POSTED ON Wednesday, 01.11.2012 / 1:19 PM CT
By Brad Boron - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog


In a league where developing and keeping young talent is a priority, the Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are among the best of the best, according to ESPN.com's rankings of the best NHL players under 25. Toews earned the top spot on the list, besting the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby, while Kane placed fourth overall, just behind Washington's Nicklas Backstrom. Boston's Tuukka Rask rounds out the top 5.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 12:16 PM CT

Do you want to grow a mustache like Head Coach Joel Quenneville? Blackhawks Magazine shows you how in just three easy steps! Plus, extra tips on growing, grooming, side effects and tips for advanced mustachionados!

Click the graphic on the right to download the full .pdf file!

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POSTED ON Sunday, 01.8.2012 / 2:26 PM CT
By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / The Blackhawks Blog


Kruger
CHICAGO -- He won't play on Sunday night against the Detroit Red Wings, but Chicago Blackhawks rookie center Marcus Kruger went through the team's morning skate on Sunday at the United Center.

It was the first team-oriented session he's been able to participate in since the morning skate on Dec. 26 prior to playing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

That game was Kruger's first back after a suspected concussion resulting from an illegal hit by Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland forced him to miss a Dec. 21 game against the Montreal Candiens. The Blue Jackets hit Kruger hard twice in the first period of that game and he hasn't played since -- a span of five straight games -- despite finishing the Columbus game and totaling 14:23 of ice time.

"I feel good," said Kruger, who still isn't cleared for contact yet. "It's good to be back with the guys on the ice. It's been awhile, but it feels good."

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POSTED ON Sunday, 01.8.2012 / 2:08 PM CT
By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / The Blackhawks Blog

Montador
How long does it take to have your season flipped on its collective ear in the NHL these days?

Apparently, less than a week.

The Chicago Blackhawks have found that lesson out first hand this past week. After a three game losing streak that started Jan. 2 against the Edmonton Oilers, they've gone from topping the League, Western Conference and Central Division standings with 52 points before this past Wednesday's action to sixth overall in the NHL, fourth in the West and second in their division.

Chicago has also lost four of its last five games during what appears to be a mid-season funk and now find themselves just five points ahead of the ninth-place Los Angeles Kings as the Detroit Red Wings come to the Windy City on Sunday night (7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN2).

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POSTED ON Thursday, 01.5.2012 / 9:34 PM CT
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

Joakim Nordstrom celebrates Sweden's gold medal after defeating Russia 1-0 in overtime. (Photo by Getty Images)

The curtain closed on the 2012 World Junior Championships last night in dramatic fashion, with two Blackhawks prospects playing for Team Sweden in the gold medal game.

Team USA concluded their stay at the tournament Wednesday evening with a tight 2-1 victory over Switzerland, finishing seventh overall in the competition. All three goals were scored in the first period and the game-winner came from defenseman Kevin Gravel, with Blackhawks prospect Adam Clendening getting an assist on the goal.

In a thrilling gold medal game, Team Sweden dominated the first two periods of play, outshooting Russia 39-4 and not allowing a single shot against for the first 12 minutes of the game. Blackhawks draft picks Joakim Nordstrom and Ludvig Rensfeldt did not play on a line together for the first time in six games, as Rensfeldt was given a more offensive role. Nordstrom spent most of his ice time matched up against Russia’s top line, which featured team captain Yevgeni Kuznetsov and Nail Yakupov.

Although Sweden outshot Russia 50-16 through the end of regulation, the game remained scoreless in a classic goaltender’s duel. At 10:09 of sudden-death overtime, Ottawa prospect Mika Zibanejad pounced on a Russian turnover and flipped a backhand shot over Russian goalie Andrei Makarov to win the game 1-0, ending Sweden’s 31-year gold medal drought at World Juniors.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 01.4.2012 / 8:30 AM CT
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

Ludvig Rensfeldt (left) and Rasmus Ristolainen Finlandexchange words during the semifinal game (Photo by Getty Images).

The ninth day of World Juniors held different stakes for the six Blackhawks prospects on Team USA and Team Sweden.

In the relegation round, Team USA played against one of the competition’s weaker sides, trouncing Latvia 12-2. Nashville draft pick Austin Watson and Florida Panthers prospect Nick Bjugstad both registered hat tricks, while Brandon Saad, Adam Clendening and Stephen Johns put in solid performances, each registering at least a point in the rout.

Later, in a battle of Nordic powerhouses, Team Sweden faced Finland in the tournament semifinals, where Chicago draft picks Joakim Nordstrom and Ludvig Rensfeldt looked to continue their high level of play. Though both were held without a point – Nordstrom for the first time in five games – the Swedes once again staged a dramatic comeback, recovering from a two-goal deficit entering the final frame and winning 3-2 in a shootout.

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POSTED ON Monday, 01.2.2012 / 1:51 PM CT
By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / The Blackhawks Blog

Montador
Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger will miss a third straight game with an upper-body injury when Chicago hosts the Edmonton Oilers tonight at the United Center, which means rookie Jimmy Hayes will get his second start.

Defenseman Steve Montador (upper body) also will miss the game, as Sami Lepisto and John Scott will start as Chicago's third defense pair.

Edmonton is pulling a bit of a surprise by starting Devan Dubnyk in goal after he took a 4-1 loss Saturday against the New York Islanders -- which was the Oilers' third straight defeat on this four-game road trip.

Ben Eager also likely will start for Edmonton, despite two roughing calls plus a 10-minute unsportsmanlike-conduct call in the Islanders game -- which led to a pair of New York power-play goals. Meanwhile, Oilers coach Tom Renney hinted after this morning's skate that he might switch his top two lines to mirror what they were when Edmonton beat the Hawks 9-2 on Nov. 19 at Rexall Place.

If so, that means veteran Ryan Smyth might get put with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall on the top line, with Jordan Eberle moving to the second line with Shawn Horcoff and Sam Gagner.
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POSTED ON Sunday, 01.1.2012 / 11:24 AM CT
By Brad Boron - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

Crawford
The Blackhawks will again turn to netminder Corey Crawford Monday when they take on the Edmonton Oilers, Head Coach Joel Quenneville announced after Sunday's practice. Monday's assignment will mark the 27-year-old goaltender's fifth-straight start. Crawford was last in net Friday night when the team beat Central Division rival Detroit 3-2, making 26 saves in the effort. On the season, Crawford is 15-8-2 with a 2.77 goals-against average, and has won three of his last four starts.

Injury update: Quenneville told the media Sunday that center Marcus Kruger will miss his third-straight game with an upper body injury. Defenseman Steve Montador is questionable with an upper body injury.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 11:01 PM CT
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

Continuing a trend that has developed through the preliminary rounds at the 2012 World Junior Championships, tonight's games came down to the tense final moments.

After being prematurely eliminated from the competition on Wednesday, Team USA played for pride against northern rivals Canada. However, the team gave up three first-period goals and fell 3-2 despite tallies by Charlie Coyle and captain Jason Zucker in the third frame.

Team Sweden also fell behind 3-0 in the first period of their game against Russia. Russian goaltender Andrei Vasilevski had not allowed a single goal in three games coming into tonight's matchup, but the Swedes poured on the pressure from the start of the game, sending 54 shots his way and finally breaking through to score a trey in the third frame. Blackhawks prospect Joakim Nordstrom potted the overtime winner to propel Sweden into first place in Group A and secure a spot in the semifinal round.

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POSTED ON Friday, 12.30.2011 / 10:02 PM CT
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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