Blackhawks

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks open road trip against Sharks tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks open road trip against Sharks tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the San Jose Sharks tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 9 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

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Five Things to Watch:

1. Jonathan Toews vs. Joe Thornton.

The two No. 19s always have pretty heated battles. In 2013, it intensified to a point where both players dropped the gloves. Thornton has had a quiet January, recording only six points in 13 games while Toews is heating up offensively with six points in his last three. 

2. Gustav Forsling back with the Blackhawks.

Michal Rozsival was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury he suffered in practice that will sideline him for 2-3 weeks. To replace the 38-year-old defenseman, Forsling was recalled by the Blackhawks and is likely to draw into the lineup. He had one goal and three assists in 32 games with the team before getting sent down to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League, where he had six points in 11 games. Nick Schmaltz benefitted from a Rockford stint, and perhaps Forsling will prove that it did for him too.

3. The local kids.

The Sharks and Blackhawks have each beaten each another once this season in two games. In the latest contest on Dec. 18 at the United Center, Ryan Hartman and Vinnie Hinostroza each had a goal and an assist, leading the Blackhawks to a 4-1 win. With Chicago kicking off a six-game road trip, it will be key for the local kids to provide some scoring depth.

4. Brent Burns.

If the season ended today, Burns would be the Norris Trophy winner and would arguably be a Hart Trophy finalist. He leads all defensemen in goals with 21 and ranks fourth in the league with 51 points, averaging almost 25 minutes per game. He can take over a game on any given night, and is a huge threat on the power play.

5. A strong finish.

The Sharks have allowed 64 goals in the first two periods, which is among the fewest in the league. In the third, however, they've allowed 50, which is among the most in the league. The Blackhawks have scored their most goals in the third period with 48. The final 20 minutes is when Chicago plays its best, and will look to take advantage of a San Jose team that hasn't fared well during that period.

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Drake Caggiula looks back on how he could've played with Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome in OHL

Drake Caggiula looks back on how he could've played with Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome in OHL

Drake Caggiula had a successful college hockey career. He compiled 127 points (62 goals, 65 assists) in 162 career games across four seasons at North Dakota, and served as an alternate captain during his senior year.

But before committing to college, Caggiula was being recruited by the Erie Otters of the OHL and there could've been a moment where he played with Connor McDavid and current teammates Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome all at the same time.

“I remember telling Sherry Bassin, the GM of Erie, how I was going to go to college," Caggiula said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "He kept reiterating that, 'at 16 years old, we’re not going to be that great. But at 17, we’re going to be a little bit better, but not great. But at 18 and 19, those are going to be your big years and we’re going to have a really good team and we’re going to surround you with good players.’ I mean, that’s two years in the future so it’s hard to really see that.

"Looking back at it now, the players that I could have played with, they had some pretty talented players go through Erie. Even Dylan Larkin was an Erie draft pick and ended up going to Michigan. It could have been a pretty talented team there so it’s kind of funny to see how it all works out. We’re all here today coming from different paths so it’s pretty cool.”

Any chirps from the guys about his decision now?

“Yeah, Connor [McDavid] used to make fun of me all the time, you know? ‘Oh, we would have won the Memorial Cup if you would have joined the team!’ and all that sort of stuff," Caggiula joked. "We talk about it a little bit just here and there saying, ‘what a team we could have had and imagine who we would have been playing with and now we’re all here together. What if we all would have started in Erie together and now we’re here together?’ It just would have been a pretty cool story. It’s obviously something that we can’t control but it’s definitely something that you can look back at and laugh at.”

Check out the interview in the video above.

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Calvin de Haan on what it will be like to play for former teammate Jeremy Colliton

Calvin de Haan on what it will be like to play for former teammate Jeremy Colliton

When Jeremy Colliton was hired as the Blackhawks head coach in November of 2018, he immediately became the youngest NHL bench boss at age 33. In fact, he was even younger than some of the guys he was coaching (Corey Crawford, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, to name a few).

It was a weird dynamic at first, but quickly normalized once the locker room realized how bright of a hockey mind Colliton had/has.

Calvin de Haan offers a unique perspective. After being acquired by the Blackhawks in the summer, an interesting storyline was brought to light. He and Colliton actually played together during the 2011-12 season with the New York Islanders organization, where Colliton served as the captain of the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

While he may not have expected it to come this quickly, de Haan isn't surprised to see Colliton behind an NHL bench at such a young age.

"Looking back on it now, you realize that he has the qualities to be a successful coach," de Haan said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "Smart guy, very methodical I don't envision him being a yeller or a screamer but he was a guy who always kind of spoke and everyone kind of listened. I'm assuming it's going to translate to his coaching style and just judging by his personality you can see why he's climbed the ranks pretty quick. I'm really excited to play for him."

Check out the interview in the video above.

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