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POSTED ON Thursday, 09.01.2011 / 2:52 PM
By Harvey Wittenberg - Web Contributor / The Blackhawks Blog


Coming off the 2010 Stanley Cup championship and the most successful season ever in terms of points by a Chicago team, the Blackhawks had a target on their sweaters during the 2010-11 season. Opponents wanted to use each game as a measuring stick against the champs, and this was especially true in the first two months when the Hawks lost seven games – five by one goal – on United Center ice. Considering the Blackhawks lost only eight home games the year before, there's no doubt that parity of the league and the salary cap has leveled the ice among the teams.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 08.24.2011 / 3:14 PM
By Harvey Wittenberg - Web Contributor / The Blackhawks Blog

Grant Mulvey (Photo from Chicago Blackhawks Archives).


In addition to chicagoblackhawks.com's "10 Impressive Performances" list, here a few more of the most impressive games that can be added to the discussion.

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POSTED ON Monday, 08.15.2011 / 4:10 PM


On October 12, 2000, during the Blackhawks' home opener against Detroit, the team unveiled its 75th Anniversary Team to the United Center crowd before puck drop. Among the honored players were the famed "Party Line" of (L-R) Steve Larmer, Denis Savard and Al Secord, who reunited for one of the first times since their heyday in the 80s.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 08.10.2011 / 10:08 AM
By Brad Boron - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

Adam Clendening was among the 29 U.S.-born players to make the first round of cuts at the World Junior Evaluation Camp.

Blackhawks prospects Adam Clendening and Stephen Johns were among 29 American-born players to make the first cut at the U.S. World Junior Championship evaluation camp. The players who make the final cut will compete to help Team USA win third straight medal at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be held Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Calgary and Edmonton.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 08.10.2011 / 9:08 AM
By Brad Boron - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog


Any Blackhawks fan will tell you how important captain Jonathan Toews is to the team's overall success, but now it seems that the rest of the hockey world is taking note, as well. In a bracket-style vote on TSN.ca, Toews edged Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos in TSN's "Franchise Faceoff," voted the player under 23 with whom most fans would most want to start a franchise.

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POSTED ON Monday, 07.18.2011 / 10:23 AM
By Brad Boron - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog


According to Hockey Prospectus, center Marcus Kruger is the best among a top-tier collection of Blackhawks prospects. The 20-year-old Swedish pivot was named the Hawks' top prospect according to the publication, which also named Chicago's system the fifth-deepest in the NHL behind only Detroit, the New York Islanders, Nashville and Ottawa in the first edition of their 2011 rankings.

"The Blackhawks had an elite level of depth prior to the 2011 draft, and then they went on and had one of the best hauls of any team," writes Hockey Prospectus' Corey Pronman. "The Hawks are one year removed from a Cup and looked like one of the better teams in the NHL last season, and unfortunately for the Central Division they aren't going to be done for a long time. Through a couple of trades and shrewd draft picks, Chicago has managed to build one of the league's elite systems that has the chance to deliver several significant pieces to the big club over the next few years. "

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POSTED ON Sunday, 07.17.2011 / 12:36 PM
By Bob Verdi - Blackhawks Team Historian / The Blackhawks Blog

There are various ways to judge what transpired during the fourth Blackhawks Convention, but for pure objectivity, you might want to lean on those who attended this annual rite of summer at the Hilton Chicago for the first time.

Sunday morning, after participating in a panel discussion, a number of former players returned to their lounge for a bite to eat and a glance at the British Open. To a man, they were dazzled by the weekend's festivities.

"I really didn't know what to expect, but the whole thing is amazing," offered Tom Lysiak, whose opinion was seconded in more or less similar terms by Michel Goulet, John Marks, Greg Gilbert, Dave Manson, and Adam Creighton. All of those former Blackhawks performed in Chicago, and performed well. They also played elsewhere. Gilbert won three Stanley Cups in New York, for goodness sakes. But all of them, in making their Convention debut, saluted the thousands of fans who filled the building, just as they now pack the United Center during the winter.

Harvey Wittenberg, the famous PA announcer from the Chicago Stadium era, also was on the panel discussion and if anyone is an expert on the history of this franchise, it is he. "The way this organization has turned around, so quickly, is truly remarkable," he said.

Manson, who played in Montreal and Toronto, mused, "sometimes when you're away from it for a while, you forget what a great hockey city Chicago is. I thought I was leaving home to come to some small gathering. What happened here was unbelievable."

At the risk of repeating myself, I will say again what I said shortly after the Opening Ceremony. This year's convention felt like an even stronger confirmation of the connection between the Blackhawks and their fans than last year's, when the Stanley Cup was a most special guest. With the silver jug as an attraction, no wonder the spirit was spectacular one July ago. But the vibes one July later served as proof of a long-term relationship that has been forged among the franchise and its supporters. I think, if the National Hockey League awarded a trophy for mutual admiration and commitment, that trophy would have belonged at the Hilton Chicago this weekend.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 07.16.2011 / 2:23 PM
By Bob Verdi - Blackhawks Team Historian / The Blackhawks Blog


The Fourth annual Blackhawks Convention at the Hilton Chicago went into high gear Saturday morning with players scattering throughout, as though it was time for instrasquad games during training camp. At the 'Join The Rush' session, Duncan Keith barely had taken his seat when he was serenaded with "Happy Birthday to You." Indeed, it was the star defenseman's 28th. Moderator Steve Konroyd promptly noted it was his and wife Juli's wedding anniversary.

Later, Keith participated in a "LIfe on the Road" panel with Bryan Bickell, Patrick Sharp and Brent Seabrook. The ovation was enormous and Dan Roan of WGN9 thanked all his viewers, ahem. Sharp is on record as saying Seabrook is a great friend, but a difficult roommate because of his habits and superstitions. Seabrook chimed in by saying that when Sharp, one of Chicago's 50 most beautiful people, is finished loading his luggage for the road, there isn't much room for anybody else. That's why, Seabrook quipped, he can't even bring a toothbrush along. Keith bemoaned his routine of bringing 3 or 4 suits on extended trips, then wearing only one and wondering why he brought the others. Bickell said Seabrook never has that problem because Seabrook wears the same suit all the time, regardless of how long the trip is. The Blackhawks have one excursion of nine straight away games this winter. That will be interesting.

Goalies can seem normal, even though they endure abnormal pressure in what might be the most difficult position in pro sports. Glenn Hall, Tony Esposito and Corey Crawford were insightful during a 'Between The Pipes" panel. Mark Giangreco, popular sportscaster for ABC-7 and a big hockey fan, reminded Hall that he was involved in one of the most famous photographs in the sport's history--Bobby Orr, airborne, scoring the clinching goal in the Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup victory of 1970. Hall was tending goal for Scotty Bowman's St. Louis Blues, an expansion team. Hall told a large audience that he later saw Orr and informed him, "Bobby, I had showered before you landed.'"

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POSTED ON Saturday, 07.16.2011 / 2:15 PM
By Bob Verdi - Blackhawks Team Historian / The Blackhawks Blog


Stan Mikita (L) sits with Denis Savard before Friday's Opening Ceremony.

Everybody is asking about Stan Mikita, and here is his answer.

"I'm doing fine," he said Saturday at the fourth annual Blackhawks Convention. The Hall of Famer and team ambassador was hailed during Friday night's Opening Ceremony at the Hilton Chicago, then participated in various sessions before a thousands of fans who were stunned to learn a couple months ago that Mikita had been diagnosed with stage one cancer.

"Three radiation treatments to go, that's all," said Mikita, who has lost a few pounds but none of his spirit during the process. "Besides a sore throat and kind of a raspy voice, as you can hear, I feel like things are going well. We caught it early and as doctors said when they caught it early, everybody should be optimistic, which we are."

Mikita was joined at the Convention by wife Jill, their daughter Jane, and her family.

"We're having a great time," said Stan. "This whole thing is unbelievable. All these people. I missed last year's convention, so this is really something to see. It kind of typifies what's happened to this franchise in the city. The love affair with hockey has been reborn. I look at the number of fans in the lobby of the hotel and in the ballrooms for these panel discussions...that's more people than we used to have for some of our games during the lean years. Amazing. Glad to be a part of it."

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 07.13.2011 / 10:10 AM
By Harvey Wittenberg - Web Contributor / The Blackhawks Blog
Tommy Ivan (center) stands with Ted Lindsay (right) and Glen Skov (Chicago Blackhawks Archive).

Blackhawks owner James Norris lured Detroit coach Tommy Ivan away from the Red Wings to become Chicago's general manager on July 8, 1954. The Hall of Famer was the guiding hand in turning the Hawks' hockey fortunes.

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