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No change in Chicago: Blackhawks bringing Quenneville, Bowman back

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The Chicago Blackhawks won’t be overreacting to one bad season after a decade of success. On Thursday, team president John McDonough announced that both head coach Joel Quenneville and general manager Stan Bowman will return for the 2018-19 NHL season.

“I believe in continuity [and] they’ve had an incredible body of success,” McDonough said via the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’re not tethered to the past. This has been a very disappointing year and our expectations are incredibly high. We’re not going to deviate from those expectations. But I believe both Stan and Joel are the guys that are going to bring this back.”

[Which NHL teams will make a coaching change after the season?]

The Blackhawks will finish last in the Central Division and miss out on the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The biggest blow to their hopes was losing Crawford, who has been out since December with an upper-body injury. “We expect him to be fine” was the line from Quenneville this week about the goaltender’s status.

Quenneville still has two years and $12 million left on his contract, and if he would have been canned his unemployment wouldn’t have lasted very long considering the number of potential coaching changes that could happen around the league. Bowman, meanwhile, will have a busy summer with plenty of decisions to make. Chicago doesn’t have many contracts to deal with in the off-season, but Bowman’s focus could be trying to find ways to get out from some heavy contracts to bring in some new faces and hope it’s a different outcome next season.

Alex DeBrincat, Vinnie Hinostroza, Dylan Sikura and Nick Schmaltz represent some of the fresh blood that’s been productive this season, and the hope is they can be part of that next core in Chicago. In the meantime, the likes of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Brandon Saad and Crawford are taking up nearly $40 million cap space. Those seem like the safest bets to remain on the roster. So will Brent Seabrook and Artem Anisimov find themselves available? Are there any untouchables beyond Kane and Toews?

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

Blackhawks ban fans after racist chants directed at Capitals’ Devante Smith-Pelly

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The Chicago Blackhawks took action on Monday, banning a few fans from team home games after their involvement in directing racist chants at Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly on Saturday.

In a post on the team’s website, the Blackhawks said they have “contacted the offending individuals and notified them that they are no longer welcome at Blackhawks home games.”

“Racist comments and other inappropriate behavior are not tolerated by the Chicago Blackhawks,” the Blackhawks said in a post.

Four Blackhawks fans were kicked out of Saturday’s game against the Capitals at United Center after racially-charged taunts were made toward Smith-Pelly.

Smith-Pelly, serving a five-minute major for fighting in the third period, got upset with a fan next to him who, according to the Washington Post, was chanting, “Basketball, basketball, basketball,” toward Smith-Pelly, who is black.

On Monday, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville spoke about the incident.

“Totally unacceptable in our game, in any sport and in society,” Quenneville said. “We have to learn from something like that. (It) can’t happen. I talked to (Capitals coach Barry Trotz) yesterday, apologized to the organization and the player, Devante. We’re sorry about what happened and let’s learn from it.”

Anthony Duclair, who is black, also spoke to the media.

“It’s not ok,” Duclair said. “Whether it happens to Devante Smith-Pelly or a random person on the street, you should be comfortable in your own skin and gender and nationality or religion, your beliefs. Everyone’s equal. Everyone should love each other.”

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman released a statement on Sunday morning:

“Last night in Chicago, individuals directed racial taunts and abuse at Washington Capitals player Devante Smith-Pelly,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “The National Hockey League condemns this unacceptable and reprehensible behavior. The League fully supports the actions taken by the United Center and the Blackhawks to eject the offenders and would expect the same response to any similarly unacceptable behavior at any of our arenas.

“While this incident was isolated in nature, no player, coach, official or fan should ever have to endure such abuse at one of our games. The League will take steps to have our clubs remind all stakeholders that they are entitled to enjoy a positive environment – free from unacceptable, inappropriate, disruptive, inconsiderate or unruly behaviors or actions and may not engage in conduct deemed detrimental to that experience.”

February is Hockey is for Everyone month in the NHL.

Be sure to visit NBCOlympics.com and NBC Olympic Talk for full hockey coverage from PyeongChang.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Top moments from Chicago Blackhawks’ 12-game winning streak

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Back on December 27th the Chicago Blackhawks were sitting in the middle of the Central Division after a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

This is the last time the Blackhawks have had to endure the sour taste of defeat.

Joel Quenneville’s club has rocketed to the top of the Western Conference thanks to a 12-game winning streak and here are the top moments from this incredible run.

4.) Rookie Artemi Panarin’s game-winning goal in overtime

The Blackhawks streak almost came to an end in Pittsburgh as the team squandered a two goal lead, but Panarin came through in the clutch by beating Marc-Andre Fleury.

3.) Corey Crawford takes over league lead in shutouts

Crawford started off 2016 much like he ended by 2015, in dominating fashion. Crawford earned his sixth shutout of the season with a 3-0 victory over the Senators.

2.) Patrick Kane records his first career regular season hat trick

While it might seem a bit ridiculous, Patrick Kane hadn’t recorded a regular season hat trick until he buried three goals against the Maple Leafs to extend Chicago’s winning streak to 10 games.

1.) Quenneville passes Al Arbour for second place in NHL victories

Jonathan Toews and Ryan Garbutt scored a pair of first period goals that gave Crawford the cushion he needed as the Blackhawks defeated the Canadiens 2-1.

PHT Morning Skate: Subban crashes street hockey game

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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.

P.K. Subban was in Montreal’s Westmount neighborhood on Sunday when he came across eight-year-old Jack Fraser and his friends playing street hockey. The 26-year-old Habs’ defenseman decided to join in and test Fraser’s goaltending skills. (Bar Down)

Blackhawks’ coach Joel Quenneville’s connection to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. (The Canadian Press)

With Glen Sather unsure of whether he will return for the 2015-16 season, Adam Proteau writes it’s time for the 71-year-old to step aside. (THN)

Bolts, beer and sun: How Lightning fans watch Stanley Cup Final, outside arena walls. (Puck Daddy)

Elliotte Friedman’s 30 thoughts are always a must-read. (Sportsnet)

A couple of Tampa tattoo artists made the ultimate bet prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. (Bar Down)

Thanks predominantly to Rocky Wirtz, Blackhawks popularity in Chicago is at an all-time high. (Toronto Sun)

Bickell ‘could play’ Game 3

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Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell “could play” in Game 3 on Monday night in Chicago according to head coach Joel Quenneville.

Bickell has missed the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final due to an upper body injury suffered in the Western Conference Final.

“I think he’s healthy,” said Quenneville when asked of Bickell’s status.

The 29-year-old has five assists, 12 penalty minutes and a plus-3 rating while averaging nearly 15 minutes of ice time in 17 playoff games.

It likely won’t be known until game time who comes out of the Blackhawks lineup if Bickell is to play.

Quenneville has been impressed with the play of rookie Teuvo Teravainen who has two goes and an assist through the first two games of the final.

“He can see plays, makes plays. You like his patience level when he does have the puck,” said Quenneville on Sunday. “I think he did settle down in a couple tight situations.

“I think he’s starting to think shot, which is really going to enhance his game and his scoring as well. I think offensively he’s getting a little bit more comfortable with the puck. I think off of that, it should enhance his game.”

On the blue line Quenneville said Trevor van Riemsdyk is a possibility for the Blackhawks.

Van Riemsdyk has not played since November due to knee and wrist injuries.

The 23-year-old had an assist and two penalty minutes while averaging 13:32 in time on ice in 18 regular season games.

Puck drop on Game 3 goes at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.