Blackhawks

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' shutout loss to Capitals

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' shutout loss to Capitals

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on Friday night:

1. A poor first period.

The Blackhawks' first-period inconsistencies continued after they gave up three goals in the opening 20 minutes, including two within a 13-second span. The Capitals had 30 shot attempts compared to the Blackhawks' 11, all at even strength, and no player on Chicago had a positive Corsi.

The Blackhawks' goal differential also slipped to minus-4 in the first two periods this season compared to plus-14 in the third period and overtime combined.

2. Jay Beagle continues dominance vs. Blackhawks.

One of those three first-period goals came from Beagle, who now has four goals in two games against the Blackhawks this season. He has eight goals total in 42 games, which means half of them have come against Chicago.

He also had a season-high eight shots on goal, a few of them coming while shorthanded. According to CSN's stat guru Chris Kamka, Beagle has six career goals in eight games against the Blackhawks and 33 goals in 345 games vs. the rest of the league.

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3. A goal taken away.

After a slow start, the Blackhawks began to generate scoring chances in the second period, and appeared to have cut their deficit to 3-1 when Vinnie Hinostroza found the back of the net with 13:28 left. But the goal was overturned following a Capitals challenge due to goaltender interference after Marian Hossa's stick made contact with Braden Holtby.

Here's the NHL's explanation:

"After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee determined that Chicago's Marian Hossa intefered with Holtby before the puck cross the goal line. According to Rule 78.7, 'The standard for overturning the call in the event of a 'GOAL' call on the ice is that the Referee, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that the goal should have been disallowed due to 'Interference on the Goalkeeper,' as described in Rules 69.1, 69.3 and 69.4. Therefore the original call is overturned."

4. Bradley Holtby stays hot.

The reigning Vezina Trophy winner was on his A-game once again, stopping all 24 shots he faced in the win. He has turned aside 56 of 58 shots in two contests against the Blackhawks this season, good for a .966 save percentage.

It's also his third shutout in his last five starts, and sixth total, which now leads the league. Holtby hasn't allowed an even-strength goal in five straight games, with all three coming on the power play.

5. Capitals are serious contenders.

Say what you want about the Capitals' history of playoff struggles after cruising in the regular season, but this team is no joke and feels different than in year's past. They've now won eight in a row, including shutout wins against Columbus, Ottawa and Chicago, and own a plus-24 goal differential during that span.

They're a top-3 puck possession team, own the third-best penalty kill unit in the league at 86.1 percent and are averaging only 1.95 goals against per game, which ranks No. 1. Those are three key ingredients to a lengthy postseason run, and they're among the best in all of them.

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

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AP

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

The Blackhawks announced Monday that they have officially agreed to terms with forward Dominik Kahun, defensemen Lucas Carlsson and Darren Raddysh and goaltender Kevin Lankinen on entry-level contracts.

Kahun ($925,000 cap hit), Lankinen ($925,000) and Raddysh ($730,000) each signed two-year deals that run through the 2019-20 season while Carlsson's is a three-year deal that runs through the 2020-21 campaign and carries a cap hit of $792,500.

So who are these guys? Let's meet them:

Carlsson

Drafted in the fourth round (No. 110 overall) by the Blackhawks in 2016, Carlsson set a career-high with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 44 games this season with Brynäs IF of the Swedish Hockey League. He was tied for fourth among all blue liners with seven goals.

Carlsson, 20, doesn't have major upside, but he's a reliable, well-rounded defenseman and that's what drew the attention of Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley.

“When he’s on the ice, he makes things happen," Kelley told Scott Powers of The Athletic last summer. "I think what impressed the Sweden under-20 coach was Lucas’ ability to challenge in all three zones. He’s an active defensively. Offensively, he challenges. He keeps plays alive.”

Kahun

The 22-year-old forward spent the last four seasons with EHC München of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Germany's top professional hockey league, where he established career highs in assists (29), points (41) and tied a personal best with 12 goals, leading Munchen to their third straight championship in 2018 after recording four goals and 10 assists in 17 playoff contests.

He raised eyebrows at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, where he compiled five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games and won 55.4 percent of his faceoffs (41 of 74), helping Germany capture a silver medal.

“He has made an enormous step this year, has become much more stable and mature," German national team coach Marco Sturm said after the Olympics. "I am sure that he would grab it in the NHL,” Sturm told the Hamburger Morgenpost.

Most recently, Kahun had a goal and two assists in seven games for Germany during the IIHF Men's World Championship. He's 5-foot-11, 176 pounds whose known to be a solid two-way player and can play center but may need some time to adjust to the smaller ice surface and NHL style of speed and physicality.

Lankinen 

Lankinen is 23 years old and coming off a season in which he was in the discussion for the Urpo Ylönen trophy, annually awarded to the top goaltender of the Finnish Elite League, after registering a league-best 1.33 goals against average and .946 save percentage in 15 games with HIFK.

He missed a large portion of the season because of an injury, but it didn't stop him from turning in a strong postseason, guiding his team to a bronze medal after posting a 1.99 GAA and .936 save percentage in 13 playoff games. The year before that, he led the league with seven shutouts in 42 games, backstopping his team to a silver medal.

This is a low-risk, medium-sized reward signing for the Blackhawks, who could use some more young goaltending depth in the pipeline, especially given how this season unfolded with the big club.

Raddysh

The Blackhawks signed Raddysh to a one-year AHL contract last June, and he turned it into an NHL one after a strong season with the Rockford IceHogs.

Raddysh, 22, accumulated 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 66 regular-season games with the IceHogs, and has appeared in each of the team's playoff games en route to the Western Conference Final.

Last season Raddysh was named the OHL's top defenseman after scoring 16 goals and 65 assists for 81 points in 62 games for the Erie Otters, where he was teammates with current Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat. He's the Otters' all-time leader in assists (143) and points (184) among defensemen.

Raddysh might be nothing more than a depth defenseman, but his development is worth monitoring because the offensive production is there and that's something the Blackhawks lacked this past season from their back end.

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'

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AP

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'

Days after putting his Gold Coast condo on the market, Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa revealed to a Slovakian newspaper that he is moving back to his hometown country and doesn't plan on returning to the NHL.

"I will not play hockey anymore," said Hossa, who missed the entire 2017-18 campaign due to a progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medications involved to treat it. "I have a valid contract with Chicago for the next three years, but I have only one health and it does not allow me to return."

Because he has three years left on a deal that carries a $5.275 million cap hit, Hossa is not expected to sign his retirement papers until the contract is completed or else it would result in salary cap consequences.

The news is not surprising, but it officially allows the Blackhawks to move on without him in the fold roster-wise and toy around with some options this summer.

The first is stashing his contract on long-term injured reserve, as they did last season when they utilized the in-season preference.

The second, which Hossa wondered could happen, is finding a trade partner that would absorb the remainder of his contract, usually done by lower payroll teams aiming to reach the cap floor.

And it wouldn't be difficult trying to find a buyer, considering Hossa's actual salary is $1 million per year over the next three seasons. Hossa, of course, has a no movement clause but it's likely he would waive it given his status at this point.

The good news for Chicago is, the three-time Stanley Cup winner didn't rule out joining the Blackhawks organization in some capacity after his contract expires in 2020-21, whether it's in a front office role or as a team ambassador.

In 19 NHL seasons, Hossa accumulated 525 goals and 609 assists for 1,134 points in 1,309 regular-season games, and added 149 points (52 goals, 97 assists) in 205 postseason contests. He's one of 45 players in league history to net at least 500 goals in his career.