Blackhawks

Hawk Talk: After a rest, on to the rest

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Hawk Talk: After a rest, on to the rest

Monday, Jan. 31, 2011
12:21 p.m.

By Chris Boden
CSNChicago.com

The Blackhawks have had a five-day break from The Grind, followed by three games in four days, followed by another six days off, including Monday's practice. Now that they've caught up on some rest, and the playing field is fairly level in the Games Played column, here's a quick peek at what the other Western Conference contenders are up to coming out of the All-Star Break:

Detroit (66 pts.) They're "only" 13-9-4 since November, but impressively 9-5-2 since Pavel Datsyuk went down, beginning a string of injuries that's included Danny Cleary, Brad Stuart, and Tomas Holmstrom. Now, Datsyuk's set to return. After facing Ottawa and Columbus this week, the next six include a pair of meetings each versus Nashville and Boston, plus tilts with the Rangers and Lightning.

Dallas (65 pts.) Bounced back to beat Edmonton after surrendering seven goals in each of their two previous losses to Vancouver & Calgary. Tons of salary cap space if a management in flux chooses to use it (they've already picked up Jamie Langenbrunner) for potential blue line help since the forwards and goaltending seem capable. They return to action hosting Vancouver, traveling to Boston & Philadelphia, then home to Phoenix & the Hawks.

Nashville (60 pts) They're coming off a 3-3 trip, with wins over Phoenix, Colorado & Edmonton, while losing to the Hawks, Calgary & Vancouver. They're not "home-free," but they've played the most road games in the NHL. 22 of their final 32 are at home.

Anaheim (60 pts) The one team that the league's still catching up to after playing 52 games already. They've made the most of it, too, after a 4-7-1 start, capturing 10 of 13 since Ryan Getzlaf was sidelined December 28th with facial fractures. They open the second half with six of eight on the road.

Phoenix (59 pts) Entered the Break with a five-game road win streak despite dropping four of six overall. They'll face three contenders out of the chute: at San Jose, home to Vancouver, Minnesota and Colorado, followed by a trip to Dallas, then back home against the Hawks (then Washington). They have a five-game trip at the end of the month to Nashville, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Columbus, then Chicago.
San Jose (56 pts) They rebounded from a six-game losing streak with a four-game win streak before a shootout loss in L.A. Antti Niemi's back in Cup form. After hosting Phoenix out of the Break, it's seven straight and 10 of 12 on the road, including Washington, Boston and Nashville. The two they have at home are followed by a trip to Detroit & Pittsburgh.

Colorado (56 pts) They score - and give up - goals in bunches. Keep an eye on that goals-against number with Craig Anderson not up to last year's form, and whether Peter Forsberg completes his comeback following the huge loss of Tomas Fleischmann. They managed to go only 7-7-2 in 16 home games of their last 21 overall before the break, and play six of eight on the road out of the second half gate.
Minnesota (55 pts) After starting the season in Helsinki, they were back in the States for just two games before Todd Richards put his team through a Bag Skate. Four games later, they lost their breakout player from last season, Guillaume Latendresse, to sports hernia surgery. This team was 13-13-4 in mid-December, but has gone 12-6-1 since, including four wins in their las five. Fourteen road wins surpasses last year's total, which is needed when you play only .500 at home. Save for a game against Edmonton, their entire month of February is against the Blackhawks, Vancouver, and the other teams on this list.

Los Angeles (55 pts) They'd lost 10 of 12 (including a 2-6 homestand) before their three-game win streak into the break (over Phoenix, Boston and San Jose). Now, a 10-game road trip, including a four-day span with stops in Pittsburgh, Washington and Philadelphia.

Calgary (54 pts) The Flames were flickering towards being extinguished (sorry about that...), only to go 10-3-3 in their last 16. Their four-game win streak into the break came at the hands of Dallas, Vancouver, Nashville and St. Louis. Mikka Kiprusoff has stopped 92 of 97 shots the last three games when the power play's connected six times, and their PK's gone 14-for-14. They'll look to pick up where they left off at Nashville and at Atlanta this week.

Columbus (51 pts) We keep waiting for the Blackhawks' first foe before the break to go away. Will the month of February against the other teams on this list (save for single games against Edmonton and Pittsburgh) do that?

St. Louis (51 pts) Last year: great on the road, bad at home. This year: the opposite. And it's been an unhappy New Year - going 2-8- in 2011 so far, including 0-3-1 to finish the first half. They've allowed 27 goals in their last six road games. T.J. Oshie and Roman Polak are back. Now they wait on Andy McDonald and David Perron to return from concussions. Looking at their schedule, if they're to make a move, February's the time.

Chris Boden is the host of Blackhawks Pre and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet.

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.