Zack Kassian

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Blackhawks have a rough night in Vancouver; lose 3-1

Both teams playing in Vancouver tonight already had punched their tickets to the playoffs, but the Blackhawks had an eye on the Presidents' Trophy, and the Canucks wanted to ensure they locked up the Pacific division.

But between the two teams, the Blackhawks looked like they were asleep at the wheel, aside from Corey Crawford, who was doing his best to carry the game. Coach Quenneville's random line generator was set to "liquify", and line combinations changed regularly though the game.

The Canucks put a lot of pressure on early, limiting Chicago to mostly one-and-done shots in the first. Niklas Hjalmarsson took a charging penalty for a hit on one ...

Blackhawks and Canucks kick off their annual rivalry in Vancouver tonight

Over the past four seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks have had one of the most heated and entertaining rivalries in hockey. The rivalry is even commemorated by the Canucks with a statue outside Rogers Arena dedicated to a famous moment in the 1982 Blackhawks-Canucks Western Conference Final.

Their rivalry goes back for many years, and has resurged lately, as the teams have faced each other multiple times in the playoffs. The Blackhawks managed to knock the Canucks out of a Cup run in 2009 and 2010; and in 2011, Vancouver beat Chicago in overtime in game 7 of an exciting first-round series.

The two teams will face each other only three times this se...

One-on-One With Matt Martin

With the playoff picture narrowing by the day, Matt Martin gave me a call yesterday afternoon to discuss some playoff hockey as well as to take a look at the Islanders as they prepare for next season.

Martin is currently waiting for a new contract with the New York Islanders and has been training a lot this off-season in preparation for 2013. He set an NHL record in 2012 with 374 hits in 80 games played to go along with tying his career high of 14 points. Along with his explosions along the wall, Martin has become one of the biggest fan-favorites for the New York Islander. In fact, his hard work, fisticuffs and willingness to stick up for his teammates earned him the Bobby Nystrom Award for 2012.

But apparently all that hard work takes it's toll. The guy didn't even do to much for his 23rd birthday that just passed on May 8th.