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Category: Chicago-Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks Continue To Look For Their First Win

from Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times,

The Blackhawks changed everything they could Saturday: forward lines, defensive pairings, the goalie.

But they still squandered an energetic start, still spent too long on the ice each shift, still had a brutal defensive breakdown at a crucial time and still finished winless on the season after a 3-2 overtime loss to the Jets.

“As a group, we have to have that character to close out games and step on their throat when they’re down,” winger Brandon Saad said.

Clearly, through three games — each a painful defeat in its own way — the Hawks don’t have that down yet.

continued (Chicago is 0-2-1)

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Catching Up With Marian Hossa

from Tracey Myers of NHL.com,

Marian Hossa said he believes he could stay play at an NHL level, but the forward who had to stop playing hockey after the 2017 season because of a progressive skin disorder and side effects from medications used to treat it, is at peace with his decision.

"It was tough because I knew I still had a lot in my tank," Hossa said Thursday. "I felt like I still got two or three years in me, I could easily play at my level. But I said, I cannot work this way because in the future, it can stop me in different ways. So that was a tough decision, but I think it was the right decision."

Hossa will be in the stands to watch his former team, the Chicago Blackhawks, open the season against the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2019 NHL Global Series at O2 Arena on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN360, NBCSP, NBCSCH, NHL.TV).

continued

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  Tags: marian+hossa

A Contract Extension For Alex DeBrincat In Chicago

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Alex DeBrincat Is A Star In The Making

from Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times,

DeBrincat is just the 10th player in the last three decades to score more than 68 goals in his first two seasons. His company includes Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos, but not Kane or Toews.

At this rate, he’s due for a new contract next summer with a cap hit pushing $10 million, which would cement his position as a cornerstone for the Hawks’ post-dynasty era.

And yet, he doesn’t carry himself as a cornerstone at all.

“I feel like I’m more quiet in the locker room. I try to stay out of the chirping and stuff,” DeBrincat said. “Those core guys have been there for a long time and are obviously very respected around the league. So especially my first year, I kind of stayed away and kept my mouth shut so I didn’t get in any trouble. I know them pretty well now, and it’s easy to joke around with them, but I had to keep my mouth shut until someone talked to me.”

Despite the lighthearted intentions of the media tour, DeBrincat didn’t stray far from that mouth-shut identity. He seemed amused but rarely delivered the comedy that segment hosts were looking for.

more

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  Tags: alex+debrincat

Window Is Closing On A Few Teams

from Michael Traikos of tghe National Post,

The last time anyone checked, Sid the (32-year-old) Kid was still looking mighty youthful, having scored 100 points and finishing a personal-best fourth in the Selke Trophy voting this past season.

If that’s a sign of ageing or a window closing, then Crosby should start marketing whatever bottled water he drinks.

But the window is still closing. Maybe not on Crosby, who would surprise no one if he were to win a third Hart Trophy this season. But it certainly is for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are nobody’s pick to win the Stanley Cup — much less make the playoffs after getting swept in the first round last year...

The tide is changing in the NHL. Dynastic teams, such as the Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angles Kings, who account for eight of the past 11 Stanley Cups, are no longer skating around with a bullseye on their backs.

They’re not the teams to beat. Rather, they seem beat-up and old, with bloated salaries and cap issues that are acting as anchors. Crosby and others are optimistic that there is plenty of gas in the tank and they can rebound and win again. But it could be that a re-tool or rebuild is more realistic for long-term success.

“Obviously, not making the playoffs is never fun,” said Chicago’s Patrick Kane. “But we’re pushing ourselves to be better. I think our team’s going to be better. On paper, it’s going to be better. We feel good about the team. Now it’s just about putting it together.”

more

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A Motivating Factor For Jonathan Toews

from John Dietz of the Chicago Daily-Herald,

Jonathan Toews set career highs in goals (35), assists (46) and points last season (81).

He also averaged a career-high 21 minutes of ice time, won 56.3% of his faceoffs and centered the Blackhawks' top line each and every night.

Yet, when NHL Network unveiled what it believes to be the league's top 20 centers, Toews failed to make the cut.

Asked if he will use the omission as motivation, the Hawks' captain said: "Honestly, kind of. Yeah. If I saw my name at the top of the list, I wouldn't really key on it too much. But the fact that it's been a few years since our team's had playoff success, you kind of start losing a little bit of focus and attention (nationally).

"There's no doubt in the back of your mind you want to prove yourself as one of the best players in the league and on the team. So when you see that, it definitely sinks in a little bit for sure."

continued

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  Tags: jonathan+toews

Stan Mikita Tested Positive For CTE

from Rick Westhead of TSN,

Former Chicago Blackhawks legend and Hockey Hall of Fame member Stan Mikita tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, the brain-withering disease linked to repetitive brain trauma in contact sports, researchers and his family announced Friday night in Chicago.

Mikita becomes the 11th known former NHL player, and the first member of the Hall of Fame, to have tested positive for CTE.

Dr. Ann McKee, director of the BU CTE Center, VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, and chief of neuropathology for the VA Boston Healthcare System, discussed the findings Friday night as requested by Mikita's family during the Concussion Legacy Foundation's Chicago Honors dinner.

continued

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  Tags: stan+mikita

It’s All About Escrow For The NHL Players

from John Dietz of the Chicago Daily-Herald,

Jonathan Toews just wants to be paid what his contract says he should be paid.

Not a dollar more. Not a dollar less.

But that's not the way it works in the NHL because of a dirty little word -- among players anyway -- known as escrow.

Every year, players have a percentage of their salary deducted and placed into an account until the league determines how much of that pool must be paid to the owners to achieve a 50/50 revenue split.

In the early days of the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA), players actually received their escrow back, plus a bit more. But the rising salary cap has enabled owners to dole out heftier contracts -- and revenues have not kept up.

So players are losing in excess of 10 percent of their annual salaries.

Along with participation in the Olympics, escrow is a big reason the NHL Players' Association may opt out of the current CBA by Sept. 15.

continued

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The Chicago Blackhawks Are Big Believers In Analytics

from Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times,

Al MacIsaac first heard of analytics approximately 4,500 miles away from his spacious United Center office.

Shortly before the Blackhawks’ 2009-10 season opener in Finland, MacIsaac sat down alongside Stan and Scotty Bowman to meet a stranger in Helsinki’s grand Hotel Kamp for a brief presentation....

“It started as a project that we were going to build on,” MacIsaac told the Sun-Times this week. “Now we have analytics for everything. ... It’s evolved from that first chance meeting in 2009 to something that we feel proud of and that our staff have come to embrace.”

The term ‘analytics’ itself is mentioned nowhere in MacIsaac’s job description, and it takes quite a bit of scrolling down the Hawks’ front office directory to find Andrew Contis, the lone listed member with it in his title.

But MacIsaac will disclose there’s a whole team of employees — “young people,” he calls them — who compose the Hawks’ analytics department, collecting and analyzing data and looking for new areas to explore.

“Our ideas can’t be cascading down from the senior guys like me and Stan,” MacIsaac said. “We want ideas cascading upwards, and that comes from guys like Andrew Contis and a number of others.”

read on

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Afternoon Line- Robin Lehner

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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