Blackhawks

Blackhawks stay hot, score big road win in Detroit

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Blackhawks stay hot, score big road win in Detroit

DETROIT Marian Hossa recently said that this latest road trip, and the playoff-type atmosphere that came with it, was going to be a good challenge; were going to see where were at.

So far, the Blackhawks are meeting that challenge.

Patrick Sharp scored a power-play goal and Ray Emery stopped 23 of 24 shots as the Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 on Sunday afternoon. The Blackhawks have won three in a row and remain in sixth place in the West, four points behind idle fifth-place Nashville.

In another game where the Blackhawks needed a complete team game, they got it. Emery was solid once again, and the penalty kill and team defense was strong against a Red Wings team thats always dangerous.

Its kind of what were looking for coming off the Ottawa game. We had to play another perfect road game and we did a lot of good things tonight, coach Joel Quenneville said. We (were good with) details, we had purpose and we were positionally aware. Everybodys contributing and we stuck together.

It was typical Blackhawks-Wings hockey on Sunday: close, combative and entertaining. And the Blackhawks power play, which had been so anemic for so long, came through early for them when Sharp scored for an early 1-0 lead.

Its a big difference when the power play can get one like that, said Sharp, whose shot got through a Jamal Mayers screen up front. Our penalty kill was solid all night long. Thats the way things are going to be down the stretch: tight, and goals are going to be hard to come by. Well take it.

Sharp was it it again late in the second period, with a sweet behind-the-back feed to Patrick Kane, who backhanded one past Joey MacDonald for the eventual game-winner.

I dont know if (Sharp) had eyes in the back of his head or said his prayers and put it into the slot, said Kane, who now has goals in three of his last four games. But it was a great play all around and a huge goal, especially at the end of a period.

The Blackhawks are getting more consistent in recent games. Their defensive pairs look more confident both Quenneville and Duncan Keith were again complimentary to new defenseman Johnny Oduya and Emery has been strong in several games. The Blackhawks top players are finding their offense again.

Its that time of year when games are tighter and the emphasis on them is big. The Blackhawks knew when they embarked on this trip they were in a precarious position in the West. With their last two games, theyre helping their situation plenty.

Its important were still winning games, Emery said. Were not scoring big numbers but were getting it done. Come playoff time, those are the kind of wins you have to have.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: What will be Stan Bowman's next move?

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Sports Talk Live Podcast: What will be Stan Bowman's next move?

Gabe Ramirez, Vinnie Duber, and Jay Cohen join Kap on the panel to discuss game two of Cubs vs. Braves and the battle of the Soxes.

Plus with the start of free agency coming up, what will be Stan Bowman's next move?

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Calvin de Haan on unexpected trade to Blackhawks and what he brings to the table

Calvin de Haan on unexpected trade to Blackhawks and what he brings to the table

Calvin de Haan knew that the Carolina Hurricanes had a logjam on defense going into this summer and that somebody was going to be dealt to create a spot. The move was also driven by financial reasons as the Hurricanes look to re-sign a handful of players, most notably Sebastian Aho.

He just wasn't expecting it to be his name on the move.

"I'm still kind of in shock, to be honest," de Haan said on Tuesday's conference call. "I didn’t think it was going to be me. After Carolina signed me last summer my fiancée and I thought we were going to have some roots there, but I get it, it’s a business. Looking back on it now, it’s only been 16 hours or whatever, but it’s been a whirlwind. I’m really looking forward to it now. Obviously Stan [Bowman] and the Blackhawks made a deal for me and I feel like I’m wanted and I’m really looking forward to this opportunity with this organization."

De Haan, who signed a four-year, $18.2 million contract with Carolina last offseason, admitted that the Blackhawks didn't show any interest in him when he was an unrestricted free agent. But he's excited about being in an organization that values his services, and the feeling is mutual because he's filling an immediate need on the back end for the Blackhawks: a player who can log big minutes, is a sound stay-at-home defenseman and can play an effective role on the penalty kill.

Jeremy Colliton, who was the captain for the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers during de Haan's rookie season in the pros from 2011-12, will certainly appreciate what his former teammate brings to the table.

"I just like to think my position’s good," de Haan said of his game. "I like to think I move well on the ice. I’ve always tried to play a simple game. I saw some tweets yesterday that I might be the next best thing to Nik Hjalmarsson that the Blackhawks have had in a while, so that’s a compliment. That guy’s had a great career and that’s a player I like to play like. Nothing flashy, just kind of get the job done and I hope Blackhawk fans will really appreciate my game. It’s something I’m really looking forward to this season."  

De Haan underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in May — exactly five weeks from Tuesday — and was given a four-to-six month timeline, putting his availability for training camp and the season opener in jeopardy. But he's hoping to be cleared by the time training camp rolls around in September and be ready to go for the season opener on Oct. 4 in Prague.

"Things are progressing well," de Haan said. "I like to think I’m ahead of schedule. I’ve had shoulder surgeries in the past as well where I know how this goes and I’m gonna make sure I’m ready for camp. Then it’s going to be up to the training staff and the doctors whether they want me to play or take a few weeks here and there and just progress slowly. But my main goal is to be ready for camp. I don’t want to sit on the sidelines. I want to be on the ice with the guys and out there grinding away and try to get the team back in the playoffs."

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