Blackhawks

Five Things from Blackhawks-Stars: Power play goes quiet

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Stars: Power play goes quiet

The Blackhawks were looking pretty good for two periods. They were holding a very offensive-minded Dallas Stars team in check and they were getting some decent scoring opportunities themselves.

And then it all went bye-bye in the third period, when the Stars, led by Patrick Sharp, went on a three-goal tear for a 4-0 victory. The Blackhawks weren’t too happy with the way this one ended, whether it was the score or just the way the played – or didn’t play – that third period.

But sometimes, that’s the way the cookie-left-for-Santa crumbles. So before we call it a break – Christmas, that is – let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ loss to the Stars.

[SHOP BLACKHAWKS: Get your copy of the One Goal III book]

1. The power play goes quiet. The Blackhawks have found much success with their advantage this season. But when they got two early power plays against the Stars on Tuesday, they didn’t get a shot. On either power play. Against a team like Dallas, you have to take advantage of every opportunity you get. The Blackhawks didn’t on those.

2. Dallas can score in bunches. That was evident last year and it’s looking that way against this season. And on Tuesday, the Stars made the third period their own highlight reel. The Stars got two quick goals in the first three minutes of the third and then added another late in the period. Speaking of that…

3. Sharp with the finish. Sharp wasn’t making much noise for the Stars through the first two periods (we’ll get to that below) but he certainly did to start the third. His 12th goal of the season came just 11 seconds into the third period and fellow former Blackhawk Johnny Oduya was one of the first to come over and help celebrate the goal with him. The night overall, however, was bittersweet for Sharp. “It really wasn't that fun of a game,” he said. “It's tough to play against your friends. Hockey's a game you play with a lot of intensity, and that's hard to do against your buddies.”

[MORE: Patrick Sharp leads Stars to shutout victory over Blackhawks]

4. Fourth line has the tough job. Andrew Desjardins, Phillip Danault and former Stars forward Ryan Garbutt went up against the Stars’ top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Sharp. They did a good job on the evening, holding the trio off the score sheet through the first two periods. Patrick Sharp – whose assist earlier in the game came on the power play – finally broke through in the third, but that wasn’t against the fourth line.

5. The Blackhawks enter the break at 20-12-4. You know, that’s really not a bad record for a team that entered this season with a lot of uncertainty. Obviously their recent outings helped better that record; they’ve gone 7-4-1 so far this month. It was going to take time for the Blackhawks to get some chemistry and balance. It looks like they may be getting that now.

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.