Blackhawks

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Ducks tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Ducks tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Anaheim Ducks tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Johnny Oduya's debut.

In an effort to strengthen their blue line, the Blackhawks re-acquired Oduya on Feb. 28, just one day before the trade deadline. But after being sidelined for more than a month with an ankle injury, the Blackhawks wisely decided to delay his return to make sure his conditioning level was back to 100 percent. He had logged 18:28 of ice time on Feb. 26, so he's healthy enough to play. But the Blackhawks played it safe with an important final month upcoming, and he'll finally make his much-anticipated debut (again) in Chicago tonight.

2. More balanced defensive pairings.

With the addition of Oduya and return of Niklas Hjalmarsson, who was dealing with an upper-body injury, the Blackhawks are as deep as they've been on the back end in years. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are reunited on the top pairing followed by Oduya and Hjalmarsson, a duo that was so effective during the 2015 Stanley Cup run. The third pairing is rounded out by Brian Campbell and Trevor van Riemsdyk, both of whom have played among the top four at different times this season but are better suited on the bottom unit. Everyone's in the right place.

3. A healthy lineup.

Nick Schmaltz, who has missed the last two games with an illness, will return to the lineup tonight and slot back into the top line with Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik, a trio that has been one of the hottest in the league since February. Artem Anisimov appears to be healthy as well after returning to the lineup last week following a lower-body injury. That means the Blackhawks are as healthy as they've been all season, aside from the fact Scott Darling is out with an upper-body injury for the next few weeks. Let's see what this entire group can do together.

4. Ducks droughts.

Corey Perry has zero goals in his last 10 games, the third time he's had a scoring drought of at least 10 games this season, with his first going all the way up to 18 and second to 13. Ryan Kesler, Anaheim's second-leading scorer with 19 goals, has lit the lamp only twice in his last 23 games. And the team's power play is just 1-for-23 in their last 10, coming out to a 4.4 percent success rate. But the Blackhawks need to be careful. Both of these players are capable of exploding on any given night, and their power play unit is loaded with weapons. They're all due, so it's important not to give them an ounce of life with the risk of opening up the floodgates.

5. A sprint to the finish.

Starting tonight, there are 31 days left in the Blackhawks' regular season. They'll play 17 games during that stretch, including two back-to-backs. Luckily for the Blackhawks, they've played in only eight games the past 24 days, so they should be well-rested for the busy slate that awaits as they continue their pursuit for home-ice advantage throughout the Western Conference.

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Blackhawks receive Joseph Cramarossa from the Penguins in minor league trade

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USA Today

Blackhawks receive Joseph Cramarossa from the Penguins in minor league trade

The Blackhawks have acquired forward Joseph Cramarossa from the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward Graham Knott in a minor league trade. Cramarossa will report to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.

The 27-year-old had three points (two goals, one assist) in nine games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this AHL season. Cramarossa was the alternate captain during the 2018-19 in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, playing 56 regular-season games, scoring four goals.

Cramarossa was initially drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the third round of the 2011 NHL Draft, making his NHL debut on the Ducks in 2016. He played with the Ducks until he was traded to the Vancouver in 2017, playing in 10 games for the Canucks. He signed with Calgary as a free agent in September 2017 before being acquired by the Penguins in February 2018. Throughout seven seasons in the AHL (2013-2019) playing for the Norfolk Admirals, San Diego Gulls, Stockton and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Cramarossa recorded 72 points (32G, 40A) in 294 regular-season games.

Graham Knott is a 22-year-old forward selected by the Blackhawks in the second round of the 2015 NHL draft. Knott had eight goals in 126 career games with the IceHogs. The Blackhawks have now traded their top draft selections from 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2009. Only Dach (2019), Boqvist (2018) and DeBrincat (2016) remain from this decade.

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Patrick Kane unhappy about Sebastian Aho cross-check: 'I just don't like that play'

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NBC Sports Chicago

Patrick Kane unhappy about Sebastian Aho cross-check: 'I just don't like that play'

Patrick Kane is as durable an athlete as they come. 

Since the start of the 2015-16 season, he’s missed only one game and it was because of an illness on Oct. 31, 2018 vs. Calgary, which ended a 258-game Iron Man streak.

The only time he’s missed significant action in his NHL career came during the 2014-15 campaign when he broke his collarbone and was sidelined for the final 21 games of the regular season.

Tuesday ignited some flashbacks for the former Hart Trophy winner.

With under a minute to play in regulation and the Blackhawks trailing by one, Kane went to retrieve the puck along the boards in the offensive zone and was cross-checked from behind by Sebastian Aho. Kane took a heavy, scary spill into the boards and it looked very similar to the hit Florida Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic laid on him on Feb. 24, 2015 that ended his MVP-type regular season.

"I just don't like that play," Kane said after practice on Wednesday. "I'm pretty sensitive to that play because that's kind of how I broke my collarbone four or five years ago. I just don't like that play where you're going in, your back's turned, you get the cross-check in the back when you're unsuspecting and the puck's not there, so I think that's where the frustration came from."

There was no penalty called and Kane threw his hands up in disbelief. The unfortunate part about the play is Aho probably gets a penalty if Kane stays down on the ice, but Kane’s instincts kicked in and he quickly got back up to try keeping the puck in the zone.

Frustrating boiled over after Aho scored the empty-netter with 17.6 seconds left to ice the game. Kane skated over to Aho and gave him a cross-check of his own, which resulted in a 10-minute misconduct. 

"When I got hit like that I was just trying to keep the play alive because I thought they would for sure call it, to be honest with you,” Kane said. “But there's plays throughout the game that don't get called and that's just the way it is. That one's probably more magnified because of the situation and how much time was left."

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