The Chicago Blackhawks avoided their first regulation loss of the 2013 season but still suffered a 3-2 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center on Tuesday night.
Despite getting a game tying power play tally from Nick Leddy and the go-ahead goal from Brandon Saad to make it 2-1 as a result of a very strong second period, the Hawks couldn't keep the Ducks from forcing overtime late in the third period, where they struggled to match Anaheim's intensity.
The past two seasons were a struggle for the Blackhawks. Although they qualified for the playoffs both years, neither route was ideal.
In 2011, gutted post-Cup victory, they backed into the playoffs based on the Wild's win over the Stars in game 82. The battle leading up to the playoffs left the team battered and tired - yet they still pushed the Canucks to Game 7 OT in the first round.
In 2012, they had a bit more of a cushion, but 101 points in the ultra-competitive West was only good enough for 6th place. Although the Blackhawks pushed the Coyotes to five OT games, and then lost to Phoenix 0-4 in Game 6 on home ice.
In what was an unusually calm Blackhawks/Canucks tilt, the Blackhawks despite not playing their best still collected a point on the road. Even the Rogers arena crowd seemed pretty subdued except for when Duncan Keith had the puck and a chorus of boos echoed the building.
There were not any incidents, fights or really even any confrontations. Both teams seemed really focused on just picking up points and collecting a win.
For as much as we would like to send Roberto Luongo into stages of self doubt and lost confidence he played brilliantly against the Hawks big guns particularly in the shoot out.
The Hawks never really were able to sustain much pressure on hi...
The last time the Blackhawks and Coyotes faced each other at the United Center, it was game 4 of the series. Phoenix took that game in overtime, just one of five OT games that this series has seen so far. Prospect Brandon Saad made his playoffs debut. Andrew Shaw was still suspended, Marian Hossa was out from the injury inflicted by Raffi Torres's reckless hit in game 3.
When Brendan Shanahan laid down the suspension for Torres last Saturday, it was the second-longest in NHL history. (The current record is 30 games for NYI's Chris Simon in 2007 for stomping on PIT's Jarrko Ruutu's ankle.) The message was clear, not only to Torres but to the rest of the league: we'...
On Wednesday, the Chicago Blackhawks sent arguably their top organizational prospect in Brandon Saad (sorry Kyle Beach) back to his OHL team, the Saginaw Spirit. Though Saad registered no points in his two games with the Blackhawks in the early regular season, he did play well during the preseason against several division rivals, which included getting time on a line with Captain Jonathan Toews.
To be clear, Saad's demotion to his OHL team should not be viewed as a interpretation for poor play. While Saad went scoreless for the Hawks in the home and home series against Dallas last week, he still played a pretty solid game for an 18 year old rookie, with no AHL experience. ...
Pittsburgh area native Brandon Saad will be playing in his 3rd straight Hawks preseason game tonight against Washington at the UC. Now, let's not read into this too much. Saad has had a very impressive camp for an 18 year-old just out of his first season in the OHL, but it's highly unlikely that he will not be returning to his junior team. It's safe to say that Saad will need an additional season in the OHL to further his development and hopefully become more than a point-per-game player at the junior level.
However, getting multiple appreciative comments from your head coach on your play at this level is nothing to sneeze at. Saad...
The 2011 Draft was not considered particularly deep, but the Chicago Blackhawks collected a total of 11 picks by the time the weekend was through, including Phillip Danault (pictured above). Danault was the Blackhawks' second pick (26th overall). Along with a solid set of selections throughout the Draft, Chicago's depth grew even more.
Let's take a quick look at the players Chicago drafted this year, as they will be part of the Chicago prospects camp that begins on Thursday, July 7th:
Mark McNeill, C (1st round/18th overall) - big, strong, smart center with good two-way game. Most recently of Prince Albert Raiders. Strong work ethic; scored 81 points in 70 g...