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Must-see video: Blackhawks surprise fans with pre-Olympic prank

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By Allan Muir

OK, so ultimately this ends up being an ad for the Illinois Lottery, but that coda does nothing to dilute the awesomeness of this bit starring Patrick Sharp and some unsuspecting Blackhawks supporters.

The Hawks set up a video studio at a recent game to allow fans the opportunity to record a message of support for the team’s Olympians. But in an Allen Funtian twist, Sharp was waiting in the next room to offer up a personalized response of his own.

Gape-mouthed shock ensues.

Nicely done, Chicago.


  • Published On Feb 06, 2014
  • Canucks make only waiver wire move, claim Ryan Stanton from Hawks

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    Former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Ryan Stanton hoists the Stanley Cup.

    Ex-Hawks defenseman Ryan Stanton won’t be bringing the mug to Vancouver. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Maybe it was the lack of cap space. Probably it was the lack of cap space.

    Or it might just have been that the shelves were bare of any kind of talent that other teams saw as being helpful at some point.

    Whatever the case, only one player, defenseman Ryan Stanton, changed hands when he was claimed by the Vancouver Canucks prior to today’s noon EDT waiver deadline.

    So much for the fireworks.

    Stanton, who was waived yesterday by the Chicago Blackhawks, is coming off a strong AHL season. He registered a career-high 22 assists and 25 points in 73 games with the Rockford IceHogs and posted a career-best plus-16 rating, but that wasn’t enough to beat Mike Kostka for a depth role with the Cup champs.

    He goes to a Vancouver team where he’s equally unlikely to crack the top six, but could fit into the mix as the seventh man ahead of veteran Andrew Alberts and rookie Frankie Corrado. More likely, though, he’s headed back to the AHL with the Utica Comets.

    Pacific Division preview | Atlantic | Metropolitan

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  • Published On Sep 30, 2013
  • Must-See Video: Patrick Kane puts on a stickhandling clinic

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    Patrick Kane’s new commercial for Bauer may not inspire you to run out and pick up a couple of their new Vapor APX-2 sticks. But after you’ve finished watching you’ll probably want to pick up your jaw.

    We already knew Kane was a wizard with the puck. And truth be told, we know he could weave the same spell with an old Sher-Wood PMP 7070 as this new $300 high-tech model. The magic’s in the hands, not the wand, after all.

    But this is some seriously crazy juju he’s working in a spot that’s 100 percent live action, except for the camera-smashing bit at the end.

    And, amazingly, the whole thing took just 15-20 minutes to shoot.

    “When they had the idea and they told me how many pucks were going to be in the center I was like, ‘I don’t know if I could do it.’” Kane told the Chicago Tribune. “I tried it with a few and said, ‘why not throw all of them in there and see if I can do it?’

    “At first I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it with all the pucks in there but I guess as you get into it and get competitive, you want to try it out,” he said.


  • Published On Sep 13, 2013
  • Blackhawks sign Corey Crawford to six-year, $36 million extension

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    Goaltender Corey Crawford of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks

    Corey Crawford landed some silver (the Stanley Cup) and gold (a fat new contract) this year. (Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    Looks like this will go down as a pretty good day for Corey Crawford and his family.

    The Blackhawks’ netminder was already scheduled to spend Labor Day commemorating Chicago’s championship season with the Stanley Cup in his home town of Chateauguay, Quebec. Now he gets to celebrate with a new deal in his back pocket as well.

    The Blackhawks announced this morning that they have agreed to terms with Crawford on a six-year contract extension. Renaud Lavoie of TVA is reporting the deal is worth an average of $6 million per season, mirroring the recent trend of goalies like Jonathan Quick (10 years, $58 million) and Tuukka Rask (eight years, $58 million) cashing in big on one good season.

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  • Published On Sep 02, 2013
  • Chicago Blackhawks made favorites to repeat as Stanley Cup champs

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    Jonathan Toews at the Chicago Blackhawks 2013 Stanley Cup victory parade.

    The Hangover was set in Vegas, but the oddsmakers there don’t expect the Blackhawks to have one. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Maybe hockey gamblers aren’t the same folks as hockey historians.

    That might explain why the Chicago Blackhawks are now the odds-on favorite to celebrate their third Stanley Cup in five years next June, according to Bovada.com.

    If they were to win, Chicago would be the first team to repeat since the Detroit Red Wings in 1998.

    The Hawks were initially set at 15-2 after the Cup final ended, but action from the public over the free agency period has moved them past the Pittsburgh Penguins into the top spot. The Pens, who have yet to figure out a way to convince Marc-Andre Fleury that it’s 2009 again, somehow remained at 13-2.

    What’s harder to justify is the love for Edmonton — the Oilers will be in tough to make the playoffs in the new Pacific Division — or Minnesota (who knows if they’re even going to make payroll?) but both teams vaulted from 33-1 to 20-1 in response to player action. Hey, it’s all a crapshoot, right?

    Here are the latest odds on the winner of the 2014 Stanley Cup:

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  • Published On Jul 29, 2013
  • NHL free agents: Clarkson, Clowe deals prove genius of Chicago GM Bowman

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    NHL free agent Ryane Clowe signed with the New Jersey Devils

    Ex-Ranger Ryane Clowe is a pricey and risky replacement for David Clarkson in New Jersey. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    It’s been less than a week since Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman signed playoff hero Bryan Bickell to a four-year, $16 million deal.

    That deal is looking like a bargain now.

    Bickell, who was eligible for unrestricted free agency before coming to terms with the Hawks, emerged as a game-breaking power forward during Chicago’s run to the Stanley Cup, exactly the sort of player that several teams were looking to add in free agency. Bowman recognized that he couldn’t expect a hometown discount for a player who was that hot, and signed him at full value even though he had to trade Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik to create cap space.

    Turns out that Bickell might have been able to stuff his pockets with a little more green if he’d shopped his services. The other power forward types on the market, David Clarkson and Ryane Clowe, used his deal as a starting point and encouraged suitors to keep adding to the pile.

    MUIR: Ex-Bruin Horton lands big deal with Columbus | Alfredsson stuns Ottawa

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  • Published On Jul 05, 2013
  • Reports: NHL free agent Ray Emery leaves Blackhawks to sign with Flyers

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    Goaltender Ray Emery has signed with the Philadelphia Flyers

    Ray Emery returns to the Flyers with a real chance to be their starter next season. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Multiple sources are reporting that former Chicago Blackhawks backup goaltender Ray Emery will sign with the Philadelphia Flyers this afternoon.

    It’s a one-year deal that will pay him $1.65 million.

    Emery was an astonishing 17-1 with the Hawks this season, but those were heavily protected results and he had no chance of usurping the No. l job from Corey Crawford. He’ll have a legitimate opportunity to earn that responsibility in Philadelphia, where he previously played during the 2009-10 season, going 16-11-1.

    He’ll battle Steve Mason, who had a 1.90 GAA and .944 save percentage in seven games with Philly after being acquired from Columbus at the deadline. Neither is expected to maintain those kind of numbers over a complete season, but the hope is that the competition will drive each man to his best performance.

    While Emery is a rasonable add for Philly, they really had no other legitimate options. With virtually no room available under the salary cap, the Flyers were limited to investing just over $3 million in their two keepers. Once Boston signs Tuukka Rask and Toronto inks Jonathan Bernier, Philadelphia will have the lowest-paid tandem in the league.

    The duo may offer up more consistent goaltending than the departed Ilya Bryzgalov and if they do, that’s a huge win for GM Paul Holmgren. But Flyers fans have suffered through seasons of afterthought netminding before. And it hasn’t been pretty.


  • Published On Jul 05, 2013
  • Open letter proves Blackhawks are the class of the NHL off the ice as well

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    wirtz-letter

    By Allan Muir

    I talked to a few Bruins fans the day after that heartbreaking loss in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup. They were disappointed, and still maybe a little stunned, but to a man they recognized that Chicago was the class of the league and that the Blackhawks were deserving champions.

    Turns out they’re the class of the league off the ice as well.

    Read More…


  • Published On Jun 28, 2013
  • Corey Crawford’s epic profanity-laced Stanley Cup parade speech

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    Corey Crawford unleashed a profane speech at the Blackhawks Stanley Cup parade.

    Blackhawk works blue: Goalie Corey Crawford made the vicar blush in Chicago today. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    Two things you knew you were going to hear during the speeches given by the Chicago Blackhawks at Friday’s Stanley Cup celebration parade: a reference to “beauties” and a whole passel of f-bombs.

    Corey Crawford managed to work them both into one 19-second oration.

    Crawford, carrying a WWE-style belt awarded to him by his teammates as their MVP, stepped up to the podium in front of what looked like half of Chicago, slurred a few words, mixed in a couple of Homer Simpson-style “woo-hoos” and let the profanities fly.

    It is epic. It also is wildly NSFW and probably NSFH, too, if you live with anyone under the age of 18 who might happen to walk by while you’re watching this, so exercise caution before pushing play.

    No, seriously: caution!


  • Published On Jun 28, 2013
  • Chicago Blackhawks look to youth to fill holes in post-Stanley Cup roster

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    Ben Smith of the Chicago Blackhawks

    Winger Ben Smith, who saw one game of Cup final duty, must prove he’s more than a fill-in. (David E. Klutho/SI)

    By Allan Muir

    For Stan Bowman, celebrating will have to wait.

    The general manager of the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks faces a daunting task over the next few days as he tries to put his team in the best possible position to repeat next season.

    It’s a different scenario than he faced in 2010, with fewer question marks and fewer cap issues. But the decisions he makes over the next week could mean several new faces in the lineup come October.

    There could be a pair of top-six roles up for grabs. The threat of potential cap-recapture penalties has led to speculation that Marian Hossa could be bought out in the next few days. Likely? No, because the decision could be put off until after next season after another title bid…but it’s possible.

    Read More…


  • Published On Jun 26, 2013


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