Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Patrick Kane point streak tracker

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Blackhawks: Patrick Kane point streak tracker

Patrick Kane's historic 26-game point streak ended Tuesday in the Blackhawks' loss to the Avalanche. Here's a look back at each of the games in which Kane tallied at least a point:

1: Kane kicks off his point streak with a third-period goal in a 4-1 win over the Blue Jackets on Oct. 17.

2: Kane registers three points (one goal, two assists) in a 3-2 win over the Panthers on Oct. 22.

3: Kane assists on Jonathan Toews' game-winning overtime goal in a 1-0 win over the Lightning on Oct. 24.

4: For the second straight game, Kane picks up a primary assist on an overtime goal from Toews in a 1-0 victory over the Ducks on Oct. 26.

5: Kane scores a power play goal 1 minute, 26 seconds into the game in a 3-1 loss to the Jets on Oct. 29.

6: Kane records a secondary assist during the first period of a power play in a 5-4 loss to the Wild on Oct. 30.

7: Kane scores an early goal in the third period and assists on the eventual game-winning goal in a 4-2 win over the Kings on Nov. 2.

8: Kane registers two points in the first period (a power play goal and assist) in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Blues on Nov. 4.

9: Kane scores his ninth goal of the season in a 4-2 loss to the Devils on Nov. 6. He also registered a career-high 25:27 of ice time.

10: Kane collects a season-high four points (one goal, three assists) in a 4-2 win over the Oilers on Nov. 8.

11: Kane scores an early power play goal in the first period, and records an assist in the third period of a 3-2 loss to the Devils on Nov. 12, tying his third-longest point streak in 2009-10.

12: Kane adds his 12th goal of the year on the power play, which turned out to be the game-winner in a 4-2 win over the Blues on Nov. 14, tying his second-longest point streak in 2013-14.

13: Kane scores a goal for the seventh straight game — a career high — and picked up a primary assist in a 4-1 win over the Flames on Nov. 15.

14: Kane gathers two assists in a 4-3 win over the Oilers on Nov. 18, matching his career high for longest point streak in 2013-14.

15: Kane sets a new career high for longest point streak with a first-period assist on the power play in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Flames on Nov. 20. He also tied Chris Chelios for longest point streak by a Blackhawks player in the last 20 years, per Elias.

16: Kane records a secondary assist in the third period of a 6-3 loss to the Canucks on Nov. 21.

17: Kane picks up a primary and secondary assist in a 5-2 win over the Sharks on Nov. 25.

18: Kane keeps his point streak alive by collecting a secondary assist with 27 seconds remaining in regulation in a 3-2 overtime win over the Ducks on Nov. 27. He also tied Clint Smith (1943) and Denis Savard (1981) for third-longest point streak in Blackhawks history.

19: Kane breaks the record for longest point streak by an American-born player, previously held by Eddie Olczyk and Phil Kessel, with a goal and assist in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Kings on Nov. 28. He also tied Savard for second-longest point streak in Blackhawks history, set in 1985.

20: Kane scores the lone goal on the power play in a 2-1 loss to the Wild on Dec. 1, becoming the second Blackhawks player ever to reach a 20-game point streak.

21: Kane registers his fourth three-point games of the season in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Senators on Dec. 3, tying Bobby Hull for longest point streak in Blackhawks history set in 1971-72. Kane also moved past Jeremy Roenick for eighth-most points in franchise history with 598, per TSN.

22: Kane sets a Blackhawks record for longest point streak with an assist (via a legal hand pass) in the final minute of a 3-1 win over the Jets on Dec. 6. Hull previously held the record, set in 1971-72.

23: Fans were on the edge of their seats late in the third period as a lengthy empty-net goal extended Kane's point streak with only 1:36 left in a 4-1 win over the Predators on Dec. 8. He also recorded his 600th career point.

24: Kane scored his 18th goal of the season early in the third period to extend his point streak in a 5-1 loss to the Predators on Dec. 10

25: Kane kicked off the weekend with a second-period goal on the power play in a 2-0 win over the Jets on Dec. 11. His 25-game point streak matches Sidney Crosby for longest point streak since 1992-93.

26: Kane had the secondary assist on Duncan Keith’s power-play goal, giving him a 26-game point streak as the Blackhawks blanked the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 on Dec. 13. Kane now has the longest point streak among active NHL players.

Stan Bowman explains how Blackhawks may utilize extra cap space

Stan Bowman explains how Blackhawks may utilize extra cap space

The Blackhawks had cap space to use this summer but elected to shore up their depth rather than make a splash when free agency opened up on July 1. Perhaps a large reason for that was because Marian Hossa's $5.275 million cap hit over the next three years complicated what they could do exactly in the short term without jeopardizing the long term.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman admitted Tuesday that they had had discussions about moving Hossa's contract for a year now. But it finally reached a point where they simply needed to get it off their hands, even if it meant giving up Vinnie Hinostroza as a sweetener.

"We tried to make that deal work in every other way possible but they obviously said he had to be in it," Bowman said of including Hinostroza.

That's how important it was to free up even more cap space. By trading Hossa's contract in a nine-piece trade with the Arizona Coyotes, it created more options for the Blackhawks and financial flexibility going forward.

"It was a difficult trade from a sentimental perspective, because we'd love to not have to do that," Bowman said. "But on the practical matter, it was becoming challenging to try to operate with that contract here. It necessitated us trying to make the move that we did make. You don't know when those opportunities are going to come to try and make that type of a move. ... When this presented itself, we talked it through and got to the point where we thought it was something we had to take advantage of."

The problem for the short term is, it's mid-July and the big-name free agents are off the market. There's not much the Blackhawks can do to improve their roster externally unless they make a trade, which would require dipping into the pipeline.

And it's unfair to put a grade on the Hossa trade as a whole without seeing how they utilize that extra cap space. Could that be before the 2018-19 season starts?

"It's an option if we can find the right player or the right situation," Bowman said. "We certainly have more options now than we did before. I wouldn't say we have to do something. Having cap space is an asset in and of itself, so things will come along maybe in the summer or maybe in the beginning part of the year where teams have a couple players that make their team unexpectedly and that makes some other players more expendable. In the past we probably haven't really been a good match for those types of situations because we didn't have the cap room at that time, so now we're going to be in the mix for those types of things.

"Whether we use it right away or whether we use it during the season, I think the nice thing is we have the flexibility now going in to the coming years where we're going to need cap room, all that and more, to sign the young players."

It doesn't sound like there's much urgency to pull something off between now and when training camp rolls around in September. At least for now.

That doesn't mean there won't be once the market picks back up again. 

"Each year teams have surprises, good and bad, in camp," Bowman said. "Our team’s the same way. You have ideas on how your lines are going to look or how your players are going to be ready. Sometimes guys surprise you in a good way, sometimes it’s not what you think. There’ll be some adjustments around the league, but probably not a lot of activity.

"If you look back the last couple of seasons, late July and August are quieter as far as transactions. But there are some arbitration cases coming up around the league; those may get settled ahead of time. But if they do go to arbitration, if the number's not the way the team likes it, they may look to do something. There’s the possibility of moves, but probably closer to training camp is more when changes may happen."

All eyes on Blackhawks defensemen as prospect camp opens

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AP

All eyes on Blackhawks defensemen as prospect camp opens

The second wave of Blackhawks defensemen is on the way. That's exactly where all the attention was when prospect camp opened up Monday at MB Ice Arena.

Nicolas Beaudin. Adam Boqvist. Henri Jokiharju. Ian Mitchell. Call it the Big Four. Where are they all at in their development? When will they be ready to make an NHL impact? Who's the most pro ready? 

Lots of questions. Those will slowly start to get answered and it begins now.

While there may not necessarily be an open competition among the group right away, there's certainly a desire to make a strong first impression in front of the upper brass that included Stan Bowman, John McDonough and Joel Quenneville watching on Day 1.

"Every NHL team has a lot of good defensemen prospects, so I mean obviously when you want to go out there you want to showcase yourself as best as you can," Mitchell said. "Obviously you want to be the best defenseman here so that's my goal going into this, I want to prove to everyone that I'm a good defenseman, I deserve to play at the next level. Obviously there's lots of good players here, but you're trying to all succeed."

Said Beaudin: "There's a lot of competition. There's a lot of good, young defensemen. I think you just need to be different when you play when you show what you can do."

Said Boqvist: "I'm trying to be better every day. Of course I will play in the NHL one day and win Stanley Cups, so that's my mindset."

The theme? Focus on your own game, take what you learn out of this week and apply those tools in your game when advancing your development next season. The rest will take care of itself.

Mitchell will go back to Denver for his sophomore campaign to continue his development. Beaudin is expected to return to the QMJHL with the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Boqvist signed with the OHL's London Knights, where he will look to get accustomed to the North American style of play.

For Jokiharju, the goal is different. This is his second development camp. He signed an entry-level contract in June. Making the big club is a real goal and a legitimate possibility for a Blackhawks team looking for young, impact defensemen immediately.

"I think if Henri has a really good summer of training, comes into camp, I certainly thinks he gets a good look," Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley told NBC Sports Chicago last month.

Jokiharju showed poise and confidence with and without the puck during drills, like someone who knows this is only the first step towards that ultimate goal.

"Yeah," Jokiharju responded when asked if the expectation is to make it to the NHL this season. "You want to set the bar high, you don't want to set the bar too low. I want to dream big and that's the dream."

That's the dream for everyone. When that happens, it's up to them. This week is a chance to set an early tone.