Jordan Oesterle

2018 IIHF Men's World Championship tracker: Keeping up with the Blackhawks

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AP

2018 IIHF Men's World Championship tracker: Keeping up with the Blackhawks

The 2018 IIHF Men's World Championship is taking place in Denmark from May 4-20, and you can keep up with all the Blackhawks participating right here.

Here's a quick rundown of the players:

Germany: Dominik Kahun, who signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Blackhawks in April.

Russia: Artem Anisimov and prospect Max Shalunov.

Slovakia: Tomas Jurco.

Sweden: Erik Gustafsson.

USA: Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane, Connor Murphy, Jordan Oesterle and 2015 Stanley Cup champion and Lemont native Scott Darling.

MAY 20

— Kane registered an assist, a game-high six shots on goal and logged the second-most ice time of any skater (25:51) in USA's 4-1 win over Canada to win bronze. He finished with eight goals and 12 assists in 10 games, becoming just the second player in 37 years to reach the 20-point mark. Dany Heatley did so in 2008.

— DeBrincat had an assist and three shots on goal in 13:59 of ice time. He finished the tournament with one goal and eight assists in 10 games.

— Murphy had a plus-1 rating in 12:27 of ice time. He led USA with a plus-7 rating in 10 games, and recorded an assist.

MAY 19

— Kane had three shots on goal and was a minus-3 in 22:02 of ice time in USA's 6-0 loss to Sweden in the semifinals.

— DeBrincat was one of two U.S. players to be held shotless and was a minus-2 rating in 13:37 of ice time. Murphy had two shots on goal in 16:48 of ice time.

MAY 17

— Kane scored two goals, including the game winner, in USA's 3-2 win over Czech Republic to advance to the semifinals. He leads the tournament with 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in eight games.

— DeBrincat recorded one shot on goal in a tournament-low 9:31 of ice time. Murphy had two shots on goal and was a plus-1 in 20:14 of ice time.

— Anisimov had a goal, assist, three shots on goal, a plus-2 rating and won 4 of 8 faceoffs (50 percent) in 16:32 of ice time, but it wasn't enough as Russia was eliminated with a 5-4 overtime loss to Canada.

— Shalunov logged only 1:24 of ice time.

MAY 15

— Kane had a goal, assists, a game-high six shots on goal and was a minus-3 in 17:40 of ice time as USA suffered their first defeat to Finland 6-2. Kane set a U.S. record for both points (17) and assists (11) in a single IIHF Men's World Championship.

— DeBrincat recorded two shots on goal in 12:46 of ice time. He wrapped up group play with eight points (one goal, seven assists) in seven games.

— Murphy had a minus-2 rating in 17:58 of ice time. Oesterle was a healthy scratch for the third straight game.

— Jurco was named player of the game after having two goals, an assist, four shots on goal and a plus-3 rating in 16:45 of ice time as Slovakia defeated Belarus 7-4. He finished the preliminary round with four goals, an assist, a team-high plus-3 rating and 20 shots on goal, which ranked second on the team, in seven games.

— Kahun recorded two of the team's 12 shots on goal and was a minus-2 rating in Germany's 3-0 loss to Canada. He has one goal and two assists through seven games.

— Anisimov had three shots on goal and won 4 of 13 faceoffs (30.8 percent) in 16:45 of ice time in Russia's 3-1 loss to Sweden.

— Shalunov logged only 4:37 of ice time after committing two first-period penalties for Russia.

— Gustafsson did not play after breaking his thumb. He will miss the rest of the tournament.

MAY 14

— Shalunov had a goal and an assist, three shots on goal, a plus-3 rating and won 3 of 13 faceoffs (23.1 percent) in Russia's 4-0 win over Slovakia. He has three goals and three assists in six games, and leads the team with 19 shots on goal.

— Anisimov went pointless, had three shots on goal and won 3 of 9 faceoffs (33.3 percent) in 16:24 of ice time.

— Jurco had a shot on goal, a minus-2 rating and committed two penalties in 16:53 of ice time for Slovakia.

MAY 13

— Kane had two goals, an assist and five shots on goal in 15:45 of ice time as USA knocked off Norway 9-3 to win their sixth straight game. With 15 points in six games, Kane has moved into first for the tournament scoring lead.

Here's a look at Kane's first goal, set up by Charlie McAvoy on the power play:

And Kane's second, connecting with DeBrincat on the power play:

— DeBrincat recorded two assists, five shots on goal and was a plus-1 rating in 13:41 of ice time. He has eight points (one goal, seven assists) through six games.

DeBrincat made a terrific nifty play on USA's third goal of the game to set up McAvoy:

— Murphy registered an assist, three shots on goal and was a plus-3 rating in 17:00 of ice time. It was his first point of the tournament. Oesterle was a healthy scratch for the second game in a row.

— Darling entered in the third period and stopped 8 of 10 shots for an .800 save percentage. He's turned aside 20 of 23 shots (.869 save percentage) in two appearances.

— Gustafsson had four shots on goal in 11:37 of ice time in Sweden's 5-3 win over Switzerland.

— Kahun registered an assist, had a plus-1 rating and led all German forwards with 17:36 of ice time in a 3-2 overtime win over Finland. He has a goal and two assists during his three-game point streak.

Here's a look at Kahun's primary assist, which came on the overtime winner:

MAY 12

— Jurco scored his second goal of the tournament, recorded a game-high five shots on goal and was a plus-2 rating in 17:42 of ice time in Slovakia's 4-3 overtime loss to Sweden.

— Gustafsson registered an assist for his first point of the tournament, added two shots goal and had a plus-2  rating in 15:16 of ice time for Sweden.

— Kahun was named Germany's player of the game after netting his first goal of the tournament in a 3-1 loss to Latvia. He also went 1-for-5 in the faceoff circle (20 percent) and logged 17:57 of ice time.

— Anisimov picked up two assists, had a plus-2 rating and won 4 of 7 faceoffs (57.1 percent) in 17:06 of ice time as Russia defeated Switzerland 4-3.

— Shalunov was held without a shot on goal and had a minus-1 rating in only 9:01 of ice time. 

MAY 11

— Kane had two goals, three assists, a game-high five shots on goal in only 12:25 of ice time in USA's 13-1 win over Korea. He's tied for first in the tournament with 12 points through five games.

Here's a look at Kane's goal that made it 7-1:

— DeBrincat recorded two assists, three shots on goal and was a plus-2 rating in 14:43 of ice time. 

— Murphy led all skaters with a plus-4 rating and registered four shots on goal in 14:13 of ice time. Oesterle was a healthy scratch with Charlie McAvoy being added to the roster.

— Darling made his first start of the tournament and stopped 12 of 13 shots for a .923 save percentage.

MAY 10

— DeBrincat was named player of the game after recording two assists in USA's 3-2 overtime win over Latvia. He also had two shots on goal and was a plus-1 rating in 12:05 of ice time.

— Kane had two assists, a game-high six shots on goal and was a plus-1 rating in 23:03 of ice time, which led all U.S. forwards. He assisted on the game-winner in overtime, which came during a 4-on-3 power play:

— Murphy led all defensemen with four shots on goal and logged 16:49 of ice time while Oesterle logged 11:17 of ice time.

— Jurco tied a team-high with three shots on goal and led all forwards with 21:06 of ice time in Slovakia's 3-1 win over France.

— Anisimov had an assist, tied a team-high with three shots on goal and won 2 of 7 faceoffs (28.6 percent) in 16:38 of ice time in Russia's 4-3 loss to the Czech Republic.

— Shalunov registered an assist, a shot on goal and was a plus-2 rating in 13:25 of ice time.

MAY 9

— Kahun registered a primary assist, three shots on goal, was a plus-1 rating and won 4 of 7 faceoffs (57.1 percent) in 16:54 of ice time as Germany defeated Korea 6-1.

— Gustafsson led all defensemen with four shots on goal in 18:34 of ice time in Sweden's 7-0 win over Austria.

MAY 8

— Jurco scored a goal, had three shots on goal and was a plus-2 rating in 17:59 of ice time in Slovakia's 4-2 win over Austria.

MAY 7

— Kane was voted player of the game in USA's 3-0 win over Germany after scoring a power-play goal and adding two primary assists. He also tied a team-high with four shots on goal and was a plus-1 rating in 18:36 of ice time.

— DeBrincat had a goal and an assist, tied a team-high with four shots on goal and was a plus-1 rating in 15:06 of ice time. His goal was set up by Kane that made it 3-0:

— Murphy recorded two shots on goal and logged a tournament-high 20:52 of ice time. Oesterle had three shots on goal and was a plus-1 rating in 11:01 of ice time.

— Kahun had one shot on goal and won 5 of 9 faceoffs (55.6 percent) in 17:49 of ice time for Germany.

— Anisimov had one shot on goal and lost both faceoffs he took in 15:54 of ice time in Russia's 6-0 win over Belarus. He was held pointless for the first time this tournament.

— Shalunov scored a goal, added an assist and had two shots on goal in 15:27 of ice time for Russia. It was his first multi-point game of the tournament.

— Gustafsson registered four shots on goal and logged 19:09 of ice time, which was the third-most on the team, in Sweden's 4-0 win over France.

MAY 6

— Anisimov had a goal, an assist and won 9 of 11 faceoffs (81.8 percent) in Russia's 7-0 win over Austria. He also registered two shots on goal and was a plus-3 rating in 13:31 of ice time. 

— Shalunov recorded a game-high seven shots on goal and won his only faceoff in 15:33 of ice time. He leads the team with 13 shots on goal through two games.

— Gustafsson had two shots on goal in 14:42 of ice time as Sweden defeated Czech Republic 3-2.

— Kahun was a minus-2 rating and won only 4 of 15 faceoffs (26.7 percent) in 18:28 of ice time, which ranked fourth among forwards on his team, in Germany's 5-4 shootout loss to Norway. He was also held without a shot on goal.

— Jurco was a minus-1 rating and was held without a shot on goal in 17:50 of ice time in Slovakia's 2-0 loss to Switzerland.

MAY 5

— Jurco had a team-high four shots on goal and was a minus-1 rating in 18:06 of ice time in Slovakia's 3-2 overtime loss to the Czech Republic.

— Kane registered an assist, had four shots on goal and was a plus-1 in 19:15 of ice time in USA's 4-0 win over Denmark. 

— DeBrincat was promoted to the top line with Kane, and peppered three shots on goal, had a plus-1 rating and won his only faceoff he took in 15:45 of ice time.

— Murphy was bumped to the first pairing alongside Alec Martinez and finished with 19:37 of ice time, which ranked second on the team. He was one of four members from USA that was held without a shot on goal.

— Oesterle had two shots on goal in 12:42 of ice time, playing in a third-pairing role.

MAY 4

— Anisimov scored a power-play goal, had four shots on goal and went 6-for-11 (54.5 percent) at the faceoff dot in 13:55 of ice time as Russia defeated France 7-0 in its opener.

— Shalunov also scored on the power play and registered a game-high six shots on goal in 16:01 of ice time for Russia.

— DeBrincat, Kane and Oesterle each recorded an assist in USA's 5-4 shootout victory over Canada. Murphy logged 20:45 of ice time, which ranked third on the team and second among defensemen.

Here's a look at Kane's pass that set up linemate Johnny Gaudreau for the goal:

— Gustafsson led all Swedish blue liners with four shots on goal and had a plus-1 rating in 13:47 to help his country shut out Belarus 5-0.

— Kahun won a team-high 11 faceoffs on 18 draws (61.1 percent), had two shots on goal and a plus-1 rating in 16:56 of ice time as Germany fell to Denmark 3-2 in a shootout. Kahun shot third in the shootout but was denied by Frederik Andersen.

Eight-defensemen rotation tricky, but Blackhawks understand juggling act

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USA TODAY

Eight-defensemen rotation tricky, but Blackhawks understand juggling act

For Jordan Oesterle, the wait really wasn’t a terrible thing.

Sure, he was used to playing more consistently in the past. But he knew with the Blackhawks carrying eight defensemen that several players, including him, would need to practice patience and understanding.

“It hasn’t been too long. It’s only been a week and a half so it’s not terrible,” said Oesterle on Thursday morning, a few hours before he made his Blackhawks debut against his former team, the Edmonton Oilers.

For the second consecutive season the Blackhawks are going with eight defensemen to start the season. In one way, it’s good: if anything goes awry, be it someone’s game or someone’s health, the depth is readily there.

But so are the challenges. It’s a juggling act, a delicate balance between making the right decisions and making sure a player understands that a scratch may be more about the rotation and not his individual game.

Communication, above all, is key.

“It’s not easy being the guys who are in or out, right on that bubble situation where you come in not knowing if you’re going to play. But as a staff we want to keep everyone involved,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We know the depth of your defense is going to get challenged at some point during the year. We feel the eight guys who are here can play but that’s how we’ve always done it: We’ve always let guys know whether you’re in or out. Sometimes you have to be more patient than you’d like but handling it the right way, whether you’re a good pro or teammate, that can be healthy around the environment of your team.”

Based on all outward appearances, everyone has handled it well. Connor Murphy has been a healthy scratch twice – “I mean I just want to see the team win really...if we're winning and guys are playing well that's all that matter,” Murphy said after his first scratch.

Oesterle was a healthy scratch the first seven games. Michal Kempny, who Oesterle replaced, has been scratched the last two games. Cody Franson has also sat seven games. Franson, whose patience has been in place while awaiting contracts in his career, is practicing it again. But he’s appreciated the Blackhawks’ communication on it.

“This situation gets tough when they don’t say anything to you; you don’t know if it’s because of the way you’re playing, you don’t know if it’s something you did or what the situation is. The coaching staff has done a great job of being in our ear, letting us leave our work at the rink and not take it home with us,” Franson said. “That goes a long way in being able to stay positive and in the right mindset through it.”

After starting with eight defensemen last season the Blackhawks eventually went back to seven. Will they do that again this season? Maybe, but whoever gets sent down would most likely have to go through waivers. The Blackhawks reassigned Gustav Forsling last season to get back to seven defensemen and get Forsling more playing time. But this season Forsling and Jan Rutta have been dependable and have pretty much become the Blackhawks’ second pairing.

So for now, eight defensemen it shall be. Being part of the rotation isn’t always easy but so far players seem to get that it’s for the greater good.

“It’s one of those things where we’ve got eight quality guys. I think no matter who’s sitting on any given night, it might not necessary be due to how they’re playing or how they’re doing individually,” Franson said. “I think Q’s done a great job of managing that situation. That’s one of those things where it’s a great problem to have but it’s not an easy one to handle. So we’re all aware of what’s taking place right now and you just try to be as professional about it as you can.”

Cody Franson’s wait pays off as he gets his deal with Blackhawks

Cody Franson’s wait pays off as he gets his deal with Blackhawks

Once again, Cody Franson had to wait to find out his fate with a team. Once again, it had a happy ending.

Franson signed a one-year deal worth a reported $1 million on Wednesday. The 30-year-old defenseman gives the Blackhawks a steady presence and a much-needed, right-handed shot on the blue line.

When the Blackhawks signed Franson to a player tryout prior to training camp, it was expected he’d sign a deal once Marian Hossa’s placement on long-term injured reserve freed up the necessary cap space. Still, Franson wasn’t assuming anything.

“As far as having a good idea [of it happening], when you don’t have a contract there’s no real time to have a good idea,” Franson said with a laugh. “But I thought my exhibition games went well, practices have been going well. I thought I’ve been doing what I could to give myself this opportunity and luckily it played out.”

Franson talked earlier in camp about having to be patient with potential contracts. In this case he had no choice, as the Blackhawks had to wait for the NHL to rule on Hossa. If Wednesday’s practice was any indication, Franson will pair with Jordan Oesterle in the Blackhawks’ season opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. Coach Joel Quenneville said Franson has brought what the Blackhawks were looking for from the start of camp.

“He showed us a lot,” Quenneville said. “I like his poise out there, got a good stick and shoots the puck extremely well. I like his size and his leadership qualities. He’s been a good fit with that experience and he’s excited about being here and it’s a great opportunity for us as well.”

Franson has fit into the Blackhawks’ room well. It helps that he already knew a few of the players — he and Jonathan Toews played together at World Juniors and he lives in the same area as Brent Seabrook and Jordin Tootoo in the offseason. As far as the Blackhawks’ system, he adjusted easily to that as well.

“That’s one of the things about having an experienced group and guys like this and guys that have been around for so long and have had so much success is. It’s kind of a system without even needing explaining. If you do have questions, you can ask guys because they’ve done it so much that they’re like having coaches,” he said. “It’s been a smooth transition for myself. It’s been easy to pick up and I’m excited to get going.”

Franson had to wait again for a contract, and there was ultimately no guarantee it would happen. But the odds were in his favor and thanks to a strong camp, the wait is over.

“It definitely allows you to take a bit of a deeper breath,” he said. “It’s nice to have that done, out of the way with, and be able to just focus on the regular season and getting off on the right foot here.”