Chicago Blackhawks: Power play

Stock Watch: Special teams trends

January, 27, 2014
Jan 27
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Marcus Kruger, Brandon SaadGetty ImagesMarcus Kruger has been a big asset on the penalty kill while Brandon Saad has cooled off after a hot start.

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1. Penalty kill: The Blackhawks just can’t seem to get the power play and penalty kill clicking at the same time. It’s been the penalty kill that has been succeeding lately. The Blackhawks haven’t allowed a power-play goal in the last five games and have allowed just four goals in 31 power plays this month. They have moved up to 27th in the league with a 78.5 penalty-kill percentage.



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Marcus Kruger
2. Marcus Kruger, forward: Kruger has been one of the more consistent players for the Blackhawks this month. He has one goal, six assists and a plus-two rating for January. He’s recorded a point in four of the last five games. That’s impressive considering all of the defensive zone starts he gets with the fourth line. He’s also been key to the team’s success on the penalty kill in recent weeks.

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Nick Leddy
3. Nick Leddy, defenseman: Leddy may not get the same difficult defensive assignments as consistently as the first two defensive pairings, but he’s doing his job. He hasn’t been on the ice for an even-strength goal in the last eight games. He was especially good in the Blackhawks’ last two games and was among the team’s leaders in Corsi percentage in both games.

FALLING

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Bickell
1. Bryan Bickell, forward: Bickell found himself a healthy scratch on Sunday. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville had been limiting Bickell’s minutes throughout January. He had played less than 10 minutes in eight games this month. Quenneville said Sunday he needs more from Bickell, who has one goal and a minus-six rating for January. He just hasn’t been the same player since returning from his knee injury.

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Brandon Saad
2. Brandon Saad, forward: Saad has cooled off after putting up some consistent scoring numbers through the season’s first three months. He had 14 goals through 42 games. Since then, he’s scored once in the last 12 games. His last goal came against New Jersey Devils on Jan. 3. He has five points and a plus-five rating for the month.

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3. Power play: The Blackhawks’ power play has dipped this month. The Blackhawks have scored four goals on 33 power plays in January. They have one power-play goal over the last six games. Their overall percentage has dropped to 22 percent for the season.

Blackhawks at the midway point

December, 29, 2013
12/29/13
6:27
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Here’s a look at some positives and negatives for the Chicago Blackhawks after 41 games, the regular season’s midway point.

Positives

[+] EnlargePatrick Kane
Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune/MCTKane's excellent first half has shown him to be among the NHL's best scorers.
Patrick Kane: Kane would be many people’s pick for the Hart Memorial Trophy at the midway point of the season. He has 23 goals and 30 assists and is just two points behind Sidney Crosby for the league lead in points. Kane is currently on a career-best 13-game point streak and previously had a 12-game streak this season. He’s recorded points in 25 of his past 26 games.

Patrick Sharp: Sharp has been in a scoring zone for much of December. He has 12 of his 22 goals this month. He’s scored six goals over the past three games. He’s tied for fourth in the league in goals and tied for fifth with 41 points.

Duncan Keith: Keith has said he’s felt great this season, and that’s shown in his numbers. He’s first among the league’s defensemen with 35 assists and 38 points. He’s also averaging a team-high 24:24 of ice time and has a plus-15 rating.

The overall offense: The Blackhawks lead the league with a 3.73 goals per game average. They have scored five or more goals 18 times this season. They have six players with at least 10 goals and four players in the league’s top 20 in points.

Power play: The Blackhawks’ power play has a lot to do with the team’s offensive success. It ranks second in the league with a 24.8 power-play percentage. The unit was 19th last season with a 16.7 percentage.

Sharp-Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa: The Blackhawks’ top line of Sharp, Toews and Hossa has often been behind the Blackhawks’ offensive output. All three players have 10-plus goals and 30-plus points. They’ve combined for a plus-53 rating.

Depth: The Blackhawks are winning again because of their depth. All four lines have been contributing. Kane and Kris Versteeg have developed some chemistry on the second line. The third line of Bryan Bickell, Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad has been solid on both ends of the ice. The fourth line of Brandon Bollig, Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith has often been given the responsibility of playing the opposition’s top line and has held its own. Kruger has also especially improved his faceoffs this season.

Johnny Oduya-Niklas Hjalmarsson: The defensive pairing of Oduya and Hjalmarsson has often been given the assignment of the opponent's top lines. They have combined for a plus-28 rating and both rank in the top 26 among the league’s defensemen in Corsi percentage. The pairing could represent Sweden in the Olympics as well.

No Cup hangover: The Blackhawks had a feeling they were going to overcome a Stanley Cup hangover with all the personnel they had returning, but you never know with such a short offseason. The Blackhawks avoided that by gaining early success and building a 13-3-4 record through 20 games. They had a 9-9-2 record after 20 games during the 2010-11 season. The Blackhawks are currently 27-7-7 and are tied for a league-best 51 points.

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Stock Watch: Kane on pace with Crosby

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
12:40
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Andrew Shaw and Patrick KaneGetty ImagesAndrew Shaw's penalty minutes are hurting the Blackhawks, but Patrick Kane continues to pile up points.

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Patrick Kane
1. Patrick Kane, forward: Kane has been soaring the last 20 games, recording a point in 19 of them. He had a 12-game points streak, went pointless for game and is now on an eight-game points streak. He’s had 33 points during that span and has 15 points in eight games in December. His career-high for points in a month is 20, which he set during the 2009-10 season. His 45 points are only second to Sidney Crosby's 46 points in the league.

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2. Power play: The Blackhawks have scored a power-play goal in nine consecutive games. They didn’t have a streak of more than four games with a power-play goal last season. They rank fifth in the league with a 25.0 power-play percentage. Kane leads the team with 18 power-play points and is followed by Patrick Sharp's 14 points and Duncan Keith's 12.

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Brandon Saad
3. Brandon Saad, forward: Saad leads the Blackhawks with a plus-18 rating. He hasn’t had a minus rating in a game since Nov. 19. He’s also recorded points in five of the last six games and has five goals and two assists in December. He’s played a bit of everywhere this season, but he has been able to remain pretty consistent. He’s sixth on the team with 25 points.

FALLING

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1. Jeremy Morin, forward: was returned to Rockford of the AHL Monday with Bryan Bickell's return. Morin found himself in coach Joel Quenneville’s doghouse again during his latest stint with the Hawks. Morin was made a healthy scratch on Sunday and was replaced by defenseman Sheldon Brookbank on the third line. Morin was also limited to a team-low 7:35 of ice time against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. Quenneville hasn’t given him more than 8:30 of ice time in six games during December.

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2. Penalty kill: There’s a lot of discussion about the Blackhawks’ penalty kill, but there hasn’t been much improvement. It’s what the team’s power play was like last year. The Blackhawks rank 29th in the league with a 73.8 penalty-killing percentage. They went a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill on Sunday, but they had allowed five power-play goals in the previous two games. They have given up power-play goals in 19 games this season.

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Andrew Shaw
3. Andrew Shaw, forward: Shaw has been helping the power play with his net-front presence, but he’s also been putting the Blackhawks in difficult positions with his penalties. He’s had three minor penalties over the last two games and is tied with Brandon Bollig for a team-leading 12 minor penalties. Shaw’s accumulated 13 of his 31 penalty minutes during December.

Stock Watch: Power play making up for PK

December, 9, 2013
12/09/13
11:29
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Patrick Kane, Corey CrawfordGetty ImagesPatrick Kane has been consistently good this season, while Corey Crawford has had some ups and downs.

RISING

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1. Power play, special teams: What a difference a year has made for the power play. The Blackhawks were constantly searching for answers on the power play a season ago, and now they’re producing nearly every game. They rank fourth in the league with a 23.1 power-play percentage. They have scored a power-play goal in their last five games and scored a season-high three power-play goals on Sunday. With the penalty killing struggling this season, the power play has been vital to the Blackhawks’ success.

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Patrick Sharp
2. Patrick Sharp, forward: If Canada is looking for a pure shooter who can score and create rebounds for its Olympic team, Sharp is the solution. He’s fired away at every angle this season, which is leading to production for himself and his teammates. Three of his shots led to goals on Sunday. He scored once and Marian Hossa and Andrew Shaw benefitted with goals off Sharp’s shots. Sharp is averaging five shots on goal in December and 3.8 shots on goal for the season. He’s also tied for second on the team with 27 points. He has 12 goals and 15 assists.

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Patrick Kane
3. Patrick Kane, forward: Kane just continues to pile up points. He added three more on Sunday and now has 37 points in 32 games. He’s tied for second in the league for points with Evgeni Malkin and just trails Sidney Crosby's 42 points. Kane has recorded a point in 17 of his last 18 games.

FALLING

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1. Penalty kill, special teams: The Blackhawks may have had one of their best penalty-killing games from a percentage standpoint against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, but their shorthanded problem hasn’t exactly been fixed. For one, the Panthers are among the league’s worst power-play teams. Aside from that, the Blackhawks had allowed at least one power-play goal in their previous four games. The Blackhawks anticipated some ups and downs on their PK this season, but it’s been far more down than up so far. Despite killing off five penalties on Sunday, the Blackhawks still dropped 1.4 percentage points from the previous week and fell to 29th in the league again with a 73.3 penalty-killing percentage.

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Corey Crawford
2. Corey Crawford, goaltender: Crawford’s consistency was remarkable last season. He kept the Blackhawks in nearly every game and limited his awful starts. He hasn’t been able to follow up that this season. While he has played at a high level at times this year, he has also had his share of struggles. Prior to Sunday’s first-period injury, he had allowed eight goals on 41 shots in his previous two starts. His 2.47 goals-against average and .907 save percentage are among the bottom half of the league’s goaltenders.

A look at positives, negatives for Hawks

December, 6, 2013
12/06/13
11:34
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks were on a roll for much of their recent seven-game road trip, but the past week hasn’t been kind to them. They dropped back-to-back games in regulation and fell in a shootout to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.

Here’s a look at the positives and negatives for the Blackhawks right now:

[+] EnlargePatrick Kane
David Banks/USA TODAY SportsPerhaps the biggest plus the Blackhawks have going for them is the superior play of Patrick Kane.
Positives

1. Patrick Kane is now one of the best offensive players in the game. He’s tied for third in the league with 34 points through 31 games. He’s recorded points in 15 of the past 16 games. He contributed an assist on Ben Smith’s goal on Friday.

2. The Blackhawks can afford a small lull. Despite going 0-2-1 in their past three games, the Blackhawks still lead the NHL with 45 points. They have a 20-6-5 record and a four-point lead on the St. Louis Blues in the Central. The Blues have played four fewer games than the Blackhawks.

3. Rookie netminder Antti Raanta has established himself as a reliable backup and allowed the Blackhawks to rest Corey Crawford. Raanta stopped 23 of 25 shots on Friday. He’s 2-0-1 with a 2.08 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in four games.

4. The Blackhawks’ power play has produced steadily. They couldn’t keep their power play going at a consistent rate last season. The Blackhawks have scored a power-play goal in their past three games and have scored on the power play in 19 of 31 games this season. They have scored 21 power-play goals this season through 31 games; Chicago scored 25 in 48 games past season.

Negatives

1. The Blackhawks’ biggest problem this season has been their penalty kill, and it hasn’t improved much over time. The Blackhawks have allowed 24 power-play goals on 85 chances for a 71.8 percentage. Last season, they allowed 18 goals on 141 chances for an 87.2 percentage. They have given up a power-play goal in each of their past four games.

2. Crawford is struggling. He allowed eight goals on 41 shots in the past two games. He’s allowed four or more goals seven times in 27 games this season. He did that three times in 30 games last season. His 2.49 goals-against average and .906 save percentage puts him in the bottom half of goaltenders in the league.

3. The Blackhawks haven’t been able to play a consistent lineup for some time. They have been without Bryan Bickell for nine games. Michal Handzus has played only in 14 games. Andrew Shaw has missed the past two games with an upper-body injury. Marian Hossa missed five games. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville also hasn’t been happy with the prospects that have come up and hasn’t given them consistent minutes.

4. The Blackhawks are a tired team. They have traveled, practiced or been on the road for 18 of the past 19 days. They get Saturday off completely.

Stock Watch: Hossa generating offense

November, 4, 2013
11/04/13
12:24
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Marian Hossa and Bryan BickellGetty Images

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Marian Hossa
1. Marian Hossa, forward: Hossa has found his timing after a slow start. He’s produced seven points, including three goals, over the last six games after accumulating just five points over his first nine games. He was especially active offensively against the Calgary Flames on Sunday. He scored a goal and had nine total shots, including four on goal. He also had another takeaway against the Flames, giving him 24, which ranks second in the NHL. Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk leads the league with 25 takeaways. A back injury had kept Hossa from playing in the offseason and led to his early inconsistencies.

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Kane
2. Power play: The Blackhawks learned to live without a consistent power play last season. They went through spurts where it was successful, but they lacked production more often than not. They appear to have fixed that problem this season. The Blackhawks have tallied a power-play goal in seven of the last eight games and in 11 of their first 15 games. They also have a 27.8 power-play percentage (5-of-18) at home. No one has benefitted more from the Blackhawks’ power-play success than Patrick Kane. He leads the team with seven power-play points. He notched an assist on Hossa’s game-tying power-play goal on Sunday.

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Marcus Kruger
3. Marcus Kruger, forward: We noted here last week about Kruger’s improved faceoff percentage. Well, he’s taken it to another level. He was 9-of-13 on faceoffs on Sunday and 11-of-15 on Saturday. His overall faceoff percentage has jumped to 51.5 percent, which ranks 46th in the NHL. In the last two games, he’s gone 3-for-3 in the offensive zone, 9-for-14 in the defensive zone and 8-for-11 in the neutral zone.

FALLING

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Nikolai Khabibulin
1. Nikolai Khabibulin, goaltender: Khabibulin’s playing opportunities could be coming to an end soon. After allowing six goals on 25 shots to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 24, he gave up four goals on 22 shots and was pulled in the second period against the Ottawa Senators in his next start on Oct. 29. It’s early in the season and Khabibulin has only started three games, but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville won’t be patient much longer if Khabibulin doesn’t turn his performance around soon.

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Brandon Pirri
2. Brandon Pirri, forward: Pirri’s play has leveled off since being recalled. He hasn’t had a point in the last three games and had his ice time was decreased to 10:26 on Sunday. He’s also struggled in faceoffs lately and went 7-for-23 on them over the weekend. His faceoff percentage has dropped to 41.8 for the season.

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Bickell
3. Bryan Bickell, forward: Bickell has cooled off in the last week after breaking out the week before. After going on a four-game goals streak, he followed up by going without a goal or a point in the last four games. His last goal came on Oct. 26. His shots-on-goal totals have also declined. He’s had six shots on goal over the last four games. The Blackhawks aren’t looking for Bickell to score every game, but they would like some consistency out of him. He has four goals and one assist in 15 games.

Hawks positive about power play so far

October, 7, 2013
10/07/13
4:06
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CHICAGO -- The following words didn’t come out of Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville’s mouth too often last season.

“I liked our power play,” Quenneville said after Monday’s practice at the United Center.

The power play was about the only area the Blackhawks didn’t excel in last season, when they ranked 19th in the league with 16.7 percentage. They went through a few successful spurts, but they failed more often than not and were constantly having to return to the drawing board.

So far, that hasn’t been the case this season. The Blackhawks have been quick to point out that it’s only been two games, but they have seen progress in their power play. They’ve scored twice on the power play, have constantly gotten pucks to the net, have had successful entries and have been able to consistently keep the puck in the offensive zone.

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Six Hawks training camp observations

September, 29, 2013
9/29/13
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Here are six observations from the Chicago Blackhawks' training camp and preseason games:

1. The durability of the Blackhawks’ older players has to be a concern. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has been very cautious with players’ injuries in the preseason. There is no reason to risk anything. Yet, the fact 34-year-old Marian Hossa and 36-year-old Michal Handzus didn’t play in a single preseason game and haven’t been 100 percent healthy in the preseason has to be somewhat alarming. Both players are getting up in age, and both are coming off a season where they suffered severe injuries. With Hossa, there’s a lot at stake for the present, but even more so for the future. Back injuries aren’t anything to mess with, and the Blackhawks are depending on Hossa for years to come. As for Handzus, his injury wouldn’t be as much of an immediate concern if Brandon Saad or Brandon Pirri had worked out at the second-line center. But with Handzus being that option now, the Blackhawks are looking for him to duplicate what he did in the playoffs.

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Top storylines countdown: 30-21

September, 9, 2013
9/09/13
1:55
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Daniel Cleary and Michal RozsivalAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhMichal Rozsival posted one of the best plus/minus ratings for the Blackhawks last season.
ESPNChicago.com’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.

Power play still an issue for Blackhawks

July, 29, 2013
7/29/13
2:31
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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Joel QuennevilleJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesAn improved Blackhawks' power play would go a long way in helping coach Joel Quenneville hoist the Stanley Cup again next summer.
CHICAGO -- Winning the Stanley Cup eased the type of questions the Chicago Blackhawks front office and coaching staff faced at the team's fan convention, but they still couldn't avoid having to answer once again about a power play that has now struggled for two consecutive seasons.

The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last season despite being one of the NHL's most ineffective power-play teams. They ranked 19th in the NHL with a 16.7 power-play percentage in the regular season and 13th in the playoffs with an 11.4 percentage. In the 2011-12 season, they were tied for 25th in the regular season with a 15.2 power-play percentage and were 16th in the playoffs at 5.3 percent.

Last season's Blackhawks and the 2010-11 Boston Bruins have proven you can win a Stanley Cup without a successful power play. But it's still an area the Blackhawks hope to improve next season.

"Special teams is always important," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said on a panel during the convention. "I think we had a great penalty kill last year really from beginning to end. I think our power play is the one area where we had spurts where it was very successful. I think we'd like to get that like the penalty kill, to have that to be a dominant force."

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Hawks' power play comes up empty again

June, 16, 2013
6/16/13
12:48
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CHICAGO -- When the Chicago Blackhawks win and their power play fails, it's a side note.

When the Blackhawks lose, especially in a one-goal game, and their power play fails, those missed opportunities are thrown into the spotlight.

On Saturday night, the spotlight was back on Chicago's power play.

The Blackhawks went goal-less on three power-play opportunities in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals.

The Blackhawks are 0-for-6 on the power play in the series and haven't scored on their past 15 power-play chances dating to Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. They're 7-of-57 for a 12.3 percent success rate through the entire playoffs.

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Blackhawks, Bruins share power-play woes

June, 9, 2013
6/09/13
2:47
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- The question posed in the United Center press box on Saturday night was which team -- the Chicago Blackhawks or Boston Bruins -- had the more inept power play.

It’s not an easy one to answer.

In the regular season, the Bruins were the worst among the two teams on the power play. They ranked 26th in the league with a 14.8 percentage, scoring 18 goals in 122 chances. The Blackhawks ranked 19th with a 16.7 percentage, scoring 25 goals in 150 opportunities.

In the playoffs, the Bruins have been slightly better than the Blackhawks, but neither has done much to improve their efficiency. The Bruins have scored seven power-play goals in 45 chances for a 15.6 percent, and the Blackhawks are 7-of-51 for a 13.7 percent.

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Hawks still seeking productive power play

June, 8, 2013
6/08/13
12:52
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks haven’t been able to find a formula to create consistent power-play success this season, but they haven’t lost hope in still discovering it.

The Blackhawks have scored seven goals on 49 power-play chances for a 14.3 percentage in the playoffs. In the regular season, they scored 25 goals on 151 chances for a 16.6 percentage, which ranked 19th.

Against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference finals, the Blackhawks have tallied one power-play goal in 12 chances through four games.

“For us, I think it’s important,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said after the team’s morning skate Saturday. “We still want to get the power play going. We’ve had chances. We’ve had opportunities. But at the same time, it’s not good enough. You want to cash in and bury those.

“[They] could be huge goals at any part of the game, any time you get those special-teams goals. If it wasn’t for our penalty kill, maybe we’d be talking more about the power play struggling. Our penalty kill has been great.”

As inconsistent as the Blackhawks’ power play has been, their penalty kill has been performing at the other end of the spectrum throughout the playoffs. The Blackhawks have killed off 53 of 55 power plays for a 96.4 percentage, which is first among playoff teams.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews hopes the power play will still ignite and give them some more breathing room in tight games.

“Maybe you look at the game [on Thursday] -- we trailed for at least half the game there until we tied it up in the second [period],” Toews said Friday. “We feel if you take advantage of a few of your power-play chances, maybe you can take the lead, take a little more control of the game, maybe distance yourself a little bit from the other team.

“But, you know, a series ago, we were asking ourselves the same thing. We were answering the same questions about our power play early in the series against Detroit. We came on strong late in the series, and it helped us a lot in winning that series. So it's something that we're always focused on. We'll keep trying to work on. We know that it can make a difference in the series. We're very aware of that.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he would like to see more production from the power play, but he didn’t think it had been awful in recent games.

“I don't think it's a struggle,” Quenneville said. “I thought we did some good things with our power play in the series. The production maybe not reflecting the zone time, the quality, the momentum that you go into the power play with.

“I know the 5-on-3 was a disappointing miss [in Game 4]. At the same time, they're a pretty good penalty-killing team as well. As long as you don't lose the momentum, I think the power play has been OK. But certainly we'd like, you know, something to show for it.”

Hawks' penalty kill keying playoff run

May, 30, 2013
5/30/13
3:04
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- The importance of the Chicago Blackhawks' penalty kill during the playoffs can be understood by their lone failure.

The only power-play goal the Blackhawks have allowed through two series and 12 playoff games came against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series. That goal was costly as it decided the game. The Red Wings won 2-0 with their second goal coming on an empty-netter.

In the playoffs, where goals are at a premium and close games are the norm, the Blackhawks have advanced past two teams and are moving onto the Western Conference finals because their playoff penalty kill has been one of the NHL's best in the past 15 years.

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Pleased with play, Hawks frustrated by loss

May, 24, 2013
5/24/13
12:12
AM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Red Wings vs. BlackhawksRick Osentoski/USA TODAY SportsHawks goalie Corey Crawford stopped 25 of 26 shots against the Red Wings on Thursday.
DETROIT -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith likely summed up what his entire team was feeling after they dropped a third consecutive game to the Detroit Red Wings in their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series on Thursday.

"We're working," Keith said. "I don't know. It's frustrating. I don't really know what to say right now. … I don't really know. You look at it. We competed. Obviously, it's still not good enough. We're going to find a way to get more."

The Blackhawks were mostly in shock following Thursday's 2-0 Game 4 loss. They took full blame for not playing well enough in the Game 2 loss, but they felt everything was in place in Game 3 and again in Game 4 to knock off the Red Wings.

It just didn't happen.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Kane
PTS GOALS AST +/-
36 16 20 9
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Kane 16
AssistsP. Kane 20
+/-K. Versteeg 15
GAAC. Crawford 2.00