Report: Blackhawks will not wear Pride-themed jerseys

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO – The Chicago Blackhawks will not wear Pride-themed warmup jerseys before Sunday’s Pride Night game against Vancouver because of security concerns involving a Russian law that expands restrictions on activities seen as promoting LGBTQ rights in the country.

The decision was made by the NHL organization following discussions with security officials within and outside the franchise, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke to the AP on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the move.

The Blackhawks have worn Pride warmup jerseys previously and donned special warmup jerseys on some other themed nights this season. There had been ongoing conversations about a Pride jersey with the players, according to the person who talked to the AP, but the organization made the decision to hold Pride Night without the jerseys this year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law in December that significantly expands restrictions on activities seen as promoting LGBTQ rights in the country. Chicago defenseman Nikita Zaitsev is a Moscow native, and there are other players with family in Russia or other connections to the country.

The decision by the Blackhawks comes after San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov refused to take part in warmups with Pride-themed jerseys. The New York Rangers opted not to wear Pride jerseys or use Pride stick tape as part of their night in January despite previously advertising that plan.

Russians Nikolai Knyzhov and Alexander Barabanov wore the Pride-themed jerseys for the Sharks on Saturday.

While Chicago will go without Pride warmup jerseys this year, the team has planned a variety of activities in conjunction with Sunday’s game. DJs from the LGBTQ community will play before the game and during an intermission, and the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus also is slated to perform. There also are plans to highlight a couple of area businesses with ties to the LGBTQ community.

Blackhawks forward Cole Guttman has shoulder surgery

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO — Chicago Blackhawks forward Cole Guttman had surgery on his right shoulder.

The team said the operation was performed in Los Angeles. Team physician Michael Terry said the 23-year-old Guttman is expected “to be out of hockey activities for approximately four months.”

Guttman had been a pleasant surprise for rebuilding Chicago. He made his NHL debut last month and finished the season with four goals and two assists in 14 games.

Guttman was selected by Tampa Bay in the 2017 draft. He agreed to a two-year contract with Chicago in August 2022 that had a $950,000 salary cap hit.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos injures left leg

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos left in the first period against the Chicago Blackhawks because of a left leg injury.

Stamkos, got tangled up with Chicago forward Joey Anderson in his own zone with less than three minutes remaining in the opening period. The two fell to the ice; Stamkos got up and skated off the ice holding his lower left leg.

The 33-year-old forward is second on the Lightning with 27 goals and third with 66 points.

Stamkos, the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NHL draft, has played his entire NHL career with the Lightning. He’s the team leader with 508 goals and 1,038 points. He reached the 1,000-point mark Dec. 1 and scored his 500th goal Jan. 18.

Stars acquire Max Domi in trade with Blackhawks

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO — The Dallas Stars acquired Max Domi in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on the forward’s 28th birthday.

The move was announced after Dallas’ 5-2 victory at Chicago. Domi was scratched for what the Blackhawks said was “roster management.”

“We’re excited to add a player of Max’s caliber to our lineup,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said in a release. “His offense this season speaks for itself, but he’ll also provide energy, grit and a veteran presence as we continue our push to the postseason.”

The addition of Domi gives Dallas another veteran forward as it angles for playoff positioning. The Stars (33-16-13) are on top of the Western Conference, one point better than the idle Vegas Golden Knights.

Dallas also got minor league goaltender Dylan Wells from Chicago for veteran goaltender Anton Khudobin and a 2025 second-round pick.

The lowly Blackhawks (21-35-5) continue to lean into their tanking strategy, hoping for a chance to take Connor Bedard with the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Longtime star Patrick Kane, forwards Domi and Sam Lafferty and defensemen Jake McCabe and Jack Johnson have been traded away by Chicago.

The Blackhawks also made two minor deals. They acquired Maxim Golod from Anaheim for Dylan Sikura in a swap of minor league forwards, and they got forward Anders Bjork from Buffalo in exchange for future considerations.

Domi had a team-best 18 goals and 31 assists in 60 games with Chicago. He had two goals and an assist in a 4-3 victory at Dallas last week.

Domi, the son of former NHL forward Tie Domi, signed a $3 million, one-year contract with the Blackhawks in July.

The 36-year-old Khudobin was likely included for salary cap purposes. He hasn’t appeared in an NHL game this season. The Blackhawks said he would report to Rockford of the American Hockey League.

The Stars assigned Wells and loaned forwards Fredrik Karlstrom and Fredrik Olofsson and goaltender Matt Murray to the AHL’s Texas Stars.

Patrick Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

Blackhawks-Panthers stream
Getty Images
1 Comment

CHICAGO – After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline.

Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance.

The reverberations of Chicago’s decision to trade Patrick Kane to the New York Rangers were felt almost immediately, with the flat Blackhawks losing 4-1 at Arizona on Tuesday night. And there will be more shockwaves Thursday night, when they host Dallas in the franchise’s first home game since the deal.

“We knew it was going to happen, but still when you see it’s actually true, it’s pretty crazy,” Blackhawks forward Philipp Kurashev said. “I never thought that he would play for a different team, but that’s how it went.”

Kane, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, had spent his entire career with Chicago, winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015. Even as Chicago struggled in recent years and the 34-year-old winger started managing a hip issue, he still provided bursts of flashy play that delighted faithful crowds at the United Center.

But the Blackhawks (21-34-5) are tanking, hoping for a fortunate bounce with a ping-pong ball and a chance to take Connor Bedard with the No. 1 pick in the draft. And Kane is in the final year of his contract.

General manager Kyle Davidson said all along it was up to Kane what he wanted to do, and he decided last week he would waive his no-movement clause for a trade to New York.

Davidson had no leverage in his conversations with New York GM Chris Drury, and the best part of Tuesday’s three-team deal for Chicago was a conditional 2023 second-round draft pick and a fourth-rounder in 2025. The conditional pick turns into a first-rounder if the Rangers reach this year’s East final.

“If you look at it from the pure hockey standpoint and an asset return standpoint, it probably doesn’t compute,” Davidson said. “But given the circumstances and the situation, I think we achieved what we wanted to, and that was to put Patrick on a team that he wanted to go to. That’s the main goal here, was hopefully get some assets for the future, which we feel we did, but mainly was repaying a player that’s done so much for the franchise.”

The Blackhawks also traded defenseman Jack Johnson to Colorado on Sunday and dealt forward Sam Lafferty and defenseman Jake McCabe to Toronto on Monday. Max Domi, who leads the team with 18 goals and 31 assists, and fellow forward Andreas Athanasiou also could be on the move ahead of Friday’s deadline.

The Kane trade means Jonathan Toews is the team’s last link to its most recent three Stanley Cup titles, and it’s unclear when the captain might play again. Toews, who also is in the final year of his contract, announced last month that he is dealing with symptoms of long COVID-19 and chronic immune response syndrome.

With all the moves, the Blackhawks have two first-round picks in each of the next three drafts. They have four second-rounders this year, after they selected three players in the first round of the 2022 draft.

But it could be years before any of those prospects make it to the NHL, and Chicago has 22 games left season – all without Kane.

“We’ll never be one player come in and do what Patrick Kane can do, whether it be on the ice skill-wise or just leadership-wise and his presence in the room,” first-year coach Luke Richardson said. “I think we got to do it by the committee … and I think this team has that ability do that.”