Connect with us

Sports

Blackhawks training camp preview – NHL.com

Published

on


With training camps set to begin on July 10 as part of Phase 3 of the NHL Return to Play Plan, NHL.com is taking a closer look at each of the 24 teams in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.

Today, the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Chicago Blackhawks went 32-30-8 (.514 points percentage) in the regular season and will enter the Stanley Cup Qualifiers as the No. 12 seed in the Western Conference. They will play the No. 5 seed, the Edmonton Oilers (37-25-9, .585), in one of eight best-of-5 series.

The Blackhawks struggled with consistency all season. They won a season-high five consecutive games from Jan. 11-19 before going 3-8-2 in their next 13 games. They followed that by winning five of seven (5-2-0) before the NHL paused the season March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

[RELATED: 5 questions for Blackhawks in Stanley Cup Qualifiers]

Now with the opportunity to get into the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they can defeat the Oilers in the qualifiers, the Blackhawks are rejuvenated.

“We’re very excited,” general manager Stan Bowman said. “It’s an honor to have a chance and it’s a different season for everyone. We’re excited to be a part of it, looking forward to getting back to playoff atmosphere. Playing games in the summer is different for everyone, but we’re excited to be a part of it. There’s a renewed energy, certainly for players who have been part of championship teams in the past. For the younger ones who haven’t played in the playoffs, there’s the anticipation of what it can be.”

Chicago will rely on its experienced players. Defenseman Duncan Keith and forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, 2013 and 2015. Goalie Corey Crawford and forward Brandon Saad won the Cup with them in 2013 and 2015, and defenseman Olli Maatta won the Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017. Defenseman Brent Seabrook was on the three Cup-winning teams with Chicago, and forward Andrew Shaw was on the latter two, but each is uncertain for camp with an injury.   

Player to watch

Kane led the Blackhawks and was eighth in the NHL with 84 points (33 goals, 51 assists) in 70 games and scored his 1,000th NHL point in Chicago’s 5-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 19. He had a fast start to the season, with eight points (three goals, five assists) in the first six games. If he can get off to another productive start in the qualifiers, the Blackhawks could make the playoffs for the first time since 2017, when they were swept by the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference First Round.

Video: SJS@CHI: Kane nets own rebound for second goal

Biggest question

Can Crawford get back to form quickly? He started the final 10 games of the season and went 6-4-0 after the Blackhawks traded goalie Robin Lehner to the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 24. Crawford was 16-20-3 with a 2.77 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in 40 games (39 starts). Backup Malcolm Subban has never played in a NHL playoff game, so the onus is on Crawford to be a difference maker.

Injury updates

Adam Boqvist, D — Healthy for training camp after missing the final game before the pause because he was in the NHL concussion protocol.

Drake Caggiula, F — Healthy for camp after missing the final game before the pause with an injury to his right hand sustained against the St. Louis Blues on March 8.

Calvin de Haan, D — Expected to be ready for camp after having surgery on his right shoulder Dec. 27.

Andrew Shaw, F — Uncertain for camp after missing the final 44 games of the regular season with a concussion.

Brent Seabrook, D — Uncertain for camp after having surgery on his right shoulder Dec. 27, surgery on his left hip in January and surgery on his right hip Feb. 6.

Zack Smith, F — Uncertain for camp after having back surgery March 6.

Fresh face

Defenseman Dennis Gilbert could get a long look in training camp, especially if de Haan has not fully recovered from his surgery. Gilbert scored three points (one goal, two assists) and had 38 penalty minutes in 21 games with the Blackhawks this season, when he played 30 games with Rockford of the American Hockey League. Gilbert (6-foot-2, 216 pounds) would add grit to the Blackhawks because he has a physical edge and isn’t afraid to mix it up.

Video: NYI@CHI: Gilbert buries backhand for first NHL goal

Telling stat

Though the qualifiers aren’t the playoffs, they are going to be big games, and Kane is a big-game player. He has 123 points (50 goals, 73 assists) in 127 NHL playoff games, the fourth most in Blackhawks history behind Stan Mikita (150 points in 155 games), Denis Savard (145 points in 131 games) and Bobby Hull (129 points in 116 games). He also has the third-most points in playoff history among United States-born players behind Mike Modano (146 points in 176 games) and Chris Chelios (144 points in 266 games). 

They said it

“It would be an amazing series. I think all of us on the Blackhawks, we’re excited that we were one of the last teams in and that we have the chance to be able to play for a playoff spot and hopefully go on a run to try and win the Stanley Cup.” — forward Patrick Kane

Projected lineup

Alex DeBrincat — Jonathan Toews — Brandon Saad

Dominik KubalikDylan Strome — Patrick Kane

Matthew HighmoreKirby Dach — Drake Caggiula

Alex NylanderDavid KampfRyan Carpenter

Duncan Keith — Adam Boqvist

Connor Murphy — Calvin de Haan

Olli Maatta — Slater Koekkoek

Corey Crawford

Malcolm Subban

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Hamilton fastest, Stroll 7th in Friday practice – TSN

Published

on


SPIELBERG, Austria — Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time in the first two practice sessions for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on Friday.

Lance Stroll was the top Canadian, driving his Racing Point to seventh in Free Practice 2, less than a second behind Hamilton. Nicholas Latifi, racing his first Grand Prix in F1 this weekend, finished the second practice session 20th, 2.8 seconds behind the leader.

The British driver twice finished ahead of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas on the 4.3-kilometre (2.7-mile) Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg nestled at the foot of the Styrian mountains in southern Austria.

Bottas was .356 seconds behind Hamilton in the damp and overcast morning run and improved to .197 back as the track dried and became warmer in the afternoon. Late in that session, however, he had to return to the pits because of a braking issue.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who has won the past two races here, was third quickest in the first practice but slipped to eighth in the second session and encountered oversteering problems.

Ferrari struggled for speed in the morning with Charles Leclerc 10th quickest and Sebastian Vettel only 12th, but improved in the afternoon with Vettel pushing up to fourth behind Sergio Perez in third. Perez’s Racing Point team uses Mercedes engines.

Although Vettel showed good cornering speed, he was still a somewhat distant .657 seconds adrift of Hamilton’s time in the second session.

Ferrari is racing with the same car it used in preseason testing in February and has not made any upgrades, while Mercedes and other teams have.

After making a late strategy decision in terms of aerodynamic development this week, Ferrari is not upgrading its cars until the third race in Hungary, where practice starts on July 17.

Austria is hosting back-to-back races as part of an eight-race European swing, after the season was postponed for four months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There are no fans allowed at races until further notice.

___

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari never offered a contract! – F1i.com

Published

on


© XPB 

<!–

–>

<!– –>

<!– –>

<!– –>

<!–

–>

Sebastian Vettel revealed that his eviction from Ferrari came as a total surprise, insisting an offer was never tabled by the team.

The unexpected announcement back in May of Vettel’s departure from Maranello alluded to a separation by mutual consent and came after Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto had publicly stated earlier in the year that the four-time world champion remained the team’s first choice as teammate to Charles Leclerc.

But speaking in Austria ahead of this weekend’s opening round of the 2020 season, Vettel set the record straight on his exit from the Italian outfit.

“It was obviously a surprise to me when I got the call from Mattia, when he told me that there was no further intention for the team to continue [with me],” explained Vettel.

“We never got into any discussions, there was never an offer on the table and therefore there was no sticking point.”

Speculation is rife about Vettel’s next move with most insiders projecting a retirement or a year on the sidelines for the 32-year-old. But Vettel insists he’s motivated to remain on the grid in 2021, under certain conditions.

“Obviously I want to make sure I make the right decision for myself and my future,” he said.

“I think I have a very competitive nature, I have achieved a lot in the sport, I’m motivated and willing to achieve more.

“To do so I need the right package and the right people around me so that’s what I’m looking out for at the moment, if the right opportunity should arise then it is quite clear.

“If that’s not the case then I’ll probably have to look out for something else.

“I am of the conviction that if you are prepared to let’s say, shut the door, then you should be prepared to shut that door and not shut it and expect it to open again.

“You have to be aware of the decision you are making at the time and that’s also why I’m not rushing into anything, the next weeks and months will be probably bringing some more clarity.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

<!–

–>

<!– –>
<!–
googletag.cmd.push(function() googletag.pubads().display(‘/8095840/.2_A.35253.17_f1i.com_tier1’, [468, 60], ‘div-pg-ad-1554718899-7’); );
–>

<!–

–>


Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Hamilton fastest in the 1st practice for Austrian Grand Prix – TSN

Published

on


SPIELBERG, Austria — Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time on Friday in the first practice for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.

The British driver was .356 seconds ahead of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas on the 4.3-kilometre (2.7-mile) Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg nestled at the foot of the Styrian mountains in southern Austria.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who has won the past two races here, was third quickest and .602 behind Hamilton in damp and overcast conditions.

Lance Stroll was the top Canadian, finishing with a top lap of 1:06.074 a little more than a second behind Hamilton. Stroll’s Racing Point teammate Sergio Perez finished the session fifth, with a top lap time of 1:05.512.

Nicholas Latifi finished 18th in his first practice session his rookie year, lass than a half second behind his impressive Williams teammate George Russell, who clocked a 1:06.495 top lap. 

Both Ferrari drivers struggled for speed, with Charles Leclerc 10th quickest and Sebastian Vettel only 12th. Ferrari is racing with the same car it used in preseason testing in February and has not made any upgrades, while Mercedes and other teams have.

There is a second practice later Friday.

Austria is hosting back-to-back races as part of an eight-race European swing, after the season was postponed for four months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

___

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending