Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Brad Richards hopes for a smooth transition with Hawks ]]> Lead story image

Brad Richards’ first taste of life with the Blackhawks was opening night of the fan convention Friday at the Hilton Chicago, with some 10,000 fans lining up just for a glimpse and an autograph. So the last thing he was thinking about was whether he might be the long-awaited answer to the Hawks’ long-standing question at second-line center. ‘‘I’m trying to find a place to live and meeting a thousand people  every day,’’ Richards said. Hell, he didn’t even know what to call captain Jonathan Toews. ‘‘I should call him Jonathan. Does anybody call him Jonathan?’’ he said. ‘‘It’s pretty … ]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 02:31:28 -0500 <![CDATA[ Johnny Oduya suffered broken foot in finale vs. Kings ]]> Lead story image

Defenseman Johnny Oduya showed up at the Blackhawks’ fan convention Friday at the Hilton Chicago sporting a thick beard and shaved temples. It was almost enough to distract people from noticing the walking boot on his right foot. ‘‘See? That’s smart,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s why I have it.’’ It turns out Oduya broke his foot blocking a shot from the point late in the third period of Game 7 of the Western Conference final against the Los Angeles Kings. He kept playing in overtime anyway, logging three shifts. ‘‘It’s usually not that bad,’’ Oduya said. ‘‘Once you take the skate … ]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 02:31:43 -0500 <![CDATA[ As convention opens, Hawks know they must move at least one player ]]> Lead story image

The speculation over which player (or players) would get traded this summer to get the Blackhawks under the $69 million salary cap reached a fever pitch at the NHL draft late last month. Every time general manager Stan Bowman picked up the phone or stood from his chair on the floor at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, everyone watching held their breath for just a moment. Well, get used to that uncertainty. It might last awhile. “We certainly have to be ready to go by October,” Bowman said Friday as the Hawks opened their fan convention at the Hilton … ]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 02:12:12 -0500 <![CDATA[ Blackhawks top pick Nick Schmaltz comfortable with faster pro pace ]]> Lead story image

For Nick Schmaltz, the idea of being the Blackhawks’ 2014 first-round draft pick sunk in slowly during the organization’s prospect camp this week. It helped that he donned the Hawks sweater when the week began. By Thursday, essentially the last day of full practices, nerves had given way to a playmaking ability that assuredly reminded Schmaltz of why he was picked. The only formality for Schmaltz might be to meet Patrick Kane, who is his favorite player. Schmaltz, who is from the Madison, Wisconsin, area, always has been a Hawks fan. “First-class organization,” Schmaltz said. “They treat us like pros … ]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 23:44:57 -0500 <![CDATA[ Toews, Kane are heartwarming exceptions in an age with few allegiances ]]> Lead story image

This is the way it’s supposed to be, in a perfect world, a world that doesn’t exist anymore. A team dearly wants its best players to remain on the roster, those players dearly want to remain on the roster and what everyone dearly wants comes to pass. No fuss. No contract squabbles. No hints about taking skills elsewhere. A city that has watched two stars grow from teenagers into men gets more years to watch them perform in their prime and beyond. What is this, 1950? As we slumped bleary-eyed last week while the NBA free-agent circus dragged on, Jonathan … ]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 22:38:58 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kane, Toews contracts keep Blackhawks strong and flexible ]]> Lead story image

Go ahead. Pick one. Are you going to take Jonathan Toews — the leader, the captain, the indispensable and quintessential two-way center? Captain Serious, the guy many consider to be one of the two best hockey players in the world? Or are you going to go with Patrick Kane — the superstar, the magician, maybe the most electrifying and scintillating offensive player in the league? Showtime, the guy who puts fans in the seats and who almost always scores the biggest goals on the biggest stages? “Most teams would die to have one of these players on their team,” Blackhawks … ]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 22:36:33 -0500 <![CDATA[ Blackhawks prospect Adam Clendening eager for chance at NHL ]]> Lead story image

Adam Clendening is one of a few defensemen at the Blackhawks’ prospect camp this week knocking on the door of an NHL career. But the 21-year-old ­expressed confidence that he was ready for a team to answer his knock. “I’ve played two years in the American League,” Clendening said when asked if he is ready for the NHL. “But that time there really helped me. Worked on my defensive side of the puck and got to play against the other team’s best players for two years. Some of those guys are now playing in the NHL.” Clendening is an offensive-minded … ]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 22:06:32 -0500 <![CDATA[ Blackhawks look at college players more than most teams ]]> Lead story image

With a talented group of players in their prime, the Blackhawks don’t have many of the roster concerns teams looking to build a Stanley Cup contender have. The organization is already there, so it can afford to invest time — the most crucial element of talent development — in its prospects. ‘‘We’re afforded the luxury of being a little bit more patient,’’ Hawks senior director of amateur scouting Mark Kelley said. ‘‘We don’t have to fix it quick. It’s just part of the plan.’’ That patience has allowed the Hawks to look more closely at drafting college prospects, as opposed … ]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 20:55:39 -0500 <![CDATA[ Stephen Johns brings experience to Blackhawks’ prospect camp ]]> Lead story image

Defenseman Stephen Johns got a chuckle out of being reminded that this marks the fifth time he’s attended the Blackhawks’ prospect camp. The 60th overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft spent four college seasons at Notre Dame resisting the lure of the pro game, being confident that the ice time would help his game improve. It worked for Johns, possibly making this his last experience at the summer showcase of the organization’s future talent. He has rounded into a physical defenseman who might make the Hawks’ roster out of training camp. “Going to be nerve-racking to see where I … ]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 02:20:27 -0500 <![CDATA[ Teuvo Teravainen determined to take game to next level ]]> Lead story image

Veteran Brad Richards figures to be a place-holder as the Blackhawks’ second-line center. The team hopes Teuvo Teravainen eventually will make that spot his own. One would think that bringing in Richards, 34, to occupy the most scrutinized spot in the Hawks’ lineup would take some of the pressure off a young prospect such as Teravainen, 19. But Teravainen apparently doesn’t pay any attention to that stuff — or wouldn’t admit he does after the first day of prospect camp Sunday at Johnny’s IceHouse West. ‘‘I don’t think [about] those things too much,’’ Teravainen said. ‘‘I just focus on myself … ]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 20:40:24 -0500 <![CDATA[ For Blackhawks’ prospects, it all boils down to patience ]]> Lead story image

The Blackhawks have become renowned for developing prospects and turning them into NHL players. But they also have one of the most loaded rosters in the league. ]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 02:27:52 -0500 <![CDATA[ Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane sign 8-year contract extensions ]]> Lead story image

Eight more years for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. One last hurrah for the Blackhawks’ vaunted core? The Hawks on Wednesday locked up their two biggest stars by signing Toews and Kane to matching eight-year extensions worth a combined $168 million that will keep them in Chicago through the end of the 2022-23 season, when Toews will be 35 and Kane 34. The deals were as inevitable as they were warranted, the biggest — albeit most expensive — no-brainers in team history. But each carries an NHL-record cap hit of $10.5 million per season, which means not everyone whose name … ]]> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:25:28 -0500 <![CDATA[ Assistant Jamie Kompon leaving Blackhawks for WHL job ]]> Lead story image

Blackhawks assistant coach Jamie Kompon is leaving the team to become the head coach and general manager of the Portland Winterhawks, a junior team in the Western Hockey League, according to a source. Kompon has been a Hawks assistant the last two seasons, replacing Mike Haviland after spending six seasons on the Los Angeles Kings’ staff. Before that, he spent nine years with the St. Louis Blues, working on Joel Quenneville’s staff alongside current Hawks assistant Mike Kitchen. Kompon won back-to-back Stanley Cups, with the Kings in 2012 and the Hawks in 2013. One of Kompon’s primary responsibilities with the … ]]> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 02:22:43 -0500 <![CDATA[ Jimmy Waite hired as Blackhawks goaltending coach ]]> Lead story image

After a quiet holiday weekend, the Blackhawks finally broke their silence Monday by hiring Jimmy Waite as their goaltending coach. It wasn’t the anticipated contract extensions for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane or a salary-clearing trade, but the Hawks checked off one of the last things left on their summer to-do list by hiring Waite — a former Hawks goalie and the younger brother of former goalie coach Stephane Waite — to replace Steve Weeks, who was fired by coach Joel Quenneville after only one season. ‘‘I’m very excited to come back to the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that drafted … ]]> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 20:52:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Western Conference loads up during NHL free agency ]]> Lead story image

As soon Anaheim general manager Bob Murray made a splash by acquiring bullish center Ryan Kesler, the trend in the NHL’s Western Conference has been to line up with the Ducks. Since that Kesler deal was struck between Vancouver and Anaheim, the Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators have all upgraded their center group. “I don’t know if it is an arms race,” said Nashville general manager David Poile, “but everybody in the West is doing everything they can to compete for the Stanley Cup.” The cause of Western Conference teams’ drive to improve down the … ]]> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 18:42:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Brad Richards is perfect fit for Blackhawks ]]> Lead story image

The Blackhawks had a long-standing yet (they hope) temporary hole at second-line center. They also had the allure that comes with being a perennial contender and the talent to resurrect careers. Brad Richards had what they needed. And the Hawks had what Richards wanted. ]]> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 02:23:24 -0500