AHL All-Rookie team shows players to watch for next season

Viktor Arvidsson (John Russell/Getty Images)

If you don’t think AHL All-Rookie team honors mean much, consider that New York Islanders rookie Ryan Strome, who has scored 17 goals and 50 points this season, was named to the team just last season.

Strome isn’t the only rookie from the 2014 squad who has shown his skill in the NHL, either. Teemu Pulkkinen, the Detroit Red Wings prospect with a cannon for a slapshot, was named to last year’s list and has 34 goals in 46 games in the AHL this season to go along with five in 29 big league contests.

Wednesday afternoon, the AHL announced this season’s team and the list is full of promising stars. Maybe one day they will add to the list of present day standouts that once appeared on the team, including Zdeno Chara, Jason Spezza, Thomas Vanek, Mike Green, John Carlson, P.K. Subban, Gustav Nyquist and Tyler Toffoli. Read more

Blackhawks’ Darling gets new mask, pays tribute to all things Chicago

Jared Clinton
Scott Darling's new mask (via InGoal Magazine/Headstrong Grafx)

If it’s been on the silver screen or a postcard and has any roots in Chicago, you will find it on Scott Darling’s new mask.

The Lemont, Ill., native’s new lid has just about everything that screams Windy City on it. Whether it’s stunning monuments and attractions like the iconic Cloud Gate – also known as the ‘Bean’ – and the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier or pieces of film history like the Blues Brothers or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, if it’s Chicago, it’s on there. Take a look: Read more

Brad Richards sidelined until playoffs with upper body injury

Jared Clinton
Brad Richards (Rebecca Taylor/NHLI via Getty Images)

Nothing says playoffs like players missing time with secretive injuries, and the Chicago Blackhawks are off to a roaring start. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville announced Tuesday afternoon that center Brad Richards will miss the final three regular season games with an upper body injury.

Richards, who inked a one-year, $2 million deal with the Blackhawks this past off-season, is expected to be back in time for the playoffs, so it could be a minor ailment that the Blackhawks are simply allowing the 34-year-old Richards to nurse back to health. Read more

With or without Patrick Kane in the first round, Hawks will be one of the NHL’s most dangerous playoff teams

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

As they battle St. Louis and Nashville for top spot in the Central Division, the Chicago Blackhawks dropped a hint of what could be terrific news over the weekend: Head coach Joel Quenneville told reporters he wouldn’t rule out injured star Patrick Kane’s return to action as soon as the first round of the playoffs. Now, that may turn out to be a perfect example of the garden-variety subterfuge coaches and organizations engage in from time to time close to or during the post-season. But if it’s not and Kane is back in the Hawks’ lineup long before doctors’ initial prognosis of late May/early June, everybody getting all excited about the L.A. Kings or New York Rangers as this year’s Stanley Cup champions should temper their expectations as long as Chicago is in the playoffs.

And you know what? Even if Kane can’t come back from a broken clavicle suffered in late February until the second or third round, I still like this Blackhawks team as much as any other team in the league this season. They were my pick to win it all before the season began, and they’re still my pick to win what would be their third championship in six seasons.

You can look at the Hawks and be deeply impressed – intimidated, even – by the winning pedigree of Chicago’s on-ice personnel. However, that’s not the only way they wow you. Read more

Former Canadien, Blackhawk Dollard St-Laurent dead at 85

Ken Campbell
Dollard St-Laurent (THN Archives)

It should come as no surprise Dollard St-Laurent, who passed away at 85 today, was one of the driving forces behind the formation of a union that evolved into the NHL Players’ Association.

In fact, St-Laurent could have joined the Canadiens in 1951, but refused to accept what was essentially a two-way contract, which would have allowed the Canadiens to farm him out to the minors at a severely reduced wage. Only when the Canadiens relented and guaranteed him an NHL salary did he sign with the team. Read more

Suspend him or not: Andrew Shaw decks Barret Jackman with launching check

Jared Clinton
Andrew Shaw (Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw hasn’t been suspended in nearly three full years, but he’s certainly been walking a razor-thin line between staying in the lineup and being forced out by suspension over the past month.

In mid-March, Shaw landed a headbutt to the chin of New York Islanders’ center Brock Nelson that felled the rookie and drew the ire of those who believed it should have been a suspension. Luckily for Shaw, no such disciplinary action was taken and he skated free. He might not, however, get away so easily following a launching hit he threw on St. Louis Blues’ defenseman Barret Jackman: Read more

Leafs/Sens, Flyers/Pens & Blues/Hawks prove divisional/regional rivalries are NHL’s bread-and-butter

Flyers forward Jakub Voracek yells at the Penguins bench while being restrained by Evegni Malkin. (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Sunday’s NHL action featured five games, all of which had implications on the playoff race. But of those five, three had a little extra depth to them. The Blackhawks/Blues, Senators/Leafs and Flyers/Penguins games weren’t necessarily more exciting than the Capitals’ win over Detroit or Montreal’s 4-1 victory against Florida, but the regional rivalries always have a discernible zest to them that sets them apart – and that comprises the financial backbone of the league’s most profitable teams.

The Leafs’ season has been abysmal and both their players and fans have looked like they’d checked out of things weeks ago, but Toronto’s players and fans got an emotional jolt in a 2-1 shootout win that dealt Ottawa’s playoff hopes a serious blow. The Flyers did more or less the same thing to the Penguins, only Philadelphia needed just three periods to squash the Pens 4-1 and jeopardize Pittsburgh’s post-season hopes. And the Blues and Hawks have the best kind of rivalry – one in which both teams are headed to the playoffs this year and are jousting for top spot in their division.

Sorry, Detroit vs. Washington and Montreal vs. Florida, but you’re going to have an uphill battle trying to replicate the emotion seen in those type of games. Read more

Blues’ Ryan Reaves pulls his own tooth out after a massive hit from Hawks’ Brent Seabrook

Ryan Reaves (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Hockey is wonderful for a number of reasons, including spontaneous acts of amateur self-dentistry. Blues right winger Ryan Reaves provided the latest example of that phenomenon Sunday night after absorbing a huge hit from Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook.

Reaves was drilled into the boards by Seabrook late in the second period of Chicago’s game against St. Louis, and when he made it back to the bench, he casually yanked out a tooth and handed it to the Blues trainer: Read more