Blackhawks

Marko Dano's approach benefits him with Blackhawks

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Marko Dano's approach benefits him with Blackhawks

Marko Dano wasn’t happy when he got the news: he was headed to the minors. He was frustrated he wasn’t getting his chance with the big club. He was, as he put it, “surprised and pissed off.”

But we’re not talking about Dano getting sent to the Rockford IceHogs at the start of this season. We’re talking about last season when, as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, he was sent to minor-league affiliate Springfield Falcons. Despite his youth and the likely need to get some minor-league work in, Dano didn’t take it well at the start.

But he eventually realized time in the minors last season was in his best interest; and when he started in Rockford this season, he knew it was to benefit his game, not hinder it.

Dano, who had the right attitude and a strong game with the IceHogs, was rewarded for both on Monday when the Blackhawks recalled him. He scored his first goal with the Blackhawks on Wednesday night, when he played with fellow Rockford linemates Tanner Kero and Ryan Hartman. Dano said no massive expectations were placed on him when he was recalled. He just has to do what worked for him in Rockford.

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“Just be strong on the puck, move my feet and those chances will come if I do the hard work. That’s the key: if you’re going hard to the net those rebounds are going to be there. I have to be in the right spot at the right moment,” Dano said. “Just keep working hard and maybe at some point they’ll come toward me.”

When Dano was reassigned to Rockford on Oct. 2, he understood the move. Dano remembered his not-so-accepting attitude when Columbus did the same thing last season – he said he “didn’t get it right away,” and it showed in his game. Then he changed his attitude; his game soon followed.

“I realized I’ve got to be positive, start doing good on the ice, make simple plays and get better in my game. And that helped me,” Dano said. “When I got better they saw that and they couldn’t keep me down in the minors. I got called up and stayed [with Columbus] for the rest of the season.”

Dano had a goal and six assists in nine games with Rockford. He also got to play in just about every situation.

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“I got a lot of minutes on the ice in Rockford,” Dano said. “I played power play, PK, so I got more comfortable. It was a good move from the staff.”

Coach Joel Quenneville said Dano’s positive approach isn’t always an easy one to take, but it does help a player’s game if he does.

“It's probably not a pleasant conversation for them, but it's an important point that they accept that. And the quicker that they accept it,it's going get them back here sooner,” Quenneville said. “He had a great start to the season down there and got himself back here as quick as possible. And you know, I think he can help us.”

There’s no guarantee Dano stays up the rest of the season. For young players, there’s always a schance of returning to the minors. But Dano’s not worried about that; he’ll bring the right attitude and game no matter where he is.

“I’ll just go out there, play my game and just have fun,” Dano said. “I’m not thinking about if I make a mistake I could possibly be sent down. I’m just trying to do my best here and we’ll see how it goes.”

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.