Chicago Blackhawks: NHL lockout

Swiss team feeling pride over Kane, Seguin

June, 11, 2013
6/11/13
11:06
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Multiple text messages with the Switzerland country code of 41 popped up on Boston Bruins forward Tyler Seguin's cell phone on Tuesday.

Seguin didn’t have all the numbers saved into his phone’s memory, but he didn’t have to guess where they were all originating. Ever since Seguin and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane played for EHC Biel, a professional hockey team in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, during the NHL lockout, the two players have found themselves being treated as lifelong members of the community’s hockey family.

With Seguin’s Bruins and Kane’s Blackhawks now meeting in the Stanley Cup finals, EHC Biel’s coaches, players and even their fans have been reaching out to them and delivering congratulatory messages for what the two players have accomplished since leaving Switzerland in early January.

“Today, I got text messages from coaches and a couple players, even some fans who got a hold of my number somehow,” Seguin said at the Stanley Cup finals media day on Tuesday. “I think we had a home there for a certain period of time. It was also a pretty big hockey city. It was a lot of fun. It’s nice to see them still showing the support today.”

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Oduya relishes stint with team in Thailand

February, 26, 2013
2/26/13
4:31
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Johnny OduyaCourtesy of Naz BrownJohnny Oduya led the Farangs, an amateur team in Thailand, to their first championship.
The puck scored by Patrick Kane to win the Chicago Blackhawks the 2010 Stanley Cup may have gone missing, but at least they didn't lose the trophy itself.

That's the issue the Flying Farangs of Bangkok, Thailand encountered after winning their own tournament for the first time in 18 years on Oct. 27. At some point in the early hours of the following day after the team took pictures with the trophy, drank beer out of it and even accidentally broke one of its handles, the Farangs misplaced the Land of Smiles Ice Hockey Classic trophy.

[+] EnlargeJohnny Oduya, team photo
Courtesy of Naz BrownSoon after the Farangs won the championship, the trophy disappeared.
Farangs general manager/coach/player Scott Murray believes Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya, then a Farang playing in Thailand because of the NHL lockout, may be responsible for the missing trophy. Oduya, like the rest of the team, says he doesn't know where it is.

The thing is Murray nor anyone else on the team really cares if they see the trophy again. Without Oduya, the Farangs, an amateur team with players of various ages and hockey backgrounds, understand they would never have won the tournament or been given the priceless experience of skating beside an NHL player. That's all that matters to them.

"It was just cool," Murray, a Canadian native, said by phone recently from Thailand. "We had been there so many times and never won it. We felt like idiots. It was euphoric. We had Oduya. We had a professional on the team. Here, he was (Wayne) Gretzky. In the arena, it was Johnny this and Johnny that."

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Blackhawks grateful for fans' loyalty

January, 25, 2013
1/25/13
5:36
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Patrick Kane Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty ImagesThe Blackhawks had a packed house for their game against the St. Louis Blues.


The Chicago Blackhawks are in an unique position of time in terms of appreciating their fan base.

On the one hand, the Blackhawks are getting accustomed to being one of the hottest tickets in town. They’ve led the NHL in home attendance for the past four seasons and have averaged 21,000-plus fans at the United Center throughout that period.

On the other hand, the Blackhawks aren’t that far removed from being among the league’s worst-attended teams. The Blackhawks averaged less than 14,000 fans in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons and were second to last in home attendance in each of those seasons. Even in the 2007-08 season, they were in the bottom half in attendance.

Now that the 2013 season is underway, it’s apparent most Blackhawks fans have rushed back to their team and have put aside any resentment created by the NHL lockout. It’s a welcome sight for the Blackhawks, but it’s also one they stress isn’t being overlooked.

“We’ll never, ever take our fans for granted,” Blackhawks executive vice president Jay Blunk said in a phone interview on Friday. “We’re fortunate our fans are back and back en masse.

“We’ve led the league in (attendance) over the last four years. That wasn’t always the case here. Everyone knows that. Everyone knows the fans are precious and central to our organization. We have to proceed in a humbled manner with our fans, and we always will.”

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Coach: Kane benefited from overseas stint

January, 24, 2013
1/24/13
2:17
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Patrick KaneBill Smith/NHLI/Getty ImagesEHC Biel coach Kevin Schläpfer believes Patrick Kane might have matured as a leader from playing in Switzerland.
EHC Biel coach Kevin Schläpfer may just take credit in Switzerland for Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane's hot start to the NHL season.

Schläpfer coached Kane for 20 games during the NHL lockout, and now Kane started his NHL season with two goals and three assists in three games.

"Maybe I can say he had a good start because of me," Schläpfer said laughing during a recent phone conversation from Switzerland. "I have nothing to do with that, though."

From a hockey standpoint, Schläpfer isn't sure if he taught Kane anything during Kane's nearly two months playing in the Swiss National League A. Kane arrived a gifted player and departed one in Schläpfer's eyes.

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Toews: Players still resent NHL owners

January, 9, 2013
1/09/13
4:57
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Wednesday he believes NHL players resent the league's owners after their tumultuous six-plus months of negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement.

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Lockout wipes out 15 more Hawks games

October, 26, 2012
10/26/12
1:14
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The league's announcement on Friday that all November games in the NHL have been canceled due to the lockout means 15 more Chicago Blackhawks games are wiped out, including the annual circus trip.

The Hawks lost two games against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings along with contests against rivals San Jose and Vancouver. An Original Six matchup between Chicago and Toronto has been canceled as well as a showdown with Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Every year around Thanksgiving, the Blackhawks head west for up to eight games due to the circus taking over the United Center, but that trip has now been canceled.

In all, the NHL has canceled the first two months of the regular season with a league-imposed deadline passing on Thursday, meaning a re-worked schedule to play 82 games is now impossible even if the sides worked out a contract for a new collective bargaining agreement.

With Friday's announcement, expect more players to search for work overseas. Patrick Kane announced earlier this week he would play in Switzerland beginning next week.

Toews: NHL could learn from Hawks' way

October, 11, 2012
10/11/12
3:03
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Stuck in a month-long lockout, the NHL could learn from the way the Chicago Blackhawks conduct their business, team captain Jonathan Toews said Wednesday.

"I've said it before how special hockey is in Chicago and how well I think things are run within the organization here," Toews said after yet another informal workout with teammates on Wednesday. "Things seem really clear to me. If things within the NHL were run the same way as they are here in Chicago I think you'd see quite a bit of difference."

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5 Hawks games lost with NHL cancellation

October, 4, 2012
10/04/12
3:55
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The NHL began canceling regular season games on Thursday due to an owners imposed lockout which has entered its second calendar month. It means five Chicago Blackhawks’ games are gone and more than likely -- even if a deal is reached soon -- those games won’t be rescheduled. The season, if there is one, will undoubtedly be less than the usual 82 games due to this announcement.

Right now the Hawks’ home and road openers, Oct. 13 against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Oct. 16 against the Winnipeg Jets, have been canceled along with games against the Colorado Avalanche (Oct. 18), Detroit Red Wings (Oct. 20) and St. Louis Blues (Oct. 23).

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NHL cancels two weeks of regular season

October, 4, 2012
10/04/12
2:17
PM CT
By ESPN.com news services
ESPNChicago.com
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The National Hockey League canceled two weeks' worth of regular-season games Thursday as the lockout dragged on into its 18th day with no new labor talks scheduled.

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Source: NHL talks could resume Friday

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
12:07
PM CT
Strang By Katie Strang
ESPNChicago.com
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After more than a week of stalled talks between the NHL and the players' union, there appears to be some hope that negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement will resume this week. Formal discussions are "likely" to pick back up Friday, a source told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun Tuesday.

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FAQ: NHL lockout

September, 21, 2012
9/21/12
10:22
AM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
There are many questions surrounding the current lockout in the NHL. We know players can have no contact with team personnel or use team facilities in any manner. And we know players are not paid during this period unless they finished last season injured. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the lockout:

Q: Can any player that signs overseas return immediately when the NHL lockout is over?
A: Yes. Whether they play in Europe or Russia, all contracts should have an out clause if/when the NHL returns.

Q: If the NHL has a shortened season will the schedule be re-done or just picked up from the new start date?
A: It will undoubtedly be re-done since teams probably won’t have the same amount of games left on their schedule and most certainly not the same amount against common opponents, etc. For example, the Blackhawks play the Wings, Jackets and Predators all within the first couple weeks of the season but don’t play the Blues until Dec. 9. There would undoubtedly be an odd number of games left within the division if the season was shortened but the schedule remained unchanged. Plus, arenas could be booked with new events on previous hockey dates so a total overhaul will be required.

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Chat alert: Jesse Rogers at noon

September, 20, 2012
9/20/12
9:23
AM CT
By ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com's Jesse Rogers takes you Blackhawks and lockout questions during a live chat at noon CT Thursday. Click here to submit your questions.

Toews running drills as lockout continues

September, 19, 2012
9/19/12
10:52
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Frustration is starting to set in for NHL players as the league has begun the process of canceling events starting with all pre-season games through Sept. 30.

They may be frustrated but that doesn’t mean they’re anywhere near ready to give in to the owners' demands as the NHL lockout continues through its first week.

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Lockout KOs 4 Hawks preseason games

September, 19, 2012
9/19/12
5:20
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- News on Wednesday that the NHL has canceled preseason games through Sept. 30 eliminated four of six exhibition contests for the Chicago Blackhawks. Two games against Detroit and one each against Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were canceled due to an owners imposed lockout which shows no signs of ending soon.

It leaves the Hawks with two preseason games left on the schedule, Friday, Oct. 5 in Pittsburgh and the next night, Oct. 6 at the United Center against Philadelphia. No word on when those games would be called off nor if the lockout will affect the regular season, which is slated to start on Oct. 13 in Chicago against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Hawks and other NHL players and prospects held another informal workout on Wednesday run by captain Jonathan Toews. No team personnel are allowed to be involved in these player-only workouts.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Kane
PTS GOALS AST +/-
32 15 17 8
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Kane 15
AssistsP. Kane 17
+/-K. Versteeg 15
GAAC. Crawford 1.87