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THE VERDICT: Savard and alumni return to the ice for Legends Cup

Team Historian Bob Verdi converses with Blackhawks Ambassador Denis Savard about the upcoming Legends Cup

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

As a lifelong member of the sedentary society, I always presumed that as a hockey player ages, his legs go first.

Not so, alerts Denis Savard.

"I think it's the hands," says the Blackhawks' Hall of Fame ambassador. "The hands leave you before the legs. You're not as confident in the hands, because they aren't going as fast as your feet, and you wind up wondering where did the puck go? I've seen you play golf. Try to imagine walking 18 holes, then having to make a delicate… you know what? Never mind."

Applying that methodology, it is conceivable that Savard, 58, could embark on his nonpareil spin-o-rama maneuver as he hones in on the goal, only to discover that the puck, having a mind of its own, has abandoned him.

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Remembering Ted Lindsay

The Detroit Red Wings legend and brief Blackhawks forward died at the age of 93 and will be remembered for his contributions to the game

by Bob Verdi & Harvey Wittenberg /

Ted Lindsay, a Hall of Fame winger who played with the Blackhawks during the latter stages of his career, has died. He was 93.

Lindsay earned the Art Ross Trophy as the National Hockey League's leading scorer in 1950, when he won his first of four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings. Skating on the left side of center Sid Abel and right wing Gordie Howe, Lindsay was part of the feared "Production Line". Though he had a moderate frame, Lindsay was a fiery sort. Thus, his nickname "Terrible Ted."

In the late '50s, Lindsay explored the possibility of forming an organization on behalf of NHL players. Jack Adams, who ran the Red Wings with an iron hand, did not take kindly to the maneuver. Lindsay was stripped of his captaincy, then traded to the Blackhawks in 1957 with goalie Glenn Hall, who likened the move to Chicago as "being sent to Siberia.

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THE VERDICT: No expiration date on character

Team Historian Bob Verdi writes about Chris Kunitz, who will play his 1,000th NHL game on Thursday against the Devils

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

Chris Kunitz, 39, knows that the end of his stellar career is near, but exactly where the finish line might be suddenly requires some thought.

For long stretches this winter, it surely seemed that the Blackhawks would be on the outside looking in at the playoffs. They still aren't there, but with a seven-game winning streak, they've got their noses pressed against the glass.

"Could we be dangerous?" he said. "We have what it takes, I think. We have depth. We have goalkeeping that stole us a few points when things weren't going so well. And we're growing our game as we go along."

Obviously, the Blackhawks possess a number of veterans who know what it takes, Kunitz being a recent addition to that honor roll. He's earned four Stanley Cup rings, all tucked away safely, as are memories and friendships for a lifetime.

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THE VERDICT: Joy for the game

Read Bob Verdi's story about Patrick Kane, which will be published in the upcoming issue of Blackhawks Magazine

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

Then there was that amazing goal, on a Monday night in January.

Unsurprisingly, Patrick Kane scored it, dipping into his bottomless toolbox. Just after New Year's, he was selected for yet another National Hockey League All-Star Game. Not that he needed validation, the Blackhawks' inventive genius provided another clip for his career-long highlight package.

Upstairs at the United Center Denis Savard, a Hall of Famer who could make the puck talk, gasped.

"Did I ever try what he just did?" Savard exclaimed. "It never even crossed my mind, what he just did."

Video: Call of the Game: Kane's top-shelf tally

Downstairs, a few rows off the ice, Kane's parents Pat and Donna observed their son's magic.

"I tried to keep it low-key," said Dad. "But it was one of those, oh, my god, moments, did-you-see-that? People around us were celebrating. He looked right at us. Then I started getting texts from friends back in Buffalo. They'd seen that one before."

After No. 88 made eye contact, Dad gave him a fist pump. Then, Patrick skated around the corner, smiling to an exultant crowd. Much of Chicago was in a dark mood, for the Bears had incurred an excruciating defeat that eliminated them from the playoffs the previous evening.

But now, on a Monday in January, Patrick Kane did his thing. He brings joy to the rink, then shares it, spreads it.

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THE VERDICT: 'Prime ribber' Dennis Hull gets One More Shift

Team Historian Bob Verdi writes about Dennis Hull's return to the United Center for One More Shift on Monday, ahead of the game against the Calgary Flames

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

Dennis Hull, a born sniper and quipster, ever so gingerly skated from the United Center's west end to the home blue line. For someone who had not put on the blades since 1992, it must have felt like a road trip.

"That's where the Zamboni comes out, right?" inquired Hull. "Maybe I can hitch a ride."

Video: CGY@CHI: Hull returns to the line for one more shift

The Blackhawks have honored a number of legends with this thoughtful "One More Shift" ceremony. But Monday night's edition felt particularly festive. Before Dennis tiptoed onto the ice, brother Bobby was feted with a birthday party, marking his 80th.

John McDonough, the Blackhawks' President/CEO, spoke, recalling the red-letter day when Bobby agreed to join the organization as an ambassador. Then Dick Butkus, the Bears' Hall of Famer wearing his stylish black-and-white Winter Classic ensemble, had a few words. Then emcee Troy Murray introduced Dennis, and it was show time.

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THE VERDICT: An unbelievable experience

Team Historian Bob Verdi writes about the day that was the 2019 NHL Winter Classic at Notre Dame

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

SOUTH BEND, IN - Is it better to have participated in an event as spectacular as Tuesday's Winter Classic and lose than it would be not to have played in it at all?

The question arises because, even after falling to the Boston Bruins, 4-2, at Notre Dame Stadium, the Blackhawks spoke in glowing terms about the momentous afternoon.

"Today was fun," mentioned Capt. Jonathan Toews, while also expressing regrets that he and his mates smartly attired in 1934ish black and white couldn't provide all their portable fans among the 76,126 a victory.

Nearby, Cam Ward, who was superb, twice went to the same term: "Unbelievable experience." He talked of goosebumps while rubbing shoulders with the marching band, how this New Year's Day felt like New Year's Eve, and that it was one of the "coolest things I've ever done."

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THE VERDICT: Delia's path to the spotlight

Team Historian Bob Verdi writes about Collin Delia's background, his journey to the Blackhawks and how the young goalie is soaking up the Winter Classic experience

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

SOUTH BEND, IN - Collin Delia still isn't as famous as the fellow he unintentionally helped become an overnight sensation, Scott Foster. But that dynamic is changing because Delia, the goalie who came in from the warm, has been splendid of late for the enlivened Blackhawks.

When this season commenced, Delia jotted down a few achievements he would like to realize. One was to be part of Tuesday's Winter Classic featuring the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium. That's a long way from Rockford, but he's here on merit.

In three games, Delia is 3-0 with a 1.67 goals against average and a .957 save percentage. When the 24-year-old from California--speaking of way out there-learned that Cam Ward would start between the pipes on New Year's Day, Delia responded as one who has quickly become someone you should know.

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THE VERDICT: Back to the beginning

Bob Verdi writes about Stan Bowman's Notre Dame background as we close in on the 2019 Winter Classic

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

As a youngster growing up in Buffalo, Stan Bowman befriended a lad whose older brother attended the University of Notre Dame. One weekend, Bowman and his best pal ventured there to watch the Fighting Irish play football.

"I was maybe 12," recalls Bowman, "and I fell in love with the place."

Years later, about to enter college himself, Bowman returned to South Bend, Ind. It was love at second sight.

"I hadn't been accepted yet," Bowman goes on, "but nothing had changed. I thought, 'this is where I want to be.'''

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THE VERDICT: Ten years of fresh air

Team Historian Bob Verdi writes about the Blackhawks history with outdoor games and how the one at Wrigley Field was a significant moment for the franchise

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

If you haven't done so already, feel free to circle the following date on your calendar.

Jan. 1, 2019. 

In fact, circle it twice, underline it and hang a star by it, because next New Year's Day shall be steeped in significance. The Blackhawks will skate into the fresh air once again to play the Boston Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium in the Winter Classic, a staple of a modern National Hockey League that has brought the world's fastest game from the conventional rink to the great outdoors. Arena alfresco, a masterstroke.

Not only will the Blackhawks be participating in their sixth such adventure-the most of any NHL franchise-they will be pitted against an ancient Original Six adversary, the Bruins, for the 589th time, not counting playoffs. Moreover, this Winter Classic is to unfold, snow or shine, at one of North America's truly iconic venues-home of Fighting Irish football-within a famous campus.

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FEATURE: Former Blackhawks winger Maloney passes away

Bob Verdi writes about the late Dan Maloney, who spent time with the Blackhawks, Kings, Red Wings and Maple Leafs

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

Dan Maloney, a combative left wing selected by the Blackhawks in the first round of the 1970 National Hockey League Entry Draft, has died. He was 68.

Maloney, a star with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey Association, was part of an exceptional class as the NHL expanded to 14 teams for the 1970-71 season. Gil Perreault was chosen No. 1 overall by the Buffalo Sabres and Dale Tallon No. 2 by the Vancouver Canucks. Other early draftees included Reggie Leach, Rick MacLeish and Darryl Sittler.

With the 14th pick overall, the Blackhawks gladly tabbed Maloney, a sinewy individual who was 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds. He brought a tough and imposing presence to their roster already featuring Keith Magnuson and Jerry Korab. Maloney packed a famous right hand that he deployed, when necessary, to protect smaller teammates such as Stan Mikita and Pit Martin.

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