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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Sunday, 01.26.2014 / 5:45 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Keith returns, but Blackhawks to alter lineup

CHICAGO -- Duncan Keith will return to the lineup for the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night at United Center, but another lineup change is coming.

"We might have seven defensemen [playing]," Blackhawks coach Joel Quennevillle told reporters two hours before puck drop against the Winnipeg Jets.

Keith missed Chicago's last game while sick and Chicago lost 2-1 against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center and also missed practice Saturday. Getting him back should help the Blackhawks' puck possession, but Quenneville's news that one of the forwards will likely sit in favor of a defensemen raised a few eyebrows.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 01.22.2014 / 12:51 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings get Ericsson back against Blackhawks

DETROIT -- They're still dealing with a glut of injuries, but the Detroit Red Wings are slowly starting to get some players back into their lineup.

The latest is top-pair defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, who will play Wednesday night against the rival Chicago Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2). Ericsson, who's missed two 10-game stints for separate injuries, said he's "good to go," now that a broken rib that sidelined him since late December is healed enough to play.

"It's been [feeling] good, I just knew it was going to take some time," Ericsson said. "I know it was something that wasn't going to get better overnight, so I've been patient about it, I've been trying to stay positive and all that. ... I think the healing process has been faster maybe than they thought, so that's good."

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POSTED ON Sunday, 01.19.2014 / 10:32 AM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks' Kane sees Crosby as measuring stick

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane has learned this season that he's no Sidney Crosby.

Not yet, anyway.

The 25-year old Kane, who leads the Chicago Blackhawks in scoring, was hot on the heels of the Pittsburgh Penguins' captain in the NHL points race a couple weeks ago. He's since fallen off Crosby's lead pace of 68 points by 12 points.

"He produces every night," Kane said of Crosby (25 goals and 43 assists). "He's fun to watch. Even on nights where he maybe doesn't have his best game, he still comes out of there with two assists or a goal and an assist. Then there's games where it seems like he's determined, and he's the best player in the world and just dominates the game. You're like, 'Wow, this guy is amazing.' I think he's the best the player in the League for sure."

Heading into the Blackhawks' game Sunday against the Boston Bruins at United Center (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, NHLN-CA), Kane (23 goals and 33 assists) ranks fourth in scoring. He's still having a magnificent season, on pace for what would be a career-high 92 points, but Kane has gone nine straight games without scoring a goal. He has one goal and five assists in the past 10 games.

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POSTED ON Friday, 01.17.2014 / 3:50 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks will have Seabrook, Hossa vs. Ducks

CHICAGO -- Brent Seabrook and Marian Hossa will each play for the Chicago Blackhawks when they face the red-hot Anaheim Ducks on Friday night at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NHLN).

After both missed Chicago's practice on Thursday, they joined teammates on the ice Friday for the Blackhawks' morning skate. Seabrook missed practice Thursday with an illness and Hossa was held out for a "maintenance day," according to Chicago coach Joel Quenneville.

The Ducks (36-8-5), who have won eight straight games and 18 of their last 19, made a couple moves Friday. They sent defenseman Luca Sbisa and goalie John Gibson to Norfolk of the American Hockey League, with Sbisa's trip a two-game conditioning assignment following a torn tendon in his right hand that's sidelined him for 24 games.


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POSTED ON Tuesday, 01.14.2014 / 8:43 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Avalanche's Sarich a late scratch vs. Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- The Colorado Avalanche planned to play seven defensemen Tuesday night at United Center, but Cory Sarich was a late scratch with a reported back issue.

Sarich's absence left the Avalanche with 17 skaters against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.


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POSTED ON Tuesday, 01.14.2014 / 2:56 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Avalanche forward Stastny out vs. Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- The Colorado Avalanche are going through a tough stretch with injuries and the picture didn't get much better Tuesday at United Center.

Center Paul Stastny did not participate in the morning skate because of an undisclosed leg injury that forced him to leave Colorado's previous game Friday at the Minnesota Wild and will not face the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. Stastny, who has 13 goals and 21 assists in 43 games, also sat out practice Monday.

"He's day-to-day and he's not ready to play [Tuesday]," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. "We're going to play seven [defensemen] because Paul's not ready. We're going to have 20 guys, so everybody's going to have their share of ice time, I guess."

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POSTED ON Sunday, 01.12.2014 / 5:59 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Dubnyk starting for Oilers, Blackhawks after sweep

CHICAGO -- Ilya Bryzgalov was supposed to start Sunday night at United Center against the Chicago Blackhawks, but Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins decided to scrap that plan.

Eakins said after his team's morning skate Sunday that Devan Dubnyk will get the nod after picking up a 4-3 win in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night at Rexall Place.

The Blackhawks (29-8-10) and Oilers (15-27-5) will conclude their season series with Chicago looking for a sweep after winning by scores of 5-4 and 5-1 in the first two games.

"We're going to go back with Devan," Eakins said. "As I've said before, your plans with goalies ... I shake my head at myself. Why even do it? It always changes. We are going to go back with Devan. We thought he played well and thought the team played well in front of him."

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 2:24 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks looking to get more out of Bickell

CHICAGO -- A season after making himself a big factor in the Chicago Blackhawks winning the 2013 Stanley Cup and earning a sizable new contract, Bryan Bickell is now searching for that magic.

Instead of causing havoc for opposing goalies and defensemen, the 6-foot-4, 233-pound forward is spending more time sitting on the bench of late, coming to a head this past Sunday when he watched the third period and overtime of a 3-2 shootout loss against the San Jose Sharks.

"Well, it's not good," Bickell said of logging just 5:20 and nine shifts. "You want to be out there to help your team win, especially last game in a close game, to have that goal or a hit to change momentum. But I've learned from the experience and I've got to bounce back from it."

He'll get a chance Wednesday night at United Center against the New York Rangers (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2). Prior to the season, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville hoped Bickell might approach the 30-goal plateau, but those expectations quickly tempered after a slow start. Bickell, who has six goals and eight points in 31 games, shifted from his top-line spot to his more familiar role at left wing on the third line.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 4:50 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Relieved Sharp one of 10 Blackhawks going to Sochi

CHICAGO -- Patrick Sharp tried not to think about the 2014 Sochi Olympics much, but even he couldn't help it as Canada's scheduled roster revealing neared Tuesday morning.

The 32-year old Sharp, from Thunder Bay, Ontario, started mulling his chances to make the Canadian roster last week, after recording his second hat trick in a seven-day span. It was on his mind ever since, even as he stepped into the shower Tuesday morning before heading to practice.

That's when the phone rang.

"I just got out of the shower and had a voice mail," Sharp said. "I had my phone with me the whole time. I was surprised I didn't have it in the shower with me. I got a call from Doug Armstrong, the GM of St. Louis, and I called him back as soon as I could and he didn't answer. I listed to the voice mail a couple more times and confirmed that I was going. He called me right back and we had a good talk. It was a special moment."

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POSTED ON Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 1:50 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sharks look to copy Hawks' style as they visit Chicago

CHICAGO – A few years ago, the Chicago Blackhawks made no secret of their goal to become a franchise just like the Detroit Red Wings.

After winning the Stanley Cup twice in the past four seasons, they've accomplished that goal. Other teams are now striving to be young, fast and high-powered at both ends of the rink, just like them.

The San Jose Sharks are one of those teams. San Jose (26-10-8) is in town to face the Blackhawks on Sunday night at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN) and coach Todd McLellan isn't coy about who sets the NHL's standard bar for excellence.

"They have to be the bar," McLellan said of the Blackhawks. "You don't win two out of [four] and not be the bar. So, whether they like it or not, and I'm sure they do like it, they are the bar. That comes with success. That comes with expectations. Teams will try and emulate their plan, the way they've built, the way they carry themselves and the way they execute on the ice, because it's been proven to be successful."

The Sharks in particular are one of those teams that appear to be emulating what makes Chicago tick. They even have two members of the Blackhawks roster that won the Stanley Cup in 2010: goalie Antti Niemi and forward Adam Burish.

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For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory