The Chicago Blackhawks honored one of their own on Hockey Fights Cancer night at the United Center on Sunday.
Eddie Olczyk skated onto the ice fighting back tears as the Chicago faithful cheered him on.
The honoring was two-fold.
First, it was a part of Chicago’s ‘One More Shift’ ceremony that’s included former players such as Ed Belfour, Steve Larmer and Jeremy Roenick.
Secondly, it was a chance to properly acknowledge Olczyk’s fight against Stage 3 colon cancer, a battle he waged for months before announcing in March that he was cancer-free.
Olczyk took the ceremonial faceoff opposite of Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu (whose brother Saku missed the entire 2001-02 season with Burkitt’s lymphoma).
Carter Holmes, an 11-year-old Blackhawks fan who is in remission after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in June, got to drop the puck after spending time with the team thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Olczyk gave Holmes a hug after handing him the puck.
Olczyk played 222 games for the Blackhawks across five seasons, scoring 77 goals 132 points. The 52-year-old was drafted third overall by Chicago in the 1984 NHL Draft and went on to play 1,031 games with six different teams over his 16-year career, including stops in Winnipeg, Toronto, New York, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.
With the Rangers, Olczyk lifted the Stanley Cup in 1994.
Olczyk has been working with NBC as a color commentator since 2006.
Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• How a love for fashion changed the course of one NHL prospect’s career. (Daily Hive)
• Arizona was doing so well, then injuries hit hard. (AZ Central)
• The New York Rangers are a pleasant surprise so far this season, but they may need to shake up their defensive pairings to keep the good times rolling. (Blue Seat Blogs)
• The Pittsburgh Penguins need help from their lesser-known players. (Pensburgh)
• Faint murmurs of another lockout are starting to sprout up but the NHL is doing everything it can to avoid that happening again. (New York Post)
• As the NHL and a consortium of players settled their concussion lawsuit, the legacy of Gary Bettman remains unclear. (New York Times)
• This story is about the Ottawa Senators and it is incredible. (Ottawa Citizen)
1. Esa Lindell, Dallas Stars
Lindell scored his second and third goals of the season on Sunday, with the latter being the game-winner as the Stars demolished the New York Islanders 6-2.
This spot could have easily gone to either Alexander Radulov, Tyler Seguin or Jamie Benn, each who came away with three-point nights in the win. Dallas has won two straight and are 6-2-2 in their past 10 games.
Gotta love on the defensemen sometimes though.
2. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
Crawford was struggling pretty bad prior to this past week after losing five straight. Since then, Crawford is 2-0-1 and has allowed just two goals in those three games.
Crawford’s recent surge was highlighted on Sunday after he stopped 39 shots on Sunday en route to a 3-1 Blackhawks win against the Minnesota Wild. The Hawks are just 2-5-3 in their past 10, so a better Crawford could go a long way as they try to position themselves in a tough Central Division.
3. Jonathan Marchessault, Vegas Golden Knights.
It looks like every game in the Pacific Division is going to have deeper meaning this year with how poor those teams can be at times.
Marchessault, with two goals and an assist, ensured that Vegas got back to winning ways with a three-point night in a 6-3 win against the Edmonton Oilers. Marchessault was riding a three-game pointless streak coming into Sunday.
Other notable performances:
- Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and an assist and Mikko Rantanen padded his stats with two more apples and the game-winner on the power play in overtime. That line is just silly.
- Three-point night in a losing effort for Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour.
- Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist in a losing cause himself.
- Curtis McElhinney steered aside 33 shots to help the Hurricanes to a 2-1 win.
Highlights of the night
Stars 6, Islanders 2
Hurricanes 2, Devils 1
Blackhawks 3, Wild 1
Avalanche 4, Ducks 3 (OT)
Golden Knights 6, Oilers 3
1. Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets
Three goals for the hat trick and an assist to cap off a four-point night for Atkinson in a 4-1 win for the Blue Jackets against the Carolina Hurricanes. Not too shabby. Atkinson helped Columbus to its second-best start through 20 games in franchise history. The Blue Jackets have won three in a row and are sitting in the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.
Atkinson is rocking a four-game point streak now with six goals and nine points during that time. He’s currently on pace to eclipse the 40-goal mark, which would be a career-high. He had 35 two years ago.
Atkinson is now tied with Rick Nash for most hat tricks in franchise history at five.
2. Calle Jarnkrok, Nashville Predators
Jarnkork scored quite the hat trick himself on Saturday.
One of his goals came at even strength, another on the power play and one shorthanded. There should be a special name for that, like the hat-hat trick or something (terrible, right?) or maybe the three-phase hatty? I’m striking out.
Whatever ever way you slice it, it was no small feat. Since 2013-14, only seven players — including Jarnkrok — have done it. Not bad for your first hatty.
3. Aaron Dell, San Jose Sharks
San Jose got a Dell on Saturday night, and it stopped 30 shots for his fourth career shutout in a 4-0 win against the St. L
Not a bad purchase.
Dell exacted a bit of revenge after he was between the pipes on Nov. 9 when the Sharks were blanked by the same Blues team 4-0 on Nov. 9.
Other notable performances:
- The Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames can both take a bow. What a game.
- We almost need to create a ‘Mike Hoffman Streak Watch’ section or something like that. Regardless, the man pushed his point streak to 15 games on Saturday with a goal and an assist, extending the franchise record.
- Carey Price is taking a beating in the media but he’s been solid over his past two games, including stopping 36-of-38 in a 3-2 win.
- Henrik Lundqvist captured win No. 438 to pass Jacques Plante for seventh on the NHL’s all-time list.
- Mark Stone had two goals in a 6-4 win for the Ottawa Senators over the slumping Pittsburgh Penguins.
- Chris Kreider is a big reason why the New York Rangers are near the top of the Metropolitan Division. He had a three-point night, scoring and adding two assists.
- Speaking of the Metropolitan, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 30-of-31 and has now won in his past four appearances. His Blue Jackets are in first place.
- The Buffalo Sabres are good. Rasmus Dahlin is also good and he had a goal and an assist to help the Buffalo Sabres to their fifth straight win.
- Elias Pettersson scored again, so Vancouver can breathe again.
- Erik Karlsson finally scored his first of the season in his 21st game, so San Jose can also stop holding its breath.
- Jaroslav Halak continues to defy anyone and everyone’s expectations. He stopped 31 shots for his seventh win of the season. He’s got a .935 save percentage and a 2.07 goals-against average.
Highlights of the night
Erik Karlsson dropped his first goal with the San Jose Sharks. It was quite the rocket.
Lightning 6, Flyers 5 (OT)
Red Wings 3, Devils 2 (OT)
Sabres 3, Wild 2
Canadiens 3, Canucks 2
Senators 6, Penguins 4
Rangers 4, Panthers 2
Blue Jackets 4, Hurricanes 1
Bruins 2, Coyotes 1
Predators 5, Kings 3
Flames 4, Oilers 2
Sharks 4, Blues 0