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Blackhawks Magazine Excerpt: Homegrown

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

The following is excerpted from the March/April 2017 issue of Blackhawks Magazine, featuring local product Ryan Hartman. Pick up a copy at the next Blackhawks home game, or by calling the Blackhawks Store at 312-759-0079.

How important is it for a young guy like you to be on a team with so many other young guys? The other day at practice, you were sitting between Patrick Kane and Nick Schmaltz.

Right. That's another great thing about being part of this team. Most of the veterans, they have families and other lives. But us single guys, we like to hang out and do things. Vinnie (Hinostroza) and Schmaltzy, we do stuff together. Lunch, dinner, whatever. We're really close. Schmaltzy is walking my dog right now while we're doing this interview.

Dog?

Riley, a white German shepherd. Got it when I was in Rockford. My girlfriend and I were at the mall one day, just looking around. I always had a dog at home when I was a kid. Anyway, we just wandered into this store and saw this cute little pup. The lady there lifts it up and lets me hold it. "Go play with it in the back if you want." And that's it. It's part of the plan. They know it's all over when you hold it. You're taking that dog home with you. I called my mom, Kim, and told her I bought a dog. She says, "We have a family dog at home, take it for a week if you want a dog." I didn't want to call my dad, Craig. No way.

He's going to say, "You're trying to concentrate so you can make it to the National Hockey League, and you bought a dog?"

Exactly. About a week after I bought Riley, we're going on the road with Rockford. So now I had to call my dad and break the news. I bought a dog, Dad. I asked him if he would look after my dog. He said, "You did what? No you didn't." So I dropped the dog off with my parents, and they fell in love with Riley too.

Dogs are amazing.

They really are. Think it about. You are their entire life. You provide a dog shelter, food, water, attention. And in return, they give you unconditional love and loyalty and protection. If I take a shower, Riley will spread out and lie down right by the bathroom door to make sure I'm OK. An unbelievable watchdog. A real friend. No judgment, no grudges.

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Prospect Roundup: DeBrincat has another monster week

by Emerald Gao / Digital Content Coordinator

1st Star: RW Alex DeBrincat, Erie Otters (OHL)
The Line: 3GP, 6G, 5A

DeBrincat's torrid run continued last week as the 2016 second-round pick compiled 11 points in three games, including a five-point outing and a four-point outing on consecutive nights. The 19-year-old has extended his point streak to nine games, compiling 23 points (10G, 13A) over that span. DeBrincat's 44 goals are just seven away from matching his career high of 51, reached in each of the last two seasons, and his 92 points are 10 more than the second-highest scorer in the Ontario Hockey League. His 202 shots on goal rank fifth in the league, and he has gone without a shot on goal in just one of his 45 games this season.

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Verdict: A remarkable 9 Blackhawks in NHL's top 100

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

LOS ANGELES -- Chicago is justifiably proud of the modern Blackhawks, but fans need not feel their passion is parochial. On Friday night of this All-Star weekend, it was announced that an international panel voted three current players on the team -- Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith -- among the 100 greatest ever to perform in the National Hockey League.

They joined all four of the Blackhawks' Hall of Fame ambassadors -- Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Tony Esposito and Denis Savard -- on the honor roll as the NHL celebrates its centennial season. Eariler this month, Max Bentley and Glenn Hall were cited as top 100 individuals who excelled during the first half-century, when the league consisted of the Original Six franchises.

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Prospect Roundup: Sikura logs five-point weekend

by Emerald Gao / Digital Content Coordinator

On Mondays, chicagoblackhawks.com will highlight players who stood out for their minor-league, junior, college or European teams in the previous week's action. All prospect/system stats will be updated weekly throughout the season.

1st Star: C Dylan Sikura, Northeastern University (H-EAST)
The Line: 2GP, 1G, 4A

Sikura's strong junior campaign continued with a five-point performance to help Northeastern sweep Merrimack last weekend. The 2014 sixth-round pick scored his 13th goal of the season and added two assists in Friday's 4-1 victory, and he collected a pair of helpers the next night in a 4-2 win. He assisted on both game-winners. Sikura now has seven points over his last three games and has been held off the scoresheet just once in his last 13 outings dating back to mid-November; his 38 points this season ranks second on the team and fifth overall in the NCAA.

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Prospect Roundup: Bondra shines for Prince George

by Emerald Gao / Digital Content Coordinator

On Mondays, chicagoblackhawks.com will highlight players who stood out for their minor-league, junior, college or European teams in the previous week's action. All prospect/system stats will be updated weekly throughout the season.

1st Star: LW Radovan Bondra, Prince George (WHL)
The Line: 3GP, 2G, 3A

Bondra was acquired by conference-leading Prince George of the Western Hockey League last Tuesday and provided immediate dividends with points in two of his first three games with his new club. The 2015 fifth-round pick posted a goal and an assist in his debut to help the Cougars secure a 4-3 win over Medicine Hat last Wednesday, then collected three points (1G, 2A), including the game-winner, in a 5-4 win over Calgary on Saturday. Bondra has 21 goals and 15 assists in 35 regular-season games split between Prince George and Vancouver this season.

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One Minute Remaining: Remembering Ken Wharram

by Harvey Wittenberg / Web Contributor

Kenny Wharram passed away at the age of 83 this week. While there aren't a lot fans still around that ever saw him play, I am fortunate to be one. Not to mention, his Hall of Famer teammates -- Bobby Hull, Pierre Pilote, Glenn Hall and Stan Mikita -- have high praise for the speedy right wing who would fit in well in today's game.

He had a tough time breaking into the Chicago lineup in the days when the Blackhawks were known more for being a physical team, and at 5 feet, 9 inches, and only 160 pounds, Kenny didn't seem to fit their style. He ended up playing parts of 14 seasons, appearing in only one game in 1952 at the age of 19 and skating in 29 games in 1953-54. He bounced back and forth with the Buffalo farm team before winning a regular spot in 1958-59, when Stan Mikita made his NHL debut for the last few games of the season.

Head Coach Rudy Pilous united Wharram with Mikita and Ab McDonald for the 1960-61 campaign, when the Blackhawks eventually won the Stanley Cup in Detroit with McDonald getting the Cup-winner in Game 6, and Wharram scored the final goal of the game on a breakaway, unassisted.

Wharram became the first Blackhawks right winger to be named to the NHL All-Star Team, twice -- 1964 and 1967 -- and in fact the only other Blackhawk on the right side to be so honored twice is Patrick Kane.

Wharram also won the Lady Byng Trophy honoring sportsmanship and proficiency when he tallied 39 goals and 71 points in 70 games in 1963-64. Hull and Mikita captured the same award over the next three seasons.

While playing with Mikita and Doug Mohns in 1966-67, the trio set a Blackhawks record for most points in a season by one line with 222 points. Wharram had seven consecutive 20-plus goal seasons, and when he was forced to retire because of a heart condition before the start of the 1969-70 season, he ranked fourth in Blackhawks career goals (252).

Although he retired at the age of 36, he was coming off his second-best season with 30 goals and 39 assists, and like Marian Hossa, who just turned 38, seemed to be on his way to continued success because of his speed.

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Prospect Roundup: Fortin's strong week in the Q

by Emerald Gao / Digital Content Coordinator

On Mondays, chicagoblackhawks.com will highlight players who stood out for their minor-league, junior, college or European teams in the previous week's action. All prospect/system stats will be updated weekly throughout the season.

1st Star: LW Alexandre Fortin, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
The Line: 3GP, 2G, 5A

Alexandre Fortin has begun the new year impressively, putting together a three-game point streak that netted seven points (2G, 5A) last week. The 19-year-old, who was signed as a free agent in September, was named First Star of the Game in Rouyn-Noranda's 5-2 win over Quebec last Wednesday after posting a goal and an assist; he added three points in a big 8-2 win over the same team on Friday, and rounded out the week with a pair of assists in a 4-3 win over Gatineau on Sunday. Fortin now has 27 points in 27 games this season, eighth on the Huskies.

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Blackhawks Magazine Excerpt: Recharged

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

The following is excerpted from the January 2017 issue of Blackhawks Magazine, featuring Marian Hossa. Pick up a copy at the next Blackhawks home game, or by calling the Blackhawks Store at 312-759-0079.

In October, Marian Hossa became the 44th player in NHL history to record 500 goals. Then he collected his 82nd game-winner. Three weeks before Christmas, he registered his 13th and 14th goals of the season, surpassing his admittedly disappointing output from 2015-16. As ever, Hossa skates with veteran verve beside whomever, whether it's an icon like Toews or twenty-somethings like Vinnie Hinostroza and Ryan Hartman. Head Coach Joel Quenneville hails Hossa as a model mentor, Niklas Hjalmarsson raves about how Hossa has found the fountain of youth, and Assistant Coach Kevin Dineen ascribes Hossa's genius to business as usual.

"I played with him when he was just a kid in Ottawa with the Senators," Dineen said. "He was a man-child then, and he's still special."

Special, for sure. But a superstar?

"No," Hossa insisted. "Like I said before, Tazer and Kaner, they're superstars. I do what I do, the best I can, and I'm just a small piece of the puzzle here. Besides, I've never won an individual award."

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Blackhawks Magazine: The Internationals

by Emerald Gao / Digital Content Coordinator

The following feature ran in the December 2016 issue of Blackhawks Magazine. Pick up a copy at the next Blackhawks home game, or by calling the Blackhawks Store at 312-759-0079.

The last time the Blackhawks had a pick in the top half of the National Hockey League Draft was 2008, when Chicago selected Kyle Beach 12th overall. The next season, under new Head Coach Joel Quenneville, the team advanced all the way to the Western Conference Final, and since then the club has made its first pick at the following slots: 28, 24, 18, 18, 30, 20, 54 and 39.

Even for a team that built the foundations of a de facto dynasty through the draft, not having top picks isn't necessarily a huge blow. Overlooked gems are often found in later rounds, and a player's development can be just as dependent on luck and timing as it is on raw potential. But with the core getting both older and more expensive, the task of maintaining the high level of hockey that keeps the team in contention year after year has become a big challenge for the Hockey Operations Department.

Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman's solution is to widen the search for players who are ready to contribute.

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Prospect Report: Hayden notches 4-point game for Yale

by Emerald Gao / Digital Content Coordinator

On Mondays, chicagoblackhawks.com will highlight players who stood out for their minor-league, junior, college or European teams in the previous week's action. All prospect/system stats will be updated weekly throughout the season.

1st Star: C John Hayden, Yale University (ECAC)
The Line: 2GP, 2G, 2A

Hayden was the star of the show for Yale last Friday, tallying two goals and two assists in a big 7-3 win over RPI. The 2013 third-round pick notched three of his points in the first period, netting his eighth and ninth goals of the season. Hayden continues to lead the Bulldogs with nine goals and shares the team lead with 15 points in 11 games this year.

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