Blackhawks

NHL Power Rankings: Wild holding their ground without Zach Parise

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NHL Power Rankings: Wild holding their ground without Zach Parise

The Rangers have overtaken the Canadiens at No. 1 after extending their winning streak to nine straight games and increasing their point streak to 13 games.

Meanwhile in the West, the Wild continue to roll even without star forward Zach Parise, who's sidelined with a knee injury.

Check in with CSNChicago.com for updated rankings every Monday throughout the 2015-16 campaign. Here's where we're at so far: Preseason rankings | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5

 

Rank Team
Last Week Record/Comment
1 2

14-2-2, 30 points: The Rangers are on a nine-game winning streak and have picked up at least a point in 13 consecutive games. 

2   5

14-4-0, 28 points: Former Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp has 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in his last 10 games after recording just three points in his first eight.

3   1

13-3-2, 28 points: The Canadiens are 4-3-2 since their 9-0-0 start, but haven't lost any ground in the Atlantic Division and own a plus-24 goal differential, the second-best in the league.

4   3

11-4-1, 23 points: Alex Ovechkin needs to break Sergei Fedorov's record so the Capitals can get back to playing structured hockey.

5 4

11-5-1, 23 points: Colton Parayko quietly ranks fifth in the NHL's rookie scoring race with 11 points.

6 6

11-6-0, 22 points: Dustin Brown has only one goal this season, but the Kings are controlling 60.7 percent of shot attempts when he's on the ice at even strength.

7  

10-7-1, 21 points: In the last two years, the Blackhawks are 31-8-4 from Nov. 15 through the end of December. Here's where they start to get hot.

8 10 

10-3-3, 23 points: No Zach Parise? No problem. The Wild are 3-0-1 since their star went down with a knee injury, and have scored 11 goals in those four games.

9  

10-3-3, 23 points: The Predators scored seven goals in a game twice last week. They scored seven or more goals in a game two times in all of last season.

10 12 

10-6-1, 21 points:  Two wins over the Blackhawks in a week, and a shutout victory over the Penguins have the Devils making a case they could stick around longer than we expected.

11  

10-7-0, 20 points: "We're mad at each other," Evgeni Malkin responded when asked what's wrong with the Penguins after scoring just one goal in their last two games. "We don't play hard." Yikes.

12 11 

9-6-3, 21 points: The Islanders hung their hat on puck possession last year, when they controlled 52.5 percent of shot attempts at even strength, which ranked fourth in the league. This season, they rank 19th at 49.2 percent.

13   15 

8-8-3, 19 points: Ondrej Palat, arguably the most underrated two-way forward in the league, could miss up to five weeks with a lower-body injury.

14 16 

8-5-4, 20 points: The Senators have given up a power play goal in each of their last four games, but their power play has scored six goals on 12 tries in those four games after going 5-for-41 (12.2 percent) in their first 13 contests.

15    17

8-7-1, 17 points: Tuuka Rask raised his goals against average to 3.02 and save percentage to .896, but he still has plenty of ground to make up to catch his career averages of 2.20 and .925.

16   20

9-8-0, 18 points: Two wins in their first two games of a six-game road trip. Put the Patrick Marleau trade talks on hold.

17   24 

9-7-1, 19 points: Just as many began to write off the Coyotes, they string together three straight wins against divisional opponents.

18   19 

8-8-1, 17 points: Pavel Datsyuk went scoreless in his first two games back, but he instantly gives the Red Wings much-needed depth up the middle, which should take some pressure off Henrik Zetterberg.

19   14 

5-8-4, 14 points: Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler combined for six points in the Ducks' first 11 games. In six games since, they've accumulated 16 points.

20   23 

8-8-1, 17 points: The Sabres are 5-1-1 in their last seven games. The next four should give us an indicator of just how good they can be: vs. Dallas, at St. Louis, at Dallas, vs. St. Louis.

21   18 

7-6-5, 19 points: The Canucks are 1-3-1 on their current seven-game road trip with two games remaining in Montreal and Winnipeg.

22   21  7-7-3, 17 points:  The Panthers are hanging in without Aleksander Barkov, using a scoring-by-committee approach.
23   29 

7-9-1, 15 points: The Avalanche have a plus-10 goal differential during their three-game winning streak. Now that's more like it.

24   13 

8-8-2, 18 points: The Jets are 0-4-1 in their last five games, and have been outscored by 16.

25   22 

6-9-2, 14 points: What has happened to Jeff Skinner? Four points in 17 games for the former No. 7 overall pick in 2010.

26   30 

5-9-4, 14 points: James Reimer went 3-0-0 with a 1.62 goals-against average and .952 save percentage last week, coming up big in road wins over Dallas and Nashville.

27   28 

6-12-0, 12 points: Former Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad has six points (three goals, three assists) in his last six games after just five points in his first 11.

28   26 

6-12-0, 12 points: The Oilers trailed three different times against the Ducks and stole an overtime victory in a building they hadn't won since 2012.

29   25 

6-8-3, 15 points: The Flyers rank in the bottom seven of goals per game (1.88), goals against average (2.94), power play (14.3 percent) and penalty kill (76.2 percent).

30   27 

6-12-1, 13 points: A blue line with Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell should not be allowing an average of 3.74 goals per game.

*Advanced stats courtesy of war-on-ice.com.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

Jimmy Greenfield, Connor McKnight, and Matt Spiegel join Kap on the panel to discuss Corey Crawford back on the ice for the first time in 10 months. The Bears have good news when it comes to Khalil Mack, who injured his ankle against the Dolphins.

Plus, Fred Hoiberg announces that Jabari Parker is coming off the bench for the season opener.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

Niklas Hjalmarsson 'wasn't happy' about trade, but remembers time with Blackhawks fondly

Niklas Hjalmarsson 'wasn't happy' about trade, but remembers time with Blackhawks fondly

Apparently time doesn’t heal all wounds. 

Nearly a year and a half since being traded to the Coyotes, Niklas Hjalmarsson will return to the United Center ice on Thursday playing for the visiting team.  

“It’s going to be strange coming in as the away team and being in the other locker room,” said Hjalmarsson on Wednesday. “I bet it’s going to be a lot of emotions and mixed feelings.” 

This is also the first time Hjalmarsson has been back to the city of Chicago since he was traded, a city he called his “second home.” A home where he spent parts of 10 seasons, and never really planned on leaving.

“I wasn’t happy, to be honest with you,” said Hjalmarsson of the trade to Arizona. “I was shocked. It took me a couple days to actually realize I wasn’t going to play for the Hawks anymore.”

Including the playoffs, Hjalmarsson played 751 games in the Indian head sweater. Despite that and the team’s three Stanley Cup victories, the Blackhawks shipped him off to Arizona for Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin in June of 2017.

“You kind of let it go after a while,” he said. “Now I’m just hoping all the success for the guys over here too.”

Hjalmarsson was known for his toughness, repeatedly blocking shot after shot, giving up his body, while never missing a shift. He credits his long-time teammates — Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook — for a lot of his success and identity on the blue line.

“I couldn’t have had better role models coming into a team,” he said. “I’m very thankful to have played on the same team as those guys and created a lot of success together. We’re always going to be connected with the Cups that we’ve had.”

The third championship won by that defense-trio was on United Center ice against the Lightning in 2015, but that isn’t the memory that stands out most for Hjalmarsson.

“The first Cup is always going to be pretty special,” said the 31-year old. “Even just going to the conference final (in 2009), even when we lost against Detroit that year, the year before was great memories too. The first time for me going into the playoffs and playing deep.”

The tables have turned now for both Hjalmarsson and the Blackhawks. 

The Coyotes have yet to score an even-strength goal this season, while the Blackhawks have claimed eight of a possible 10 points thus far through five games and expect to have their starting goaltender back between the pipes. 

But you won’t hear any ill-will from Hjalmarsson, he’s still rooting for the Hawks.

“I always think that Chicago deserves to have a team in the playoffs,” he said. “It’s not that I wish them not to do well. It’s the total opposite. I want them to have continued success.”