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In a back and forth competition with the Wild on Sunday at the United Center, the Blackhawks broke their losing streak with a 5-3 victory.

Chicago regained traction on the power-play, which had scored in five straight games before Saturday’s game against the Blues, and Patrick Kane added a hat trick.

Robin Lehner made 23 saves on 26 shots and Brandon Saad and David Kampf added the other two goals.
How it happened

The Blackhawks began the scoring a little less than eight minutes into the game, as Kane got the puck over the goal line, although it took a replay to prove it. His first chance was denied, but he was able to collect the rebound and put it over the line.

Kane’s first tally was the first goal the Blackhawks have scored this season through replay.

Less than four minutes later, Kane would score on the power play to put the Blackhawks up two.

A nice give-and-go play with Jonathan Toews and a great keep-in move from Dylan Strome helped to give the Blackhawks some padding on their lead, but Kane’s shot seals it.

Kirby Dach would almost immediately take a hooking penalty after Kane’s second goal, however, putting Minnesota on their power play, which had been on a 0-for-18 streak prior to this game. Eric Staal scored, point number 1000 on his career, to make it a 2-1 game.

Both Mats Zuccarello and Jason Zucker would leave the game over the course of the first period, Zucker after blocking a slapshot from Brent Seabrook. Both would be back in the game by the end of the period, however.

In the second period, Kevin Fiala scored less than two minutes in, as Kane had a shot blocked by Ryan Suter, and Olli Maatta could not catch Fiala on the breakaway at 4-on-4 (Toews and Jordan Greenway were sitting for coinciding penalties).

David Kampf would get the lead back for the Blackhawks, however, scoring on a deflection off of a Connor Murphy shot during a delayed penalty.

The goal is Kampf’s fifth of the season, a new career high for the third-year pro. Kampf missed 55 games combined between the 2017-18 and 18-19 seasons.

Fiala would even the game back up before the second period was out, as what was meant to be a pass deflected off of Maatta’s skate and into the net. Not a good period from him. Ryan Suter had assists on all three of the Wild’s goals.

In the third period, the two sides would trade shots and opportunities, but it would take Brandon Saad deflecting another Murphy shot into the net for the Blackhawks to break the tie.

That’s the first third-period go-ahead goal for the Blackhawks this season, as well as Saad’s third in two days, and it sparked a much-needed victory.

Kane would score the empty-net goal to get his eighth career hat trick, providing the 5-3 score.

The Blackhawks played a much better game against the Wild than they did against the Blues, with a 48.98 percent shot share and 58.82 percent high-danger share. The Blackhawks played two periods where they had shot advantages in the first and third as well.

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba — As the Blackhawks search for solutions in the midst of another dreadful month, Jonathan Toews knows one thing that would help.

More tips and deflections in front of the net.

“If you watch the playoffs or you watch the tough games of the year, where teams are really competing, playing that playoff-style hockey to try to get points and sneak into the playoffs, it’s how you score goals,” Toews said this week. “You’ve got to have guys to the net, you’ve got to get shots, you’ve got to get tips, rebounds, second efforts.”

Any mention of the subject lights a fire in the captain’s eyes. It’s an aspect of offense that has always come naturally for him, and he remains very good at it, leading the Hawks with 11 shots on goal through tips and deflections.

But for the rest of the team, it’s a major weakness. Brandon Saad is second with nine such shots on goal; David Kampf has eight; no one else has more than five.

In fact, the Hawks rank last in the NHL in percentage of shots on goal that have come off tips and deflections at just 5.1 percent.

When Toews hears that, he perks up even more.

“That’s a big a reason why I keep beating this, [because] we’ve got to generate way more in that area if we want to score five-on-five,” he said. “It’s pretty clear to see.”

Toews challenged the entire locker room before Sunday’s game against the Wild to improve in that category, asking the forwards to get to dirty areas with their head up and the defensemen to focus on getting point shots through cleanly to their intended tip men.

And it worked. The Hawks generated two goals off deflections, just their eighth and ninth such goals this season, when Connor Murphy unleashed sneaky wristers from the blue line. One glanced off Kampf’s stick and in; the other hit either Saad or Dominik Kubalik, or perhaps both, and became the winning goal.

“It seemed like guys were actually fighting over that space in front of the net to try to get it,” Murphy said Sunday. “It almost seemed like that last one tipped off [Kubalik] and Saader. They were battling for that one.”

Yet on Wednesday against the Avalanche and Thursday against the Jets, the Hawks reverted to their old ways and produced little commotion in front of Pavel Francouz and Connor Hellebuyck. Only one of their combined 64 shots on goal in the two contests came off tips and deflections.

“We don’t give ourselves an opportunity to get a bounce,” coach Jeremy Colliton said Wednesday. “[The Avalanche’s] first goal, they had someone at the net, they got a puck through, it’s in. You leave a lot on the table offensively when you’re not doing those things.”

Those games are indicative of how the season has gone. Despite ranking 16th in shooting percentage off tips and deflections, the Hawks are 26th in goals that come from tips and deflections.

Toews hopes they can finally change that soon.

“If we want to score more goals, we’re not going to get it from the perimeter, beating goalies with clean shots,” he said. “Nice to see our forwards get the puck to shooting areas for our defensemen, and nice to see our defensemen finding lanes, and then thirdly, nice to see guys getting sticks on pucks and going to the net and not letting goaltenders see the puck. That’s going to be huge for us.”

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The Chicago Blackhawks have had their fair share of bad luck so far this season. Things were looking up in the offseason when former player Andrew Shaw returned to the roster, but he recently fell to the injury bug that has plagued their locker room. He was placed on long-term injured reserve in late November due to concussion-like symptoms. Despite not being very active on the scoresheet, his absence continues to hurt the Blackhawks’ season.
Shaw’s Style

Before being traded to the Montreal Canadiens in the summer of 2016, Shaw won two Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks and tallied a total of 70 goals and 67 assists over 322 games. He always kept the crowd on the edge of their seats with his rough style of play and entertaining antics. He was a fan-favorite for his physicality on the ice, something the Blackhawks lacked before his return. Ryan Hartman and John Hayden were quality enforcers before they were both traded, but they didn’t have the same dominant on-ice presence that Shaw had. Some current players like Calvin de Haan, Olli Maatta, and Ryan Carpenter show some signs of being an enforcer, but nobody embodies his role quite like Shaw.
Should Shaw Be Moved? (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

His style did not change during his time with the Canadiens and doesn’t plan on changing anytime soon, as he told NBC Sports Chicago, “I find if I’m not playing on the edge, I’m not playing great, I need to play physical. Even in preseason, I was just finishing checks — clean, shoulder-to-shoulder — and was getting penalty after penalty. Hockey still is a physical game. There’s still hitting; it’s still legal. So I’m going to go out there and play hard, make it hard on my opponents, make it hard on them physically, do what I do. Not going to change who I am now.”

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman echoed a similar sentiment, as he told NHL.com, “He’s a fearless player, and he plays much bigger than his actual size. He’s got an underrated skill set. When people talk about Shaw, they always talk about his intensity and competitiveness. He does go to the net, and he scores a lot of goals from in tight, and he gets a lot of shots from around the net. That’s where you need to be if you want to score in today’s game.”

Fans and players alike were ecstatic when Shaw returned to the roster in October. He was excited for his return, as he told NHL.com, “I feel I still have a lot to give. I came off a pretty good year, and I’m excited, feeling healthy, feeling energized. To come back to a city that’s given me so much love and helped me grow to who I am, I have nothing but smiles.”

An enforcer was what the Blackhawks needed, but the bliss was short-lived.
Back with the Blackhawks

With three goals and seven assists in 26 games, Shaw didn’t have the offensive start that fans were hoping for. However, he still found a way to make his presence known on the ice, as he told the Chicago-Sun-Times, “I’m going to play the ice that’s given to me and just go out there and compete, battle, make sure we can sustain pucks, help out on faceoffs, forechecking, keeping pucks alive, that sort of thing.” (from ‘Andrew Shaw finally finding niche on present-day Blackhawks roster’ best all-around player through 4 games’ – Chicago Sun-Times – 11/22/19).
Andrew Shaw, Canadiens sign Andrew Shaw
Andrew Shaw (Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports)

He didn’t waste time on returning to his old ways by getting under the skin of his opponents. Teammate Patrick Kane praised one of his hits after a 3-1 victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 14. He told NBC Sports Chicago, “You look at Shawzy’s hit, the stuff he’s been doing early in the season — whether it’s scoring big goals or sticking up for guys after they get hit — it’s been awesome for the team. That’s something that can really help us. We also need to play a little bit more with the puck, but it’s a way we can get the puck back.”

Despite not scoring as many goals as expected, the physicality Shaw brings to the game isn’t something to be shoved under the rug. The Blackhawks have a record of 2-5-1 since Shaw’s injury, and it’s safe to say that the lack of physicality on the ice has been one of the many factors contributing to the losing record.

His physical style of play not only creates a strong and intimidating force on the ice but also helps boost morale among teammates. Shaw’s many brawls have one thing in common: teammates cheering for him on the bench and having his back on the ice. He isn’t afraid to stand up for himself and other players, creating a strong team bond. Without a strong team bond, nobody will ever reach their full potential.
What’s Next?

Shaw will likely return to the ice on the Dec. 27 game against the New York Islanders. Despite the likelihood of him returning soon, the Blackhawks need to find other players to help increase the strong presence on the ice that he does. De Haan, Maatta, and Carpenter have a bit of an edge and could learn from Shaw, who is beginning to embrace his new leadership role with the Blackhawks. He told Madeline Kenney of the Chicago Sun-Times, “I’m a little bit more of a leader. I think just show them that hard work can keep you in this league for a long time.” (from ‘Blackhawks’ Andrew Shaw embraces role as veteran leader’ – Chicago Sun-Times – 11/30/19).

The best way to see how Shaw’s influence affects other players is to look at the statistics of hits-per-game. Shaw is second overall in for the most hits-per-game with an average of 2.9. De Haan is the only player who surpasses Shaw with an average of 3.2. His average has decreased to three hits per game since Shaw’s departure. It’s important to note that he has only played five games since Shaw’s injury due to an injury of his own, but the decrease in hits is something worth noting.
Andrew Shaw Chicago Blackhawks
Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates a goal. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Other players with a similar playing style to Shaw have also decreased their hits-per-game averages in hits-per-game since his departure. Carpenter’s average has gone from 1.9 to 1.88, and Maatta’s has dropped from 2.1 to 1.2. These differences may be small, but it is solid evidence that the Blackhawks have become a softer team since Shaw’s injury.

The current injury bug sweeping through the Blackhawks’ locker room isn’t helping their bad luck so far this season. Shaw’s placement on injured reserve has eliminated their strong physical presence on the ice. Shaw is likely to return near the end of December, but the damage his los caused won’t go away overnight.

All stats obtained from NHL.com and Foxsports.com

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The Blackhawks have recalled forward John Quenneville from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League, the team announced Sunday. No corresponding transaction was made because a roster spot opened Saturday after Brandon Saad was placed on injured reserve with a right ankle injury, retroactive to Dec. 19.

The move gives the Blackhawks an extra forward going into Monday’s game against the New Jersey Devils before the NHL’s three-day Christmas break. Saad is eligible to return on Dec. 27, but he’s not expected to return until the new year.

Quenneville has 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in 19 games with the IceHogs this season. His eight goals are tied for third on the team and he’s currently riding a four-game point streak. The 23-year-old forward has appeared in 33 career NHL games across three seasons but has yet to appear in one this season.

Quenneville was drafted by the Devils in the first round (No. 30 overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft and was traded to Chicago last June for forward John Hayden. Quenneville’s season debut could come against his former team on Monday. He is the cousin of former Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville.

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Did the Henri Jokiharju for Alexander Nylander trade help or hurt the Chicago Blackhawks?

Now that both the Chicago Blackhawks and Buffalo Sabres have played 30+ games each this season, I think now would be a good time to re-visit and evaluate the controversial Henri Jokiharju-Alexander Nylander trade that happened back on July 9th, 2019.

Back then, the Blackhawks thought having Jokiharju around was a luxury. I’m not exactly sure why they thought he was expendable, especially when you consider the state of the defense at that time.

I don’t think Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Erik Gustafsson, Connor Murphy, Henri Jokiharju, Carl Dahlstrom, and Slater Koekkoek sound like much of an NHL caliber defensive unit. Regardless of what I and many Chicago Blackhawks’ fans thought, Stan Bowman felt differently.
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When you look at the Blackhawks’ recent trades, trading for a struggling former 1st round pick has sort of become Bowman’s M.O. His recent acquisitions include Dylan Strome, Brendan Perlini, Slater Koekkoek, Olli Maatta, and now, Alexander Nylander.
Alexander Nylander

While Nylander was a standout prospect and has dormant potential, he hasn’t done much since becoming a professional hockey player back in 2016-17. The Sabres’ former 8th overall pick has accumulated an underwhelming 86 points (30G, 56A) in 165 games at the AHL level and now has 17 points (7G, 10A) in 50 games at the NHL level.

This production results in a .52 PPG rate in the AHL and a .34 PPG rate in the NHL. Not exactly the type of numbers you’d expect from a former top-10 draft pick, who also had a solid junior hockey career.

Stan Bowman was hoping to get a Strome-like career resurgence out of Nylander, but it doesn’t look like Stan will strike gold twice in the past two seasons. Here is a closer look at Nylander’s career stats, including the 2019-20 season.

This season, Nylander hasn’t taken advantage of the numerous opportunities he has been given with the Chicago Blackhawks. Jeremy Colliton has slotted him in as the LW on the 1st line more often than not.

According to Dobber’s Frozen Tools, Nylander has lined up alongside Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad 58.8% of the time in 2019-20 and only has 3 points to show for it. Nylander has also been given power-play time on both the PP1 and PP2 units where he has tallied just 2 points (2A).
NHL Standard career statistics Scoring Goals Assists Shots Ice Time
Season Age Tm Lg GP G A PTS +/- PIM EV PP SH GW EV PP SH S S% TSA TOI ATOI FOW FOL FO% BLK HIT TK GV Awards
2016-17 18 BUF NHL 4 0 1 1 -2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 4 0.0 8 49 12:20 0 2 0.0 2 1 3 3
2017-18 19 BUF NHL 3 1 0 1 -3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 50.0 4 39 12:52 0 0 0 0 0 2
2018-19 20 BUF NHL 12 2 2 4 -4 4 1 1 0 0 2 0 0 16 12.5 30 146 12:12 2 1 66.7 1 1 1 4
2019-20 21 CHI NHL 31 4 7 11 -9 8 4 0 0 1 5 2 0 50 8.0 80 395 12:44 2 7 22.2 7 13 15 6
3 yrs BUF NHL 19 3 3 6 -9 4 2 1 0 0 3 0 0 22 13.6 42 234 12:20 2 3 40.0 3 2 4 9
1 yr CHI NHL 31 4 7 11 -9 8 4 0 0 1 5 2 0 50 8.0 80 395 12:44 2 7 22.2 7 13 15 6
Career 4 yrs NHL 50 7 10 17 -18 12 6 1 0 1 8 2 0 72 9.7 122 629 12:35 4 10 28.6 10 15 19 15
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/14/2019.
Henri Jokiharju

Henri Jokiharju certainly had an interesting rookie season. From the start, former Chicago Blackhawks’ head coach, Joel Quenneville, liked what he saw in Jokiharju. Through the first 15 games under Quenneville, Jokiharju played no less than 18:22 TOI per game and slotted in on the 1st defensive pairing alongside Duncan Keith.
Regular Season Table Scoring Goals Assists
Rk Date G Age Tm Opp G A PTS +/- PIM EV PP SH GW EV PP SH S S% SHFT TOI HIT BLK FOW FOL FO%
1 2018-10-04 1 19-109 CHI @ OTT W 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.0 31 19:16 3 0 0 0
2 2018-10-06 2 19-111 CHI @ STL W 0 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 0.0 27 19:30 2 0 0 0
3 2018-10-07 3 19-112 CHI TOR L-OT 0 3 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 5 0.0 27 20:10 2 2 0 0
4 2018-10-11 4 19-116 CHI @ MIN L-OT 0 0 0 -2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.0 30 22:44 1 0 0 0
5 2018-10-13 5 19-118 CHI STL W 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0.0 28 24:04 1 1 0 0
6 2018-10-18 6 19-123 CHI ARI L 0 0 0 -1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.0 26 22:06 0 0 0 0
7 2018-10-20 7 19-125 CHI @ CBJ W 0 0 0 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.0 31 20:57 1 1 0 0
8 2018-10-21 8 19-126 CHI TBL L 0 0 0 -1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.0 23 19:31 2 1 0 0
9 2018-10-23 9 19-128 CHI ANA W 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.0 23 18:22 3 1 0 0
10 2018-10-25 10 19-130 CHI NYR W 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0.0 26 20:24 1 2 0 0
11 2018-10-27 11 19-132 CHI @ STL L 0 1 1 -1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 0.0 35 22:34 2 0 0 0
12 2018-10-28 12 19-133 CHI EDM L-OT 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0.0 27 24:14 2 1 0 0
13 2018-10-31 13 19-136 CHI @ VAN L 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 30 22:51 0 5 0 0
14 2018-11-01 14 19-137 CHI @ EDM L 0 0 0 -1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.0 28 21:17 1 0 0 0
15 2018-11-03 15 19-139 CHI @ CGY L 0 1 1 -2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0.0 35 25:29 0 0 0 0
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/14/2019.

During that time, he also racked up 8 points (8A) with a 1 ± rating in 15 games, which is good for a 19-year-old rookie defenseman. The upside was apparent with Henri Jokiharju. The Blackhawks had a defenseman with top-4 upside, which is what they desperately needed for the past couple of seasons and still need now. The best part is that he was homegrown talent too.

From here on out, things began to unravel for Henri Jokiharju. He was allowed to play for Team Finland in the 2018 World Junior Championship, where he was named an alternate captain and led Finland to a gold medal.

In the tournament, Jokiharju racked up an impressive 5 points (2G, 3A) with a 6 ± rating in 7 games. He returned to play an additional 6 games with the Blackhawks before being assigned to the Rockford IceHogs.

Henri Jokiharju has had a strong 2019-20 campaign with the Buffalo Sabres while playing in a steady top-6 role alongside Marco Scandella. Jokiharju has 10 points (3G, 7A) with a 5 ± rating in 33 games. Jokiharju has also gotten some ice time on the power play where he recorded one goal.
NHL Standard career statistics Scoring Goals Assists Shots Ice Time
Season Age Tm Lg GP G A PTS +/- PIM EV PP SH GW EV PP SH S S% TSA TOI ATOI FOW FOL FO% BLK HIT TK GV Awards
2018-19 19 CHI NHL 38 0 12 12 -7 16 0 0 0 0 11 1 0 62 0.0 138 721 18:59 0 0 37 48 7 26
2019-20 20 BUF NHL 33 3 7 10 5 22 2 1 0 0 7 0 0 41 7.3 76 548 16:36 0 0 28 28 3 17
1 yr CHI NHL 38 0 12 12 -7 16 0 0 0 0 11 1 0 62 0.0 138 721 18:59 0 0 37 48 7 26
1 yr BUF NHL 33 3 7 10 5 22 2 1 0 0 7 0 0 41 7.3 76 548 16:36 0 0 28 28 3 17
Career 2 yrs NHL 71 3 19 22 -2 38 2 1 0 0 18 1 0 103 2.9 214 1269 17:53 0 0 65 76 10 43
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/14/2019.
Is There a Clear-Cut Winner In This Trade?

It might be a little early to know for sure, but as of now, I’d have to say the Buffalo Sabres are winning the Alexander Nylander-Henri Jokiharju trade. The Chicago Blackhawks’ defense has been decimated by injuries and disappointing as a whole.

I would prefer to have another defenseman with top-4 upside, in Jokiharju, over another top-9 forward, in Alexander Nylander. The Blackhawks defense likely won’t improve until next season when other defensive prospects such as Ian Mitchell, Nicolas Beaudin, Alec Regula, Alex Vlasic and more have another year under their belts and try to crack the NHL roster.

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Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan doesn’t usually drink much coffee.

But as he walked out of the Hawks’ meeting before their game Friday against the Devils, the scent wafting out of his paper cup indicated otherwise.

‘‘It just helps a little bit here and there,’’ de Haan said, laughing. ‘‘Some guys take other stuff, but it just gets me going. I like the taste, even though I don’t drink it that often.’’

De Haan needed all the extra energy he could get in the Hawks’ back-to-back road victories against the Bruins and Devils. Beyond notching his 100th career point with an assist Thursday in Boston — in front of his mom, Kathy, no less — de Haan handled an enormous workload with the Hawks’ defense down two regulars.

He played a season-high 25 minutes, 26 seconds against the Bruins, then followed that with 23:38 against the Devils. The two-game total of 49:04 is the most he has logged in a back-to-back in his career and marked the first time he had played more than 23:30 in consecutive games since March 2014 with the Islanders.

‘‘It doesn’t feel like 25 minutes sometimes,’’ he said. ‘‘But when you look at the stat sheet after the game and you feel a little tired, it does feel like that sometimes. The coaching staff’s given me an opportunity here. I’ve been getting good minutes all season, so it’s really hard to complain. They’ve been putting a lot of trust in me in key times in games, and I just try to be reliable.’’

With Duncan Keith (groin) on injured reserve and Olli Maatta out temporarily with an illness, coach Jeremy Colliton had to use both Slater Koekkoek and Dennis Gilbert in the lineup. He also had to elevate his usual second- and third-pair guys.

De Haan was the biggest beneficiary, but Connor Murphy played more than 22 minutes and Brent Seabrook more than 20 in both games, too.

‘‘Those guys are playing great,’’ goalie Corey Crawford said Friday. ‘‘Blocking shots and doing a lot of the little things you don’t really get to see on the highlight reel the next day, but things that definitely make a difference in getting the puck out quick.’’

The collective effort enabled the Hawks to allow only three even-strength goals in the two games, despite an obvious fatigue factor.

De Haan said preserving energy can’t be on one’s mind during the first leg of a back-to-back, but it’s the top priority as soon as that game ends.

‘‘Everyone has their own routine,’’ he said. ‘‘For the most part, everyone just tries to conserve energy and maybe lay around a bit more.’’

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Another night and another awful showing by the Blackhawks team defense, and this time, Robin Lehner let the team hear about it. Pat Boyle, Adam Burish and Scott King discuss the Blackhawks’ ugly loss to the Coyotes and whether there should be some more line mixing happening soon. Plus, head athletic trainer Mike Gapski took part in his 2500th game with the Blackhawks and he sat down with Pat Foley 1-on-1 to re-live his 33 years with the organization.

1:13 – The odd-man rushes are piling up against this defense

5:54 – Is the power play getting going kinda maybe a little bit?

7:43 – Should Jeremy Colliton mix up the lines once again?

9:20 – The Kirby Dach playing-time dilemma

13:45 – Celebrating Mike Gapski’s 2500 games with the Blackhawks

17:00 – Pat Foley’s 1-on-1 interview with Mike Gapski

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

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The Blackhawks will be without veteran defenseman Duncan Keith against the Avalanche on Saturday in Denver.

Keith did not travel with the team after injuring his groin in Friday’s 5-2 loss to Colorado in Chicago. He’ll miss his first game since April 6, 2017, ending a 189-game streak. The severity of the injury is still unknown, but with two integral pieces of the Blackhawks’ lineup missing in Keith and Dylan Strome, the Blackhawks’ depth will be tested.

After Friday’s defeat, the Blackhawks recalled defenseman Ian McCoshen and reassigned Matthew Highmore to the AHL. Winger Anton Wedin, who was called up earlier this week, is expected to make his regular season debut and defenseman Slater Koekkoek will likely draw back into the lineup.

Chicago dropped the first game of the home-and-home, but Patrick Kane extended his point streak to 14 games with a goal. It’s the fourth time that Kane has reached the 14 game mark in his illustrious career.

Kane is ninth in the NHL with 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists). However, he’s the only Chicago skater with more than 20 points as Alex DeBrincat sits at 19 and Strome, who is still in concussion protocol, has 17.

Avalanche blog, Mile High Hockey

Robin Lehner is slated to start for Chicago after Corey Crawford made 18 saves on 23 shots in Friday’s loss. Lehner leads the league in save-percentage at .938 and is third in goals saved above average at 13.5. He’s lost his last two starts, but only gave up four goals on 73 shots.

Nathan MacKinnon, who collected four points Friday, paces the Avalanche with 39 points (16 goals, 23 assists). Rookie defenseman and Calder Trophy favorite Cale Makar is next in line with 26 points (8 goals, 18 assists). He showcased his wicked shot with a top shelf power-play goal and his dynamic speed Friday.

MacKinnon is expected to get Mikko Rantanen back on his right wing after the Finnish sniper missed 16 games with a lower-body injury.

Philipp Grubauer, the Avalanche’s No. 1 goaltender, should start in net. He’s 8-5-2 with a .912 save-percentage on the season.
Tale of the Tape

Blackhawks — Statistic — Avalanche

47.8% (24th) — Corsi For — 48.9% (22nd)

49.1% (21st) — Faceoffs — 47.4% (28th)

2.80 (t-20th) — Goals per game — 3.60 (3rd)

2.68 (10th) — Goals against per game — 2.80 (12th)

13.5% (27th) — Power play — 19.2% (13th)

80.8% (19th) — Penalty kill — 78.1% (21st)
Lineups

Blackhawks

Saad — Toews — Shaw

DeBrincat — Carpenter— Kane

Smith — Dach— Nylander

Kubalik — Kampf— Wedin

Maatta — Murphy

de Haan — Seabrook

Gustafsson — Koekkoek

Lehner

Crawford

Avalanche

Donskoi — MacKinnon — Rantanen

Nichushkin — Kadri — Compher

Nieto — Bellemare — O’Connor

Kamenev — Jost— Tynan

Graves — Makar

Girard — Zadorov

Rosen — Cole

Grubauer

Francouz
How to watch

When: 8 p.m.

Where: Pepsi Center, Denver

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Live stream: NBC Sports app

Erik Gustafsson Jersey

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The Chicago Blackhawks would be smart if they went on to trade Erik Gustafsson at or before the trade deadline.

Defenseman Erik Gustafsson is a “roller coaster” type player. He has highlights and low lights during every game it seems. But does that make him an asset that the Chicago Blackhawks can trade before the trade deadline?

Surprisingly, the Blackhawks held onto Gustafsson this season after he put up 60 points in 79 games played last year when they could’ve traded him during the offseason. They would have gotten a couple of decent players and picks in return because his value was so high.
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The Chicago Blackhawks have played in 34 games this season so far. Not surprisingly, Gustafsson is having yet another roller-coaster type season. He has 13 points in 33 games played so far this year, but sadly, he is hurting his trade value on pretty much a nightly basis.

Gustafsson is actually a very solid puck-moving defenseman for the Blackhawks. But other than that he doesn’t really provide much else for the team. Plus, top prospect Adam Boqvist would fit right in if they did end up trading Gustafsson.

He fits well in the Blackhawks system that they have been using over the past few weeks, but I think he’d thrive even more if he was on a team that was in contention for a Stanley Cup.

I can see the Vegas Golden Knights trading for Gustafsson, he’ll fit right in on the power play unit for Vegas. Also, I can see him fitting well with the Montreal Canadiens, who have actually been rumored to acquire Gustafsson. It’ll take a couple of drafts picks for teams to acquire him but i’m pretty sure every team will be willing to give up whatever it takes.

The Blackhawks would be better off moving Gustafsson right now instead of waiting because his value may never be higher than it is right now.

Calvin de Haan Jersey

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Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan will likely miss four-to-five months with a right shoulder injury, sources tell Scott Powers of The Athletic.

Chicago head coach Jeremy Colliton, however, did not given an official timeline on de Haan’s status during the team’s practice Saturday in St. Louis.

De Haan re-injured his right shoulder in Chicago’s 5-1 loss to the Golden Knights on Tuesday in Las Vegas. He fell on the shoulder after being hit into the glass in the neutral zone by Mark Stone, who was penalized for interference on the play with 2:14 remaining in the first period. De Haan skated off the ice on his own and immediately went to the team’s dressing room.

The Blackhawks placed him on injured reserve Thursday after he underwent further evaluation in Chicago. It’s the same shoulder de Haan had surgery on in the offseason that sidelined him for four-to-six months. He has one goal and five assists in 29 games this season.

Chicago acquired de Haan and forward Aleksi Saarela from the Hurricanes on June 24 in exchange for defenseman Gustav Forsling and goaltender Anton Forsberg. The Blackhawks then traded Saarela to the Panthers on Oct. 23 for defenseman Ian McCoshen. Saarela has no points in three NHL games with Florida, while Forsling, Forsberg and McCoshen have yet to play in the NHL with their respective new team.

De Haan has two years remaining on his four-year contract worth $4,550,00 million per season.