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2015 NHL Draft
Posted On Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 2:02 PM

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

Blackhawks' van Riemsdyk could factor in series

TAMPA -- It won't happen in Game 1 at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), but it seems likely Chicago Blackhawks rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk will play at some point in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

If so, the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk will make his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut on the NHL's biggest stage.

"Not playing today, but he's real close," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after Chicago's morning skate. "We asked could he play today. He's sitting there. He's that close. We expect a very good chance he's going to be in the series."

Posted On Monday, 06.01.2015 / 7:25 PM

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

Blackhawks forwards Bickell, Kruger to play Game 1

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was coy Monday when asked whether forward Bryan Bickell sat out the final 40 minutes of Game 7 of the Western Conference Final because of injury or poor play.

"We'll say it was my decision, but we'll say a little bit of both," Quenneville said.

Bickell and center Marcus Kruger each will play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), Quenneville said.

Posted On Sunday, 05.31.2015 / 1:23 AM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Blackhawks series blog

Blackhawks forwards Bickell, Kruger 'should be fine'

ANAHEIM -- It isn't clear whether Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell was injured or benched in the last two periods of Game 7 of the Western Conference Final at Honda Center on Saturday.

According to the official play by play, Bickell took one 10-second shift in the second period of the Blackhawks' 5-3 victory against the Anaheim Ducks and didn't play again. Forward Andrew Desjardins double shifted between the fourth and second lines in his place.

Asked about Bickell's extended absence, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was vague.

"I think he should be fine," Quenneville said.

He was then asked about fourth-line center Marcus Kruger, who took five shifts in the third period at played 10:34 in the game.

"He should be fine too," Quenneville said.

Posted On Saturday, 05.30.2015 / 7:09 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Blackhawks series blog

Blackhawks need Rundblad, Cumiskey to contribute

ANAHEIM -- They likely won't play a lot, but the Chicago Blackhawks still need solid efforts from defensemen David Rundblad and Kyle Cumiskey in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final at Honda Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Each will play in his first Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and will be expected to do what he did in Game 6 of the best-of-7 series at United Center on Wednesday. Cumiskey and Rundblad combined to play just 13:08, but they weren't on the ice for any Anaheim goals and the Blackhawks defeated the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 to force Game 7.

"Yeah, comparable," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Saturday when asked about his expectations for the two defensemen. "Same game, same type of approach. They both did a good job. We'll see how the game goes tonight."


Posted On Friday, 05.29.2015 / 9:13 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Blackhawks series blog

Ducks hold shot-blocking edge on Blackhawks

ANAHEIM -- If it seems like the Anaheim Ducks are blocking a lot more shots than the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, it's because that's exactly what's happening.

The Ducks have blocked 34.9 percent of all Blackhawks shot attempts in the first six games; the Blackhawks have blocked 23.5 percent of Ducks attempts.

"I think we try to do, basically, the same things that we do all the time," Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya said. "Obviously, the more blocks you can get, you want to have, but it depends a little bit on the situations in the game and the series."

Game 7 is at Honda Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). The winner will advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.27.2015 / 2:19 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Blackhawks series blog

Rundblad likely in for Timonen for Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks appear to have another lineup change coming to their fifth and sixth defensemen for Game 6 of the Western Conference Final at United Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), with David Rundblad replacing Kimmo Timonen.

"It could happen," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after Chicago's morning skate.

If so, Rundblad and Kyle Cumiskey will be the fifth and sixth defensemen playing against the Anaheim Ducks. It would be the third time the Blackhawks have reconfigured their bottom pairing against Anaheim; the Ducks hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.

Posted On Tuesday, 05.26.2015 / 9:23 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Blackhawks series blog

Rookie van Riemsdyk may play for Blackhawks

CHICAGOChicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville might consider playing rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks at United Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The 23-year-old van Riemsdyk, younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk, hasn't played in the NHL since Nov. 16 against the Dallas Stars when he blocked a shot and fractured his left patella (kneecap).

He returned to the ice after surgery for the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League and sustained another major injury. He needed surgery in April to repair his right wrist, ending his AHL season.

Posted On Saturday, 05.23.2015 / 2:48 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Blackhawks series blog

Blackhawks' Cumiskey excited to be playing

CHICAGO -- Kyle Cumiskey might not be playing big minutes for the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, but the fact he's in the lineup at all should be considered an accomplishment for the 28-year old defenseman.

After spending parts of five seasons with the Colorado Avalanche, he didn't play in the NHL for three seasons before latching on with the Blackhawks in training camp this season. He played 2011-12 in the American Hockey League with the Syracuse Crunch and spent the next two seasons with Modo Hockey in the Swedish Hockey League.

He played seven games in the regular season with the Blackhawks and spent most of the schedule with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs. Recalled as a depth defenseman prior to the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he's now in the starting lineup after a season-ending injury to veteran Michal Rozsival (ankle).

"It's a little bit surreal, I guess you could say," said Cumiskey, who will play in his third straight game in Game 4 of against the Anaheim Ducks at United Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). "A couple months ago, I was playing down in the AHL, and I was maybe hoping to get a few more AHL games, just in the regular season or something. But I end up playing in a big series like this. It's really exciting and I'm very happy about it, obviously."

Posted On Saturday, 05.23.2015 / 2:02 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Blackhawks series blog

Vermette, Teravainen likely back in for Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Based on line rushes from the morning skate, the Chicago Blackhawks will go back to the forward lines they used in the first two games of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks for Game 4 at United Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Antoine Vermette will return to his spot at center of the third line, rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen will play right wing on that line, and forward Andrew Shaw will head back to right wing on the fourth line. Leaving the lineup after playing in Chicago’s 2-1 loss in Game 3 are forwards Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom.

Anaheim leads the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Vermette was most outspoken about coach Joel Quenneville’s decision to sit him for Game 3 but Saturday said his focus now is only on the game at hand.

“It’s a tough position,” Vermette said. “It’s not easy [being scratched], but I’ve got to move on and that’s behind us. I’ve got to be ready for tonight.”

Posted On Friday, 05.22.2015 / 4:13 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Blackhawks series blog

Blackhawks could make lineup changes for Game 4

CHICAGO – Antoine Vermette kept his comments brief, but they were straight to the point when meeting with reporters after a light practice for the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Friday.

A day after being a surprise healthy scratch in the Blackhawks' 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final, the veteran two-way center was not happy. Vermette, who was acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline from the Arizona Coyotes, had played 10 straight games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs after being scratched for the first two games of the Western Conference First Round.

Vermette played 21:14 in Chicago's 3-2 win in triple overtime of Game 2 at Honda Center on Tuesday, taking three shots on goal and being credited with four hits and two blocked shots. He won eight of 20 faceoffs after coming into the game with a success rate of 62.9 percent.

"I thought I had a good game," said Vermette, who had been playing the role of third line center. "I was playing well there, so obviously it came as a surprise and a disappointment. I'm not going to lie. I was not happy with that, but my job is to be ready whenever I have a chance to be in the lineup, and that's what I'm going to do."

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After being through it and seeing the other [outdoor] games on TV, just the atmosphere is spectacular. To stand here -- and we are essentially almost on the blue line -- and look up [into the stands] and knowing it is going to be packed and playing our biggest rival in this setting is going to be pretty special.

— Bruins president Cam Neely on the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between Boston and Montreal at Gillette Stadium on
Jan. 1, 2016