Blackhawks

Blackhawks sticking with Scott Darling as starter for Game 6

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Blackhawks sticking with Scott Darling as starter for Game 6

Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville hinted after Game 5 that Scott Darling would still be his starter. On Friday, he confirmed that.

Darling will get the start on Saturday night when the Blackhawks host the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of their first-round series. This will be the third consecutive start for Darling, who has played in all but one of this series’ games.

“He’s played well,” Quenneville said via conference call. “You look at the four games he’s been in, he’s been solid. We’re happy with the way he’s played and he’s going tomorrow.”

[MORE HAWKS: Blackhawks unravel in third period, fall to Predators in Game 5]

The Blackhawks lost to the Predators 5-2 in Game 5, with Darling giving up three goals within the first three minutes of the third period. Quenneville said Darling, “did everything right. We’re not blaming the goalie.”

Despite the team’s tough loss, Darling’s numbers are still great. He has a 1.67 goals-against average and .950 save percentage. In four appearances he’s seen 159 shots, stopping all but eight of them.

The Blackhawks certainly want to end this series on Saturday and try to get a breather before the second round. Still, if it goes to a Game 7, would Darling get that one, too?

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“He’s playing tomorrow,” Quenneville said. “We’re only thinking about tomorrow’s game. We have to play tomorrow’s game like we have to win tomorrow’s game, and that’s what it’s all about.”

In Predators news, the team announced that defenseman Shea Weber will miss the remainder of this series against the Blackhawks. It was initially reported by NBC Sports on Thursday that Weber suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Game 2  but the Predators said that was not the case.

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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