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POSTED ON Friday, 12.30.2011 / 11:02 PM
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

Five Blackhawks prospects took part in critical preliminary-round games today at the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championships, as both Team USA and Team Sweden triedto secure a spot in the knockout stages of the tournament.

The Americans fell on late goals despite raining shots upon the opposition for the second game in a row, this time to the Czech Republic. Goaltender Petr Mrazek stymied the Americans' best efforts, making 52 saves on 54 shots. With Finland's 10-1 win over Denmark later in the evening, Team USA was eliminated from the competition and must secure their spot in next year's tourney by going through the relegation round.

Sweden, on the other hand, secured a comfortable 9-1 victory over Slovakia, with both Chicago prospects making an impact on the score. The Swedes remain comfortably in second place in Group A, and can take over the top spot with a New Years Eve victory over group leaders Russia.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 12.29.2011 / 3:20 PM
By Brad Boron - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

Among the returns on Thursday was a new face, as Jimmy Hayes was recalled from Rockford ahead of the team’s practice and will likely suit up with the fourth line on Friday.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Hayes, who has scored 18 points with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs this season. “It’s what I’ve worked for my whole life. It was a great phone call to get. It’s what I’ve worked hard to do and I get a chance.”

At 6-foot-6 and 221 pounds, Quenneville said that he likes the toughness and physicality that Hayes could bring to the lineup, but was also impressed with how the 20-year-old Boston College product had improved his skating.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 12.29.2011 / 3:19 PM
By Brad Boron - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

“Return” was the theme at Blackhawks practice on Thursday morning at the United Center.

After playing a handful of games at his familiar right wing position, Patrick Kane lined up at center during team drills between Viktor Stalberg and Patrick Sharp, a likely forecast of where he will begin Friday’s game against arch-rival Detroit.

“The last two times I’ve gone to center [in Pittsburgh and last night against Los Angeles], it seems like we’ve had a little more balance,” Kane said after practice. “We’ve had some good periods and good pressure in their end. I guess maybe they wanted to start out that way and see where it goes.”

Head Coach Joel Quenneville told the media after practice that the move will give Kane a chance to have the puck more often and give him a chance to make plays. Kane played the first two months of this season as the second-line pivot, recording 7 goals and 15 assists before moving back to wing on Dec. 2 against the New York Islanders.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 12.29.2011 / 11:09 AM
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

Team USA's Brandon Saad (Photo by Dave Arnold / davearnoldphotography.com)

The Americans and the Swedes played their second game of the World Junior Championships last night, and the results of both contests were determined by late action.

In Group B, Team USA made some changes to their lineup configuration, notably in goal, where backup John Gibson made his first start. Despite launching 39 shots on Finnish goaltender Sami Aittokallio, USA only managed to dent the twine once.Three late goals by Finland, two of them scored by Buffalo Sabres prospect Joel Armia, sealed a surprising 4-1 victory for the Finns.

In Group A, the Swedes seemed in control of their game against Switzerland, outshooting them 36-13 through the first two periods and taking a two-goal lead into the final frame. The Swiss fought back to tie the game late in regulation, but Sweden ultimately buried both of their shootout attempts to record a 4-3 victory.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 12.28.2011 / 3:38 PM
By John Scott - Special to chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog


John Scott might be quick to throw up his dukes to solve problems on the ice, but away from the rink he’s a 6-foot-8-inch mountain of knowledge, dishing out two-fisted brilliance. Fans submitted their most pressing questions to the Blackhawks via the website, Facebook and Twitter, and Scott weighed in with his advice.

To submit a question for "Ask a Tough Guy," click here.

Do you have any advice for a shorter, stockier fighter such as myself for edging a taller opponent? 
– Justin Rosandich, Crete, Ill.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 12.28.2011 / 3:15 PM
By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / The Blackhawks Blog

CHICAGO -- Injury updates were the theme of the day at the United Center, where both the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings prepared for Wednesday's night's game.

The Kings will be without second-line forward Simon Gagne, who was placed on injured reserve Wednesday morning with an upper body injury believed to be a concussion. The Hawks will be missing rookie center Marcus Kruger (upper body) and forward Daniel Carcillo (upper body), whom they hope will return on Friday against the Detroit Red Wings.

Chicago will have star forward Patrick Kane in uniform against the Kings, though he's fighting off a case of strep throat which hampered his play in Monday's 4-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Kane missed Tuesday's practice, but said the rest he got -- plus some antibiotic medication -- helped him feel much better on Wednesday.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 12.27.2011 / 4:08 PM
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

Sweden's Ludvig Rensfeldt (left) skates against Latvia in Monday's 9-4 win (Photo by HHOF/Images on Ice).

Playing in World Juniors is a collective memory shared by nearly half of the Blackhawks roster, from established veterans including Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook to emerging stars such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Nick Leddy. This year, a new group of the Blackhawks' brightest prospects will carry on the proud tradition.

The 2012 IIHF World Junior Championships began yesterday in Calgary and Edmonton, Alta., and six Blackhawks prospects were selected to represent their countries in the annual showcase of the world’s best under-20 players. Brandon Saad, Adam Clendening and Stephen Johns all suited up for Team USA, while Joakim Nordstrom and Ludvig Rensfeldt took the ice for Sweden (with Johan Mattsson sitting as the backup goalie).

If the five players who skated last night were nervous — and as first-time participants in the tourney, they had every right to be — they didn’t betray much of it on the ice. All five registered at least a point in their respective games, as Sweden cruised to a 9-4 victory over Latvia and the United States trounced Denmark 11-3.

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POSTED ON Monday, 12.19.2011 / 1:43 PM
By Brad Boron - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

Despite suffering an upper body injury during Sunday's 4-2 win over Calgary at the United Center, Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook traveled with the team to Pittsburgh Monday afternoon ahead of their Tuesday meeting with the Penguins, according to Blackhawks media relations.

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POSTED ON Monday, 12.19.2011 / 10:43 AM



The Blackhawks Insider podcast recently sat down with VP/GM Stan Bowman to get his thoughts on the NHL's trade marker, Brandon Pirri and more. Below is an excerpt of his answers.

To listen to the full podcast,
click here. To view the full Blackhawks Insider archive, click here.


I love to play armchair GM like most fans, but how often do trade talks actually happen? Do you have meetings with other GMs, or do you have meetings with your team and then approach other GMs with offers?

There’s a few different ways it comes about. We’re always monitoring internally. We’ve got a lot of good communication amongst my staff, as well as the coaching staff. We meet regularly with the pro scouting staff to assess players they’re seeing around the league that have either improved or dropped off since our last meeting. We do that regularly so that we have a pulse on which players are playing well, and we try to assess our own team’s strengths and weaknesses.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 12.18.2011 / 11:05 PM

Joel Quenneville poses with the game puck after earning his 600th win as an NHL head coach, a 4-2 win over Calgary at the United Center. Captain Jonathan Toews presented the coach with the game puck in the Blackhawks' dressing room. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean / Chicago Blackhawks).
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