Blackhawks

Game 7 loss, elimination 'really doesn't feel right' to Blackhawks

Game 7 loss, elimination 'really doesn't feel right' to Blackhawks

ST. LOUIS – Brent Seabrook’s shot caromed off one goal post before skidding through the blue paint and hitting the other, remaining out of the net.

In all of their success these past few seasons, the Blackhawks have gotten the clutch performances and some of those bounces. They didn’t get enough of either this postseason. And for the first time since 2012, the Blackhawks are done playing hockey in April.

Andrew Shaw scored his fourth goal of the series but former Blackhawks forward Troy Brouwer supplied the winner as the St. Louis Blues eliminated the Blackhawks 3-2 in Game 7 of their first-round series on Monday night.

The Blackhawks are done after the first round for the first time since 2012, when the Arizona (then Phoenix) Coyotes eliminated them in six games.

That team was still trying to rebuild after the post-2010 Stanley Cup purge. This one felt it could go farther, and was tremendously disappointed that it didn’t.

“Huge disappointment for me,” said coach Joel Quenneville. “We didn’t get that excitement factor, we didn’t get that investment to take off.”

[WATCH: Brent Seabrook's shot attempt in third period hits both posts]

The Blackhawks went to the Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane combination heading into Game 5. Pairing them usually leads to scoring. But not this time: Kane had one goal and Toews had none. Nevertheless, the Blackhawks nearly advanced despite Toews' and Kane’s quiet postseason.

“You get that feeling that it’s going to be one of those things again, we feel from the get-go this season that we got the team to do it again,” Toews said. “I guess it’s obviously a long regular season and you get a tough matchup like St Louis, I guess at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter when you look at the other teams we could have been up against in our division, we’re gonna get a tough matchup in the first round. For a while people were saying this series looked like it was probably going to come down to one goal at the end, and it did.”

Yes it did.

And as much as the Blackhawks were denied on a bounce in their attempt to tie the game, the Blues took advantage of a bounce when they went ahead. Brouwer’s first shot, off a Robby Fabbri pass, hit the post. But he steadied himself and backhanded it past Corey Crawford to give the Blues that lead 8:31 into the third period.

“That was the ugliest goal I've ever scored and probably the most timely goal I've ever scored,” Brouwer said. “I was joking with [broadcaster Darren Pang] that if I didn't put that one in I might quit hockey. I just tried to stay with it; knowing the magnitude of the game, knowing how everything's been going. We've been having great opportunities but haven't been able to put them in.”

The Blackhawks were down 2-0 just 14 minutes into this one, thanks to goals from Jori Lehtera and Colton Parayko.

But just as they had come back from a two-game deficit in the series and a two-goal deficit in Game 6, the Blackhawks came back to tie this one. Marian Hossa scored late in the first period and Shaw added his power-play goal in the second. But that’s where the comeback stopped.

Crawford stopped 23 of 26 in the loss.

“It just doesn’t really feel right. Pretty quick right after to put everything right after into words. Obviously not the outcome we were looking for,” said Kane. “It’s not the exact start you want when you go down 1-0 first shift. That was disappointing. We fought back to get it to 2-2. Obviously they got that goal there in the third and you’re trying to play catch-up again. Maybe one too many times in the hole.”

The Blackhawks aren’t used to this, being done so early in the postseason. They’ve had a lot of success lately but that doesn’t take the sting away this spring. They thought they had enough to make a run at another Cup. They thought they had one more comeback in them. They didn’t.

“Obviously the last three years we’ve had a lot of success in the playoffs,” Duncan Keith said. “I think it’s fun. This is what we play for: these type of games, and these series and playing late into the year. It’s fun having short summers. Obviously, we’re going to have a longer summer this year.”

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.