How bad is Bettman’s Salary Cap for Stanley Cup Champs, LIKE THE BLACKHAWKS?

 
Patrick Sharp won three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks. (USATSI)
Patrick Sharp won three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks. (USATSI)

When veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Stars this week he became the sixth different player to leave the Blackhawks this summer after playing in the Stanley Cup clinching game. He joined a list that already included Brad Richards, Antoine Vermette, Patrick Sharp, Kimmo Timonen and Brandon Saad. Some of them left as free agents, some of them were traded, one of them (Timonen) retired.It’s a significant chunk of the roster to replace (30 percent of the players that were in the lineup that night) and it was almost entirely because of financial reasons, something that just about every Stanley Cup winner eventually has to deal with in the salary cap era.But how does that roster turnover compare to past winners?To compare, I went back over the past 10 Stanley Cup winners (all in the salary cap era) and simply looked at how many players that were in the lineup for the Cup-clinching game ended up playing for different teams the next season. The average roster turnover for Cup winners: 3.3 players.The only teams that lost more than five players were two of the past three Blackhawks teams. Here is the complete breakdown.

2014-15 Blackhawks (6 — so far): Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya Brad Richards, Antoine Vermette, Kimmo Timonen.Those six players combined to score 53 goals (mostly from Saad and Sharp) for the Blackhawks during the regular season in 337 man-games with the team.With the Blackhawks still dealing with the salary cap crunch this list could continue to grow and perhaps include Bryan Bickell or Kris Versteeg.
2013-14 Los Angeles Kings (1): Willie Mitchell.The veteran defenseman was the only player to leave the team following the Kings’ second Stanley Cup win in three years, signing a free agent contract with the Florida Panthers.
2012-13 Blackhawks (3): Dave Bolland, Viktor Stalberg, Michael Frolik.Stalberg and Frolik left via free agency while Bolland, just days after scoring the Cup-clinching goal late in the third period of Game 6 to complete a wild comeback, was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for two draft picks. He would spend one season in Toronto before signing a huge contract with the Panthers the next offseason. Those three scored 19 goals in the lockout shortened season for the Hawks. 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings: (0): Every player in the lineup in their Game 6 win over New Jersey returned the next season.
2010-11 Boston Bruins (3): Tomas Kaberle, Michael Ryder, Mark Recchi, who was 42 during the season, retired after an incredibly successful career that saw him win three Stanley Cups with three different teams and score 577 goals. Ryder moved on as a free agent and signed with the Dallas Stars where he would score 35 goals the next season, while Kaberle, who was a trade deadline acquistion signed with the Carolina Hurricanes where he was a pretty big disappointment.
2009-10 Blackhawks (8): Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, Antti Niemi, Andrew Ladd, John Madden, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, Cristobal Huet. The original salary cap crunch with the Hawks was massive and saw the team lose several key players, including both goaltenders and a significant chunk of their forward depth with Byfuglien, Ladd and Versteeg all getting traded in the days after their Cup win. That group combined to score 72 goals in 494 man-games during the 2009-10 regular season, and even though Versteeg eventually returned to the Blackhawks (and is still a member of the team today) Ladd has gone on to become the captain of the Winnipeg Jets while Byfuglien is one of the most productive defensemen in the league.

Oduya headed elsewhere as Cap continues to cause Hawks roster trim

Johnny Oduya has informed the Blackhawks that he will not be re-signing, per reports. (USATSI)
Johnny Oduya has informed the Blackhawks that he will not be re-signing, per reports. (USATSI)

Another important piece of the Blackhawks‘ last two Stanley Cup titles is on his way out of town. Unrestricted free agent defenseman Johnny Oduya, who won the Cup in 2013 and 2015 with the Blackhawks, confirmed through agent Don Meehan that he will not be returning to the club according to multiple reports.Oduya’s new team is expected to be announced today according to Brian Hedger of NHL.com. It is believed both the Dallas Stars and Buffalo Sabres were among the teams in pursuit of his services.Oduya had reportedly been waiting to see if the Blackhawks could resolve their salary cap issues to fit him in, despite being among the top defensemen on the free agent market.The 33-year-old blueliner had 10 points in 76 games with the Blackhawks last season while averaging 20:17 per game. He also notched five assists during the team’s Stanley Cup run, while averaging nearly 25 minutes per game, as the Blackhawks dealt with limited defensive depth.Oduya spent parts of four seasons with the Hawks after being traded from the Winnipeg Jets late in the 2011-12 season for a pair of draft picks.A veteran of 664 NHL games, Oduya also spent time with the New Jersey Devils and the Atlanta Thrashers before the team moved to Winnipeg. He has 152 career points and has average top-four minutes throughout his career.The Swedish rearguard joins a long line of players from this year’s Stanley Cup team headed out of town. Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp were both traded away, while Antoine Vermette and Brad Richards left via unrestricted free agency. Additionally, Kimmo Timonen retired. There are other moves expected as well, as Hawks remain in a salary-cap crunch.

Sharp latest “cap” victom, sent to Dallas.

Patrick Sharp has been traded to the Dallas Stars. (USATSI)
Patrick Sharp has been traded to the Dallas Stars. (USATSI)

Given their salary cap situation it was simply a matter of when, and not if, the Blackhawks were going to trade veteran forward Patrick Sharp this offseason.On Friday night they finally did it.The Blackhawks sent Sharp and defenseman Stephen Johns to the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenseman Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt.Sharp, 33, still has two years remaining on his current contract that pays him an average of $5.9 million per season. Together, Daley and Garbutt will count $5.1 million against the cap over the next two seasons. When you factor in the $800,000 Johns would have made on the NHL roster, the cap savings come out to around $2.5 million for the Blackhawks.Even with that savings, the Blackhawks are still only a little more than $980,000 below the league’s salary cap ($71.4 million) for the upcoming season with only 21 players under contract, via General Fanager.They still have to re-sign restricted free agent Marcus Kruger and were still interested in bringing back veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya, though the addition of Daley could certainly impact that.Sharp scored 16 goals and recorded 27 assists for the Blackhawks in 68 regular season games this past season. He had been with the team since the middle of the 2005-06 season when he was acquired in a trade from the Philadelphia Flyers and was a core player on a Blackhawks team that won three Stanley Cups in six years.He is no longer in the prime of his career, obviously, and his production started to drop a bit this past season, but he is still an extremely productive player that should prove to be a huge addition in Dallas. He is now joining a Stars team that was already one of the best offensive teams in the league, finishing the 2014-15 season by averaging 3.13 goals per game, the second highest mark in the league behind only the Tampa Bay Lightning.Along with the Sharp, the Stars also have the Art Ross Trophy winner (Jamie Benn), Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and Valeri Nichushkin in their top-six. Adding Sharp to that mix is only going to improve their chances of rebounding from what was a disappointing 2014-15 season.They also looked to upgrade their goaltending this offseason by bringing in former Hawk Antti Niemi to form a veteran duo with Kari Lehtonen.An underrated part of this deal for the Stars is getting Johns along with Sharp. He is a promising young prospect on the blue line that figured to be a part of the Blackhawks roster this season given their salary cap crunch and the number of openings they were set to have on defense. He was originally drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Blackhawks. He appeared in 51 games for Rockford in the American Hockey League this past season, recording 21 points (four goals, 17 assists).For the Blackhawks, it’s pretty incredible to see them move Sharp and Brandon Saad and still be in a position where they have almost no room under the cap. They did manage to get some quality NHL players back in return in both deals (and the Saad trade could prove to be a big one for them), but they still probably need to make another move (Kris Versteeg or Bryan Bickell if anybody would take his contract) to finish the roster.Garbutt has turned into a pretty solid depth player over the past couple of years, while Daley fills a spot on the blue line. Daley is coming off of a big year offensively, finishign with a career high 16 goals and 38 points in only 68 games, but he struggled at times defensively.So far this offseason the Blackhawks have lost Brad Richards and Antoine Vermete in free agency and traded Patrick Sharp, Brandon Saad and Stephen Jones.In return they have Viktor Tikhonov (free agency), Artemy Panarin (free agency), Marko Dano, Artem Anisimov, Trevor Daley, Ryan Garbutt, Jeremy Morin, and Corey Trop.

Bettman’s Salary Cap gets the Hawks again–Saad dealt to CBJ to avoid a crippling Offer Sheet from other teams

The Blackhawks have a serious salary cap dilemma on their hands, but one of the pieces that was not expected to be moved was pending restricted free agent Brandon Saad . However, in a stunning turn of events, the Blackhawks traded Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets.Columbus announced the deal Tuesday evening. The Hawks also dealt prospects Michael Paliotta and Alex Broadhurst to Columbus.Headed back to the Hawks are forwards Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin(returning to the Hawks), Corey Tropp and a 2016 fourth-round pick.The stunning move comes on the eve of free agency opening, which would have been the first day Saad would be eligible to sign an offer sheet from an opposing team, that the Blackhawks would either be forced into matching or letting Saad walk with only draft picks as compensation.The Blue Jackets face the same situation now, but would be better-positioned to match offer sheets should any come along due to a more friendly salary cap situation.Saad, at a mere 22 years old, already has his name on the Stanley Cup twice.He had 11 points during the Hawks most recent run to the Stanley Cup, scoring eight goals in 23 games. He also posted a career-best 52 points in 2014-15, his third full NHL season, which included 23 goals. Over 208 games, the former second-round pick has 126 points.

If you’re wondering why the Blackhawks would let a player like that go, Bob McKenzie of TSN has a pretty good answer: CHI traded Saad because he was looking for 6 yrs with AAV of $6.5M. May have been an offer sheet coming tomorrow from a team with those #s.

There’s just no way the Blackhawks could match that, but in this incredibly weak free agent market, it’s not unreasonable to think a team would have thrown that kind of offer at Saad. Saad’s agent later disputed that they asked for six years, however, according to McKenzie.Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said on a conference call that the team and player never got close on a deal. He also admitted that fear of an offer sheet was very real.It’s still a tough pill for the Blackhawks to swallow, considering Saad fell into their laps at 43rd overall in the NHL Draft in 2011 and is coming off of his first contract with the team. His rapid progression playing alongside Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa priced out the cap-strapped team, which now will have to reevaluate their offseason plans.As far as return, the centerpiece of this deal as far as the Hawks are concerned is undoubtedly Marko Dano. The 20-year-old Slovakian was the 27th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He had 21 points in just 35 games last season and showed some tremendous skill in his first NHL stint.He also had 19 points in 39 games with Springfield of the American Hockey League last season. Prior to that, he played two years in the KHL with Slovan Bratislava and was a standout for Slovakia’s national program at various levels over the last five years.He has two years remaining on his entry-level contract and could be on the NHL roster as early as next season in a full-time role, despite his relative youth. At just $925,000 for a cap hit, that’s going to go a long way towards keeping the Hawks cap compliant.Looking at the rest of the deal, Anisimov is 27 and is coming off of a season shortened by injury. His $3.283 million cap hit is not the friendliest addition to the Blackhawks’ current cap situation. The center has showed some offensive promise over his career, but has just one 20-goal season among his six NHL campaigns. Bowman said the team is already close to an extension with the veteran winger, however.Morin is a familiar face as the Blackhawks traded him to Columbus just last season. He has one year left at $800,000 and could be a good depth player on the NHL roster as a guy that spots into the lineup. He’s never quite proven to be an everyday player and had just six points in 43 games last season. The same goes for 25-year-old Corey Tropp, who also has one year left on his deal. He posted only eight points in 61 games with Columbus last season.Overall, this is a tough deal for the Hawks to make, but one that comes with the cold realities of spending to the salary cap. They did end up getting a really promising prospect in Dano to add to their stable of young talents. Losing Saad in the process is going to hurt, though. Not only that, but they still have a lot of salary to move before next season.Assuming Columbus strikes a deal with their new acquisition (and why wouldn’t they at this point?), they’re adding a forward that instantly jumps to the top of their lineup. Saad is going to bolster scoring in a group of forwards that already includes a top-end producer in Ryan Johansen. The Jackets will have to hope Nick Foligno can replicate or get close to the season he just had, while continue to get more out Scott Hartnell, Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenner and the very promising Alexander Wennberg.

2015 NBA DRAFT FIRST ROUND–Bulls take Arkansas Forward Bobby Portis

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

1
Karl-Anthony TownsCenter | Kentucky | Towns gives the Wolves a great shot blocker with legit NBA size.
FANSentiment
2
D’Angelo RussellPoint Guard | Ohio State | Lakers select dynamic point guard out of Ohio State.
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3
Jahlil OkaforCenter | Duke | Okafor is an excellent offensive rebounder and terrific inside scorer.
FANSentiment
4
Kristaps PorzingisPower Forward | Baloncesta Sevilla (Spain) | Porzingis brings size to the Knicks.
FANSentiment
5
Mario HezonjaShooting Guard | FC Barcelona Basquet (Spain) | Hezonja is explosive with a high ceiling.
FANSentiment
6
Willie Cauley-SteinCenter | Kentucky | Cauley-Stein brings defensive tenacity to the Kings.
FANSentiment
7
Emmanuel MudiayPoint Guard | Guangdog Tigers (China) | Mudiay is a big, athletic, versatile scorer.
FANSentiment
8
Stanley JohnsonSmall Forward | Arizona | An athletic wing takes his talent to Detroit.
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9
Frank KaminskyPower Forward | Wisconsin | Kaminsky is an excellent passer with 3-point range.
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10
Justise WinslowShooting Guard | Duke | Winslow brings defense and speed to the Heat.
FANSentiment
11
Myles TurnerPower Forward | Texas | Turner has face-up skills and legit length with a 7-4 wingspan.
FANSentiment
12
Trey LylesPower Forward | Kentucky | Ultra-skilled forward brings versatility to Utah.
FANSentiment
13
Devin BookerShooting Guard | Kentucky | Booker is a great 3-point shooter with a high basketball IQ.
FANSentiment
14
Cameron PaynePoint Guard | Murray State | Mid-major guard brings speed to Oklahoma City.
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15
Kelly Oubre  (traded to the Washington Wizards)Shooting Guard | Kansas | Oubre is a solid 3-point shooter with great defensive potential.
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16
Terry RozierPoint Guard | Louisville | A defensive guard solidifies the Celtics’ backcourt.
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17
Rashad VaughnShooting Guard | UNLV | The athletic Vaughn is an excellent scorer who gets to the rack.
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18
Sam DekkerSmall Forward | Wisconsin | The playmaking forward will provide a spark for Houston.
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19
Jerian Grant  (traded to the New York Knicks)Point Guard | Notre Dame | Harvey Grant’s son is an excellent passer and great finisher.
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20
Delon WrightPoint Guard | Utah | The tall point guard brings a lot of skills to Toronto.
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21
Justin AndersonShooting Guard | Virginia | Anderson gives Dallas a physical and versatile player.
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22
Bobby PortisPower Forward | Arkansas | The skilled big man brings offensive punch to the Bulls.
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23
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson  (traded to the Brooklyn Nets)Small Forward | Arizona | A lock-down defender, Hollis-Jefferson boasts a 7-1 wingspan.
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24
Tyus Jones  (traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves)Point Guard | Duke | The former Duke point guard brings pedigree to Minnesota.
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25
Jarell MartinPower Forward | LSU | Big and physical, Martin makes things happen in the paint.
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26
Nikola MilutinovCenter | Partizan (Serbia) | Powerful, Serbian big man brings size to San Antonio.
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27
Larry Nance Jr.Power Forward | Wyoming | Tough Nance has overcome a torn ACL and Chron’s disease.
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28
R.J. HunterShooting Guard | Georgia State | The dynamic scorer brings plenty of skills to the Celtics.
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29
Chris McCulloughPower Forward | Syracuse | McCullough runs the floor well but is coming off a knee injury.
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30
Kevon LooneySmall Forward | UCLA | The lengthy forward adds size to the NBA champion Warriors.
FANSentiment

BLACKHAWKS 2015-16 SCHEDULE.

2015-16 Preseason Schedule
Date Visitor Home Time (CT) Location
TUE Sep 22, 2015 Red Wings Blackhawks 7:30 PM UNITED CENTER
WED Sep 23, 2015 Blackhawks Red Wings 6:30 PM JOE LOUIS ARENA (DETROIT, MI)
FRI Sep 25, 2015 Blackhawks Canadiens
6:30 PM BELL CENTRE (MONTREAL)
SAT Sep 26, 2015 Blues Blackhawks 7:30 PM UNITED CENTER
THU Oct 1, 2015 Blackhawks Blues
7:00 PM SCOTTRADE CENTER (ST. LOUIS, MO)
SAT Oct 3, 2015 Stars Blackhawks 7:30 PM UNITED CENTER
————————————————————————
REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
October 2015
Wed Oct 7, 2015 Rangers Blackhawks
7:00 PM Tickets
Fri Oct 9, 2015 Blackhawks Islanders
6:30 PM
Sat Oct 10, 2015 Islanders Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Wed Oct 14, 2015 Blackhawks Flyers
7:00 PM TVA
Thu Oct 15, 2015 Blackhawks Capitals
6:00 PM
Sat Oct 17, 2015 Blue Jackets Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Thu Oct 22, 2015 Panthers Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Sat Oct 24, 2015 Lightning Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Mon Oct 26, 2015 Ducks Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Thu Oct 29, 2015 Blackhawks Jets
7:00 PM
Fri Oct 30, 2015 Blackhawks Wild
7:00 PM
November 2015
Mon Nov 2, 2015 Kings Blackhawks
7:30 PM TVA Tickets
Wed Nov 4, 2015 Blues Blackhawks
7:00 PM TVA Tickets
Fri Nov 6, 2015 Blackhawks Devils
6:00 PM
Sun Nov 8, 2015 Oilers Blackhawks
7:00 PM SN Tickets
Thu Nov 12, 2015 Devils Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Sat Nov 14, 2015 Blackhawks Blues
7:00 PM
Sun Nov 15, 2015 Flames Blackhawks
7:30 PM SN1 Tickets
Wed Nov 18, 2015 Blackhawks Oilers
8:30 PM SN1
Fri Nov 20, 2015 Blackhawks Flames
8:00 PM
Sat Nov 21, 2015 Blackhawks Canucks
9:00 PM HNIC, TVA
Wed Nov 25, 2015 Blackhawks Sharks
9:30 PM
Fri Nov 27, 2015 Blackhawks Ducks
3:00 PM
Sat Nov 28, 2015 Blackhawks Kings
9:30 PM
December 2015
Tue Dec 1, 2015 Wild Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Thu Dec 3, 2015 Blackhawks Senators
6:30 PM
Sun Dec 6, 2015 Jets Blackhawks
4:00 PM Tickets
Tue Dec 8, 2015 Predators Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Thu Dec 10, 2015 Blackhawks Predators
7:00 PM
Fri Dec 11, 2015 Jets Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Sun Dec 13, 2015 Canucks Blackhawks
6:00 PM
Tue Dec 15, 2015 Avalanche Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Thu Dec 17, 2015 Oilers Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Sat Dec 19, 2015 Blackhawks Sabres
12:00 PM
Sun Dec 20, 2015 Sharks Blackhawks
6:00 PM Tickets
Tue Dec 22, 2015 Blackhawks Stars
7:30 PM
Sun Dec 27, 2015 Hurricanes Blackhawks
6:00 PM Tickets
Tue Dec 29, 2015 Blackhawks Coyotes
8:00 PM
Thu Dec 31, 2015 Blackhawks Avalanche
7:00 PM
January 2016
Date Visitor Home Time (CT) TV Network/Results
Tickets
Sun Jan 3, 2016 Senators Blackhawks
6:00 PM TVA, SN Tickets
Tue Jan 5, 2016 Blackhawks Penguins
6:00 PM
Wed Jan 6, 2016 Penguins Blackhawks
7:00 PM TVA Tickets
Fri Jan 8, 2016 Sabres Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Sun Jan 10, 2016 Avalanche Blackhawks
6:00 PM Tickets
Tue Jan 12, 2016 Predators Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Thu Jan 14, 2016 Blackhawks Canadiens
6:30 PM
Fri Jan 15, 2016 Blackhawks Maple Leafs
6:00 PM
Sun Jan 17, 2016 Canadiens Blackhawks
6:00 PM SN Tickets
Tue Jan 19, 2016 Blackhawks Predators
7:00 PM
Thu Jan 21, 2016 Blackhawks Lightning
6:30 PM TVA
Fri Jan 22, 2016 Blackhawks Panthers
6:30 PM
Sun Jan 24, 2016 Blues Blackhawks
6:00 PM Tickets
Tue Jan 26, 2016 Blackhawks Hurricanes
6:00 PM
February 2016
Tue Feb 2, 2016 Blackhawks Avalanche
8:00 PM
Thu Feb 4, 2016 Blackhawks Coyotes
8:00 PM
Sat Feb 6, 2016 Blackhawks Stars
7:00 PM
Tue Feb 9, 2016 Sharks Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Thu Feb 11, 2016 Stars Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Sat Feb 13, 2016 Ducks Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Mon Feb 15, 2016 Maple Leafs Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Wed Feb 17, 2016 Blackhawks Rangers
7:00 PM TVA
Sun Feb 21, 2016 Blackhawks Wild
2:30 PM TVA, SN
Thu Feb 25, 2016 Predators Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Sun Feb 28, 2016 Capitals Blackhawks
11:30 AM Tickets
March 2016
Wed Mar 2, 2016 Blackhawks Red Wings
7:00 PM TVA
Thu Mar 3, 2016 Blackhawks Bruins
6:00 PM TVA
Sun Mar 6, 2016 Red Wings Blackhawks
4:00 PM Tickets
Wed Mar 9, 2016 Blackhawks Blues
7:00 PM
Fri Mar 11, 2016 Blackhawks Stars
7:30 PM
Mon Mar 14, 2016 Kings Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Wed Mar 16, 2016 Flyers Blackhawks
7:00 PM TVA Tickets
Fri Mar 18, 2016 Blackhawks Jets
7:00 PM
Sun Mar 20, 2016 Wild Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Tue Mar 22, 2016 Stars Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Sat Mar 26, 2016 Blackhawks Flames
9:00 PM HNIC
Sun Mar 27, 2016 Blackhawks Canucks
7:00 PM SN
Tue Mar 29, 2016 Blackhawks Wild
7:00 PM
April 2016
Fri Apr 1, 2016 Blackhawks Jets
7:00 PM
Sun Apr 3, 2016 Bruins Blackhawks
11:30 AM TVA Tickets
Tue Apr 5, 2016 Coyotes Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Thu Apr 7, 2016 Blues Blackhawks
7:30 PM Tickets
Sat Apr 9, 2016 Blackhawks Blue Jackets
6:00 PM

Toews,Kane and Crawford get Post Season honors.

LAS VEGAS—Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is the recipient of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone, which is awarded to a player “in recognition of his commitment and service to charities in his community.” The award recognizes an individual as a superior leader in hockey and as a contributing member of society. It honors an individual who leads by positive example through on-ice performance, motivation of team members and dedication to community activities and charitable causes.Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel and NHL fans in compiling a list of potential candidates. Selection of the three finalists and the ultimate winner is Messier’s alone. Other finalists for this year’s honor were Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks and former Hawk Andrew Ladd of the Winnipeg Jets.The Hawks captain since he was just 20-years-old, Toews led the club with 28-38—66 in the regular season to guide the Blackhawks to their seventh consecutive playoff berth. He also built upon his work in the community, where he actively participates in various team endeavors, including Make-A-Wish visits and the Four Feathers Golf Invitational. Independently, Toews served as the honorary chairperson for the Israel Idonije Fundraiser, which helps underserved communities by providing programs focused on social and emotional life skills; supported The Winnipeg Foundation in creating its Nourishing Potential campaign; and continued his role with Misericordia, a Chicago group that offers care for those with mild to profound developmental disabilities. The NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced today during the 2015 NHL Awards™ that three-time Stanley Cup® Champions Toews and Patrick Kane will both appear on the cover of EA SPORTS™ NHL® 16. This marks the first time in franchise history that the cover has featured two teammates as well as the Stanley Cup trophy. Kane and Toews are also the only athletes in EA SPORTS™ NHL history to appear on the cover twice. The duo spotlight embodies the spirit of NHL 16, where you’ll play together and win together. “I’m honored to not only share the Stanley Cup Championship with Patrick, but to share the EA SPORTS NHL 16 cover with him too,” said Toews. “Our team’s passion and dedication have made this all possible – and I’m sure fans will be fired up about it.” “Being teamed up with Jonathan for the NHL 16 cover is a great feeling,” said Kane. “I never would have imagined being on the cover twice, and the fact this is happening on top of our team taking home the Cup is unreal.” “Congratulations to both players; they are a perfect fit for this honor,” said Dave McCarthy, NHL Vice President of Consumer Products Marketing. “What the Chicago Blackhawks have been able to accomplish in the last six years has been nothing short of remarkable and I’m excited that this year’s NHL 16 cover will reflect the spirit of teamwork.” “We would like to congratulate Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on this well-deserved honour of being chosen as the duo cover athletes,” said Adam Larry, NHLPA Director of Licensing and Associate Counsel. “Hockey fans show great passion and interest in the EA SPORTS video game franchise each year, and they will be pleased to see these two outstanding teammates grace the cover of NHL 16.” Built with more fan feedback and insights than ever before, NHL 16 delivers your most requested features and modes along with new experiences that make NHL 16 bigger and better. With new levels of depth across single player and team modes, combined with improved gameplay balance and innovation as well as new tools to help you play at your highest level, NHL 16 lets you play together and win together.NHL 16 hits store shelves on September 15, 2015 in North America and September 17, 2015 in Europe for Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and PlayStation®4. EA SPORTS™ NHL® Legacy Edition brings together the most popular modes and award-winning gameplay features from nine years of NHL hockey and will be available for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, and the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. Become a fan of EA SPORTS NHL® on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Corey Crawford and Montreal’s Carey Price shared the William Jennings Trophy given to the Goalie(s)who yields the fewest goal during the regular season.

Hawks finish off Lightning 2-0, win sixth Stanley Cup, first on Home Ice since 1938

 

 

 

 

Mark Grote's photo.
Les Grobstein's photo.
Les Grobstein's photo.
Les Grobstein's photo.
Les Grobstein's photo.
Les Grobstein's photo.
Showing off their grit and determination, the Blackhawks finally put away the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final.The city of broad shoulders, strong enough to carry the silver trophy once again. A Windy City party 77 years in the making.Duncan Keith scored in the second period and directed a dominant defense that shut down Tampa Bay’s high-scoring attack, and the Blackhawks beat the Lightning 2-0 in Game 6 on Monday night for their third NHL title in the past six seasons.Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, helping the Blackhawks clinch the Cup on home ice for the first time since 1938. Corey Crawford, who was pulled from the Hawks first-round series against Nashville, had 25 saves in his fifth career playoff shutout.It was an appropriate conclusion to a series full of near misses and close calls that had fans in Chicago and Tampa Bay on the edge of their seats for almost two weeks. It was only the second final to begin with five one-goal games, and no team enjoyed a two-goal advantage until an open Kane buried a perfect pass from Brad Richards at 14:46 of the third.It was Kane’s first goal of the final, and it touched off a wild celebration by the frenzied crowd of 22,424, who broke out more chants of ”We want the Cup! We want the Cup!”  Ben Bishop kept the Lightning in the game with 30 saves, fighting through some sort of groin injury that kept him out of Game 4. Led by Bishop and big defenseman Victor Hedman, the Lightning allowed just 13 goals in the series, but it wasn’t enough against the unflappable Blackhawks.Tampa Bay star Steven Stamkos finished the playoffs with an eight-game scoring drought that likely will chase him into the offseason. He rung the inside of the crossbar on a near miss at 7:50 of the first and was stoned by Crawford on a prime chance 58 seconds into the middle period.The pair of missed opportunities for one of the NHL’s most gifted scorers looked even more costly when the Blackhawks got on the board in the second.Keith got a nice pass from Kane in the middle and shot it around Tampa Bay center Cedric Paquette. Bishop stopped his first try, but Keith kept skating past Paquette and flipped in the rebound at 17:13..Keith then skated with his arms out and yelled before he was mobbed by his teammates near the boards. The two-time Norris Trophy winner for best defenseman finished with 21 points while playing over 700 minutes in a grueling postseason.

Sharp and Vermette goals and strong Crawford play give Hawks 2-1 win and 3-2 series lead over Lightning in Stanley Cup Finals

 

Les Grobstein's photo.
Les Grobstein's photo.

HAWKS WIN!!! What a heart stopper. Chance to win the Cup Monday at HOME!!!

Les Grobstein's photo.

TAMPA—With another tenacious road victory in this agonizingly close Stanley Cup Final, the Blackhawks earned an opportunity to raise that silver trophy on their home ice.Antoine Vermette scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period, and the Blackhawks moved to the brink of their third NHL championship in six years with a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 on Saturday night.Corey Crawford made 31 saves and Patrick Sharp scored an early goal into an accidentally unguarded net for the Blackhawks, who took a 3-2 series lead by surviving another tense game in this incredibly even series. The first five games all have been decided by one goal for just the second time in Stanley Cup Final history, and the first time since 1951.Ben Bishop stopped 27 shots after missing Game 4 with an undisclosed injury, but the goalie’s ill-advised venture outside the crease led to Sharp’s goal.Valtteri Filppula scored for the Lightning, who have scored just two goals while losing two straight games for only the second time in their 25-game postseason. Tampa Bay also lost second-leading scorer Nikita Kucherov to a first-period injury when he crashed into the Hawk net.Game 6 is Monday night in the United Center, and seven remaining members of the Blackhawks’ two-time champion core will have the chance to skate the Stanley Cup around the UC for the first time after winning the other two Cups on the road. The Lightning must win two straight to claim the second Stanley Cup title in franchise history.Game 5 was another chapter in what’s shaping up as the tightest Final ever played. Neither team has even held a two-goal lead through five games, staying tied or one goal apart for all 300 minutes.The clubs started the third period in a tie for the third straight game, but Vermette cashed in on a loose puck in the slot just two minutes in.Bishop kicked the puck straight onto Vermette’s tape after stopping a rush by Kris Versteeg. Vermette, the veteran forward acquired from Arizona near the trade deadline, also scored the third-period tiebreaker at Amelie Arena in the series opener 10 days ago.While the Lightning didn’t know their goalie’s identity until earlier in the day, Crawford delivered another outstanding night in the Hawks crease right when he was most needed. He capped the performance with 16 saves in the third period, performing flawlessly down the stretch just as he did in the previous game.Bishop decided to play after participating in the morning skate, and the 53-game winner appeared to be moving more fluidly than he did in Game 3. He still gave a goal to the Blackhawks in the first period with an ill-advised venture out of his crease.Bishop roamed almost halfway to the blue line to play a puck and collided with star defenseman Victor Hedman. Sharp ended his 13-game goal drought by skating around the pair and chipping in the open-net gift in front of Tampa Bay’s stunned fans.The Blackhawks had several other golden scoring chances before Filppula’s goal, including Teuvo Teravainen missing the net on a clean breakaway. The Lightning evened it when Jason Garrison made a wicked cross-ice pass through the Hawk’s defense to the Finnish veteran, who ended his six-game goal drought.The final Saturday night game of the NHL season got off to an ugly start for the Lightning when Kucherov then nearly scored on the play on which he was injured.Crawford inexplicably passed the puck right at Kucherov, but the Russian forward charged at it and lost his feet when Crawford dived back to his crease. Kucherov hit the post hard with his shoulder or head, skating off hunched over and going straight to Tampa Bay’s dressing room.Rookie Jonathan Drouin took Kucherov’s spot on Tampa Bay’s vaunted ”Triplets” line with playoff scoring leader Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat.

NOTES—Drouin returned to Tampa Bay’s lineup after the 20-year-old forward sat out three of the series’ first four games. D Nikita Nesterov was scratched. … Replays appeared to show Crawford playing the puck outside the trapezoid behind his net moments before Sharp’s first-period goal. … Dick Vitale, former Buccaneers and Joliet native FB Mike Alstott and Rays OF Kevin Kiermaier attended the game.

Saad’s third period goal, even’s Stanley Cup Finals 2-2

 

Brandon Saad and the Blackhawks finally broke through Tampa Bay’s rookie goalie and then barely hung on to even up the Stanley Cup Final.Saad scored the tiebreaking goal with 13:38 to play, captain Jonathan Toews scored in the second period and the Blackhawks beat the Lightning 2-1 in Game 4 on Wednesday night, knotting the Final at two games apiece.Corey Crawford made 24 saves and survived a frantic final minute for the Blackhawks, who rebounded from consecutive defeats in a gritty, defense-dominated game.Saad scored the eventual winner by chipping a backhand under Andrei Vasilevskiy, the 20-year-old Russian goalie forced into his first NHL playoff start. He made 17 saves while replacing 53-game winner Ben Bishop, who was scratched with an undisclosed lower-body injury after hobbling through Game 3.Game 5 is Saturday night in Tampa.Alex Killorn scored in the second period for the Lightning, whose four-game road winning streak ended.Vasilevskiy played well enough under extraordinary pressure, but couldn’t quite match Crawford, the 2013 Stanley Cup winner who regularly follows up poor stretches with big games for the Blackhawks.Tampa Bay pummeled Crawford with multiple scoring chances in the final minute with Vasilevskiy pulled for an extra attacker, but the veteran stopped them all – including a point-blank shot by Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who has no goals in the series.The series is now a best-of-three, with the Hawks needing at least one more win at Amalie Arena to secure their third championship in six seasons. Tampa Bay has home-ice advantage, but a fraction of the Blackhawks’ big-game credentials.Despite their differences in experience and age, these teams are incredibly close: This is the first Final since 1968 in which all four games were decided by one goal.After a tense and scoreless first period, Toews broke open a tense game and erased a slow Blackhawks start with his first goal since Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Killorn evened it five minutes later off an exceptional behind-the-net pass from Valtteri Filppula.Saad scored early in the third period with the same determination that has characterized the tough forward’s entire career. He got the puck in the corner off a faceoff and failed to score while skating in front, but controlled the loose puck and whacked a backhand that skittered under Vasilevskiy for his eighth goal of the postseason and second in two games.Vasilevskiy became the fourth-youngest goalie to start a Stanley Cup Final game in NHL history and the youngest since 20-year-old Patrick Roy in 1986. Bishop got hurt during Game 2 and left it twice in the waning minutes, but the veteran played Game 3 and participated in Wednesday’s morning skate before the Lightning ruled him out.The Blackhawks didn’t manage a shot on Vasilevskiy’s net until 8:17 into the first period, and then didn’t get another for about six minutes in a tentative first period. The Blackhawks’ two shots in the first period were a franchise low for a Final game, while Tampa Bay didn’t cash in its handful of additional chances.The Blackhawks finally warmed up in the second. After putting two shots off Vasilevskiy’s posts, the Hawks finally scored when Vasilevskiy gave up a rebound of Marian Hossa’s shot and Toews slapped a loose puck under the goalie, who deflected it in.The Lightning had scored the opening goal in their previous four playoff games, but they answered when Filppula threaded a backward pass through two defenders and in front to Killorn. Looking at Filppula behind his net, Crawford never saw the Harvard product until it was too late to stop his ninth goal of the postseason.Vasilevskiy joined the Lightning in December and played in just 16 games during the regular season – none since March 31 – before mopping up in two earlier playoff games. Yet the likable Siberian has been touted as one of the greatest Russian goaltending prospects of recent years, earning comparisons to Vladislav Tretiak and winning a gold medal while backing up his idol, Sergei Bobrovsky, at last summer’s world championships.
NOTES—Stamkos ended his five-game scoring drought with an assist on Killorn’s goal…..Patrick Kane also got his first point of the series with an assist on Saad’s goal. … Vasilevskiy’s backup was Kristers Gudlevskis, the 22-year-old Latvian Olympian who spent this season in the AHL. He has just three games of NHL experience, none this season. …Johnny Oduya played for the Hawks after apparently injuring his left arm in Game 3, while fellow D Kimmo Timonen returned to Hawk’s lineup after sitting out the first three Final games. … New Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg attended the game in a red Blackhawks hoodie.