Blackhawks

Coyotes getting overconfident?

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Coyotes getting overconfident?

Did the Coyotes just give the Blackhawks a little extra motivation going into Game 6? The Phoenix Coyotes official team website is advertising that tickets for Round 2 of the Western Conference semifinals are now on sale.

Here's the picture from their home page:

All five games in the series could've gone either way, so it looks like the Coyotes sales department may be getting a little overconfident. If the Blackhawks defeat Phoenix on Monday night, hopefully Wednesday will be the Coyotes final home game of the season.

The challenges of repeating and building a dynasty in NHL

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USA TODAY

The challenges of repeating and building a dynasty in NHL

The Blackhawks and Capitals have each experienced great success in the salary cap era. They have combined for four Presidents' Trophy's and four Stanley Cups, showing they've done it both in the regular season and postseason.

But in this day and age, it's hard to sustain it over a long period of time. The Blackhawks were the closest to accomplishing that from 2009-15 — a "modern day dynasty" — when they appeared in five Conference Finals and won three Stanley Cups, but were never able to repeat as champions, something the Capitals are trying to do this season.

"We probably learned about it more after our first Cup," Patrick Kane said ahead of Wednesday's showdown in Washington. "The next season we had an up and down season, snuck into the playoffs at the end [in 2010-11]. ... It's difficult, you're so excited about winning, it's a long journey, and then a few months later you're back in training camp and trying to do it all over again. It was pretty difficult for us the first time around."

Chris Kunitz, the only active NHL player with four Stanley Cups, was a part of back-to-back championships in Pittsburgh when the Penguins won it in 2016 and 2017. But it took them seven years between the first of their three Stanley Cups in the salary cap era to their second.

"In Pittsburgh over those nine years, we may have won three times but the roster got flipped a few times," Kunitz said. "A few coaches, a few GMs. People look at the number and say it was successful, but every time we were there they were trying to put a team on the ice to win a Stanley Cup, it wasn't just to get to the playoffs. Expectations were high, and those years you didn't win were disappointments.

"There's a certain echelon of teams where that's their expectation and that's their goal. And if you don't do that, it doesn't matter if you had an individual successful season, if you didn't finish it in the end it wasn't looked upon very kindly and there were changes to be made."

The Blackhawks, Kings and Penguins are the only three teams to win multiple Stanley Cups since a salary cap was institued in 2005-06. Right now, however, the Kings and Penguins sit in the basement of the Western and Eastern Conference while the Blackhawks are on the outside of the playoff picture and recently parted ways with the second winningest coach of all-time in Joel Quenneville.

"Teams put runs together and the salary cap has a huge thing to do with that," Kunitz said. "When you win, you're successful, your players are usually playing their best hockey and deserve to get raises. It's tough to get everybody to stay together. Hopefully when the salary cap keeps going up it works in the players' favor to keep those teams together, but that's something management or ownership has to deal with, is picking the right players to keep and right players to move on and hopefully not changing that chemistry too much.

"From LA to Chicago to Pittsburgh, teams have been able to do it and sustain it and there's teams that have been close and always on the verge. It's something that you try to set your gameplan up and hopefully you have a certain window to have that success."

Even a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are perceived to be the next franchise set up to have success over a long period of time, aren't guaranteed anything considering the Blackhawks took advantage of winning Stanley Cups with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on their entry-level contracts and bridge deals. The Tampa Bay Lightning are still trying to break through, and they're loaded with superstars on team-friendly contracts.

For better or worse, we may be seeing the end of the dynasty eras in hockey, as long as the salary cap is around.

"You don't really see the so-called dynasty too much more in the NHL, that's probably geared more towards other sports," Kane said. "But I think it's good. There's a lot of parity in the league, any team can beat anyone on any given night, so it's a fun league to play in. A little bit different than when I first came into the league where, I don't want to say you had easy matchups, but going into some games, you knew that you were better than the other team. Now teams are so even, especially with the salary cap. It's a great league, it's fun to play in, and like I said, anyone can beat anyone."

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Mitch Trubisky officially doubtful as all signs point to Chase Daniel starting in Detroit

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USA Today Sports Images

Mitch Trubisky officially doubtful as all signs point to Chase Daniel starting in Detroit

The Bears designated Mitch Trubisky as doubtful to play Thanksgiving against the Detroit Lions with a shoulder injury, as all signs point to Chase Daniel replacing him at Ford Field. 

Trubisky injured his right shoulder late in Sunday’s 25-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings when he awkwardly went to the ground and was illegally hit by safety Harrison Smith. The Bears did not hold a full practice with a short week leading up to Thursday’s game, but had the team held a full practice, Trubisky would not have participated on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. 

The Bears believe Trubisky could’ve played had their game this week been on Sunday, and not on an 88-hour turnaround from Sunday Night Football:

The Bears also listed tight end Adam Shaheen and outside linebacker Aaron Lynch as out for Thursday. Both suffered concussions Sunday. 

Daniel, who’s only thrown 78 passes in his NFL career, last started on Dec. 28, 2014 when then-Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith had to miss a game against the San Diego Chargers at the last minute due to an issue with his spleen. Daniel completed 16 of 27 passes for 157 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in what wound up being a 19-7 Chiefs win. 

“The game is not fast to him when he plays,” coach Matt Nagy said. “The other thing with Chase that I've always appreciated is the fact that he prepares every game like he's the starter, if his time does come, he doesn't blink. 

“We ran into a similar situation where we had to make a decision with Alex several years ago. I think a matter of fact this one was literally hours before the game/the night before and Chase didn't blink. He went in and it was toward the end of the season and he did great with a bunch of backups against a playoff team in the San Diego Chargers back in the day. The confidence factor that he has, he's been with a lot of good quarterbacks. He has experience and you have trust.”

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