Blackhawks

Despite lengthy rest, Blackhawks remain focused on Ducks

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Despite lengthy rest, Blackhawks remain focused on Ducks

The Blackhawks have enjoyed a rare postseason privilege this week: off days.

While the Eastern Conference second-round series continue on Tuesday, the Blackhawks have relaxed, practiced a time or two, and relaxed some more. As far as getting completely away from hockey, however, the Blackhawks aren’t doing that.

“You don’t want to let your mind wander too much,” Jonathan Toews said. “When you have your sights set on your next opponent and you know when the date is, it’s great to be able to snap back into it and knowing, the couple days leading up to it you need to be where you would be if it was a game day.

[MORE HAWKS: Ducks quickly shift their attention to Blackhawks]

The Blackhawks don’t know the dates yet but they do know their opponent. And whether practicing or taking an off day, their minds are completely focused on the Anaheim Ducks right now.

The extended time off presents a challenge: get rest but stay sharp. Coach Joel Quenneville has never been big on lengthy practices; a “long” practice runs about 45 minutes. But when the Blackhawks do practice they’re not coasting out there.

“Sometimes you’ve got to make sure you balance it when it gets a little longer… where it’s almost, let’s try something different in practice, simulate a game situation,” Quenneville said. “Or we get the feel of the puck, feel of the play, that first game type of intensity that’s going to be there.”

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Whenever a team is off for a while, there’s the inevitable question: will players be rusty when they do return? The Blackhawks had six days off between finishing their first-round series against the Nashville Predators to starting their second-round session vs. the Minnesota Wild. That layoff didn’t hurt them; the Blackhawks scored three goals in the first period of Game 1. Given the gravity of the postseason, the Blackhawks should be ready when this series starts, too.

“You kind of get in that routine of every-other-day games and getting that momentum and playing, getting into the games. It’s kinda tough [with time off], but it’s also nice to have the rest,” Bryan Bickell said. “These last practices have been a good pace and it gets us ready for the game.”

The Blackhawks have enjoyed their days off, from Bickell’s day of fishing to players spending time with family and friends. But at this time of year, the game and the next opponent is never too far in the back of their minds.

“It’s nice to be here, sleep in your own bed and not a hotel, things like that,” Duncan Keith said. “[But] you’re always focused on hockey no matter what, watching the games and thinking about the next series.”

NBC Sports Chicago to carry 12th Annual Blackhawks Convention live on multiple platforms

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NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago to carry 12th Annual Blackhawks Convention live on multiple platforms

Chicago, IL (July 23, 2019) – NBC Sports Chicago – the ONLY HOME for Blackhawks hockey – is ready to start up the 2019-20 NHL season in a big way with exclusive, LIVE Opening Ceremonies coverage and expanded weekend-long, multi-platform reports from the sold out 12th annual Blackhawks Convention, which will be held downtown this weekend (July 26-28) at the Hilton Chicago.

 

On Friday, July 26 beginning at 5:00 PM CT, NBC Sports Chicago - featuring host Pat Boyle (@BoyleNBCS), along with NBCSportsChicago.com Blackhawks digital reporter/producer Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) - will provide viewers with every thrill-packed moment of the convention’s Opening Ceremonies featuring introductions of Blackhawks players/coaches/alumni/front office executives, the singing of the National Anthem, exciting video montages, plus – special live interviews with Blackhawks guests prior to the start of the ceremony. (NOTE: NBC Sports Chicago will re-air the Convention’s Opening Ceremonies later in the evening at 11:00 PM.)

 

At 6:00 PM on Friday night, Blackhawks Convention coverage continues on NBC Sports Chicago with a live remote edition of SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado featuring host David Kaplan (@thekapman), along with a panel of Blackhawks/NHL experts and a special Blackhawks guest interview.  In addition, tomorrow night (Wed, July 24) at 6:00 PM, fans can look forward to a special Blackhawks player appearance on SportsTalk Live to discuss the upcoming Convention, along previewing the upcoming 2019-20 Blackhawks campaign. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Live stream of the Opening Ceremonies coverage and SportsTalk Live will also be available to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive and via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app; fans located anywhere in the U.S. can download MyTeams for free on iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.)

 

Throughout the weekend, fans can look forward to even more comprehensive Blackhawks Convention coverage on NBCSportsChicago.com’s BlackhawksTalk section (NBCSportsChicago.com/Blackhawks) featuring additional players/coaches/front office executive interviews, feature stories, fan reaction, photos, videos and much more to be provided via Boyle, Roumeliotis, along the NBC Sports Chicago’s team of behind-the-scenes Blackhawks experts (@NBCSBlackhawks). 

 

From a social media standpoint, NBC Sports Chicago will also deliver a number of additional on-site Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago) interviews and special segments throughout the weekend, along with Blackhawks Convention “Sights & Sounds” highlights from ‘NBCSChicago’ featuring photos/quick video offerings from Instagram and Instagram Stories.  Plus, fans can also get interactive with NBC Sports Chicago’s “Blackhawks Convention” coverage throughout the weekend by utilizing the social media hashtag #AuthenticFan.

 

Also, on Sunday, July 28 at 10:00 AM, fans can also look forward to a live “Blackhawks Convention” edition of the popular “Blackhawks Talk” PODCAST presented by Your Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Chevy Dealers featuring hosts Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis, along with special guest appearances by Blackhawks forwards Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome.  Fans can download all of NBC Sports Chicago’s podcasts at NBCSportsChicago.com/podcasts and simply subscribe to them via Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.

 

In addition, Blackhawks Convention attendees are urged to stop by NBC Sports Chicago’s #AuthenticFan booth for their chance to win a number of special #AuthenticFan Blackhawks-themed giveaways including beach balls, keychains, picnic blankets, tote bags and much more (while supplies last).  #AuthenticFan cheer cards will also be given out to fans in advance of the Opening Ceremonies.  Attendees are also urged to utilize the social media hashtag #AuthenticFan throughout the weekend as a number of lucky fans will be “authentically surprised” with special Blackhawks giveaways and experiences. NBC Sports Chicago’s dedicated Blackhawks Twitter handle (@NBCSBlackhawks) will also provide fans with up-to-the-minute NBC Sports Chicago #AuthenticFan booth activities throughout the weekend.

 

 

NBC Sports Chicago, a partnership between the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago Cubs (MLB), Chicago White Sox (MLB) and the NBC Sports Group, features over 275 live pro games in high definition each year.  In addition, NBC Sports Chicago delivers extensive pre/post-game coverage for its core pro team partners, as well as Chicago Bears postgame coverage, local sports discussion programs that includes SportsTalk Live, and massive cross-platform coverage provided by the network’s growing digital platform, NBCSportsChicago.com, the new “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app, and its variety of fan-focused social media outlets. Fans can follow the network on Twitter via @NBCSChicago.  

 

NBC Sports Regional Networks is NBC Sports Group’s portfolio of nine regional networks that delivers more than 2,200 live sporting events and original content to more than 35 million homes. Aligned within Eastern and Western Divisions, the NBC Sports Regional Networks are: NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Philadelphia +, NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Washington + and SNY; and NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago/NBC Sports Chicago+, and NBC Sports Northwest. For more information on NBC Sports Group properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios, headshots and logos, please visit www.NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com.

 

 

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2019 Blackhawks development camp: Final thoughts and takeaways from scrimmage

2019 Blackhawks development camp: Final thoughts and takeaways from scrimmage

Thoughts and takeaways from the final day of Blackhawks development camp at Fifth Third Arena, which featured the prospect scrimmage:

1. The standouts

In the middle of the week, GM Stan Bowman singled out Adam Boqvist, Kirby Dach, Ian Mitchell and Alex Nylander as the four players who had stood out so far, in large part because they're on another level in terms of talent. Dach was taken No. 3 overall, Boqvist and Nylander were drafted No. 8 overall and Mitchell has first-round talent and the confidence to go with it.

In particular, Boqvist and Dach were easily the most noticeable prospects during Friday's scrimmage. They were flashy, creative and produced on the scoresheet. Boqvist finished with a primary assist — a beautiful setup, which you can see in the video below — while Dach scored two goals and added an assist. They were all over the ice. Check out the clips below, as the two of them dominated the highlight reel.

2. Additional observations

—  Josiah Slavin had a hat trick, including the game-winning goal with 6.9 seconds remaining. He made the most of his scrimmage, no doubt.

— Antti Saarela scored two goals, one of which came on a penalty shot — see video below. 

— Nylander didn't seem as engaged as others, but his skill alone was enough for him to be noticeable. Good things happened when he was on the ice.

— Alexis Gravel was solid in net. He gave up only one goal and it came in the final minute of the first period when Dach scored on a breakaway.

— Nicolas Beaudin and Alex Vlasic were quiet, but in a good way. They were sound defensively.

3. Names to watch going forward

— Philipp Kurashev: A crafty playmaker with a heavy shot, Kurashev took a huge step in his development this past season. He led the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL with 65 points (29 goals, 36 assists) in 59 games and earned All-Star honors at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship after leading all skaters with six goals.

He's a smooth skater, fast, smart and strong on the puck. Kurashev will start the season in Rockford and is expected to play a large role. He was the hidden gem in the Ryan Hartman deal in 2018. The Blackhawks used their fourth-rounder acquired in that trade to take Kurashev.  

— MacKenzie Entwistle: This is a player to watch in Rockford this season simply because he knows his role and is really good at it. A bottom-six, versatile forward who can play center or win and is dependable on the penalty kill. Those are players coaches love to have at the next level because they accept their role and take pride in doing so. 

— Brandon Hagel: Here's a player who essentially fell into the Blackhawks' laps. The Buffalo Sabres drafted him in the sixth round (No. 159 overall) in 2016 but did not offer him a contract ahead of the June 1 deadline in 2018, so they lost his signing rights. The Blackhawks pounced in October by signing him to a three-year, entry-level contract.

And how did he follow his season up? By finishing fourth in the WHL in scoring with 102 points (41 goals, 61 assists) in 66 games with the Red Deer Rebels for a points-per-game average of 1.55. It was a 43-point improvement from the previous season, albeit he played in 10 more games. 

Still, this is someone who the Blackhawks weren't expecting to have in their pipeline but he is and could turn into a solid player. A scout once told me Hagel is highly competitive, which is one of the top criteria for the Blackhawks when evaluating a young player. Hagel appeared in eight games for Rockford last season and compiled only one point, but it's a small sample size. It will be interesting to follow his progression in his first year as a pro and playing against bigger men.

Other notes:

— Jake Wise participated in on-ice sessions all week but did not play in the scrimmage. He's still working his way back from a shoulder injury.

— Other non-participants: Evan Barratt (hip), Parker Foo, Dominik Kubalik (rest), Niklas Nordgren (injury) and Tim Soderlund (visa issues).

Scrimmage videos:

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