We came in with high expectations

#1 by jinshuiqian0713 , Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:00 am

CHICAGO - All those talented forwards are back. Same for Duncan Keith and the bulk of Chicagos solid defence. There is even a group of intriguing prospects waiting in the wings.The Blackhawks are one confident bunch of the eve of a new NHL season.We feel were deep in a lot of areas, coach Joel Quenneville said. Our guys are at a relatively young age and they should be getting better in their individual games and collectively we should be looking to be better than we were.And they have been really good for years.Led by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010 and again in 2013. They made it all the way to the Western Conference final a year ago, where they dropped a classic seven-game series to the eventual champion Los Angeles Kings.The price of that success reached a new level in July, when Toews and Kane each finalized an $84 million, eight-year contract extension that kicks in for the 2015-16 season. The twin deals could force general manager Stan Bowman to make some difficult decisions down the road, adding to the pressure on the current group of Blackhawks for this year.Bowman still has to make at least one more move to pare about $2 million from this years payroll before the Oct. 9 season opener at Dallas.Even with the sticky salary-cap situation, the Blackhawks did manage to sign veteran Brad Richards to a $2 million, one-year contract over the summer. The team is hoping Richards can centre the second line a a longtime issue for Chicago a and the combination of Richards, Kane and Brandon Saad looked good in the preseason.Here are other things to watch this year for the Blackhawks:THAT THIRD LINE: The top two lines should be among the best in the league, but its the third line that really could separate the Blackhawks from the rest of the NHL. Bryan Bickell was noticeably lighter when he showed up to training camp this year. The bruising winger is hoping for a better start than last season, when he had just one assist in his first seven games and finished with 11 goals and four assists for the year. Kris Versteeg also looked sharp in the preseason, and pesky centre Andrew Shaw set career highs with 20 goals and 19 assists last season. Versteeg prepared himself for this year to get back on track where hes a top forward, Quenneville said. Hes been good for us.THAT POWER PLAY: Chicago converted 19.5 per cent of its power-play opportunities last season, an improvement from 16.7 per cent for the shortened 2012-13 campaign and good enough for 10th in the NHL. New assistant coach Kevin Dineen, who played with Quenneville on the Hartford Whalers and was hired to replace Jamie Kompon in July, is expected to play a prominent role in this years power play. Richards also could help the efficiency of the unit, where any increase in scoring for the already potent Blackhawks could pay huge dividends.FORK IN THE ROAD: Its a pivotal year for defenceman Nick Leddy, who begins the season with 258 regular-season games and another 54 post-season appearances a at just 23 years old. Leddy is one of the fastest skating defencemen on the team, but hes also an occasional visitor to Quennevilles doghouse. He was benched for a playoff game last season against Minnesota. The Kings winning goal in Game 7 in June went off Leddys upper body and then past goaltender Corey Crawford. Leddy could blossom into one of the teams top defencemen, or the Blackhawks could decide to trade him away for salary-cap space.BOSS HOSS: Marian Hossa shows no signs of slowing down heading into his 17th NHL season. The rugged winger had 30 goals and 30 assists in 72 games last season, in addition to his terrific defence. But Hossa missed a couple weeks in March with an upper-body injury and turns 36 in January. Any significant injury for the forward could hurt the Blackhawks in the competitive Central Division.ANTTI MATTERS: Backup goaltender Antti Raanta is heading into his first full NHL season. He made his debut last November and went 13-5 with a 2.71 goals-against average in 25 games, including 22 starts. Raanta played sparingly in the last part of the season, and Crawford figures to get the lions share of the action once again. How Quenneville divides the time in goal will provide an indication of how he feels about the 25-year-old Raantas development.___AP freelancer Matt Carlson contributed to this report.___Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap China Shoes Black Friday . Ramirez is still hitting behind Puig, only now they are in the third and fourth spots, and the change is starting to generate positive results for manager Don Mattingly. Fake Shoes Black Friday . 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Less than 24 hours after the Wolves lost at home to the Mavericks, 100-98, NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn announced Tuesday that Kevin Love was fouled on his right arm by Shawn Marion in the closing seconds and should have been awarded two free throws.PITTSBURGH -- Coach Dan Bylsma knows that the disappointing finish of the U.S. Olympic mens hockey team in Sochi will linger. But now he has shifted his focus back to the Pittsburgh Penguins and looks to get his first-place team to make a deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs. "I dont think you get rid of the disappointment," Bylsma said Tuesday. "But you have to put it behind you. The task at hand is coming back here and playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and I think thats the best way to put it behind you." The U.S. nearly knocked off Team Canada in Vancouver in 2010, falling just short of a gold medal and instead settled for silver. The Americans wanted to win an elusive Olympic hockey gold for the first time since the "Miracle on Ice," in 1980, and U.S. executives felt Bylsmas team had the right blend of skill, speed, and grit to get the job done. The U.S. offence got off to a strong start through the first four games of the tournament, outscoring the opposition 20-6. Included was the exhilarating, 3-2, eight-round shootout victory against the host Russians, one of the most memorable games of the tournament. "The Russian game was as unique of a game as Ive ever coached," Bylsma said. "The stage in terms of the tournament doesnt mean a whole lot because everyones going to play a fourth game, but trying to compare it to a Stanley Cup or a Game 7 was completely different. It had a different feel." The U.S. cruised past the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals, setting up a semifinal showdown with Canada. "Its a game we all wanted," Bylsma said. "Maybe the biggest disappointment is that it wasnt the gold medal game." Regardless, the U.S. had to get through Canada to win gold, and for the second straight time in Olympic competition, the Canadians topped the U.S. Canada, which went on to win its second straight gold medal, blanked the Americans in a suffocating 1-0 effort that wasnt as close as the final score. Bylsma was criticized after the loss, some drawing comparisons to the Boston Bruins foour-game sweep of a punchless Penguins team, which had trouble scoring during the 2013 Eastern Conference finals.dddddddddddd "You can draw the comparisons, but I dont know if theyre valid or applicable," Bylsma said. "The one thing we would like to go back to in that game was playing faster and playing quicker, allowing us to be on the forecheck in a better manner." Penguins GM Ray Shero, also the associate general manager for Team USA, credited Team Canada. "That might be the greatest Olympic hockey team ever," Shero said. "You can look at how we wanted to play, but sometimes the opponent doesnt let you get to your game." The Canadians, who never trailed in the tournament, flexed their defensive muscle, allowing just three goals in six games to become the first team in 30 years to go unbeaten through an Olympic tournament. "Canada was very good," Shero said. "We came in with high expectations and theres nothing wrong with setting a high goal." Both wanted to see a different outcome after a humiliating 5-0 defeat the following day against Finland in the bronze medal game. "The bronze medal game was a tough one for us to rebound and get to," Bylsma said. "Thats the biggest disappointment of the tournament." But now the attention shifts back to Bylsmas Penguins where Olympians Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz are back with gold medals from Team Canada, while Jussi Jokinen and Olli Maatta earned bronze with Finland. Bylsma returned empty-handed along with U.S. Olympians Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin, who broke his hand in the quarterfinal round and is out four to six weeks. Russian star Evgeni Malkin is also without a medal, motivation that Bylsma hopes will further fuel a deep playoff run for the Metropolitan Division-leading Penguins. The Penguins return to action when they host Montreal on Thursday. "We have 24 games to get back and focus on this team being the best it can be, getting to the Stanley Cup and winning it," Bylsma said. ' ' '

jinshuiqian0713  
jinshuiqian0713
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Date registered 09.10.2019


   

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