Blackhawks

Marian Hossa back, Spencer Abbott in vs. Sabres

Marian Hossa back, Spencer Abbott in vs. Sabres

Marian Hossa will return and Spencer Abbott will make his Blackhawks debut on their top line when the team hosts the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

Hossa and Abbott were on the top line with Jonathan Toews as the Blackhawks switched up lines entering this rare home back-to-back against Buffalo and Carolina. Ryan Hartman moved to the third line with Richard Panik and Tanner Kero while Andrew Desjardins, Dennis Rasmussen and Vinnie Hinostroza made up the fourth line.

Hossa was originally expected to join the team in St. Louis for the Winter Classic but took some extra time to get over his upper-body injury.

“I feel better,” Hossa said. “Definitely, had the first practice after a long time and felt good. So that’s a good thing.”

[SHOP: Gear up Blackhawks fans!]

Abbott, meanwhile, was recalled on Wednesday night from Rockford and was immediately put on the Blackhawks’ top line.

“First, maybe it’s a little nerve-wracking,” Abbott said following practice. “They’re obviously very, very high-end guys. It’s a privilege to be out there on the same line as them. I’ll do what I can to keep up.”

Corey Crawford will get the nod against the Sabres and coach Joel Quenneville said it’s “likely” Scott Darling starts vs. the Hurricanes on Friday. This is the first time the Blackhawks have had a home back-to-back since Oct. 11-12, 2013 (New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres, respectively).

Tyler Motte was assigned to the Rockford IceHogs on Tuesday and was in their lineup that night. Quenneville said it’s a chance for Motte to regain his game.

“We wanted Motter playing in all situations, [get] more ice time and get that confidence back,” Quenneville said.

Blackhawks agree to terms with forward Matej Chalupa on two-year contract

Blackhawks agree to terms with forward Matej Chalupa on two-year contract

The Blackhawks have agreed to terms with forward Matej Chalupa on a two-year, entry-level deal, the team announced Friday. His contract carries an average annual value of $925,000 and kicks in during the 2020-21 season.

Chalupa registered 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists) in 50 games with HK Hradec of the Czech Republic League and compiled seven points (five goals, two assists) in 12 games during the club's run to Champions Hockey League final. The 21-year-old Czech native was tied for first on the team in assists (17) and ranked fourth in points (24).

Chalupa is a 6-foot-2, 194-pound left-handed shot forward who's likely to be a bottom-six winger at the NHL level, although an everyday spot on the roster isn't guaranteed. He was former teammates with current Blackhawks winger Dominik Kubalik at HC Plzen during the 2016-17 campaign.

Chalupa is the first overseas signing of the summer for the Blackhawks, who have been one of the more aggressive teams in that market over the years, which has included names like David Kampf, Michal Kempny, Artemi Panarin and Jan Rutta.

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Mayor Lightfoot 'enthusiastic about the possibility' of NHL playoffs in Chicago

Mayor Lightfoot 'enthusiastic about the possibility' of NHL playoffs in Chicago

Chicago was named a finalist among the 10 cities being considered as a hub location by the NHL for it's 24-team playoff format on Tuesday. That's more than okay with Windy City mayor Lori Lightfoot. 

“All of these decisions are still in discussion at the league level,” Lightfoot said per Block Club Chicago. “I’m really enthusiastic about the possibility of getting hockey playoffs here in Chicago.



“… We are a hockey city, we’re one of the original franchises in the league. … I’m gonna do everything I can to support the efforts of the Blackhawks and others to bring hockey playoffs to Chicago.”

The Hawks are set to square off against the Edmonton Oilers in a best-of-5 play-in series with the winner advancing to the first round of the playoffs. 

Related: Why Oilers fans aren't happy about facing Blackhawks 

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