Between the Circles
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said Friday morning he was close to re-signing restricted free agent center Marcus Kruger.
A few hours later the Hawks announced that Kruger had signed a two-year contract.
Now general manager Stan Bowman can focus on getting coach Joel Quenneville signed to a contract extension.
Quenneville's deal runs out after next season and both side want to get it done as quickly as possible.
"We're going to work on that as well," Bowman said. "We've got some things we're going to get to. We've got the goaltending coach to replace Steph Waite. And we've got to finish off some of these (minor league) contracts."
Quenneville has won two Stanley Cups behind the Hawks' bench.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman tied up another loose end on Wednesday by getting defenseman Nick Leddy's name on as new two-year contract.
The 22-year-old Leddy would have become a restricted free agent on Friday.
"We are pleased to announce that Nick will remain a core member of our organization," Bowman said in a statement. "Over the course of the past three seasons, Nick has shown continuous development and we think he will be essential to our long-term success."
Leddy ranked third among Hawks defensemen this season 18 points (6 goals) and a plus-15 rating in 48 regular-season games. The Eden Prairie, Minn., native added 2 assists in 23 playoff games.
Leddy established career highs in goals, power-play goals (2) and game-winning goals (2).
Less than a week after the fourth line scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in Boston, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman on Sunday traded away two-thirds of the line in separate deals.
In less than an hour at the NHL entry draft, Bowman sent center Dave Bolland to Toronto for three draft picks and winger Michael Frolik to Winnipeg for two more picks.
After the two trades and buying out defenseman Steve Montador and winger Rostislav Olesz last week, the Hawks had enough money under the salary cap to re-sign winger Bryan Bickell to a four-year contract woth a reported cap hit of $3.8 million.
Bolland had one year left on the fivce-year, $16.875 contract he signed with former GM Dale Tallon. His cap hit was $3.375 million.
BOSTON – The Blackhawks did Sunday night just what they did in Philadelphia four years ago and had the veterans tell the kids stories about what it was like to play for the Stanley Cup.
It worked again as the Hawks beat the Bruins 3-2 on Monday in Game 6 to win their second Stanley Cup in four years.
Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw were all ears listening to the veterans speak.
“Some of the guys who have been through it told us stories about what it was like, how to deal with it, and it helped out a lot,” Saad said. “There was a lot said, but basically stay calm and treat it like any other game. It’s easy to think about the end result but you can’t do that. You’ve got to enjoy the process.”
It was the biggest moment of Shaw’s career.
BOSTON - The Blackhawks believe they will have Jonathan Toews on Monday night when they try to win the Stanley Cup at TD Garden.
Toews missed the entire third period of Game 5 on Saturday after taking a check from Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk around the head.
Bruins coach Claude Julien didn't sound as hopeful about center Patrice Bergeron, who suffered an undisclosed injury early in Game 5 and spent time in the hospital for observation.
"I think you look at the situation we're in, we're this close to reaching our goal," Hawks winger Patrick Sharp said. "Obviously, we want Johnny to play, but if he's not, we have to find a way to get it done either way."
If you're the Hawks it's hard not to think about winning the Cup for the second time in four years.
The Blackhawks and Bruins each finished Game 5 on Saturday without their best players in Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron.
Toews watched the whole third period of the Hawks' 3-1 win from the bench with what coach Joel Quenneville called an upper body injury.
Bergeron, meanwhile, was taken to an area hospital for observation of an undusclosed injury that later was reported by multiple sources as being a spleen problem.
Toews took two bit hits in the head area from Bruins defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Zdeno Chara before leaving.
"We're hopeful he'll be ready next game," Quenneville said. "We'll see how he is (Sunday). I checked on him a couple times; I think he wanted to play."
Boychuk's was the worst hit of the two, but he felt his hit on Toews was legal.
It doesn’t get much better than this – Blackhawks vs. Boston, Stanley Cup Final, Game 5 at the United Center tonight with the series tied 2-2.
This is a time for everyone to raise their games, said Hawks captain Jonathan Toews.
“Everyone has to raise their game,” Toews said after this morning’s skate. “There’s no excuse this time of year not to. We’re all excited in this locker room for the opportunity we have. Everyone kind of looks at themselves and tries to dig deep and find as much as you possibly can and bring it tonight and these next couple games.”
Who will be the hero? A star such as Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara or Milan Lucic? Or a third or fourth line guy such as Andrew Shaw or Daniel Paille?
Marian Hossa didn't practice on Friday, but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and his teammates expect him to play in Saturday's pivotal Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against Boston at the United Center.
"I think he's going to play," linemate Patrick Sharp said. "He played last game and I thought he played well. He wasn't at his best, but we'll take Hoss at any percentage we can get. He makes so many good plays with the puck and away from the puck."
Jamal Mayers took Hossa's spot at right wing on the second line with Sharp and Michal Handzus at Friday's practice, but he also did that at the morning skate on Monday before Game 4.
"Hossa is fine," Quenneville said.
BOSTON - Marian Hossa returned to the Blackhawks’ lineup Wednesday for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final after sitting out Monday with an undisclosed injury and had an assist in the 6-5 overtime win over the Bruins.
“I felt so-so, but the decision was for me to play and I’m glad I could help a little bit,” Hossa said. “It was a huge game from everybody. That’s how we are going to beat this team.”
The series is now tied 2-2 with Game 5 at the United Center on Saturday night.
Hossa took some heat from former Hawk Tony Amonte for not playing in Game 3. Amonte is serving as a guest analyst for CSN New England and a Boston radio station during the series.
“I don’t really care what Tony Amonte says,” Hossa said.
BOSTON - Marian Hossa didn't take part in the morning skate here Wednesday, but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he expected his star right winger to play tonight in Game 4 at TD Garden.
"He's fine," Quenneville said.
There has been much speculation over the injury that kept Hossa out of Game 3 on Monday, ranging from a hip problem from a Zdeno Chara cross-check earlier in the series, to a neck injury to a shoulder injury.
Hossa's teammates and at least one member of the Bruins came to his defense Wednesday and addressed criticism Hossa received for not at least trying to play in Game 3.