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NBCSN Hockey Happy Hour schedule: June 22-26

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NBC Sports will present live coverage of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery this Friday at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, hosted by Kathryn Tappen. Immediately following the 30-minute program, a special half-hour edition of NHL Live will be presented at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN with reactions to the Draft Lottery as well as a preview of the NHL’s latest Return to Play plans. The show will be hosted by Liam McHugh alongside analysts Keith Jones and Patrick Sharp.

The Draft Lottery will feature interviews with Commissioner Gary Bettman, the consensus top prospect Alexis Lafreniere, and the general manager of the organization that wins the Draft Lottery.

Programming will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

Monday, June 22 on NBCSN
NHL Hat Trick Trivia Hosted by P.K. Subban (Episode 10) – 6 p.m. ET
NHL Pause: Post to Post – 6:30 p.m. ET

Tuesday, June 23 on NBCSN
#HockeyAtHome: This is Hockey – 6 p.m. ET
• Our Line Starts – 6:30 p.m. ET

Friday, June 26 on NBCSN
• NHL Draft Lottery – 8 p.m. ET
• NHL Live Special – 8:30 p.m. ET

NHL HAT TRICK TRIVIA HOSTED BY P.K. SUBBAN – MONDAY, 6 P.M. ET: Former Rangers goaltender Mike Richter will join the tenth episode of NHL Hat Trick Trivia Hosted by P.K. Subban. The show features fans answering a trio of hockey trivia questions from their homes, along with appearances from NHL players and celebrities, for the chance to win NHL prizes. Additional guests on the episode include Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt, hockey insider Elliotte Friedman, and series regular and NHL referee Wes McCauley.

NHL PAUSE: POST TO POST – MONDAY, 6:30 P.M. ET: The 30-minute show, hosted by model Camille Kostek, takes a look at some of the most memorable hockey-related social media posts during the NHL season’s pause.

#HOCKEYATHOME: THIS IS HOCKEY – TUESDAY, 6 P.M. ET: The final edition of #HockeyAtHome, titled #HockeyAtHome: This is Hockey, highlights the inspiring work the hockey community has organized during the pause in the NHL season. The program, co-hosted by Kathryn Tappen, will feature the efforts of Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, Jets captain Blake Wheeler and Wild forward J.T. Brown.

OUR LINE STARTS – TUESDAY 6:30 P.M. ET: NHL on NBC analyst Anson Carter, NBC Sports Chicago analyst Jamal Mayers and current professional women’s hockey player and Kings scout Blake Bolden will join host Liam McHugh for a conversation on race, diversity and inclusion in hockey on this episode of NBC Sports’ NHL weekly podcast, Our Line Starts.

2020 NHL DRAFT LOTTERY – FRIDAY, 8 P.M. ET: The 2020 NHL Draft Lottery, hosted by Kathryn Tappen, will feature NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly revealing the 2020 NHL Draft order. The program will feature interviews with Commissioner Gary Bettman, the consensus top prospect, Alexis Lafreniere, and the general manager of the organization that wins the Draft Lottery.

NHL LIVE – FRIDAY, 8:30 P.M. ET: A special half-hour edition of NHL Live will be presented with reactions to the Draft Lottery as well as a preview of the NHL’s latest Return to Play plans. The show will be hosted by Liam McHugh alongside analysts Keith Jones and Patrick Sharp.

NBCSN’s Stanley Cup Final Week: Kane’s goal, Pronger’s puck-stealing antics

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NBC Sports presents Stanley Cup Final Week on NBCSN, reliving classic Stanley Cup Final games and original films and shows from the past decade across seven nights. Today, we give our favorite memories from the the 2010 Cup Final between the Flyers and Blackhawks.

JAKE: The Stanley Cup Playoffs always seem to produce an unlikely hero or two as 16 teams (24 this year, hopefully!) battle for Lord Stanley. On Monday we remembered Max Talbot’s multi-goal Game 7 in 2009 to deny Detroit back-to-back titles and bring Pittsburgh its first championship in 17 years.

One peripheral member of that losing Red Wings squad went on to play a major role for the Flyers on their run to the Cup Final the following season: Ville Leino.

As a rookie for Detroit in 2008-09, Leino played 13 regular season games and seven playoff games, including the first four games of that final against Pittsburgh. The next season he was traded to Philadelphia.

Entering the 2010 postseason, Leino had played a total of 75 NHL games and scored just 22 points. He was a healthy scratch for Philly’s first four playoff games that year. Who could have predicted the performance that followed?

SEAN: The series did not start the way the Flyers wanted. Losing a pair of one-goal games, including a wild, back-and-forth Game 1 that ended 6-5 in Chicago’s favor, Chris Pronger put the spotlight on himself. 

After the first two games, the Flyers defenseman was seen picking up the game puck after the final buzzer sounded. It became a thing. Pronger tried to distract from his team’s deficit in the series and it worked.

“I think it’s kind of comical,” said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. “If Chris Pronger wants the puck, then he can have it, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t have any problems with that. I don’t know what the big deal is.”

Asked where he put the pucks, Pronger replied as only he could: “It’s in the garbage – where it belongs.”

Perhaps that’s what happened to the Game 1 puck, but last month Pronger told Sportsnet that the one from Game 2 is still in his possession.

[FULL NBCSN STANLEY CUP WEEK SCHEDULE]

JAMES: It’s almost a little on the nose that this series ramped up with “Where’s the puck?” and then ended with … well, “Where’s the puck?”

Or, if you were Patrick Kane, you could motion to the net behind Michael Leighton and scream “There’s the puck!” And then celebrate the first Blackhawks Stanley Cup of the Kane – Jonathan ToewsDuncan Keith era.

Did Kane score the “Goal of the Decade” right here? That’s up for debate, but it earned NHL.com’s nod:

That also marked the first time PHT received the chance to cover a Stanley Cup victory. Discussing it in real time with readers via (whatever likely absolute chat app PHT used at time) made everything even more surreal.

***

NBC Sports presents Stanley Cup Final Week on NBCSN, reliving classic Stanley Cup Final games and original films and shows from the past decade across seven nights, beginning on Monday, June 8.

Programming will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

Tuesday, June 9 – NBCSN
• Who Wore It Best? (Episode 4) – 5 p.m. ET
• 2010 Stanley Cup Final Game 1: Philadelphia vs. Chicago – 5:30 p.m. ET
• 2010 Stanley Cup Final Game 3: Chicago vs. Philadelphia – 7 p.m. ET
• 2010 Stanley Cup Final Game 6: Chicago vs. Philadelphia – 9 p.m. ET
• 2010 Stanley Cup Final Game 3: Chicago vs. Philadelphia – 11 p.m. ET
• 2010 Stanley Cup Final Game 6: Chicago vs. Philadelphia – 1 a.m. ET

PHT Morning Skate: Treliving sensing positive news soon; keeping NHL fans engaged

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 phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Flames GM Brad Treliving says he expects new on an NHL return-to-play plan and about the 2020 draft some time next week. [Calgary Sun]

• Despite their record, Luc Robitaille says that the Kings would like to play out the rest of the regular season, if possible. [LA Times]

• Premier John Horgan on his meeting with Commissioner Bettman about Vancouver becoming a hub city for a potential NHL return: “I believe we’re in a good place to host, that’s why I contacted the commissioner. The Canucks have been working very co-operatively with my minister; we’ve heard from others around the league that have other ideas about perhaps having all of the games played in British Columbia.” [Sportsnet]

Auston Matthews seems to have found a productive spot on the ice during the Maple Leafs’ power play. [TSN]

Kyle Clifford is focused on playing , not his next contract with the Maple Leafs. [Sporting News]

P.K. Subban remains confident in his game: “In my opinion, I’m still one of the top defensemen in the League. When I’m in the biggest games, the biggest moments, I feel that I’m one of the players that teams would love to have on their team and that they can rely on, and that’s always been my game.” [NHL.com]

• Lawsuits aimed to halt the Islanders’ Belmont Arena project have been thrown out by a state Supreme Court justice. [Islanders Insight]

• Remembering the time the Blackhawks nearly dealt Duncan Keith for Jeremy Roenick and Tony Amonte. [NBC Sports Chicago]

• How NHL teams are utilizing esports to keep fans engaged. [Forbes Sports]

• A look at the best and worst (Hello, Mooterus!) of the Dallas Stars’ jersey history. [Hockey by Design]

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line atphtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Long-term outlook for Blackhawks: salary cap, prospects, and more

With the 2019-20 NHL season on hold we are going to review where each NHL team stands at this moment until the season resumes. Here we take a look at the long-term outlook for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Pending Free Agents

The Core

Both at age 31 with matching $10.5 million cap hits through 2022-23, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews remain the headliners of the Blackhawks’ core.

While Toews in particular isn’t what he once was, the biggest problem is shaky support.

Duncan Keith is far removed from his prime at age 36, yet his contract ($5.54 through 2022-23) lingers. Quite a bit of this structure has broken down, to the point that it would be preferable for both Brent Seabrook and Andrew Shaw to stay planted on LTIR.

Credit Stan Bowman with trying to improve a shabby defense. Unfortunately, Bowman whiffed with Olli Maatta, Connor Murphy, and Calvin de Haan to varying degrees. Those three contracts stay on the books through 2021-22.

To Bowman’s credit, he’s experienced significant successes finding forward talent, sometimes off the beaten path. While the Blackhawks galaxy-brained themselves out of Artemi Panarin, they locked up Alex DeBrincat to a team-friendly extension.

One key question remains: can the Blackhawks find the cash to re-sign Corey Crawford? Actually, that folds into other questions. Being that Crawford is 35, should they?

Also, will Dominik Kubalik and/or Dylan Strome become core members, or stay in limbo with “bridge” deals. Can Alex Nylander cement himself? The supporting cast continues to go through auditions as if they’re in Chicago’s Broadway.

Long-Term Needs for Blackhawks

The Blackhawks face plenty of long-term needs.

Still, sometimes the biggest needs go deeper than “scoring depth” and “some actual, above-average NHL defensemen.” The Blackhawks organization needs to let go of the past, even if it means some extra suffering in the present. Otherwise, the future could be plagued by half-measures.

It would be understandable if the Blackhawks struck a short-term deal with Corey Crawford. He quietly put together a surprisingly strong 2019-20, particularly down the stretch.

Yet, how many times should Chicago really go to that nostalgia well? (To say nothing of how tough it might be to fit Crawford under the cap, as Mark Lazerus discussed here [sub required].)

This team needs more difference-makers. Adam Boqvist and other prospects figure to boost the competence of Chicago’s crummy defense, but how much?

Ultimately, the Blackhawks need to add “blue chip” talent, and hope that Boqvist, Kirby Dach, and others fall in that category. By trying to enjoy the best of both worlds of competing while getting some young talent, Chicago risks falling short of both marks. They’ve seemingly accrued good-but-not-great talent, and were moderately competitive but not legitimate contenders.

Pull off the Band-Aid already.

Long-Term Strengths for Blackhawks

As mentioned with Panarin and DeBrincat, the Blackhawks have shown some ability to unearth talent even when they didn’t have no-brainer picks like they did with Kane and Toews. (Panarin was a Euro free agent, DeBrincat went 39th overall in 2016). Dominik Kubalik looks like he could be the latest hidden gem.

Such successes have been a bit of a double-edged sword, as referenced in the long-term needs section. By finding ways to be semi-competitive, the Blackhawks have sometimes added good where a “tank” season may have provided great.

Still, there’s decent talent to work with. DeBrincat, Strome, Kubalik, and maybe Nylander can help on offense. Dach’s development is crucial.

Boqvist ranks as vital on defense, too, but he’s not alone. In ranking Chicago’s prospect pool 12th overall (sub required), The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler frequently listed defensemen. Wheeler highlighted Ian Mitchell almost as much as Boqvist, so help could be coming there. Wheeler’s Athletic colleague Corey Pronman placed Chicago’s under-23 core at a respectable 13th, so it’s not as if there’s nothing beyond Kane and Toews.

Lately, “almost” has been in painful supply for Chicago. An optimist might squint and see how things could break the Blackhawks’ way, but improving this long-term outlook will require more long-term thinking.

MORE BLACKHAWKS:
2019-20 season summary
Surprises and disappointments

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Looking at the 2019-20 Chicago Blackhawks

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With the 2019-20 NHL season on hold we are going to take a look at where each NHL team stands at this moment with a series of posts examining their season. Have they met expectations? Exceeded expectations? Who has been the surprise? All of that and more. Today we look at the Chicago Blackhawks.

Chicago Blackhawks

Record: 32-30-8 (70 games), seventh in the Central Division, Out of Playoffs
Leading scorer: Patrick Kane 84 points (33 goals and 51 assists)

In-Season Roster Moves

• Traded Robin Lehner to the Vegas Golden Knights for Malcolm Subban, Slava Demin, 2020 second-round pick.
• Acquired T.J. Brennan from the Philadelphia Flyers for Nathan Noel.
• Shipped Erik Gustafsson to the Calgary Flames for a 2020 third-round pick.
• Traded Graham Knott to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Joseph Cramarossa.
• Acquired Alec Regula from the Detroit Red Wings for Brendan Perlini.
• Sent Aleksi Saarela to the Florida Panthers for Ian McCoshen.

Season Overview:

The Blackhawks didn’t get off to the greatest of starts in 2019-20. They began their campaign with a loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Czech Republic and then came home to play seven consecutive games at the United Center. How did those games go? Well, they only managed to win two of the seven. When October was all said and done, the ‘Hawks had a 3-6-3 record.

They managed to rattle off a four-game winning streak in November, but quickly followed that up by losing five of their last six games to close out the month.

Get the picture?

There was no semblance of consistency with this edition of the Blackhawks. Sure, they still have an elite talent in Patrick Kane and, yes, Jonathan Toews is still a really good player. They also have Dominik Kubalik, who scored 30 goals in his first year, and Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome and Brandon Saad. Those are all talented players, but the entire roster just doesn’t stack up with the elite teams in the Western Conference anymore.

Their defense still features Duncan Keith, but the unit got old in a hurry. Keith has played a lot of hockey, Seabrook was struggling badly before being shut down with an injury and the acquisition of Calvin de Haan and Olli Maata helped, but not enough.

Management has to decide what the next step is for this group. It’s always tempting to “go for it” when you have Kane, but the supporting cast just isn’t strong enough. Can they make it work by tweaking the roster, or is this a team that needs a major overhaul?

Whenever the off-season starts, they’ll have to address the goaltending position too, because Corey Crawford isn’t getting any younger and he’s scheduled to become a free agent on July 1st. He had been playing well down the stretch, but he’s become a question mark when it comes to staying healthy.

Big decisions are coming.

Highlight of the Season:

Kane has been one of the few bright spots on the ice for the this team and he continued to pile up incredible numbers throughout the season.

On January 19th, in a game against the Winnipeg Jets, Kane picked up a secondary assist on Saad’s goal late in the third period. That point allowed the Blackhawks forward to reach the 1,000-point club.

MORE BLACKHAWKS:
Biggest surprises and disappointments

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.