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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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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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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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Verdict: Blackhawks dampened in another outdoor game

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

ST. LOUIS -- While the Blackhawks can fret about losing this game, they need not lose sleep until the National Hockey League conspires to schedule the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the great outdoors.

Felled by fresh air again, Chicago's not especially weatherproof squad succumbed to the St. Louis Blues 4-1 before an amped Busch Stadium crowd of 46,556 on Monday in a Winter Classic that was damp but not nearly as wet as feared.

On a custom-built rink that proved quite playable, bounces still abounded, and the most fortuitous one benefitted Vladimir Tarasenko, who was credited with the winning goal 12:05 into the third period. Engineering a 3-on-1, Tarasenko's attempted feed to a trailing Jori Lehtera banked in off the skate of Niklas Hjalmarsson. He seemed to have his angle right, but his ankle overruled. These things just happen to the Blackhawks, who are 1-4 against Mother Nature.

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100 Greatest Players

Max Bentley: 100 Greatest NHL Players

Electric performer won back-to-back scoring titles for Black Hawks, Stanley Cup three times with Maple Leafs

by Bob Verdi / Special to NHL.com

Imagine the outright shock felt by hockey fans in Chicago when they arose on the morning of Nov. 4, 1947, and saw the banner headline on the sports section of the Chicago Daily Tribune:

"MAX BENTLEY GOES TO LEAFS FOR 5 PLAYERS"

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100 Greatest Players

Tony Esposito: 100 Greatest NHL Players

Three-time Vezina Trophy winner holds Blackhawks records for shutouts, victories

by Bob Verdi / Special to NHL.com

When Tony Esposito was obtained by the Chicago Black Hawks on June 15, 1969, it merited only small print in the Windy City. The Black Hawks finished last the previous season, he was a spare part for the Montreal Canadiens and, besides, the Cubs were in first place. 

But when training camp convened in September, Tony O seized the No. 1 goalie job, led the Black Hawks to a miraculous turnaround and became a bastion of stability throughout a Hall of Fame career.

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100 Greatest Players

Glenn Hall: 100 Greatest NHL Players

Goalie helped Chicago end Stanley Cup drought in 1961, had NHL-record streak of 502 straight starts

by Bob Verdi / Special to NHL.com

Talk about facing the music. Goaltender Glenn Hall started and completed 502 consecutive regular-season games. While establishing a record that probably will last forever, he did not take a night off or put on a mask. Only late in his Hall of Fame career would Hall relent and wear protective headgear.

"You have to be lucky to have a run like I had, and I was," Hall said. "Of course, you have to be a little bit crazy to play where I played, and I plead guilty on that count too."

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100 Greatest Players

Bobby Hull: 100 Greatest NHL Players

Blessed with blistering slap shot, won Stanley Cup, three Art Ross trophies with Black Hawks

by Bob Verdi / Special to NHL.com

Bobby Hull had it all figured out early in his Hall of Fame career. Winning hockey games was, of course, of paramount importance. But that wasn't his only objective.

"Fans who pay good money to watch us play hockey deserve to be royally entertained," Hull said. "This is show business, and we're here to put on a show."

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100 Greatest Players

Patrick Kane: 100 Greatest NHL Players

Prolific scorer won Stanley Cup three times with Blackhawks, was first United States-born player to win Art Ross Trophy

by Bob Verdi / Special to NHL.com

Only Patrick Kane knew for sure. As his fellow Chicago Blackhawks played on or maintained game faces at the bench, he curled around the net and partied by himself. First, he broke into a smile. Then he tossed his gloves skyward, and there went the stick too. He raced across the rink, hands raised. He knew. Soon, they all knew.

On that night -- June 9, 2010 -- Kane scored at 4:06 of overtime to beat the host Philadelphia Flyers, 4-3, in Game 6 of the Final and clinch the Stanley Cup for Chicago. It ended a 49-year wait for the Blackhawks, so what was a few more anxious moments?

 

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100 Greatest Players

Duncan Keith: 100 Greatest NHL Players

Workhorse defenseman has won Stanley Cup three times, Norris Trophy twice, Conn Smythe Trophy with Blackhawks

by Bob Verdi / Special to NHL.com

Duncan Keith's parents always knew he was highly motivated, but there is this indelible snapshot that stands out from his childhood.

"We looked out at our backyard one day, and Duncan had two or three tires strapped to his waist, climbing uphill," his mother, Jean, said. "And he was only about 15. He had this bent for fitness and nutrition."

 

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