Blackhawks

Patrick Kane back with second line as Blackhawks prep for Sharks

Patrick Kane back with second line as Blackhawks prep for Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane top-line experiment is over and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks face the San Jose Sharks tonight at SAP Center.

Marian Hossa was back on the top line and Vinnie Hinostroza gets another shot at that left-wing position. Meanwhile Kane was reunited with Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov, reforming the line that was do explosive for the Blackhawks last season.

Toews and Kane have had their magic in the past but it just wasn’t working this time. Perhaps putting Toews back with the red-hot Hossa will get Toews’ game going again.

“I think you look at the way Hoss has been playing, he’s been so strong on the puck, keeping plays alive. I think for myself if I wanted to get more chances and create more offense I’ve got to do much of the same,” Toews said. “I have to be harder on the puck. I think in some situations where I make contact, I’m just giving up possession a little too easy so regardless of who I’m playing with, my personal game that’s one of the things I want to focus on knowing the scoring is going to come and be out there with a couple guys who are playing really good hockey right now.”

Hossa has 11 goals through 19 games this season. His great chemistry with that second line left coach Joel Quenneville hesitant to break them up. But considering the Blackhawks’ inconsistent offense – they’ve been shut out twice on this trip, and were also shut out for the first 40 minutes against Vancouver – it was time to make a change.

“[Hossa] was still scoring, and I think he can still score with Jonny, so we still think there’s enough offense to go around with him on another line,” Quenneville said. “But we probably kept them together longer than we thought we would, based on performances.”

Michal Rozsival is back in tonight and Michal Kempny will sit. On the forward side, Jordin Tootoo and Andrew Desjardins are expected to be the healthy scratches.

Meanwhile, Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body) continues to improve but will not join the Blackhawks on this trip. Quenneville said the defenseman could be ready to play when the team returns home.

BLACKHAWKS AT SAN JOSE SHARKS

9 p.m.

TV: WGN

Radio: WGN 720 AM

Chicago Blackhawks

Vinnie Hinostroza-Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa

Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane

Tyler Motte-Nick Schmaltz-Ryan Hartman

Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Richard Panik

 

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson

Brian Campbell-Brent Seabrook

Gustav Forsling-Michal Rozsival

 

Corey Crawford

 

INJURIES: Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body).

San Jose Sharks (via CSN Bay Area)

Patrick Marleau-Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski

Joonas Donskoi-Logan Couture-Joel Ward

Mikkel Boedker-Chris Tierney-Matt Nieto

Micheal Haley-Danny O’Regan-Tommy Wingels

 

Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Justin Braun

Paul Martin-Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon-David Schlemko

 

Martin Jones

NHLPA authorizes further negotiations with NHL on 24-team return-to-play format

NHLPA authorizes further negotiations with NHL on 24-team return-to-play format

The NHL Players' Association Executive Board announced Friday night that it has agreed to the NHL's proposed 24-team return-to-play format. The voting process involving all 31 player representatives began Thursday night but the results were not made official until Friday.

"The Executive Board of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) has authorized further negotiations with the NHL on a 24-team return to play format to determine the winner of the 2020 Stanley Cup," the NHLPA said in a statement. "Several details remain to be negotiated and an agreement on the format would still be subject to the parties reaching agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play.​"

If and when the final details are agreed upon, the format would feature 12 teams from both the Eastern and Western Conference with the top four teams based on current points percentage each earning a first-round bye. In the East, the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers would secure the 1-4 seeds while the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars would do the same in the West.

Seeds 5-12 would feature a best-of-5 play-in series to determine the bottom four seeds in the Stanley Cup playoffs while the top four seeds would compete against each other in a round-robin format to determine the official seeding.

The Blackhawks, in this format, are slated to take on the Edmonton Oilers. They went 2-1-0 and had a plus-1 goal differential against the Oilers this season.

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Report: NHL playoff proposal including Blackhawks expected to be approved by NHLPA

Report: NHL playoff proposal including Blackhawks expected to be approved by NHLPA

On Friday, TSN's Bob McKenzie reported the NHL's playoff proposal is expected to get approved by the NHLPA. 

"While last night’s NHLPA executive committee conference call got a little heated at times, and various individual players still have a wide variety of views on the NHL’s (Return to Play) format, the exec committee vote by team is expected to result in NHLPA approval of the NHL plan," McKenzie tweeted. 

Related: Blackhawks to play Oilers in 24-team playoff proposal

The 12th place in the Western Conference Blackhawks make the cut in the 24-team playoff proposal that gives the top four teams in each conference a bye with the remaining teams competing in a best-of-5 play-in round. The remainder of this year's potential playoff rounds would be best-of-7. 

Related: Patrick Kane a reason players voted against best-of-3 series

"If that is indeed the case, and I believe team by team balloting has concluded or will conclude shortly, it should pave the way for the NHL and NHLPA to perhaps formally announce the (Return to Play) format in the coming days. We are not, however, expecting that format announcement to come with any timetable or critical date roll-out, not yet anyway," McKenzie added.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.