Chicago Blackhawks: Michael Frolik

Former Hawks report: Leddy fitting in with Islanders

November, 22, 2014
Powers By Scott Powers
Here’s a look at how some former recent Chicago Blackhawks are doing with their different teams:

Nick Leddy, defenseman, New York Islanders, traded October of 2014
The Blackhawks traded Leddy prior to this season because they needed to get under the salary cap. Leddy, 23, has adapted to a new team nicely for the Islanders. He has five goals, four assists, is a plus-7 and has averaged 19:28 of ice time in 19 games this season. He leads the Islanders with a 59.32 Corsi percentage.

Brandon Pirri, forward, Florida Panthers, traded March of 2014
The Blackhawks moved Pirri after he struggled to earn ice time last season. Pirri, 23, hasn’t played for the Panthers since Oct. 30 due to a concussion. He is expected to return soon. He was on a roll before suffering the injury, scoring goals in three consecutive games. He had also been a healthy scratch early in the season. He has three goals and is a plus-2 in four games this season.

Jimmy Hayes, forward, Florida Panthers, traded November of 2013
The Blackhawks traded Hayes after he didn’t fit the bill as a third-line winger early last season. Hayes, 25, was a healthy scratch early this season for the Panthers, but he has had better times as of late. He has scored in three of the last five games and has five points during that span. He has four goals, four assists and is a plus-5 in 11 games this season.

Dylan Olsen, defenseman, Florida Panthers, traded November of 2013
The Blackhawks traded Olsen as part of the deal to obtain Kris Versteeg. Olsen, 23, has found a permanent spot in the Panthers’ defense. He has played in 17 games this season and has averaged 16:01 of ice time. He has four assists and is a plus-1.

Ryan Stanton, defenseman, Vancouver Canucks, waived September of 2013
The Blackhawks were hoping to get Stanton through waivers, but the Canucks picked him up. Stanton, 25, hasn’t had a stellar season. He missed time early in the season with a lower-body injury and was a healthy scratch against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday. He has one assist, is a minus-1 and averaged 15:11 of ice time in 10 games this season.

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Blackhawks' Top 10 games of 2013

December, 26, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
Brent SeabrookScott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune/MCTThe Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook celebrates his overtime goal to beat the Detroit Red Wings, 2-1, in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals at the United Center on May 29.

The Chicago Blackhawks played in some unforgettable games during 2013. There's still three to go, but here’s a look at the 10 best so far:

No. 10 -- Blackhawks 6, Senators 5, Oct. 29: Nine of the Blackhawks’ top games of 2013 occurred last season, mostly due to the context of the Blackhawks’ playoff run and their points streak. This recent game made the list because it had a bit of everything. The Blackhawks went down 4-2, and Nikolai Khabibulin was relieved by Corey Crawford in the second period. Crawford stopped 14 of 15 shots over the remainder of the game. Jonathan Toews took care of the rest. He scored three consecutive goals and put the Blackhawks ahead 5-4. Toews also had an assist. Andrew Shaw scored two goals, and Marian Hossa tallied his 100th career Blackhawks goal.

No. 9 -- Blackhawks 3, Avalanche 2, March 6: The Blackhawks turned to many different players to contribute during their 24-game points streak. This was Daniel Carcillo's day. Carcillo scored the game-winner with 49.3 seconds left in the third period to defeat the Colorado Avalanche and had one of the season’s more memorable celebrations as he skidded on his knees. The Blackhawks would lose the next game and their record-setting streak ended.

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Reasons for the Hawks' PK struggles

December, 10, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
The Chicago Blackhawks have allowed power-play goals for a variety of reasons this season. Here are some possible reasons why the goals have occurred at a higher rate this season:

-- A lot has been made of Michael Frolik’s absence this season. It’s hard to believe one player had so much influence on the penalty-killing success, but he definitely played a large role in it. For one, Marcus Kruger and Frolik were together on almost all of their penalty-killing shifts last season. Kruger hasn’t had that consistency this season. His forward partners have been Michal Handzus, Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Ben Smith, Joakim Nordstrom and Brad Mills. Kruger was paired with either Shaw, Nordstrom or Smith for nine of the 24 power-play goals the Blackhawks have allowed this season. That lack of familiarity and lack of confidence have made the Blackhawks a weaker penalty-killing unit.

“We’ve been looking at how we did it last year and why it worked then,” Kruger recently said. “It seemed like we had more confidence when we were out there. Now it seems like we’re maybe up on our heals there and don’t want to get scored on. It almost felt nice last year to get a PK and kill that off.”

-- Frolik and Kruger were more aggressive and disruptive last season. After looking at games from last season, it’s noticeable how Frolik and Kruger were set up higher, were attacking the points more fiercely, were in synch with their switches and often broke up plays in the neutral zone. Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa have that down that pretty well this season. They have been on the ice together for five of the 24 power-play goals. Toews is second in shorthanded ice time and Hossa is fourth.

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Kruger, Saad developing bond on PK

November, 9, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forwards Marcus Kruger and Brandon Saad possess all of the physical tools to be an effective forward tandem on the penalty kill.

[+] EnlargeBlackhawks
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhMarcus Kruger and Brandon Saad are beginning to provide a much-needed boost to the Blackhawks' penalty kill.
But as former Blackhawk Michael Frolik said during his stop in Chicago with the Winnipeg Jets earlier in the week, physical tools are just part of the equation when it comes to the penalty kill. What made Frolik and Kruger one of the best penalty-killing duos in the NHL last season was communication and chemistry, along with those physical attributes.

“Yes, there’s communication in knowing where somebody is,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville explained on Friday. “You got to have them there. I know when you watch it after on the tape, if the guy’s not there, then you’re almost out of position. I think there’s kind of a mindset where you got to know where each other are almost to the point where you got to be exactly at the right spot. You can work with that in time. We try to make it where there’s not a lot of hesitation, and expectations are everybody’s got to be there and do the right things.”

Kruger and Saad knew developing such a bond wouldn’t come instantly, but now that they have spent some time together on the penalty kill, they believe that bond is beginning to get there. For the Blackhawks, who rank last in penalty-kill percentage, that’s positive news.

“Maybe it didn’t click right away, but it gets better and better and getting to that level where it’s pretty good all the time,” Kruger said Friday. “It’s not going to be perfect from the start, probably. That’s hard to find, but hopefully we can get better and better and by the end of the year be on the top there.”

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Hawks miss Frolik's presence on penalty kill

November, 2, 2013
By Scott Billeck
Special to
Michael Frolik will play against his former team, the team he won a Stanley Cup with last season, when the Winnipeg Jets face the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

“I think it is something special,” Frolik said. “I am going to be (connected) with these guys the rest of my life on the Cup, so it is kind of special. (It is) nice to see the guys, and we know they are a good team, and obviously I want to beat them.”

One would assume Frolik would miss playing for the defending champions, but if you look at the stats, his former team just might be missing him even more.

Sure, the Blackhawks are off to a flying start. Sure, scoring hasn’t been an issue and Frolik was never looked upon for that kind of production. He was, however, a monster on the penalty kill.

In 2012-13, the Blackhawks owned the third-best penalty-killing unit in the league. Frolik spent close to one-fifth of his total ice-time on the penalty kill with 108 minutes and change. He averaged 2:24 a game with partner Marcus Kruger.

But after a trade sent him to the Jets in the offseason, the Blackhawks were left with a substantial hole on the penalty kill.

“He was very useful for us,” Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said. “He didn’t even get that chance before and he took advantage of it and got some quality ice and had a big year on the account of that.”

This season, the Blackhawks own the league's worst penalty-killing unit. In 40 short-handed situations, the Blackhawks have been scored on 11 times. Their 72.5 percent penalty kill is a far cry from last season’s 87.2 clip.

“We have had a tough start,” said Quenneville. “We have been improving the kill, but the stats don’t reflect it. We think we are trending in the right direction and improving it.”

High, lows of former Hawks around NHL

October, 30, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
The Chicago Blackhawks bid farewell to a handful of players after last season and one at the start of this season. Here’s a look at how those players are faring elsewhere:

[+] EnlargeDave Bolland
AP Photo/The Canadian Press/Nathan DenetteSince his departure from the Blackhawks, Dave Bolland has made major strides with Toronto.

Dave Bolland, Toronto Maple Leafs, traded for draft picks

The change in scenery has done wonders for Bolland. He’s quickly become an impact player for the Maple Leafs on both sides of the ice and has helped them to a 9-4-0 record. He has six goals and four assists in 13 games and has averaged 16:46 of ice time. He failed to produce a point in his Oct. 16 return to the United Center, but he’s since had three goals and one assist in the last four games. He also helped contain Sidney Crosby in the Maple Leafs’ recent 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Viktor Stalberg, Nashville Predators, free-agent signing

Stalberg was unhappy with his role with the Blackhawks by the end of last season. He was looking to move on and get a fresh start somewhere else. The Predators saw a lot of upside in Stalberg and signed him to a four-year, $12 million contract. It’s been downhill since then. Stalberg began the season injured. He entered the lineup in mid-October and has since struggled. He has zero points in six games and has been scratched the last two games.

[+] EnlargeRay Emery
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Ray Emery's decision to leave the Hawks for a chance to start with the Flyers has backfired early, as he's struggled in his first couple of games.

Ray Emery, Philadelphia Flyers, free-agent signing

Emery chose to leave the Blackhawks -- not because of money, but because he saw an opportunity to start for the Flyers. The Blackhawks are actually paying Nikolai Khabibulin more than what Emery received from the Flyers. Emery’s plan hasn’t worked out for him. He struggled in two early-season starts, allowing four goals in each game. Steve Mason was given an opportunity to start for the Flyers, and he’s running with it. He’s started the Flyers’ last five games and hasn’t allowed more than three goals in any of them. Emery was always a team player with the Blackhawks and appears to be saying the right things again in Philadelphia.

Michael Frolik, Winnipeg Jets, traded for draft picks

While the Blackhawks still search for someone to replace Frolik on the penalty kill, Frolik is looking for consistency with the Jets. Frolik began the season with a bang, as he scored two goals in the first game and had an assist in the second game. Since then, he’s had zero goals and three assists in the last 11 games. He’s averaged 14:07 of ice time, but he’s not often utilized on the penalty kill. He was second among forwards in short-handed ice time for the Blackhawks last season and is just averaging 52 seconds a game on the penalty kill this season. The Blackhawks will face Frolik for the first time this season on Saturday.

Daniel Carcillo, Los Angeles Kings, traded for conditional draft pick

Carcillo was in and out of the Blackhawks’ lineup throughout his stay in Chicago, and it was no surprise he was traded to the Kings. He’s had one goal and one assist and averaged 10:07 of ice time in nine games this season. He’s been in two fights and has 16 penalty minutes and 16 hits. It’s about what’s expected from him.

Carter Hutton, Nashville Predators, free-agent signing

Hutton wasn’t given much of a shot with the Blackhawks. He played just one game with them. He signed a one-year deal with the Predators in the offseason and has already played in four games this season, because Pekka Rinne has been out of the lineup. Hutton has a 2-1-0 record with a 2.42 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. He struggled in the Predators’ last game and was pulled in the third period during a 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.

Ryan Stanton, Vancouver Canucks, waiver claim

Stanton was put on waivers when the Blackhawks decided to keep Michael Kostka as the team’s eighth defensemen. The Canucks claimed Stanton and have put him to use. Stanton has averaged 14:10 of ice time and has had one goal, four assists and a plus-4 rating in 14 games. He had signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks in the offseason.

Hawks still searching for Frolik replacement

October, 27, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks appear to miss Michael Frolik more than they expected to this season.

The Blackhawks were among the NHL’s best penalty-killing teams last season. They ranked third in the league with an 87.2 penalty-kill percentage, and it was their penalty kill that often made the difference as they put together a 19-3-5 record in one-goal games and captured the Presidents’ Trophy.

Of that dominating penalty-killing unit, Frolik was the lone member not to return this season. He was dealt to the Winnipeg Jets in the offseason to free up cap space. The Blackhawks never diminished Frolik’s role on last year’s Stanley Cup championship team, but he was viewed as replaceable.

The problem for the Blackhawks through 11 games this season is they haven’t figured out who’s actually capable of replacing him. While they continue to locate that someone, the Blackhawks have been paying a price for it.

The Blackhawks are ranked last in the NHL with a 72.2 penalty-kill percentage. They’ve allowed 10 goals on 36 power-play opportunities and have held opponents without a power-play goal in just four of the 11 games.

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Nordstrom no longer a long shot

September, 27, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- Joakim Nordstrom was realistic about his odds of making the Chicago Blackhawks’ roster out of training camp.

The 21-year-old understood there were a couple of roster spots open and that a number of established prospects were likely going to land them. What Nordstrom promised himself was he wasn’t going to leave camp with any regrets whether or not he made the team.

“I might have been a long shot, but I worked hard all this summer and came here prepared,” Nordstrom said Friday. “My mindset was to work as hard as I could and give myself the chance.”

With just a few days of camp remaining, Nordstrom’s confident he has lived up to his own promise. And in doing so, it appears as if he might have defied the odds and earned one of the remaining roster spots.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville must make three roster cuts prior to Tuesday’s season opener, and he said Friday that Nordstrom was in a good spot compared to the other players on the bubble.

“The way he’s played, he’s enhanced his position, but I think it’s close in all the other positions,” Quenneville said after Friday’s practice.

Nordstrom separated himself from the other prospects by proving to be a suitable penalty kill partner for Marcus Kruger. Michael Frolik and Kruger were key to the Blackhawks’ penalty kill success last season and Quenneville was in search of someone to replace Frolik, who is now with the Winnipeg Jets.

“I think we were looking for the guy maybe more so for that role,” Quenneville said. “That [Frolik] niche that they had, him and [Kruger] really stabilized a need for us. If we can get that guy right out of the gate, that would be ideal for us. I think [Nordstrom’s] been pretty efficient in that role so far. I think it’s helped him along this camp.”

Nordstrom had played some penalty kill for the Swedish junior national team and didn’t feel out of sorts when given that opportunity by Quenneville. Kruger, who is also from Sweden, has also assisted Nordstrom.

“I think that’s one of my biggest strengths,” Nordstrom said of the penalty kill. “I look at myself as a hockey player. That’s one spot that’s open. I think it makes sense that I’m looking to take that spot.

“[Kruger’s] been helping me a lot. Obviously it’s a new language. Some of the words I’m still trying to figure out. The new system and all that kind of stuff he’s been helping me out. He’s been great for me.”

As happy as Nordstrom is to make it this far in camp, he isn’t about to relax until the final cuts are made. The Blackhawks will play one final preseason game Saturday before the final roster is established.

Nordstrom is hopeful he’ll make the team, but he’s prepared to head back to the Rockford IceHogs and keep pushing for his dream.

“My dream ever since I found out about the NHL when I was small and skating, I always wanted to play here,” Nordstrom said. “So I’m not going to give up that dream until I stop playing. I’ll just work harder.”

Hawks notebook: Not focusing on repeat

September, 11, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Chicago Blackhawks obviously want to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

[+] EnlargeJonathan Toews
Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesJonathan Toews says now is not the time to begin talk about the Blackhawks' chances of repeating their Stanley Cup season.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews just didn't think Wednesday, the first day of training camp, was the time to be focused on that.

"When you win the Stanley Cup and you come in the following season, it's happened to us twice now, the talk is always going to be about repeating," Toews said at a news conference at the University of Notre Dame. "We kind of understand that. But we know that we don't really want to be talking about that yet. It's a long ways away. Like we said, we got to focus on the start of the season and not making the mistakes we made last time.

"Once we get to building ourselves up as a team the way we did last year and preparing ourselves for the playoff run, we want to put ourselves in a position come playoff time to be that team that can compete for it again. But we know with what happened last year, we know there's a lot of pressures, a lot of things that play into that. That's our goal for now. We believe that we can be that team that has a chance to [repeat] and can be one of those motivating factors."

Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp also said he thought he and his teammates had moved on from last season's success and the trophy that accompanied it.

"If you ask the players, the three of us [Duncan Keith, Toews and himself], we're certainly done with [the Stanley Cup]," Sharp said. "We enjoyed it. We had our fun with it. But we're focused on starting a new season and kind of turning the page on what happened last year. Personally, I'm done with it. I had a great time; my family and friends enjoyed it. But I'm ready to go and try to win it again."

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Top storylines countdown: 20-11

September, 10, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
Brandon SaadKirk Irwin/Getty ImagesHow will Brandon Saad handle playing his first 82-game NHL season?'s Blackhawks reporter Scott Powers is counting down this season's top-50 storylines leading into this week's training camp. Here's the fourth installment:

20. Getting Leddy back to form
Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy had a postseason to forget with a minus-8 rating in 23 games and was limited to a career-low 2:37 of ice time in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville's lack of confidence in Leddy isn't expected to carry over into this season, but it would help both sides for Leddy to have a strong start to the season. He is still just 22, but he's now entering his fourth NHL season and will be expected to be more consistent. He signed a two-year, $5.4 million deal in the offseason.

19. Keeping Shaw on the right side of the line
Andrew Shaw thrived last season in the role of agitator and third-line center for the Blackhawks. On the third line, he was reliable enough defensively, was able to set up his wingers and could chip in the occasional goal. He has also been known to mix it up with opposing players and get under their skin. His post-whistle activities have at times worked against the Blackhawks and led to unnecessary penalties. Michal Handzus had a talk with Shaw during the playoffs about utilizing that additional energy, but also being smart about it. Shaw did a better job of doing that as the playoffs progressed. It will be important again for Shaw to find the right side of that line this season.

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Top storylines countdown: 30-21

September, 9, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
Daniel Cleary and Michal RozsivalAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhMichal Rozsival posted one of the best plus/minus ratings for the Blackhawks last season.’s Blackhawks reporter Scott Powers is counting down this season’s top-50 storylines leading into this week’s training camp. Here’s the third installment:

30. Brookbank, Rozsival splitting time
Good things happened for the Blackhawks last season when defenseman Michal Rozsival was on the ice. He had a plus-18 rating, third on the team, in the regular season and a plus-9 rating, tied for fifth, in the playoffs. During the regular season, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville split ice time between Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank. Quenneville did that partly because Rozsival was dealing with an injury early in the season, but he also wanted to keep both players fresh. Quenneville eventually opted to use Rozsival throughout the playoffs, but expect Rozsival and Brookbank to be involved in another rotation this season. The Blackhawks hope Brookbank will bounce back from a subpar 2013 season and play as he did in his final season with the Anaheim Ducks, when he had 14 points and a plus-11 rating in 80 games.

29. The third line -- Shaw and who else?
Andrew Shaw is likely to center the third line for another season. It’s just not certain who will be beside him. Shaw, Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg gave the Blackhawks a consistent third line last season. Bickell is now likely to move into a top-6 forward role after receiving a sizeable pay increase in the offseason, and Stalberg signed with the Nashville Predators. If Brandon Saad doesn’t work out as the second-line center, he could be a perfect fit on the third line. Saad would give the line some scoring punch and ease the pressure off him as he plays in his first 82-game NHL season. Jimmy Hayes is another possibility. He got called up from Rockford last season and had four points in 10 games with the Blackhawks. Jeremy Morin, who led the IceHogs with 30 goals last season, Brandon Pirri, who led the IceHogs in points, and Ben Smith could be in the mix as well.

28. Oduya’s continued consistency
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman hasn’t traded for many players over the last few seasons, but the few players he has acquired have worked out for the Blackhawks. Defenseman Johnny Oduya was dealt for in the 2011-12 season and quickly proved to be a valuable asset. Oduya continued to be a consistent defenseman last season and had a plus-12 regular-season rating and a plus-12 playoff rating. He and Niklas Hjalmarsson have given the Blackhawks a strong second defensive pairing. The Blackhawks will hope for more of the same this season. Not that Oduya is solely responsible, but the Blackhawks are 49-9-9 in the regular season since Oduya was traded for in 2012.

27. The other Swedish defenseman
There were rumors just a season ago that the Blackhawks could deal Niklas Hjalmarsson to free up money. A lot has changed since then. Hjalmarsson helped the Blackhawks to another Stanley Cup last season with a plus-15 regular-season rating and a plus-10 playoff rating, and Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman recently showed how important Hjalmarsson is to the franchise’s future. Bowman made sure Hjalmarsson would continue to be a part of the Blackhawks’ core for many years to come as Hjalmarsson signed a five-year extension which will keep him in Chicago through the 2018-19 season.

26. Bickell-Toews-Kane line
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville toyed with the team’s lines during the playoffs last season until he found something that worked. One of the lines he found to be most the productive was Bryan Bickell, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The line had success in the Western Conference finals and Stanley Cup finals. It’ll be interesting to see whether Quenneville tries that line again to start the season. Bickell was a regular on the third line last season, but is expected to a be a top-6 forward this season after his new contract. Quenneville often split up Kane and Toews last season to balance the lines. Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa are also expected to be on the first two lines, along with a new second-line center.

25. Need some luck
The Blackhawks possess plenty of skill. No doubt. But to win a Stanley Cup, you also have to possess some luck. In Rob Vollman’s "Hockey Abstract," he breaks down that luck can be accounted for by a team’s shooting and save percentages, special teams index, injuries, post-regulation record and record in one-goal games. After taking into account all those factors, Vollman determined the Blackhawks were the third luckiest team last season behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins. He also calculated what the standings would have been last season if there had been 82 games and luck wasn’t a factor, and his luck-neutral standings were the Ottawa Senators would have finished with 104 points, the Detroit Red Wings with 103 points and the Blackhawks with 99 points. Finally, he predicted this season’s standings based on last season’s results, the removal of luck and major roster changes, and he has the Senators and New Jersey Devils finishing with 105 points, and the Blackhawks in 11th place overall with 93 points.

24. A new, but old, backup
The Blackhawks were the league’s best regular-season team last season largely because of the play of two goaltenders. Corey Crawford carried the goaltending load in the playoffs, but Ray Emery was just as important in the regular season, posting a 17-1-0 record, a 1.94 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. Emery is gone now, and the Blackhawks’ backup responsibilities fall upon Nikolai Khabibulin, who is back with the Blackhawks for a second time. Khabibulin is 40 years old, but the Blackhawks are convinced he can still be a solid backup. He has been that at times the past few seasons, but he’s also had some inconsistencies due to injuries. If Antti Raanta progresses as the Blackhawks hope, he could fill in for Khabibulin if his play declines in the second half of the season.

23. Hitting the road twice
The Blackhawks will face two lengthy road trips this season. They will play seven consecutive road games from Nov. 19-Nov. 30 with games at Colorado, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Dallas and Phoenix. They’ll also play seven consecutive road games beginning on Jan. 28 and ending on Feb. 27 with the Olympics in between those dates. Prior to the Olympics, the Blackhawks will play at Calgary, Vancouver, San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Phoenix. After the Olympics, the Blackhawks open on the road against the New York Rangers. The Blackhawks were 18-4-2 on the road last season and went 4-0-2 on their longest road trip of the season.

22. That power-play issue
No, a team doesn’t need an effective power play to win the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks proved that again last season. But, yes, it wouldn’t hurt to have one. The Blackhawks’ power play struggled to find consistency for the second consecutive season last year. They ranked 19th with a 16.7 power-play percentage in the regular season. The Blackhawks undoubtedly have talented offensive players, but that hasn’t translated to power-play success. Blackhawks assistant coach Jamie Kompon said at the convention, “Eventually, there comes a time when players try to do too much as opposed to keeping it simple. When you simplify things, that's usually the way the pucks go into the net.” That will be the goal this season.

21. Replacing Frolik
Michael Frolik made himself a valuable piece to the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup run last season with his play on the penalty kill. Frolik and Marcus Kruger were considered unsung heroes, but everyone knew about their penalty kill contributions by the end of the season. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville recently said Ben Smith could be the guy to replace Frolik. Smith hasn’t stuck in the NHL yet, but he has played in some big games – like Game 3 of the Stanley Cup last season – and seems mature enough to understand the importance of that role.

Top 50 Hawks storylines countdown

September, 5, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
Brandon Bollig, Torey Krug Robin Alam/Icon SMIIs there a spot for an enforcer such as Brandon Bollig on the Hawks roster this season?
A Stanley Cup repeat attempt with nearly everyone back, the Olympics, Bryan Bickell's emergence, the continued evolution of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, Nikolai Khabibulin's return, trying to replace Michael Frolik, Andrew Shaw's continued growth as an agitator -- the storylines should be aplenty for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013-2014 season.'s Blackhawks reporter Scott Powers will count down this season's top 50 storylines over the next week leading into training camp.

Here's the first installment:

50. Bollig, the enforcer
The Blackhawks will likely be auditioning for five roster spots during training camp. One of those positions will likely go to Brandon Bollig. Some may argue enforcers aren't really needed on a team, but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has often liked to have someone who isn't afraid to drop his gloves and step up for his teammates. With Jamal Mayers and Daniel Carcillo gone, there aren't many of those type of players remaining on the roster. Bollig led the Blackhawks with five fights last season. He will be looking for his first career point this season. He has zero points in 43 career NHL games.

49. Sellout and attendance streak
The Blackhawks are aiming to lead the NHL in attendance for the sixth consecutive season. They have sold out the United Center for 187 consecutive regular-season games dating back to the 2008-09 season. They averaged a paid attendance of 21,775 during their 24 home games last season.

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Smith likely to get shot at Frolik's PK spot

August, 12, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
Ben Smith Dave Sandford/NHLI/Getty ImagesJoel Quenneville had enough confidence in Ben Smith that he played him in the Stanley Cup finals.
Michael Frolik's individual numbers weren't anything special for the Chicago Blackhawks last season.

Frolik was tied for fourth on the team with 98 shots on goals in the regular season, but scored just three goals in 45 games. His accuracy improved in the playoffs, but it won't be his offense the Blackhawks will be looking to substitute this upcoming season with Frolik now gone to the Winnipeg Jets. The Blackhawks possess a number of players capable of filling Frolik's role on the fourth line.

Where the difficulty lies is finding someone to duplicate what he did for the team's penalty kill last season. Frolik embraced his place on the special teams and became a vital piece to why the Blackhawks were among the league leaders in penalty-kill percentage during the regular season and playoffs.

(Read full post)

GM: Hawks in good position going forward

July, 5, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was more than fine with being a minor participant in the first day of NHL free agency on Friday.

Bowman’s lone moves Friday were signing Nikolai Khabibulin to be a backup goaltender and re-signing forward Michal Handzus and defenseman Michal Rozsival. He also previously re-signed forward Bryan Bickell and defenseman Nick Leddy.

“I’ve always had the philosophy if you’re relying on the free-agent period in July to save your team, it’s probably not the prescription we’re looking for,” Bowman said on Friday night. “Adding a player here and there is certainly understandable. Bryan Bickell, I guess, could fall into that category. We got him signed a week ago leading into this. He’s the only guy you can put into that category for us, the frenzy.

“I think the way to build success and sustain it is through the draft and develop your players and add in the occasional player through free agency. If I had my choice, I would do it the way we’ve done it recently which is develop from within, have your young players emerge over time, don’t rush them to the NHL and really use the draft and the development of your young players as a way to find really good players. Fortunately, we’ve been able to do that. When we find a group that has had success, we can keep it together like we have this summer. That’s the preferred method for us. I think it’s the most prudent way in the salary cap world to sustain success.”

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Video: Tough parting with Bolland, Frolik

July, 3, 2013
By Staff



Patrick Kane
56 25 31 11
GoalsP. Kane 25
AssistsP. Kane 31
+/-D. Rundblad 16
GAAC. Crawford 2.28