Midseason Grades For Each Line On The Chicago Blackhawks | Bleacher Report

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Chicago Blackhawks’ Awards for the 1st Half of the 2014-15 Season | Bleacher Report

Left wing Patrick Sharp was the team’s leading scorer a year ago with 34 goals and 44 assists, yet he is playing on Quenneville’s third line this season. There’s a reason for that. He has been a top-line or second-line player throughout his career, but he injured his knee in November and missed about a month of action. Since his return last month, Quenneville has played him on several different lines, and there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to be moved around. However, he has the speed, brilliant shot and instincts to score key goals at big moments. Sharp has nine goals and 12 assists in 29 games, but he also has a minus-seven rating. Based on his track record, Sharp’s plus-minus is likely to improve since he was plus-13 last season and a career-best plus-28 in 2011-12. Andrew Shaw is not the most skilled center, but he is one of the team’s hardest-working players and a hustler every second he is on the ice. Even though Shaw is 5’10” and 180 pounds, he will challenge much bigger players in the dirty areas of the ice. Still, there’s no getting around that Shaw has just six goals and six assists along with a minus-six rating in 40 games. Teuvo Teravainen is a new addition to the line, as he was called up from Rockford after the Versteeg injury. Teravainen has been considered the Blackhawks’ most dangerous prospect since he was drafted in 2012, and he is a skilled and creative offensive player. source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2328156-midseason-grades-for-each-line-on-the-chicago-blackhawks

It’s reminiscent of their mediocre start to the season that placed them in the middle of the pack in the Central Division. However, Joel Quenneville’s team was in championship form in between those two lulls, and anyone who has studied the Blackhawks’ play this year realizes they have a chance to contend for yet another Stanley Cup. That’s what Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith desperately want, and it seems likely that it’s just a matter of time before they go on another hot streak in the second half of the season like the one they were on from early November to mid-December. The NHL does not give awards based on half-seasons; however, we look at the Blackhawks’ first half of the 2014-15 season and offer up these awards. Team MVP: Patrick Kane Paul Vernon/Associated Press When it comes to all-around play, responsibility and leadership, there’s little doubt that Jonathan Toews is the most important player to the Blackhawks. It has been that way since he was a rookie in the 2007-08 season. While Toews is Mr. Steady, Patrick Kane has long been Mr. Spectacular. His remarkable skill level allows him to stick-handle the puck in the tightest situations, accelerate into open spots and score the biggest goals. Teams like the Flyers , Kings , Bruins and Wild have all felt his wrath in key playoff situations. source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2330057-chicago-blackhawks-awards-for-the-1st-half-of-the-2014-15-season

Chicago Blackhawks get fast start, cruise past struggling Minnesota Wild 4-1 | Star Tribune

Wild counterpart Niklas Backstrom stopped 31 shots. Panthers 4, Oilers 2 EDMONTON, Alberta — Florida continued its most successful road trip of the season with a win over Edmonton. The Panthers, who have won four of five games so far on their western road swing, never trailed as they continued their pursuit of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Jimmy Hayes, Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky and Sean Bergenheim scored for Florida. The Oilers, after a modest streak of 3-1-2 in six games, lost at home for the 16th time in 24 home games. Jordan Eberle and Benoit Pouliot scored for Edmonton. Ducks 5, Jets 4 (SO) ANAHEIM, Calif. — Sami Vatanen decided a six-round shootout, and Anaheim came from two goals down in the third period to beat Winnipeg. Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec made 39 saves in regulation and overtime. Anaheim goalie Frederik Andersen made 28 saves. Ducks center Rickard Rakell got his second goal and fourth point of the night at 17:57 of the third period to tie the score at 4. source: http://www.kcra.com/sports/nhl-game-roundup-blackhawks-contribute-to-wild-tailspin/30655802

NHL game roundup: Blackhawks contribute to Wild tailspin | Sports – KCRA Home

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Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane added two assists apiece in the opener of a four-game homestand. Hossa’s tap-in goal in the first period was his ninth of the season and No. 473 for his career, moving him into a tie with former Blackhawks great Denis Savard and Alexander Mogilny for 50th on the NHL list. It was a nice way to celebrate another birthday for a winger who appears to be embracing his age in his 17th season. “Maybe the number is higher, but I still feel good,” he said. “That’s how I look at it.” The weary Wild dropped their fifth consecutive game, including a 3-1 home loss to Nashville on Saturday night. Matt Cooke scored his third goal in the third period, and Niklas Backstrom had 31 saves in his third consecutive start. “It just seems like everything that could go wrong is going wrong,” defenseman Ryan Suter said. The Wild dropped to 18-18-5 and are 12th in the loaded 14-team Western Conference, but coach Mike Yeo is certain they can turn it around. “I’m confident in what we’re capable of, but we have to better,” he said. “So I’m not going to just sit around and hope that things are going to be better. We have to find a way to be better. source: http://www.startribune.com/sports/wild/288214621.html


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