Even without Kane, Hawks’ win over Rangers shows you count them out of the playoffs at your peril

Brad Richards (Rebecca Taylor/NHLI via Getty Images)

When superstar Patrick Kane was injured Feb. 24, more than a few people knocked the Chicago Blackhawks down a peg or two in their rankings of Stanley Cup contenders.

Not me. Even though Kane isn’t expected back from a broken left clavicle until the time the Western Conference Final is played, I think the Hawks have more than enough talent and experience to win their third championship in six seasons. And Wednesday night, in a terrifically-contested 1-0 win over the powerful New York Rangers, Chicago demonstrated one of its core strengths, and one of the biggest reasons they were my pre-season pick to win the Cup and remain so today: they can beat you any way you want to play. Read more

Blackhawks’ Richards shows incredible patience for game-winner against Rangers

Jared Clinton
Brad Richards (Jared Silber/Getty Images)

It was almost too fitting. In Brad Richards‘ first game back in Madison Square Garden since he was bought out last summer, the Chicago Blackhawks, his new team, and the New York Rangers, his old, were playing to a scoreless tie. Then Richards delivered the dagger.

During Wednesday night’s contest, less than twenty seconds after New York’s Dan Boyle hit the crossbar, Richards collected the puck behind the net, was given space to walk out front and waited out Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot before burying a shot up top. The celebration tells you about all you need to know: Read more

Suspend him or not: Andrew Shaw headbutts Brock Nelson

Jared Clinton
Andrew Shaw (Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Chicago Blackhawks winger Andrew Shaw might be watching a few games from the sidelines after a headbutt to the face of New York Islanders sophomore center Brock Nelson.

Little more than five minutes into the second period of Tuesday’s game between the Blackhawks and Islanders, Shaw and Nelson tangled up along the boards and remained engaged for a few seconds after the puck had left the area. That’s when Shaw caught Nelson in the face with the top of his helmet. As Shaw skated away, the referee blew the play dead and Shaw was escorted to the penalty box: Read more

Pro-wrestler-turned-UFC-fighter CM Punk will always be a hockey – and a Blackhawks – fan

Adam Proteau
CM Punk and wife A.J. Lee celebrate a Blackhawks goal in February. (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

As a blue-collar kid growing up in Chicago, Phil Brooks – now better known to the world as pro wrestler-turned-UFC-figher CM Punk – fell in love with hockey and his hometown Blackhawks.

“I was fortunate enough to have seen a couple games at the old Chicago Stadium,” Punk said. “I got to see Denis Savard skate, I got to see Chris Chelios, I got to hear the national anthem there. It was easy to fall in love with hockey then.”

However, the 36-year-old wasn’t rewarded for that fandom right away. He had to suffer through the franchise’s lean years under late owner Bill Wirtz, and although he always appreciated and respected the athletic skill it took to perform at hockey’s highest levels, the combination of his burgeoning career in the squared circle (which included multiple world championship titles in the WWE and other wrestling promotions) and the Hawks’ woeful decisions on and off the ice made it impossible for him to remain as much of a die-hard fan as he was in his youth. But the organization’s resurgence as an NHL powerhouse over the past few years has brought him back in a big way – his Twitter account’s image is of Paul Newman in the iconic hockey film Slap Shot – and he sometimes finds it hard to believe how much things have changed for what once was a moribund franchise.

“I’m not afraid to admit it – I lost touch,” Punk said. Read more

Blackhawks star Duncan Keith helps special little girl skate and score a goal for the first time

Adam Proteau
Duncan Keith (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Chicago Blackhawks star Duncan Keith is like many NHLers in that he devotes much of his off-ice time to charitable endeavors. And recently, the 31-year-old defenseman did a world of good by doing one of the simplest things any player can do: give their time and heart to a special little girl who was skating – and scoring a goal – for the very first time.

Keith met with a toddler named Cammy and her parents at the Hawks’ practice facility; the young girl has severe cognitive challenges and is unable to walk or speak, but she has a brilliant smile and passion for hockey and wanted little more than to get on the ice, put a puck in a net, and have the goal assisted by her favorite player. That’s just what Keith did for her: Read more

Rumor Roundup: Blackhawks not done, Zuccarello trade talk heats up

Mason-Zuccarello

The Chicago Blackhawks wasted little time utilizing the nearly $6 million in cap relief from superstar Patrick Kane going on long-term injured reserve. On Friday, they acquired veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen from the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2015 second-round pick and a conditional 2016 pick. The following day, they shipped minor-league defenseman Klas Dahlbeck and a 2015 first-round pick to Arizona for forward Antoine Vermette.

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman might not be done dealing. Backup goalie Antti Raanta could be a trade chip. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Lazerus notes Raanta, 25, was recently demoted to the minors while Scott Darling was called up as Corey Crawford’s backup. Lazerus wonders if Raanta still has a future with the Blackhawks. Read more