trophy finalist

Patrick Kane was named a 2016 Hart Trophy finalist, annually awarded to the player judged most valuable to his team in the National Hockey League, the league announced Saturday. Dallas' Jamie Benn and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby were also named finalists.

Kane is looking to become the fifth player in franchise history to win the award and join Max Bentley (1945-46), Al Rollins (1953-54), Bobby Hull (1964-65, 1965-66) and Stan Mikita (1966-67, 1967-68) as the only others to win it in a Blackhawks uniform. He's also looking to make history by seeking to become the first U.S.-born player to win the Hart Trophy.

Earlier this year, Kane became the first American-born player to win the Art Ross Trophy after leading the league with 106 points during the regular season.

He scored 46 goals and 60 assists in 82 regular-season games this season, both of which set a career high. 

The highlight of Kane's season came at the beginning of the campaign when he registered at least a point in 26 consecutive games, which broke a Blackhawks record — previously held by Bobby Hull (19) — and set a new record for most by an American-born player — previously set by Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (18).

On Friday, Kane was also named a Ted Lindsay Award finalist, given annually to the NHL's most outstanding player that is voted on by his peers.

The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 22 at the 2016 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

How will the Blackhawks utilize Kirby Dach?

How will the Blackhawks utilize Kirby Dach?

The Blackhawks recalled No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach from his AHL conditioning stint on Friday night after he appeared in three games with the Rockford IceHogs. He missed the first week of training camp with a concussion and the organization wanted him to get a taste of the pro action and back up to speed after not playing in any preseason games, either.

"I enjoyed the experience there," Dach said. "I had a lot of fun. Got to see a couple buddies. It was good for me to get down there and get some pro games under my belt and just feel what the pace is going to be like. It'll be another step up here, but I feel good and I feel like I'm ready to go."

Whether Dach makes his NHL debut on Sunday against the Washington Capitals won't be revealed by head coach Jeremy Colliton until after morning skate on Sunday. But where does he fit into the lineup going forward?

The Blackhawks are 2-0-1 in their past three games and aren't necessarily looking to shake up their rotation, even though they're still searching for consistency on all four lines.

The easy answer is for Dach to slide into a third-line center role behind Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome, but the trio of David Kampf, Dominik Kubalik and Brandon Saad has undoubtedly been the most consistent for the Blackhawks this season. And we saw in the home opener what happened when they were separated. 

The Blackhawks held an optional practice on Saturday morning and didn't run through line rushes, but before Dach was assigned to Rockford, he took several spins on the first line with Toews and alternated with Drake Caggiula and Alex DeBrincat. It's possible Dach starts on the wing, where he can play top-six minutes and not have as much responsibility as a center would.

"I've played wing in previous years, so it's not something that's new to me," Dach said. "At the same time I'm open-minded to just getting into the lineup and helping the team win."

The Blackhawks can give Dach up to nine NHL games before deciding whether they want to burn the first year of his entry-level contract or send him back to the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL.

"As a kid you always grow up dreaming of playing in the NHL, so there'll be nerves," Dach said. "But there will also be a lot of excitement. I've just got to do my best to focus on my game and be ready to play whenever my name's called upon by the coaching staff."

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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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