Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom hasn't slowed down at age 41 and Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is sick of it. "Every year he has one of those years where you're just like... you hope he retires,"the 23-year-old forwardtold mlive.com. "I'm kind of sick of playing against him. He's an unbelievable player." Last season Lidstrom finished a minus-2 but managed to win his seventh Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman. "It's pretty amazing," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told mlive.com. "You got to commend him on how he prepares himself, how he conditions himself. You look back over time, the intelligence level of top-end players, Nick's got to be in that elite, elite class. He's just always in the right spot." In 261 games and 3,814 shots on goal in his career, Lidstrom has netted 261 with 870 assists including 25 game-winning goals. As for retiring, Lidstrom won't decide until after the season and according to mlive.com coach Mike Babcock hopes the realignment will convince him to continue to play. "I'm a big believer that's why Mr. Bettman (NHL commissioner Gary) changed the schedule, so Nick wouldn't ahve to travel as far and he'd play longer," Babcock joked. "That's a rumor I started, go ahead and run with it."Do you think it's time for Lidstrom to hang up his skates?
Three unlikely heroes emerged in Calgary on Saturday night to help the Blackhawks find some footing near the end of their five-game road trip (currently 1-3-0) that wraps up Sunday in Winnipeg.
Blackhawks rookie center Kirby Dach hadn't scored a goal in six games; Alex DeBrincat had one marker in his last nine after finishing last season with 41; Alex Nylander had one goal in his past 17 contests.
The trio bounced back against the Flames to help the Hawks to an 8-4 victory.
Nylander scored twice, and DeBrincat and Dach each had a goal.
"It’s a learning process for us that [haven't] been through this," Nylander said after the game. "And we are lucky that we have these vets that are on our team that can help us and see that something like this in the season happens."
Of all the Hawks who have gone cold this season, the most surprising was DeBrincat, who posted 41 goals last season and 28 as a rookie the year prior.
"I've been fighting with the puck a little bit too much," he said. "Even today, I didn't really play that well, but finally got rewarded."
Six points out of a playoff spot, having the three forwards off the schneid could be a big factor in the Hawks putting a streak together to keep their playoff hopes alive.
"Those guys, they have the ability to chip in for us offensively and if they can do that it's going to make a big difference for us," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said of the three. "Ultimately, it comes down to their work ethic away from the puck."
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews felt Dach, DeBrincat and Nylander gave the Hawks a much-needed lift on Saturday.
"For guys like that and the way they think, the way they play the game, their skillset, scoring goals gives you a ton of energy, it gives you a lift," Toews said. "It's nice to see them get a few and see a few pucks go in.
"I think even if you're just on the ice, you have nothing to do with the play, just to be around goals is infectious. So it's nice to see those guys make those plays as a result of their hard work and it's an incentive to keep doing the same thing."
Hopefully the goal infection spreads for the Hawks. Despite being six points out of the playoffs, Chicago has three games in hand on the Arizona Coyotes, who occupy the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.
With 24 games remaining, scoring contributions will have to come from across the board for the Blackhawks to go on a successful run to secure a playoff spot.
The Blackhawks got a big lift out of skilled and scrappy forward Andrew Ladd during his first three seasons with the Blackhawks.
Ladd was selected at No. 4 overall in the 2004 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Maple Ridge, British Columbia native won a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 before coming to Chicago in a trade for Tuomo Ruutu on Feb. 26, 2008.
In four seasons with the Blackhawks, Ladd displayed strength on both sides of the puck, recording 111 points and a +/- rating of +29 in 203 games.
In 19 games during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, Ladd had six points (three goals, three assists) and a +/- rating of +4.
After the Hawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, Ladd was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers for Ivan Vishnevskiy and a 2011 second-round draft pick in a salary cap move.
Ladd was traded back to Chicago with Matt Fraser and Jay Harrison for Marko Dano and two draft picks on Feb. 25, 2016. He had 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in 19 games in his final season with the Hawks.
Following the 2015-16 season, he became a free agent and signed a seven-year contract with the New York Islanders.
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