Toews-Kane combo clicks again for Blackhawks


Toews-Kane combo clicks again for Blackhawks

When you watch the Blackhawks in postseason you come to expect the move - the one that puts Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the top line together - at some point.

It happened a little bit in Game 5 against the Anaheim Ducks before becoming more of a fixture in Game 6, Toews standing in front of the net ready to pounce as Kane’s goal - his 10th of the postseason - just crossed the line enough to count as his.

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Coach Joel Quenneville likes to keep the two on separate lines as long as possible to give the Blackhawks balance, spreading his scoring threats to two lines instead of just one. But he’ll go to that reassuring combination at critical times, be it down in a series or trying to close one out. So don’t be surprised if those two start together again on Saturday, when the Blackhawks face the Ducks in Game 7 of the Western Conference final.

Quenneville made the move, putting Kane with Toews and Brandon Saad, as the second period began Wednesday night. A few minutes later, it had its impact as Kane passed to Saad, who broke free for a goal and a 1-0 lead. Kane scored a few minutes later.

“Sometimes you go into the mindset of the game, you see what happens initially,” Quenneville said. “We thought going into it, we were ready to try it.”

It’s no surprise the two hit their stride together soon after reuniting.

“Sometimes it takes a few shifts to kind of get adjusted to what each other does, but he’s a world-class player. I always say he’s probably the easiest player to play with in the league,” Kane said of Toews. “He works so hard both ways, wins a lot of battles obviously. He has that offensive talent and he can do plenty of things when he gets the puck. Definitely a fun guy to play with.”

Saad said there’s no massive adjustment on his part when the dynamic duo is put back together.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“I just try to play but with a guy like that be ready for the puck because he’s got great vision and he makes plays out there so he’s a lot of fun to play with,” Saad said of Kane.

It’s easy to look at the obvious reason why Kane and Toews are so good together: they’re both extraordinarily talented. But it goes beyond that. If either or both had extraordinary on-ice egos to go with that talent, the combination probably would not be successful. There needs to be an unselfish element there, as well as an instinct telling you when it’s good to take the shot yourself or pass it to the other guy.  

Toews and Kane were together again in Game 6. You figure they’ll be together again on Saturday night. It’s a big game, and these two create big moments in those situations.

“Those two players, they’re so good by themselves. But when you put them together, they’re a pretty dynamic duo there,” Saad said. “I had fun playing with them [Wednesday night] and hopefully we can continue to have some success.”

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks


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:


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.”


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 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.


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'


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.