Blackhawks

Return to Philly brings back sweet memories for Hawks

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Return to Philly brings back sweet memories for Hawks

Patrick Kane has scored a lot of goals in his career. But its that goal he scored in Philadelphia, that sharp-angled, how-did-that-go-in goal that still ranks higher than the rest.

Theres not one that compares, said Kane of that Game 6 Stanley Cup-winning goal. It was a fun time for us. It was great to be part of a team like that.

The Blackhawks wont have much time to think about past glories when they hit the Wells Fargo Center ice Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, the first time theyve been back there since claiming the Cup in 2010. But for the past two days the Blackhawks have been remembering those great moments from a season and a half ago.

Jonathan Toews said it will hit him a few times in Philadelphia, from when he walks into the hotel to when he gets back on that ice.

Its been a long time, but just to be back well have some old stories we can tell, Toews said. Im sure the new guys are sick enough of hearing about all that stuff. Well just have a couple more days of it, I guess.

Toews said he recently downloaded Games 5 and 6 from that series and played them on the team plane, with teammates huddled around watching with him.

You know the outcome but it makes you nervous to watch, he said. A lot of those cool feelings come rushing back, everything from the celebration on the ice to everything in the locker room, too.

Even head coach Joel Quenneville got a big smile on his face when reliving Game 6.

What a moment. What a cigar, Quenneville said with a laugh. Everyone there will recapture the feeling, theyll all laugh about where they were, where they stood and recount those precious memories. At the same time theres the importance of (Thursdays) game.

And Thursdays game is important, as the Blackhawks try to come back from Mondays loss to the Edmonton Oilers. The Flyers, coming off their 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers in the Winter Classic, are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and will be looking to get going again on home ice.

The Blackhawks have had their moment in the sun. Theyll have their return moment in Philly on Thursday night. But once the puck drops, its about the present again.

Weve got some good memories there but at the same time, its a while ago now and weve all moved on, defenseman Duncan Keith said. We know that these are two different teams, its a regular-season game and we need two points.

Report: Where could the NHL potentially finish the 2019-20 season?

Report: Where could the NHL potentially finish the 2019-20 season?

Sunday night, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported the NHL and NHLPA have begun tossing around ideas for where the league could finish potential regular season or playoff games, if the COVID-19 pause were lifted.

The NHL pause went into effect on March 12 due to concerns with the coronavirus pandemic.

Friedman reported one location discussed was North Dakota. 

"Several sites would be necessary, but Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D., makes sense," he wrote. "Host of the 2005 World Junior Championships, the 2016 World Under-18s and the NCAA’s Fighting Hawks, it is an impressive facility that is definitely more suitable than many other available non-NHL options in the United States."

The NHL and NHLPA are expected to discuss other locations this week per Friedman. 

"The league and players must agree on any return-to-play scenarios," he added. "The players are very concerned about the potential of 35 per cent escrow on future paycheques, and whether or not the NHL will consider allowing that to be paid over multiple years. (CBA discussions are believed to be taking place.)"

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

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How COVID-19 crisis could impact Blackhawks, NHL's salary cap

How COVID-19 crisis could impact Blackhawks, NHL's salary cap

On March 4, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told general managers that the projected salary cap for the 2020-21 season is expected to be in the range of $84 million and $88.2 million. That's roughly a $2.5 million to $6.7 million increase after it went up only $2 million last season.

But eight days later, the NHL put its season on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's unclear if or when hockey will even resume at this point. Because of the uncertainty and the risk of the league potentially losing $1 billion in hockey-related revenue, there's legitimate concern about what the ceiling could look like after we get through this, and not just for next season.

Could the NHL's salary cap stay the same? Might it even go down to help ease the escrow pain for players? Anything is possible, but it would require both the NHL and NHLPA to come to an agreement on what that artificial number could look like.

If the salary cap remains flat, the Blackhawks would be one of the many teams that would find themselves in an extremely tough position. And they better start preparing for that scenario.

As of right now, the Blackhawks' projected cap hit for next season is $74.1 million, according to Cap Friendly. That number factors in the three players on long-term injured reserve (Calvin de Haan, Brent Seabrook and Andrew Shaw) but also includes the current players on the roster, which comes out to 26 total, so cuts obviously must be made to get down to the maximum of 23.

But what that number doesn't include is the potential performance bonus overages and the fact the Blackhawks don't have a goaltender signed beyond this season other than Collin Delia, which doesn't leave much room for free agent signings elsewhere. Heck, taking care of their own guys is going to be a major challenge.

The Blackhawks have nine pending restricted free agents, which most notably includes Drake Caggiula, Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome. Corey Crawford is their highest-profile unrestricted free agent. Those are four key pieces the Blackhawks must try to squeeze in under the cap if the priority is to bring all of them back, and — loosely projecting — gives them around $9-10 million to do so.

You have to wonder if it makes more sense for everyone involved to agree on one-year deals and revisit things the following year after more clarity is provided on the NHL's financial situation, especially with Seattle preparing for league entry and the U.S. television deal set to expire after the 2021-22 season.

For now, the Blackhawks and the rest of the NHL are waiting to see what the next steps are. But the financial ramifications will be significant, and it's something every team must now navigate through. 

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.