Blackhawks

Jonathan Toews gets rewarded, scores 'ugly one' to snap goal drought

Jonathan Toews gets rewarded, scores 'ugly one' to snap goal drought

Jonathan Toews has seemingly been through it all during his 10-year NHL career.

He wasn't going to let a 13-game goal drought prevent him from playing any differently, but even the greats can squeeze their sticks a little bit too hard when things aren't going their way offensively.

The Blackhawks captain got back on the scoresheet for the first time since Nov. 6 thanks to some puck luck, when he tapped home what appeared to be a shot from Artemi Panarin. The goal extended Panarin's point streak to a career-long seven games with the assist and gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead on the power play midway through the second period.

It took a while for the goal to be announced to the United Center crowd of 21,918 because it was unclear whether Panarin's shot hit an Avalanche defender and ricocheted in.

But it was Toews who was ultimately credited with the goal even though it may have gone in without his help.

"Like I've been saying it was a matter of time," Toews said following a 2-1 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night. "It was an ugly one. I probably stole that one from Bread Man but I think he's had his fair share of one-timers on the power play. It was nice to feel one and see it go in. It always helps the confidence no matter what.

"Unfortunately we couldn't feed off it and get some more the way we needed it tonight. It sucks we came up short."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

It was only Toews' third point in his last 11 games, but perhaps the puck bouncing in your favor is a sign of good things to come.

He helped create his luck, too, after registering a team-high seven shots on goal. The Blackhawks also controlled 53.1 percent of the even-strength shot attempts, according to naturalstattrick.com, when he was on the ice.

"(He was) around the net, Jonny scored a goal so that'll help him going forward," Quenneville said of Toews' game. "He had the puck a lot. Some of those shots, traffic or not, the shots around the net are a little more dangerous. But usually he's around the net, kind of like (Artem Anisimov).

"The other guys are usually feeding him in that area. Toews is probably more effective around the net and getting those greasy goals like he got tonight."

Toews has now scored a goal in each of his last four games against Colorado, dating back to the 2015-16 season. In their first meeting this season, he scored the first goal that turned out to be the game-winner, and followed that up by lighting the lamp in his next two games.

Perhaps the flood gates will open up after the Blackhawks return from a three-day Christmas break.

In Tuesday's game against the Ottawa Senators, Toews had a prime opportunity to bat the puck in on a wide-open net but it sailed high. He stared at the heavens for a second or two after it happened while play around him continued on.

On Friday, the hockey gods rewarded him for sticking with it.

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.