London Knights

Adam Boqvist ‘going with the flow’ to start Blackhawks career

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with Tuesday’s matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks. Coverage begins at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

It’s been a whirlwind week for Blackhawks defenseman Adam Boqvist, as the eighth overall pick from the 2018 NHL Draft has had a trio of firsts.

On Oct. 30, Boqvist recorded his first professional goal during a 6-2 win with the AHL Rockford IceHogs. The following day he was recalled by the Blackhawks, made his NHL debut on Saturday and scored his first goal during Sunday night’s overtime win over the Ducks.

The Blackhawks are currently in the midst of a youth movement — as best as they can given their salary cap situation — and Boqvist has been looked at as a cornerstone on the blue line. Through two games he’s been paired heavily with Duncan Keith at even strength and showed enough in his NHL debut Saturday against the Kings to have head coach Jeremy Colliton put him on the ice for three shifts as the lone defenseman in overtime, playing a little over two minutes of the extra frame. His puck-moving abilities has also allowed him to quarterback the second power play unit.

“He’s been really good,” said Colliton. “Obviously, he does bring that dimension to the power play. He can finish, he’s got a great release. His movement is fantastic back there. He could have scored in overtime [against Los Angeles], too, so clearly he’s having an impact on the game, but I think defensively he’s been quite good. We feel pretty comfortable with him out there. Obviously, we’re trying to protect him when we can, but he’s made a really good impression so far.”

[COVERAGE OF BLACKHAWKS-SHARKS BEGINS AT 10 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

The 19-year-old London Knights product played only six games in the AHL before being called up. He wasn’t impressed with his own play in Rockford, but he was put in a strong situation in Chicago being paired with a two-time Norris Trophy winner.

It wasn’t the best of starts, however. Boqvist logged 12:57 of even strength ice time against the Kings, and saw a minus-seven shot differential (11-18) when he was on the ice at 5-on-5, per Natural Stat Trick. But possession was a team-wide issue Saturday night. The rookie improved mightily in that department against the Ducks with a 16-7 shot advantage at even strength when the Falun, Sweden native hopped over the boards, which led to a team-best 69.57 Corsi on the evening.

Improving his stick work, working on gap control, and adjusting to the rigors of the NHL will take time for Boqvist. But for the moment he’s just doing what he knows best.

“I don’t think so much out there,” Boqvist said. “It’s happened so quick and everything. There’s so much in my head right now. I got called up four days ago. So I’m just going to go with the flow.”

Kathryn Tappen will anchor tonight’s studio coverage with Jeremy Roenick and Anson Carter. Randy Hahn and Jamie Baker will call the Blackhawks-Sharks matchup from SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.

NBC Sports will premiere “The Russian Five” documentary, a feature on the first five Russians to play hockey together in the NHL, Wednesday, November 6, following Wednesday Night Hockey between the Red Wings and Rangers. The documentary tells the story of how Sergei Fedorov, Slava Fetisov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Slava Kozlov, and Igor Larionov were able to defect from their homeland and transform the Detroit Red Wings into perennial contenders and back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions in 1996-97 and 1997-98.

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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.

Antonio Stranges shows off hands with silky shootout move

ESE Hockey / Instagram
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The Eastside Elite Hockey League is a summer league that brings together prospects, minor leaguers and NHL players. Founded by longtime pro Steven Oleksy, the 2019 season features the likes of Dylan Larkin, Alex DeBrincat, Zach Werenski, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Todd Bertuzzi, among others, 

During Tuesday night’s All-Star Challenge, which raised money for the Cassie Hines Shoes Cancer FoundationAntonio Stranges, a 17-year-old forward for the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights, wowed the crowd inside Michigan’s Mt. Clemens Ice Arena with this shootout move.

Silky and smooth, just the way to do it.

Here’s another angle via Michigan Hockey:

That wasn’t the first time that Stranges has showed off his unbelievable hands. TPE Hockey, who tipped us off to Tuesday’s move, has this montage showcasing what the young forward can do in the shootout

Stranges, a Michigan native who grew up playing for the Little Caesars program, is eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. In his first season with the Knights in 2018-19 he scored 13 goals and recorded 34 points in 66 games.

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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.

PHT Morning Skate: Mike Smith pays tribute to Alice Cooper on retro night in Arizona

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The Arizona Coyotes wore throw back jerseys in Thursday night’s shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks. Additionally, goaltender Mike Smith wore a mask designed specifically for the night. Smith had rock icon Alice Cooper painted on its back plate. (NHL.com)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $3,000. Starts Friday at 7:00pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith helped toddler Cammy, who was born unable to walk or speak, reach her dream. Her goal was to score a goal with the help of her favorite player, Keith. The 31-year-old recently made Cammy’s dream come true. Have a look:

One of the highlights of Monday’s trade deadline was the Minnesota Wild’s acquisition of defenseman Jordan Leopold. Leopold’s daughter, Jordyn Leopold, wrote a letter to the Wild asking them bring her dad home to Minnesota. Jordyn discussed her letter with the Wild’s website recently:

The Hockey News ranks the Top 10 falling prospects. These players were ranked among the top 75 prospects in the game last season, but have since dropped off. (THN)

Peterborough Petes’ rookie Jonathan Ang scored a highlight-reel goal Thursday night during an Ontario Hockey League game against Max Domi and the London Knights. Have a look:

Video: Coyotes’ prospect Max Domi with a highlight-reel goal

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Max Domi will never be mistaken for his father, Tie Domi.

Tie Domi racked up over 3,500 penalty minutes in just over 1,000 career NHL games.

Max Domi likes to use his hands for putting the puck in the net. The Arizona Coyotes 2013 first-round pick has 64 points in 33 Ontario Hockey League games with the London Knights this season.

The 19-year-old made an alley-oop pass to himself Friday night for his 19th goal of the season.

Have a look:

What should the Sabres do with Zadorov?

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Buffalo Sabres 2013 first rounder Nikita Zadorov has only practiced with the big club as the team’s brass tries to figure out where the hulking defenseman plays this season.

Ideally, Zadorov would play in the American Hockey League, with the Rochester Americans, but because of his junior eligibility, it’s not an option.

The Sabres could loan him to a team in Russia, but as The Buffalo News’ John Vogl points out, they would have little control over the 19-year-old’s development.

Buffalo feels at 6-foot-5, 238 pounds Zadorov is too big for the junior game and are reluctant to send him back to the London Knights.

“The player just wants to play,” Zadorov’s agent, Rolland Hedges, said. “It’s up to Buffalo how they’re going to deal with that.”

One option could be to have the Russian stick with the big club. Zadorov appeared in seven games for the Sabres last season scoring a goal to go along with a minus-4 rating.

“I can’t answer that question straight up, but we’re trying to do our best with the situation,” coach Ted Nolan said. “We’re going to keep working at him, get his conditioning a little better. He’s another promising young prospect that we have to make sure we do the best for him.”

Zadorov is expected to be a healthy scratch once again tonight when the Sabres host the Florida Panthers.