Blackhawks

Kids, Toews fuel Blackhawks in blowout of Buffalo

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Kids, Toews fuel Blackhawks in blowout of Buffalo

Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 9:58 p.m.

Jimmy Hayes said theres no I-can-top-you battle in scoring and outings between him and fellow rookie Andrew Shaw.

If there was, the Chicago Blackhawks might want to encourage it.

Hayes and Shaw each had a goal and an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-2 on Wednesday night. The Blackhawks, with 62 points, are back atop the Central Division and Western Conference standings.

It was another all-around team effort for the Blackhawks, who have won four of their last five and have gotten points in each of their last six games. Jonathan Toews scored two power-play goals he now has 26 goals on the season and Dave Bolland and Marian Hossa also scored. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook added two assists each.

The Blackhawks also had another goal disallowed when it was ruled Shaw made a hand pass on the ice. He didnt, and Marcus Kruger wouldve been the scorer, but the play was not reviewable. But the Blackhawks kept going in the third period, making the no-goal a mere afterthought.

And while everyone has contributed, the rookie performances continue to impress. Shaw and Hayes are bringing youthful energy and determination, and something the Blackhawks needed a little more of a constant drive to the net.

The kids are making it look easy at times.

Its definitely not easy. Its just being in the right spots at the right tine, going hard at the net, said Hayes. (Shaw) scored that pretty goal but all of mine have been right around the net. Just go to the net.

For Shaw, it was his fourth goal in as many games and his first career assist.

You cant get too comfortable, he said. The nerves are still there, but you just go in and do it with the mindset that this is another hockey game, play like youve been playing and you wont have a problem. I dont know if Im making it look easy, but Im playing with great guys, going hard to the net and things are bound to happen.

Whatever works. And on Wednesday, there were a lot things working right for the Blackhawks. They scored on two of four power plays both from Toews kept pushing the pace throughout and fired 35 shots on Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth.

Weve had a good couple games here. All the guys are rolling and that makes a difference, Keith said. Everyones clicking out there, contributing and doing the right thing. If we play like that, most of the times good things will happen.

There are a lot of good things happening right now for the Blackhawks. Yes, the Western Conference will continue to be tight; it always is. But theyre getting big points with a big player sitting on the sidelines. Its a testament to the depth of this team and to the opportunistic rookies who have added to it.

Its making a huge difference for our team right now that all four lines are working and making things happen, Toews said. It doesnt matter who were playing against if we play that smart defensive game and we roll four lines the way we have. All four lines can score right now and its good to see that confidence as a team.

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.