Bruins’ Rask snaps after surrendering goal, chops down Hawks’ Versteeg in process

Adam Proteau
Tuukka Rask and Jonathan Toews (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has had his share of meltdowns prior to Sunday’s game against the Blackhawks. But when the star netminder snapped after surrendering a goal to Jonathan Toews late in the first period, his stick-swinging freak-out managed to take down Hawks winger Kris Versteeg with a nasty slash.

Rask had taken a penalty for playing the puck in the restricted area with eight seconds left in the first – and just six seconds after Chicago’s power play began, the Hawks capitalized with his 17th goal of the season with 1.4 seconds remaining. The veteran Finnish goalie was less than pleased: (via Reddit user Sunjot) Read more

Hawks’ Niklas Hjalmarsson takes a Zdeno Chara slap shot in a very tender spot

Adam Proteau
Niklas Hjalmarsson (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Veteran Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson is famous for his willingness to block shots. But it takes a special kind of NHLer to put his body in front of a slap shot from Bruins behemoth Zdeno Chara. And as he showed Sunday by taking a shot from Chara directly in the stomach, Hjalmarsson is one of those special kind of guys.

Chara – who still holds the NHL All-Star record for hardest shot (108.8 km/hour) – wound up and fired toward the Hawks net, but Hjalmarsson was directly in the line of fire and took the puck right in his mid-section: (GIF via Reddit user ersal) Read more

Corey Crawford allows unthinkable goal from center ice

Jared Clinton
Chicago Blackhawks' Corey Crawford

Corey Crawford did not have a good Friday night.

After allowing one goal through 50 minutes of action, the Chicago Blackhawks netminder gave up two power play goals in 24 seconds to the Colorado Avalanche. That wasn’t the worst of it for Crawford, though. With little over five minutes left to play and the Avalanche up 3-1, defenseman Brad Stuart flipped the puck in on Crawford from center ice before heading to the bench for a change. Stuart was just about on the Avalanche bench by the time he realized the puck had squeaked by Crawford. Yikes. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Blackhawks, Flyers, Senators and Hurricanes trade buzz

Chicago Blackhawks Clint Reif featured

The Chicago Blackhawks remain among this season’s Stanley Cup contenders, but they face some difficult decisions regarding their salary-cap space for 2015-16. With nearly $65 million invested in 14 players and uncertainty over the projected cap ceiling, the Blackhawks face shedding salary in order to reach the 23-man roster limit.

Defensive depth has also become an issue this season for the Blackhawks. Though they possess the league’s best penalty kill, they’re 15th in shots-against per game. Sloppy defensive play has proven costly in several games, prompting speculation the Hawks could shop for a blueliner. Read more

Blackhawks make eight-year-old fan’s dream come true

Jared Clinton
Jordan King and the Blackhawks (via Chicago Blackhawks/NHL)

According to his mother, Tammy, Jordan King has always wanted to skate alongside the Blackhawks. Earlier this week, Make-A-Wish Illinois and the Blackhawks teamed up to make Jordan’s wish come true.

Jordan, who is just eight years old, skated with the team on Tuesday during practice, got his very own stall and even managed to put the puck past Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford on a breakaway. Check out Jordan’s day with the Blackhawks: Read more

Steve Montador ‘knew he was going to pass away early’

Ken Campbell
Steve Montador  (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

The first time Chris Montador noticed a change in his brother was the Christmas of 2011 when he came home for a short visit while playing with the Chicago Blackhawks. That would be Steve Montador’s last NHL season and after shorts stints in the minors and the KHL, his career ended last season, in large part because of concussion problems.

Chris Montador always knew his brother as an upbeat person with a positive outlook on life and someone who always looked for solutions. What he saw that Christmas was a completely different personality. “He wasn’t my brother,” Chris Montador told thn.com in an interview Thursday. “He was like a different person inside his body and it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart today. He wanted to be the same guy, but he just couldn’t.” Read more

Jonathan Toews is Captain Serious, but he’s expanding his role to become NHL’s Mr. Manners

Adam Proteau
Jonathan Toews (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

Chicago Blackhawks star center Jonathan Toews is deadly serious about hockey – and in a new, lighthearted public service announcement video released by the Hawks Tuesday, he reveals how seriously he treats proper etiquette when it comes to fans visiting the bathroom when they’re attending an NHL game.

Playing off his well-earned reputation as the NHL’s straightest of straight men, the 26-year-old Toews jokingly admonishes fans who choose to leave their seats for the bathroom when the action is going on: Read more

Could Scott Gomez actually be a wanted man at the trade deadline?

Ken Campbell
Scott Gomez Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

The first and only time Scott Gomez was traded, the results were a disaster. That trade started a series of falling dominos that led to Gomez’s career spiraling downhill and to him becoming one of the NHL’s biggest pariahs.

So how cool is it that almost six years later, Gomez could become a wanted man at the trade deadline? All right, wanted might be gilding the lily a little. But the fact that Gomez has played his way into the conversation of players who could be moved by March 2 is nothing short of remarkable.

The NHL trade deadline seems becoming less about blockbusters – those big trades for players with term left on their deals are usually done at the draft now – and more about bolstering and tinkering. Some of the deals that turn out to be the best ones are the relatively minor ones that don’t cost the team acquiring the player much. And all the uncertainty surrounding the salary cap next season might impact this year’s trade deadline even more in that respect. (The Los Angeles Kings, though, are outliers in this one. Both of their Cup wins were preceded by big pre-deadline deals with the Columbus Blue Jackets that paid off in a big way in the playoffs – getting Jeff Carter in 2012 and Marian Gaborik last season.)

There are some GMs who think this year’s deadline will be dominated only by rentals because teams are wary of taking on too much money and term without know what the cap will be next season. And the uncertainty over whether the NHL Players’ Association will trigger the five percent inflator, because that will mean more in escrow payments, is adding to the worry.

So if the market is going to be flooded with rentals, teams looking for some inexpensive help might do worse than pick up Gomez, who rededicated himself to fitness and seems intent on proving he’s still got game. His 20 points in 33 games puts him pace for full season total of 50 points. Read more