Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Friday, 02.13.2015 / 2:22 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Devils at Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Rookie forward Ryan Hartman will live out a dream and defenseman Kyle Cumiskey will get another shot to revive his when the Chicago Blackhawks face the New Jersey Devils at United Center on Friday.

The Blackhawks recalled the duo from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League on Thursday, and reassigned rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen. Cumiskey, 28, will take the place of veteran Michal Rozsival, who's out with an upper-body injury. Hartman, the 30th pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, will bring his hard-edged game to the right wing of the fourth line.

"I was just sitting in bed, chilling, and I got the call," said Hartman, 20, who's originally from the Chicago suburb of West Dundee, Ill. "I didn't have any words. I'm kind of speechless. It's good to be here."

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.11.2015 / 2:27 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canucks at Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Kris Versteeg is well-practiced returning from injuries, but that doesn't mean he's any less excited to return to the lineup for the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Wednesday.

Versteeg went through morning skate fine and will play right wing on the third line against the Vancouver Canucks. It will be his first game since New Year’s Day, when he blocked a shot and left the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic with a broken left hand.

"It's unfortunate, for whatever reason, but that's just the way the game goes and you've just got to understand that," Versteeg said. "I'm just excited to get back out and play with the guys again. It's tough watching. I got the pregame jitters in my bed and during my sleep last night, so you don't sleep great, but I'm more excited than anything to get back out there."

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Posted On Monday, 02.09.2015 / 7:34 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Coyotes at Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Winning more than two games in a row is something the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to accomplish for the first time in nearly two months when they host the Arizona Coyotes at United Center on Monday.

Since their eight-game winning streak from Nov. 26 through Dec. 11, the Blackhawks have gone 13-10-1 and won two consecutive games three times. After defeating the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center on Sunday, they have a chance to stretch their current streak to three straight in their second game against the Coyotes this season. They can start to close the gap on the Nashville Predators (76 points), who lead the Central Division and have an eight-point advantage on the third-place Blackhawks (68 points).

"It'd be nice to go on a run," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said Monday. "[The Predators have] had a very consistent year. St. Louis is coming off a major run, as well. It really helps you. I mean, you can really move up in the standings when you put something together and you're getting points in 10 or so games in a row."
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.20.2015 / 2:22 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Coyotes at Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- The Arizona Coyotes will be without forward Mikkel Boedker against the Chicago Blackhawks after he had surgery on his spleen.

Boedker sustained the injury on a hit in a 4-3 shootout loss at the Jets Winnipeg on Sunday and needed surgery after the game. The surgery was successful and he is recovering, according to the Coyotes.

Boedker, who'd played 257 games in a row, was put on injured reserve Monday and is week-to-week. He is the Coyotes' third-leading scorer with 14 goals and 14 assists.

"He's been a good player for us," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "He's one of our best offensive players and we're a team that has to work to score, so when he's out of our lineup, it's certainly going to impact it. Hopefully it's not going to be long-term, but he's certainly a player we miss."

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Posted On Sunday, 01.18.2015 / 10:44 AM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Stars at Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Any way you present them, the numbers haven't been pretty for the Chicago Blackhawks the past month.

Their record is pedestrian. Their penalty kill has become a little leaky. Their puck possession is down quite a bit from its usual level.

The next chance to restart the engine is against the Dallas Stars at United Center on Sunday, when the Blackhawks have a chance to win their fourth game this season against Dallas.

"We've got to get back to playing the way we have in the past few years, controlling the puck, puck possession, making plays and putting shots on net," Chicago right wing Patrick Kane said. "That seems to be our best recipe."

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Posted On Friday, 01.16.2015 / 1:00 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Jets at Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks shouldn't be caught off-guard when they play the Winnipeg Jets at United Center on Friday.

After losing to them in Chicago in each of their first two games, including a 5-1 defeat Dec. 23, the Blackhawks ought to know just how improved the Jets are this season. Winnipeg, which pushed its point total to 54 with a 2-1 win at the Dallas Stars on Thursday, is four points behind the Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues in the Central Division and appears headed for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"They're an entirely different team, I think," said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who is from Winnipeg. "We'll give them credit. They played well the two times we played them but we know we have to be a lot better than we've been in games against that team. The respect factor in this next one really has to be there."

That hasn't always been necessary.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.11.2015 / 7:12 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Wild at Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- The biggest question for the Chicago Blackhawks going into a game against the Minnesota Wild at United Center on Sunday is simple.

How much gas do they have left to play their fifth game in eight days?

After defeating the Wild on Thursday and losing at the Edmonton Oilers on Friday to split a road back-to-back set, the Blackhawks are intent going into a four-day stretch without a game feeling good.

"The past three or four days have been tough on us, with the lack of sleep and traveling and all that, but coming into tonight we need to be ready," left wing Bryan Bickell said after the morning skate. "[The Wild had] a tough loss [Saturday], so they're in the same situation we are. We're going to bounce back and hopefully play good hockey."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 2:33 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Avalanche at Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Playing teams from their own division was something that vexed the Chicago Blackhawks last season, but this year it's been a different story.

Prior to hosting the Colorado Avalanche at United Center on Tuesday, another opponent from the Central Division, the Blackhawks hold a 10-4-0 record against their division. That's three wins short of their entire amount against the Central in 2013-14, when they went 13-13-3 and finished third.

It's an impressive turnaround effort through the season's first half, but even more so considering how stacked the division is with good teams. The Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets are in the thick of the race after neither made the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.

"It's a tough division," right wing Patrick Kane said after the Blackhawks' morning skate. "You look at a lot of our teams, there's really no bad team in the division and on any given night an opponent can [win] its matchup. We try to pride ourselves on these games, because we know maybe that later in the year it's going to be more important."

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Posted On Sunday, 01.04.2015 / 2:56 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Stars at Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Teuvo Teravainen is ready to make another debut for the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center against the Dallas Stars.

The highly-touted rookie center will make his 2014-15 debut against Dallas on Sunday, centering the fourth line, after making his NHL debut against the Stars a year ago. Hopes remain high for Teravainen, 20, but the Blackhawks are trying to keep a lid on them for now.

Asked what he'd like to see from Teravainen, the 18th pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville kept his expectations simplistic.

"Just play, play the right way, [and] let things work out," Quenneville said. "We don’t expect anything other than that. As he gets into the game, we’ll see how he’s playing, how he’s handling it. If he’s doing well, we’ll probably give him more [ice time]."

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Posted On Monday, 12.29.2014 / 2:06 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Predators at Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- If the Chicago Blackhawks get caught peeking ahead to the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, they might get a rude awakening in their final game before taking it outside against the Washington Capitals.

The Blackhawks play the Nashville Predators at United Center on Monday in a game pitting the top two teams in the Central Division. Nashville, which has played two less games, trails Chicago by two points in the standings. A win would move the Predators into the top spot in their final regular-season game against the Blackhawks.

"I don't think we're thinking about sending a message," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said after Chicago's morning skate. "We're thinking about wanting to win the game. We know the importance of these two-point, four-point swings could be the difference at the end of the year from being in first place. That's the motivation. That's the thought process."

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Quote of the Day

If you want to prove people wrong, you've just got to go out and do it. Yeah, we blew 3-2 series leads the last two years, but no one is going remember that if we go out there on Saturday night and beat these guys and go play in the Stanley Cup Final. We need to get back to work and we'll start to do that tomorrow.

— Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri following a loss to the Blackhawks in Game 6 on Wednesday