Blackhawks

Blackhawks postseason numbers: Some good, some bad

Blackhawks postseason numbers: Some good, some bad

We’re just about wrapped up with this Blackhawks season, albeit a little prematurely for their liking.

There are still topics to address; general manager Stan Bowman, coach Joel Quenneville and players will discuss those soon, most likely tomorrow. Until then, a few postseason numbers, some good and some bad, to review.

4 — Goals by Andrew Shaw (in six games), who led the Blackhawks in that category for the series.

4 — Combined goals for Artemi Panarin (2), Patrick Kane (1), Andrew Ladd (1) and Jonathan Toews (0) in the series.

19 on 205 — Goals allowed on shots seen by Corey Crawford, who finished the first round with a 2.54 goals-against average and .907 save percentage.

18 on 254 — Goals allowed on shots seen by Blues goaltender Brian Elliott (2.40 GAA, .929 save percentage).

6 — One-goal games played between the Blackhawks and Blues in their first-round series. Game 6 was the only game won by multiple goals (a Blackhawks 6-3 victory).

412:38 — Time, out of 452:11, that the Blues and Blackhawks were either tied or had one goal separating them during games in this series.*

2-3 — Blackhawks’ record in Game 7s under coach Joel Quenneville. They won vs. Detroit in 2013 (Western Conference semifinals) and at Anaheim in 2015 (Western Conference Final). They lost at Vancouver in 2011 (Western Conference quarterfinals), vs. Los Angeles in 2014 (Western Conference Final) and at St. Louis on Monday.

31:27 — Average time on ice for Duncan Keith, highest for any defenseman in the first round.

23 — Blocked shots, each, for Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson.

2 — Game-winning goals Troy Brouwer now has against his former team. The other one was in the 2015 Winter Classic, when Brouwer was with the Washington Capitals.*

*Via the NHL

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

Jimmy Greenfield, Connor McKnight, and Matt Spiegel join Kap on the panel to discuss Corey Crawford back on the ice for the first time in 10 months. The Bears have good news when it comes to Khalil Mack, who injured his ankle against the Dolphins.

Plus, Fred Hoiberg announces that Jabari Parker is coming off the bench for the season opener.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

Niklas Hjalmarsson 'wasn't happy' about trade, but remembers time with Blackhawks fondly

Niklas Hjalmarsson 'wasn't happy' about trade, but remembers time with Blackhawks fondly

Apparently time doesn’t heal all wounds. 

Nearly a year and a half since being traded to the Coyotes, Niklas Hjalmarsson will return to the United Center ice on Thursday playing for the visiting team.  

“It’s going to be strange coming in as the away team and being in the other locker room,” said Hjalmarsson on Wednesday. “I bet it’s going to be a lot of emotions and mixed feelings.” 

This is also the first time Hjalmarsson has been back to the city of Chicago since he was traded, a city he called his “second home.” A home where he spent parts of 10 seasons, and never really planned on leaving.

“I wasn’t happy, to be honest with you,” said Hjalmarsson of the trade to Arizona. “I was shocked. It took me a couple days to actually realize I wasn’t going to play for the Hawks anymore.”

Including the playoffs, Hjalmarsson played 751 games in the Indian head sweater. Despite that and the team’s three Stanley Cup victories, the Blackhawks shipped him off to Arizona for Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin in June of 2017.

“You kind of let it go after a while,” he said. “Now I’m just hoping all the success for the guys over here too.”

Hjalmarsson was known for his toughness, repeatedly blocking shot after shot, giving up his body, while never missing a shift. He credits his long-time teammates — Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook — for a lot of his success and identity on the blue line.

“I couldn’t have had better role models coming into a team,” he said. “I’m very thankful to have played on the same team as those guys and created a lot of success together. We’re always going to be connected with the Cups that we’ve had.”

The third championship won by that defense-trio was on United Center ice against the Lightning in 2015, but that isn’t the memory that stands out most for Hjalmarsson.

“The first Cup is always going to be pretty special,” said the 31-year old. “Even just going to the conference final (in 2009), even when we lost against Detroit that year, the year before was great memories too. The first time for me going into the playoffs and playing deep.”

The tables have turned now for both Hjalmarsson and the Blackhawks. 

The Coyotes have yet to score an even-strength goal this season, while the Blackhawks have claimed eight of a possible 10 points thus far through five games and expect to have their starting goaltender back between the pipes. 

But you won’t hear any ill-will from Hjalmarsson, he’s still rooting for the Hawks.

“I always think that Chicago deserves to have a team in the playoffs,” he said. “It’s not that I wish them not to do well. It’s the total opposite. I want them to have continued success.”