Blackhawks

Quick Hits: 'Wow factor' shows up in Blackhawks' win over Penguins

Quick Hits: 'Wow factor' shows up in Blackhawks' win over Penguins

See four lines roll. See a player get hurt. See the Blackhawks plug another player into the injured party's slot. See the Blackhawks keep going.

It's been a successful formula lately, and the Blackhawks applied it again to great results in their 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. We'll see how Artem Anisimov (lower body) is on Thursday. Coach Joel Quenneville said the second-line center, who was out after just one shift in the second period, could miss some time.

If that's the case the Blackhawks may have to shuffle some things around but, on first glance on Wednesday, they did fine with the quick fixes they needed to apply immediately.

Now onto the notables.

What Worked: Scott Darling. Corey Crawford felt better on Wednesday and, in a pinch, could have started against the Penguins. But since Darling was 100 percent and not coming off an illness, it was a chance to play him instead. Darling once again did his job, stopping 36 of 37, including a big one on Matt Cullen early in the third period. His performance needed to be good, because Marc-Andre Fleury was pretty good on his end, too.

What Didn’t Work: Evgeni Malkin's defense. At least on one play, when Richard Panik slipped past him en route to scoring what would be the game-winning goal in the second period. Apparently it's a move Panik's practiced. "That was an amazing play. We don’t want to advertise trying that play too often in the offensive zone, but he times that stuff and we see it in practice. In a game it's hard to do; we don't encourage it," Quenneville said with a laugh. "But he has confidence. He had the wow factor tonight."

Star of the game: Patrick Kane. OK, you could put Nick Schmaltz in here, too (look at the plays Schmaltz made to set up Kane's first two goals). But two hat tricks in your last three games are two hat tricks in your last three games. That, and the goal that earned him the hat trick was a no-look stunner.

He Said It: "Whatever he did when he went down to Rockford is incredible. He came back with a whole new edge and a whole new intensity and now you're seeing the results. He's playing to the full capability." Scott Darling on Nick Schmaltz

By the Numbers:

27-0-0 – The Blackhawks' record this season when scoring four or more goals.

5 – Consecutive games in which Schmaltz has a point (two goals, seven assists), including his two primary assists on Patrick Kane's goals on Wednesday night. Since Feb. 8, Schmaltz has at least a point in nine of 10 games.

10 – Points in his last seven games for Richard Panik (five goals, five assists). The seven-game point streak is the longest of Panik's career.

406 – Consecutive sellouts at the United Center.

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.