NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with Sunday’s matchup between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Blues saw their eight-game win streak snap in Friday’s 4-2 loss at New Jersey, meanwhile, the Blackhawks also saw their four-game win streak come to an end in a 2-1 loss at Detroit on the same night.
Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko is back on the ice and has skated in separate sessions with assistant coaches and scratched players but hasn’t been cleared to practice at full speed. The 28-year-old underwent shoulder surgery in late October and has been sidelined for the last 58 games.
After losing to the Blues on Feb. 25, the Hawks went on to win four straight games and remained in the Wild Card mix. But a 2-1 loss Friday night to the worst team in the NHL, Detroit, halted the Hawks’ momentum in the crowded West wild card race.
Patrick Kane scored Chicago’s lone goal in the loss at Detroit on Friday, tallying his 31st goal of the season. It was the third consecutive game in which the American-born forward has scored. Kane has also recorded points in nine of his last 11 contests, giving him 13 pts (6G-7A) in that span.
Chicago netminder Corey Crawford started his 8th consecutive game on Friday night, a streak that began on Feb. 21 vs. Nashville. The two-time Cup champ stopped 23 of the 25 shots he faced against the Red Wings, but fell to 15-19-3 this season.
Kate Scott will call the action alongside U.S. Olympic gold medalists Kendall Coyne-Schofield and AJ Mleczko from United Center in Chicago, Ill. Game production will be led by producer Rene Hatlelid and director Lisa Seltzer.
The first-of-its-kind broadcast will be in celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, which dates back over 100 years. The broadcast will highlight women who have made their mark on hockey, and sports in general, with the hopes to inspire future generations of women to excel on the ice and behind the scenes.
Sunday night’s coverage will also be surrounded by On Her Turf, NBC Sports’ female empowerment brand. The broadcast will include a number of features highlighting women in hockey during pre-game and intermissions, with custom in-game graphic integration and social coverage.
Rangers vs. Blackhawks: How to watch Wednesday Night Hockey
NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
With just over six weeks to go in the regular season, the Rangers and Blackhawks find themselves on the wrong side of the playoff dividing line with several teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race. New York currently has three teams to jump ahead of to get into a playoff spot, while Chicago has four
New York’s season-high four-game win streak was snapped on Sunday at MSG against Boston, 3-1, as the Rangers now hit the road for away games in five of their next six contests. Overall, Chicago has lost six of its last seven games (1-4-2) with its sole win coming two games ago at Calgary, an 8-4 affair on Saturday – the Blackhawks most goals scored this season.
New York’s high-priced offseason acquisition, Artemi Panarin (7-year/$81.5M), leads the team in goals (29), assists (49), points (78 – fifth in NHL)– to name a few. The Russian playmaker, who set a career high in pts (87) last season with the Blue Jackets, is on pace to set new highs in goals, assists and points. The 28-year-old began his career with the Blackhawks (undrafted), winning the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 2015-16 before being traded to Columbus after two seasons
Chris Kreider has come on of late with 29 pts in the last 29 games after just 13 points in his first 28 games. Kreider, who is on pace for his first career 30-goal season, is set to become a free agent after this season. There were reports last week that Kreider’s agent and the Rangers have been discussing a possible contract extension, while he has also been linked with a possible trade to his hometown Bruins (from Boxford, Mass.). Kreider was drafted 19th overall by New York in 2009 and has spent his entire career with the Blueshirts.
Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Brian Boucher will call the action from United Center in Chicago, Ill. Ahmed Fareed will host Wednesday’s coverage on NHL Live alongside analysts Keith Jones and Mike Milbury and NHL insider Bob McKenzie.
The Miracle on Ice – 40th Anniversary, featuring Al Michaels, who called the momentous matchup in 1980, and Mike Tirico, will premiere on Wednesday night at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. 40 years to the month, this 30-minute special will feature Tirico’s wide-ranging conversation with Michaels about the buildup to the game, his iconic call, as well as the legacy of the moment that became bigger than sports and still resonates today.
Kubalik eyes dream debut as Blackhawks play Flyers in Prague
PRAGUE — Czech winger Dominik Kubalik has waited six years for a chance to play in the NHL. He never expected his debut would take place at home.
The 24-year-old Kubalik is set to play his first game for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Philadelphia Flyers in Prague on Friday in the teams’ season-opener, as part of the NHL’s 2019 Global Series.
Having been drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 2013, Kubalik has had to wait until now for a chance to actually play in the North American league and spent last season playing in Switzerland. The Kings shipped him to Chicago for a fifth-round pick in January, setting up a surreal homecoming this week.
”It’s going to be a great experience, especially for my family,” Kubalik said. ”A dream come true. It’s something very special.”
For Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton, though, there were no sentimental reasons for including Kubalik in the opening-night roster.
”The thing I’ve been impressed with is his work ethic,” Colliton said. ”He’s not a passenger out there. We think he can produce offensively but he can also play on a defensive line and give the line some punch, so that’s a good sign for him and he shown he can be valuable in different ways.”
It’s the third straight year – and eighth overall – that the NHL returns to Europe as part of its efforts to grow the local fan base in hockey-mad countries like the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland and others.
The interest remains huge. Even the training sessions for the teams on Thursday were sold out – as is Friday’s game at Prague’s O2 Arena. Kubalik won’t be the only Czech player on the ice, with Philadelphia winger Jakub Voracek also excited about playing in front of a home crowd.
Voracek played two season-opening games in Stockholm with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010 against the San Jose Sharks, but said this trip was more special.
”When I started to play (in the NHL) I never expected I’m going to get a chance to play here,” Voracek said. ”It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
For the Flyers, it’s their first trip to Europe for a game. Chicago came in 2009 to open the season with a couple of games against the Florida Panthers in the Finnish capital of Helsinki, before going on to lift the Stanley Cup at the end of the season.
Defenseman Brent Seabrook was on the team back then, and is hoping for a similar experience.
”Ten years ago when we were over here it was a wild atmosphere and I think we’re looking for the same kind of atmosphere on Friday,” Seabrook said.
Chicago also lifted the Cup in 2013 and 2015 but missed the playoffs last season. For Colliton, the trip also represents a good team-building exercise as the Blackhawks try to get the season off to a good start.
”I think that’s one of the reasons why you go for this trip is for the guys to have some time together,” Colliton said. ”We’re going to learn way more in the first game than probably we learned the whole three weeks of preseason. I’m excited about that and we’ll react accordingly. So that’s exciting.”
The Flyers haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1975 and missed the playoffs for the fourth time in seven seasons.
Alain Vigneault was hired as coach to fix that. He might be known for quick fixes but he knows there’s work to be done after the Flyers lost to Swiss team HC Lausanne 4-3 in an exhibition game on Monday.
”Obviously, right now we’re in the process of making the evaluation that we need for this team to be successful,” Vigneault said.
Far from Czech home, Kubalik adjusts to life with Blackhawks
CHICAGO — Dominik Kubalik is leaning on David Kampf while he transitions to life in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks. He peppers his Czech countryman with all sorts of questions.
”I think he’s a little bit mad at me right now,” a grinning Kubalik said, ”because I’m still asking ‘What’s that?’ and ‘Where are we going?’ and ‘Where’s the training room?’ Stuff like that.”
The Blackhawks have their own questions about Kubalik, one of the biggest variables in their pursuit of the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2017.
It sure looks as if Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane might play together on Chicago’s top line, and close friends and former juniors teammates Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat are a good bet for the second line. Kubalik is in the mix to play alongside one of those potent duos.
It would be quite an opportunity to walk into as a 24-year-old rookie, but Kubalik isn’t looking ahead.
”Everything is pretty new,” he said. ”I’m just trying to get used to it as quick as possible. But I feel great.”
Kubalik skated with Strome for at least part of Saturday’s session on the second day of training camp. Strome played against Kubalik at the world championships and saw him in the Ontario Hockey League a few years ago.
”He’s got a real hard shot, fast skater, some good hands,” Strome said. ”So I think he’s going to add a different element to our team. He’s got a great one-timer. He knows where to go and knows how to find open ice. Big body, too, so it’s a lot of good attributes to have in a player.”
Coach Jeremy Colliton said Kubalik has been ”as advertised” so far.
”It’s going to be somewhat of an adjustment for him,” Colliton said. ”He has played over here in North America before, so that’s good. But it’s still going to take some practices and games.”
Kubalik was drafted by Los Angeles in the seventh round in 2013. But the 6-foot-2 winger never played for the Kings, who shipped him to Chicago for a fifth-round pick in January.
He had spent most of his career in the Czech Republic before playing for HC Ambri-Piotta in Switzerland for part of the 2017-18 season and again last year.
Kubalik had 25 goals and 32 assists in 50 games for the Swiss club last season, and then had a goal and five assists in five playoff games. He also had six goals and six assists in 10 games at the worlds.
The move to Ambri-Piotta was a key moment for Kubalik in his journey to the NHL.
”I was still thinking that I just need to make another step in my career,” he said. ”So I decided to, if there was a chance to go to Switzerland, felt pretty good about it. So I tried it and it actually worked pretty well.”
Kubalik plans to stick to his strengths in his transition to the NHL.
”I think I’m playing pretty simple,” he said. ”I don’t want to handle the puck for a while. I want to just put it as quick as possible to the net. If there is a chance to shoot, I’m just going to take it.”
While Kubalik is learning his way around Chicago, there was at least one familiar face in the locker room when he joined the Blackhawks. He played with Kampf on a U-20 team in the Czech Republic a couple years ago.
He also could make his NHL debut in his home country when Chicago begins the season in Prague on Oct. 4 against Philadelphia.
”I don’t really want to think about it. It’s still pretty far away,” he said. ”But obviously I know it would be probably amazing.”
The 2019-20 NHL schedule has arrived and the 1,271-game regular season journey to the Stanley Cup Playoffs begins Oct. 2 and ends April 4. We’ll have banners being raised, old friends being reacquainted, outdoor games, games in Europe and CBA fun to deal with.
Here’s a look at some notable dates on the 2019-20 season’s schedule:
Sept. 1, 2019 – As the Collective Bargaining Agreement expiration date approaches in 2022, the NHL has the first crack to terminate the agreement as of Sept. 15, 2020.
Sept. 15, 2019 – Should the NHL pass, the NHLPA can choose to end the agreement early on Sept. 15, 2020.
OPENING NIGHT WITH A BANNER RAISING
Oct. 2, 2019 – Washington Capitals at St. Louis Blues
The defending champion Blues open their season with a Stanley Cup banner-raising party at Enterprise Center. This will be the fourth straight year that the Capitals (2016, 2018) or Blues (2017, 2019) will have been involved in a banner raising celebration.
Opening night will also feature the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Ottawa Senators, the Vancouver Canucks visiting Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, and a playoff rematch as the Vegas Golden Knights host the San Jose Sharks.
Oct. 26, 2019 – St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins
The last time these two met was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. They’ll meet for the first time next season back at TD Garden in late October.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft will make his debut as Jack Hughes plays his first regular season game for the Devils. Also debuting that night with his new team will be P.K. Subban, who will also make his return to Nashville on Dec. 7.
Oct. 17, 2019 – New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Jack vs. Kakko for the first time in their NHL careers.
Oct. 26, 2019 – Calgary Flames vs. Winnipeg Jets
The Western Conference division rivals meet at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan in the Heritage Classic.
Jan. 1, 2020 – Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars
The Winter Classic will take place at the Cotton Bowl in Texas featuring a rematch of Round 1 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Feb. 15, 2020 – Los Angeles Kings vs. Colorado Avalanche
For the second time, the NHL brings a Stadium Series game to a U.S. Service Academy as the Kings and Avalanche meet at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
NHL GLOBAL SERIES
Oct. 4, 2019 – Chicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers.
Jakub Voracek and David Kampf will get the opportunity to play in front of their fellow Czechs with the game taking place at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic.
Feb. 8, 2020 – Ottawa Senators vs. Winnipeg Jets; Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens; Nashville Predators at Edmonton Oilers; Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks
Hockey Day in Canada will feature all seven Canadian teams in action.
Feb. 16, 2020 – Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins; Boston Bruins at New York Rangers; St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators; Chicago Blackhawks at Winnipeg Jets
Hockey Day in America (on NBC and NBCSN) will see nine games beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET and the last game starting at 8:30 p.m. ET.
ALMOST SUPER SATURDAY
We need to wait until Seattle joins the NHL for every team to be in action in one day, but the 2019-20 season will end on April 4 with 30 of the league’s teams in action. Hopefully there will be some drama left on the final day.
The San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights will exchange pleasantries in the first two games of the season on Oct. 2 and Oct. 4. Their playoff series was intense and epic, so there should be plenty of fun to be had in these two games.
Jack Hughes visits older brother Quinn and the Vancouver Canucks for the first time when the New Jersey Devils head west on Oct. 19.
Dave Tippett visits his old team for the first time when the Arizona Coyotes host the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 24, 2019.
It might be a better reception in Edmonton when well-liked Ralph Krueger leads his Buffalo Sabres against the Oilers on Dec. 8, 2019. Same goes for Dallas Eakins when the Anaheim Ducks visit on March 23.
There’ll be shotskis and Stanley Cup memories when Joel Quenneville and the Florida Panthers visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 21, 2020.
Jacob Trouba, if he does indeed end up signing in New York, makes his first trip back to Winnipeg to see his old friends on the Jets on Feb. 11, 2020.
The reception will be an interesting one when Alain Vigneault goes back to Madison Square Garden as Philadelphia Flyers head coach on March 1, 2020.
SALUTE TO THE SEDINS
The Vancouver Canucks will retire the jerseys of Henrik and Daniel on Feb. 12, 2020 before their game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Jan. 24-26, 2020 – NHL All-Star Game, St. Louis
The best of the best will head to St. Louis for All-Star Weekend, which will once again feature the divisional three-on-three tournament on Sunday afternoon following the NHL Skills event on Saturday night.