Blackhawks

By the numbers: Breaking down the Blackhawks' regular season

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By the numbers: Breaking down the Blackhawks' regular season

The Blackhawks are headed to the playoffs once again, where they’ll meet first-round opponent St. Louis later this week.

But we’re still a few days away from that. Despite their ups and downs, the Blackhawks once again put together a pretty nice regular season. There were plenty of memorable moments and, of course, numbers to accompany them.

So before we look forward, let’s take a look back at the Blackhawks’ regular season, and some comparisons, with our by-the-numbers package:

106. Points accumulated by Patrick Kane, a career high for a season. It was the most points reached by a Blackhawks player since Jeremy Roenick (107) during the 1993-94 season.

17. Point differential between Kane, who won the NHL’s scoring title (Art Ross Trophy), and this year’s runner-up Jamie Benn (winner of last year's Art Ross Trophy), who finished with 89 points.

234. Goals scored by the Blackhawks this season.

96. Goals scored by Kane, Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov, who comprised the Blackhawks’ second line for most of this season.

77. Points for Panarin, the most of any rookie in the NHL this season.

56. Points for Buffalo’s Jack Eichel, who finished second to Panarin in that category.

12. Consecutive victories for the Blackhawks from Dec. 29 to Jan. 19, a franchise record.

7. Shutouts this season for Corey Crawford, a career high for him and the most in the NHL this season.

2. The Blackhawks’ power play ranking in the league this season; it scored 22.6 percent of the time.

19, 18, 15. The Blackhawks’ power play ranking in 2014-15, 2012-13 and 2009-10 (seasons in which the Blackhawks went on to win the Stanley Cup), respectively.

21. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill ranking this season (80.3 percent).

10, 3, 4. The penalty kill rank during the last three regular seasons (2014-15, 2012-13 and 2009-10, respectively) they went on to win Cups.

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.”