Calvin de Haan

Why Calvin de Haan and Connor Murphy are 'a natural fit' on Blackhawks' defense

Why Calvin de Haan and Connor Murphy are 'a natural fit' on Blackhawks' defense

Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan hadn't played in an NHL game that counted since having shoulder surgery in December. He had six points (one goal, five assists) and a +/- rating of +10 in 29 games with Chicago before the procedure.

The NHL pause on March 12, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowed him to recover and be back in the Hawks' lineup for the NHL's 24-team postseason tournament.

De Haan, who missed the majority of the Blackhawks' Phase 3 training camp dealing with a family emergency, was on the Hawks' second pairing with defenseman Connor Murphy in Saturday's 6-4 Game 1 win over the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. 

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Murphy, who missed time at camp with a groin injury, had 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) and a +/- rating of +2 in 58 games with the Hawks during the regular season.

Together, de Haan and Murphy were a dependable pair against the speedy and skilled hometown Oilers, and got better as the game went on. Both D-men logged a +/- rating of 0 in Game 1 with four hits and one blocked shot a piece. Murphy also fired four shots at Edmonton's net. 

Related: Dominik Kubalik and Jonathan Toews lift Blackhawks over Oilers in Game 1

Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton liked what he saw from de Haan in his first official game back since the surgery, and from the pairing as a whole.

"Very solid and more and more comfortable as he gets more time on the ice," Colliton said of de Haan's game on Saturday. "Together with Murph, they haven’t played together a whole lot, seems like a natural fit. But with the injuries both had – Murph was injured early and de Haan the whole second half – they haven’t had the chance to play together much. Now they’re together, I think they’ll get better and better as we go. They were solid for us."

Murphy felt the Hawks' team game as well as his and de Haan's relationship off the ice allowed the pair to be effective so far in the tournament. 

"It's been great playing with Haaner," Murphy said. "These games haven't been so hard defending against St. Louis (Wednesday's 4-0 exhibition win) or Edmonton so far just because of how great we played as a team and limited a lot of their speed and offense. 

Related: 5 Blackhawks historic facts from Game 1 win of Stanley Cup Qualifiers over Oilers

"Overall, it's always nice playing with a veteran guy who's so smart and predictable out there and communicates a lot, and I feel like me and Haaner have a good relationship even off the ice that leads us to playing smoothly together when we're out there. I don't think it takes long to develop any sort of chemistry, especially since the team's been together all year, whether there's injuries or not. It's definitely nice to be paired with him."

If de Haan and Murphy continue to play how they did against Edmonton in Game 1, they'll be providing a lot of balance and reliability to the Hawks' blue line. The Blackhawks can definitely use a repeat in that department as the Oilers will be looking to put forth a better effort on their home turf in Game 2.

The Blackhawks take on the Oilers in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Qualifier at 9:30 p.m. CT on Monday. 

Blackhawks' Calvin de Haan and Connor Murphy participate in practice

Blackhawks' Calvin de Haan and Connor Murphy participate in practice

The Blackhawks, who are just three days away from traveling to Edmonton for the NHL's 24-team playoffs, got some good news on the ice Thursday when defensemen Calvin de Haan and Connor Murphy both participated in the team's practice. 

De Haan, who had been away dealing with a family emergency after participating in Day 1 of camp, joined the Hawks' for Thursday's full practice. He first returned to the ice on Tuesday ahead of this Wednesday's off-day, working out at Fifth Third arena's other rink during the team's session. 

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Day 1 of camp was de Haan's first time joining the team since his shoulder surgery in December. He had six points (one goal, five assists) and a +/- rating of +10 in 29 games with Chicago before the procedure.

Related: Jonathan Toews back at camp after being ruled 'unfit' to participate on Tuesday

Murphy, who skated prior to Tuesday's practice, skated before Thursday's session and took part in some drills during the team practice before heading in. He was deemed "unfit to play" last week on Wednesday. During the regular season, Murphy had 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) and a +/- rating of +2 in 58 games with the Hawks this season.

The Blackhawks will first take on the defending Stanley Cup champs, the St. Louis Blues, in an exhibition game on July 29 in Edmonton before facing the OIlers in a best-of-five qualifying round series with the winner advancing to Round One of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan skates during Tuesday's practice

Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan skates during Tuesday's practice

Good news for the Blackhawks' defense kept coming on Tuesday at the team's practice facility, Fifth Third Arena, two days into week two of their Phase 3 training camp.

First, before practice Hawks defenseman Connor Murphy skated for the first time since last Wednesday after being deemed "unfit to play".

Then, defenseman Calvin de Haan, who participated in the Hawks' first day of the team's Phase 3 training camp before dealing with a family emergency, returned to the ice.

De Haan worked out at the other rink while the Blackhawks scrimmaged. 

At Day 1, de Haan looked ready to return to the Hawks' lineup after undergoing shoulder surgery in December.

The blueliner had six points (one goal, five assists) and a +/- rating of +10 in 29 games with Chicago before his surgery. 

Related: Jonathan Toews held out of practice one day after leaving early

The Blackhawks finish their summer camp on July 26 before heading to Edmonton for an exhibition game against the St. Louis Blues on July 29. 

On Aug. 1, they'll take on the Oilers in Edmonton in a best-of-five play-in series with the winner advancing to Round One of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.