Author: Ryan Dadoun

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 26:  Trevor van Riemsdyk #57 of the Chicago Blackhawks waits for a face-off against the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center on October 26, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Ducks 1-0 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Blackhawks staying strong without Keith


If the mark of a great team is the ability to step up in the face of adversity, then the 2015-16 Chicago Blackhawks are making the case that a summer of significant changes hasn’t diminished them in some of the most important ways.

Losing Duncan Keith to a knee injury is about as big of a blow as Chicago could have endured, but the Blackhawks have a 3-0 record without him.

It helps that all of those contests have been at home though, giving Chicago the benefit of last change. Goaltender Corey Crawford also posted back-to-back shutouts on Saturday and Monday, which has been critical for the Blackhawks given that they were unable to score a single goal in the first 60 minutes of either game.

That being said, Chicago has still had to fill a substantial void as Keith was averaging a team-leading 24:21 minutes per game. Brent Seabrook logged more than 26 minutes in two of the Blackhawks’ last three contests, but rookie blueliners Trevor van Riemsdyk and Viktor Svedberg have also been asked to make a big jump.

van Riemsdyk went from averaging around 17 minutes to logging more than 21 minutes per contest while Svedberg has been on the ice for more than 19 minutes in each of his last two contests, beating his previous high of 16:54.

Keith is still expected to miss another three-to-five weeks though, so Chicago’s trial is still in the early stages. The next test will be to see how Chicago responds on the road against Winnipeg and Minnesota. Things don’t get any easier after that either as the Blackhawks will host Los Angeles on Monday and St. Louis on Wednesday.

Friisdahl takes over as MLSE CEO and president

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 18:  The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Nashville Predators stand at attention during the national anthems prior to their game at the Air Canada Centre on November 18, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. During a sound malfunction, the crowd sang the US national anthem.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The lengthy process of finding a replacement for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president and CEO Tim Leiweke has come to a close.

MLSE has announced that Michael Friisdahl will assume the presidency and CEO positions in December.

Friisdahl is assuming this position after spending roughly three years as the president and CEO of Air Canada’s Leisure Group.

“As both an entrepreneur and a C-level executive in consumer-facing businesses at the Canadian and international level, Michael has shown an unwavering commitment to delivering for the customer,” MLSE Chairman Larry Tanenbaum said. “His focus will be on supporting our fans and our teams while maximizing the potential of MLSE’s iconic sports, entertainment and real estate assets.”

In addition to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Marlies, MLSE also has a number of other assets, including the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and MLS’ Toronto FC.

KHL club signs Voynov to three-year deal

Slava Voynov, Marta Varlamova
The Daily Breeze via AP

Less than two months after Slava Voynov said that he would self-depart to Russia, it has been announced that his hockey career will continue in the KHL.

The 25-year-old defenseman has agreed to a three-year contract with SKA Saint Petersburg, per the team’s website. His KHL rights had belonged to Traktor Chelyabinsk, but as previously reported, they were expected to be transferred.

After Voynov announced that he was self-departing, the Los Angeles Kings released a statement saying that the franchise had already decided that he would no longer play for them after he entered a plea of no contest to domestic violence.

“Recently it became evident to us that our conclusion to this process would be to terminate Mr. Voynov’s Standard Player’s Contract,” the Kings said at the time. “However, Mr. Voynov’s announcement today (Sept. 16) of his intention to leave the United States and return to Russia makes the termination unnecessary.”

Voynov had a five-year, $25 million contract with Los Angeles that would have run through 2018-19. It was backloaded, with $19.25 million of it scheduled to be paid out from 2015-16 onward, according to General Fanager.

Related: Kings GM calls off-ice issues ‘eye opening’

PHT Morning Skate: Bruins visit hospital as Gru and his minions

Zdeno Chara
AP Photo

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Members of the Bruins went to Boston Children’s Hospital dressed as Gru and his minions. (

Alex Ovechkin is close to surpassing Sergei Fedorov as the highest scoring Russian-born player of all-time. (

You can watch the highlights from Pittsburgh’s 3-1 win over Washington below:

Jakub Voracek feels his goal scoring drought is “getting old.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Andrei Vasilevskiy began his AHL conditioning stint with a 3-1 victory versus the Toronto Marlies. (Tampa Bay Times)

Although he’s only been used in two games so far, Emerson Etem is starting to settle in with the New York Rangers. (New York Post)

Here are the highlights from Nashville’s 2-1 win over San Jose last night:

Calgary Flames goaltending prospect Jon Gillies is adjusting to the AHL and learning from the demoted Karri Ramo. (Calgary Herald)

NHL on NBCSN Doubleheader: Pens vs. Caps; Preds vs. Sharks

Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby
AP Photo

We have a full night of NHL action ahead of us on NBCSN and it will start at 8:00 p.m. ET with the Washington Capitals hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins. You can also watch the game online here.

Of course, those games are always billed as contests between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, but those squads as a whole are red hot going into tonight’s game.

Washington is on a five-game winning streak and has a 6-1-0 record. By contrast, Pittsburgh got off to a sluggish start, but has won four of its last five contests.

Ovechkin has played a significant part of the Capitals’ success, but sophomore Evgeny Kuznetsov is actually their scoring leader right now with three goals and 11 points in seven contests. Nine of those points were scored in his last three contests, so he’s couldn’t be much more dangerous right now.

On the Penguins’ side, their recent success has come in spite of Crosby’s struggles, which isn’t something that’s been true all that often since his debut in 2005. Crosby has been held off the scoresheet in seven of his first eight games this season, although maybe a contest against the rival Capitals is just what he needs right now.

Of course, Crosby isn’t the only Penguins’ forward that’s off to a relatively quiet start. Instead, Pittsburgh owes what success its had so far to Marc-Andre Fleury, who has a 2.02 GAA and .932 save percentage this season.

Following that game, NBCSN will feature the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators as they battle, starting at 10:30 p.m. ET. You also have the option of seeing the game online by going here.

Nashville is one of the best teams in the league right now with a 6-1-1 record. San Jose got off to a strong start too, but it lost three straight contests before snapping that slump on Saturday with a 4-2 win versus Carolina.

As has often been the case, the Predators have been led thus far by their defense and goaltending. In particular, Pekka Rinne is off to a great start with a 1.84 GAA and .932 save percentage in seven starts.

That’s not all the Predators have going for them though. They’ve scored more goals this year than San Jose, in part because James Neal has bounced back from his rough 2014-15 campaign by scoring six goals and nine points in eight contests.

San Jose has plenty of offensive weapons to counter with from Joe Pavelski to Patrick Marleau to Joe Thornton. However, it’s Joel Ward, who signed with the Sharks over the summer, that’s leading the charge with five goals and eight points in eight games. All five of his markers have come in his last four contests, including a hat trick on Saturday.