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Posted On Monday, 06.29.2015 / 6:08 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Summer with Stanley blog

Blackhawks' Darling parades Cup through hometown

LEMONT, Ill. -- The rain came down in sheets for a few minutes Monday at the Lemont Park District headquarters, soaking a crowd of people and turning Chicago Blackhawks jerseys a deeper shade of red.

Among those caught in the afternoon shower was Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling, who sat in the back of an old-fashioned fire truck with the Stanley Cup by his side. It may have rained on his parade, but no amount of water could dampen the mood for Darling, his family or the hundreds who showed up to watch him give the Cup a hometown hoist.

"He and I have watched those 'Day with the Cup' shows on the NHL Network before and were both like, 'Wow, how cool is that?'" said Scott R. Darling, who watched a long line of people wait to get autographs and photos with his son. "To be able to do it and bring it home and share it, I think that's what the Stanley Cup is all about. It's about sharing it with people in your family and in the community where you grew up, and it's just awesome to see the turnout. We had a heavy rainstorm, so there were a lot of wet people, and Scotty got wet too, but it was awesome."

Posted On Monday, 06.15.2015 / 1:46 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks to use big-game experience as advantage

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks again will lean on their stockpile of Stanley Cup Playoff experience with a chance to clinch a championship in Game 6 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at United Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Blackhawks lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 and can win the Stanley Cup at home for the first time since 1938.

Those who have won it before are using those past experiences to help the current group focus.

Posted On Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 4:45 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks penalty kill providing advantage in Final

CHICAGO -- In a series as tight as the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, the Chicago Blackhawks need to continue killing penalties as well as they have in the first four games of the series.

The Blackhawks have killed off 10 of 11 Lightning power plays, one reason the best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 at Amalie Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"I think when it comes down to the penalty kill, I think we've really always understood how big of a deal it is, especially to try and take away energy from a team like this," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said Thursday. "The last couple games it's been big for us."

Posted On Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 1:20 AM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Oduya steps up for Blackhawks in Game 4

CHICAGO -- There was some question as to whether Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya would even play in Game 4 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at United Center on Wednesday.

But Oduya, who sustained an undisclosed upper-body injury in Game 3 on Monday, played 25:45 in Game 4, blocked five shots and finished with a plus-1 rating. As one of the Blackhawks' top four defensemen who have absorbed a huge workload in this series and the Western Conference Final, receiving the normal contribution from Oduya was a big help in Chicago's 2-1 victory to tie the best-of-7 series 2-2.

Game 5 will take place at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"He's been huge," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said of Oduya. "Everyone liked to talk about the four [defensemen] who were absorbing most of the minutes and responsibility in the previous series, so I don't think that's changed. I think those guys are ready for whatever, [even] playing through a few bumps and bruises. Johnny is one of those guys. It's going to take a lot more to stop him. Huge for him to bounce back. [He] made a big difference for us on the blue line tonight."


Posted On Wednesday, 06.10.2015 / 2:41 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks' Oduya likely for Game 4, Versteeg in

CHICAGO --  Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya is likely to play in Game 4 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), but there are changes coming to the lineup.

Defenseman Kyle Cumiskey will be replaced by 40-year-old veteran Kimmo Timonen, and  forward Kris Versteeg will re-enter the lineup to play left wing on the second line in place of Bryan Bickell. Versteeg played the first two games of the series when Bickell had vertigo, but was a healthy scratch for Game 3 on Monday.

"We wanted [Bickell] in Game 3, gave him an opportunity to get in," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I don't think [Versteeg] deserved to come out. I think he gives us a threat offensively, [he's] defensively aware, [and has] strength in the puck area. He can make some plays. I think he can add to some of our offense."

Posted On Tuesday, 06.09.2015 / 3:34 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks defenseman Oduya uncertain for Game 4

CHICAGO – Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya has an upper-body injury and his status is unknown for Game 4 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Oduya apparently sustained the injury at some point during the Blackhawks' 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 on Monday, when his ice time was significantly reduced in the second and third periods.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was asked Tuesday about Oduya's status and whether there might be any lineup changes for Game 4 in relation to it.

Posted On Tuesday, 06.09.2015 / 1:05 AM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks unsure about Oduya for Game 4

CHICAGO -- After playing 11 shifts and 7:37 in the first period, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya played five shifts in the second and seven in the third in a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at United Center on Monday.

Oduya left the game after his final shift of the second with 7:44 left in the period and didn't return until the third. He played a total of 16:47.

Asked about Oduya's status after the loss, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville made it sound as though there might be an injury.

"We'll see [Tuesday] how he presents," Quenneville said.

Posted On Monday, 06.08.2015 / 1:54 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks likely to add Bickell, van Riemsdyk

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have some lineup changes coming for Game 3 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at United Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

If things stay as they were during line rushes at the morning skate:

* Captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Patrick Kane will be split onto the top two lines, with Toews staying at center on the top line and Kane going back to his more familiar spot on the right wing of the second line.

* Power forward Bryan Bickell, who missed the first two games because of vertigo, will return to action at left wing on the second line.

* Rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk will play an NHL game for the first time since he was sidelined Nov. 16 by a fractured left patella, making his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut as either the fifth or sixth defenseman.

Posted On Thursday, 06.04.2015 / 4:23 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks' van Riemsdyk could play in Game 2

TAMPA Chicago Blackhawks rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk could play in Game 2 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET; CBC, NBC, TVA Sports), coach Joel Quenneville said Thursday.

If so, van Riemsdyk will play his first NHL game since Nov. 16 when he fractured his left patella blocking a shot in a 6-2 win against the Dallas Stars. He will also make his Stanley Cup Playoff debut on the biggest stage.

What gives Quenneville the confidence to put him right into the spotlight as the team’s fifth or sixth defenseman?

"Probably the way he shocked us, surprised us, when he first came in at [training] camp this year, [and] how well he played for us when he started the season," Quenneville said. "You can look at him a lot of nights, [and] he's out there against top players. He was out there late in periods. He was killing plays, making plays, reliable. He played, surprisingly, to a different level than we anticipated he could get to."

Posted On Thursday, 06.04.2015 / 1:20 AM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks' Versteeg replaces injured Bickell

TAMPA -- The past few days have been a blur for Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg, who replaced Bryan Bickell for Game 1 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Wednesday, two days after he became a father for the first time.

Versteeg didn't have a point in 9:32 of ice time. He skated primarily at left wing on the second in Bickell's spot.

Chicago scored twice in the third period for a 2-1 win. Game 2 will be played Saturday at Amalie Arena (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).


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