Philadelphia Flyers

It's official: Blackhawks to open 2019-20 season in Prague against Flyers

It's official: Blackhawks to open 2019-20 season in Prague against Flyers

The Blackhawks are officially heading overseas next season.

As part of the third annual NHL Global Series, the Blackhawks will take on the Philadelphia Flyers in Prague, Czech Republic to open the 2019-20 season on Oct. 4 at 2 p.m. CT. They will also wrap up their training camp and preseason schedule with an exhibition game on Sept. 29 in Berlin, Germany against Eisbaren Berlin at 1:30 p.m.

“Participating in marquee National Hockey League events like the NHL Global Series is always something the Blackhawks organization does with great honor,” Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough said in a statement. “Similar to the last time we played in Europe in 2009, there is a lot of excitement surrounding the Blackhawks and this is a great opportunity to share that passion with our fans across Europe.”

It's the first time since the 2009-10 campaign that the Blackhawks will start a season overseas when they played a two-game series against the Florida Panthers in Helsinki, Finland. They later went on to win their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.

"It’s pretty exciting," Patrick Kane said. "We haven’t done it in a while, and last time we did it we had some success the season after that with winning the Cup. It’s nice to go and see some new places and go over to Europe and represent the NHL and try to help grow the game a little bit. The Blackhawks are always a team that’s involved in a lot of these big events. We take pride in that and we’re looking forward to heading over there.”

Dominik Kahun and David Kampf are the only two players on the current Blackhawks roster with ties to both countries. Kahun is a German native and was a member of Germany’s Olympic hockey team that won a silver medal in 2018 while Kampf if a Czech native who represented his country at the World Junior Championships.

Despite being the road team for the event, the Blackhawks will still have 41 regular-season home games at the United Center next season.

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Too soon: Flyers mascot trolls Chicago with "Parkey Challenge"

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USA TODAY

Too soon: Flyers mascot trolls Chicago with "Parkey Challenge"

Too soon, Gritty. Too soon. 

Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers' creepy new mascot, combined two hot topics to create possibly the next social media meme: the "Parkey Challenge."

What is the Parkey Challenge? Based on a video posted on Gritty's Twitter, it entails blindly attempting to kick a field goal. The blindfold is a reference to the new hit movie "Bird Box;" characters in the movie have to wear blindfolds to avoid seeing supernatural forces and therefore dying. 

The Parkey reference is obviously an attempt to troll Bears kicker Cody Parkey, who missed a potential game-winning field goal in the Bears' playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Without further ado...

The video is all in good fun. Still, it likely will strike a nerve with Chicago sports fans who are still grieving the Bears' big loss.

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Four takeaways: Blackhawks shut out in Philly for seventh straight loss

Four takeaways: Blackhawks shut out in Philly for seventh straight loss

PHILADELPHIA — Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, which is the 15th straight defeat (0-14-1) in the regular season for Chicago in Philadelphia since Nov. 9, 1996:

1. Self-inflicted wounds

For the second game in a row, the Blackhawks didn't do themselves any favors in getting behind after one period. They outshot the Flyers 12-4 out of the gates, but a defensive zone turnover by Duncan Keith gifted Claude Giroux the first goal at the 14:56 mark and it changed the feeling of the game.

"I think we played a really good first period," Keith said. "Obviously I made a bad play there, turned it over and it ends up right back in our net. Mistakes are going to happen. I don't plan on making mistakes like that and I can be better in that regard. But when things start going downhill, we've got to weather the storm a little bit and be confident that we just rely on our habits and things like that just to get through.

"The other team scores, let's not get down. Or we make one mistake, let's not compound that mistake into three or four other ones. We did a lot of good things in the first and later on in the third, but it's those stretches of time where we can be better."

2. Weathering the storm

There were stretches where the Blackhawks looked like the better team, such as in the first 15 minutes and the third period when they had 10 scoring chances at even strength to Philadelphia's one. But they didn't capitalize on their opportunities and didn't do a great job at preventing the Flyers from doing so on theirs.

If it wasn't for Corey Crawford in the second period, the Blackhawks could've easily found themselves down three or four goals before the first TV timeout.

An unfortunate break by Brandon Manning, who knocked it into his own net, put the Blackhawks down 3-0 at the 4:16 mark of the third period and that turned out to be the back-breaker.

"That is a challenge right now," coach Jeremy Colliton said of keeping the players positive during their seven-game losing streak. "I just got here, so this is only Game 2 for me. But they've been going through this now for a while, so that's one thing I have to manage and that was kind of the message after the game: 'Guys, we're not that far away, I know it feels like we are because of the score but I don't think that was a 4-0 game.'

"We just have to do a better job of surviving when we're not in control of the game and we didn't do that [today], and we've got to get more out of the moments where we're controlling it and I think we will. Part of that is staying positive, sticking together and continuing to play the right way."

3. Injuries thin out lineup even more

Marcus Kruger did not play because of a left leg injury he suffered on Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes, which was to be expected. But the Blackhawks were dealt with another blow after it was announced minutes before warmups that Brandon Saad would not play because of a right arm injury.

He sustained the injury at practice on Friday and it's unclear whether he'll be available in Carolina on Monday.

4. Colliton's message to young guys

Before the game, Colliton was asked a question about his younger players and how to get the most out of them. His message was simple, but a powerful one.

"It's OK to make a mistake," Colliton said. "We can live with that. And you know what, one might end up in the back of the net. But what we need to build here is, if you play with the right intentions and you work for the team and you play for the team, then you get some rope. Of course, you've got to perform, but we want them to play free, we want them to play with joy. Then it's easier to be a good player."