A Blackhawks lesson in Chemistry 101

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A Blackhawks lesson in Chemistry 101

Don't look now, but the Blackhawks are the only team in the NHL with four wins and no losses this season. San Jose and Ottawa have achieved perfect records so far as well, but both have only played three games in 2013.

It may be early in the season, but right now the concept of the Blackhawks doing some serious damage within the Western Conference looks pretty good. Did we see this coming? Well, yes, but there were a lot of "ifs" that needed to be answered in order to feel fully confident.

Would Marian Hossa return to the form that saw him perform as a perennial All-Star after suffering a severe concussion to end last season? Would the special teams, both power play and penalty kill, return to the form that saw them among the leagues elite just a few years ago? Would the Blackhawks find that second line center that seems to have eluded them since Jonathon Toews became the captain of this team? Would the duo of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook return to become the best twosome in the entire league to man the blue line? Would Patrick Kane return to being Patrick Kane?

So far, all of these questions have been answered in the affirmative, but I think there is one more key here that is easy so overlook from an outsiders perspective: chemistry.

Whether its hanging out with each other on the road, pranking each other in the dressing room, or blocking a shot in front of the net after your teammate has turned it over, these guys have a bond that borders on brotherhood. The fact that the Blackhawks have just two new faces in the lineup (Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank) certainly helps, but the way this team has come together both on and off the ice is going to make them a team that is hard to compete with.

Blackhawks announce three new signings

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Blackhawks announce three new signings

The Blackhawks agreed to terms with goaltender Lars Johansson, defenseman Michal Kempny and forward Martin Lundberg on one-year deals on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old Kempny had 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) in 59 games with Avangard Omsk (KHL) last season. He had two assists in eight games with the Czech Republic in the IIHF World Championship.

Johansson, 28, spent the last three seasons with Frolunda HC (Swedish Hockey League). He was 56-27-0 over those three seasons. Last season, he had a league-leading 1.74 goals-against average and a 27-6-0 record.

The 25-year-old Lundberg had 13 goals and eight assists in 44 games with Skelleftea AIK (Swedish Hockey League). He also had two goals in eight games with Sweden in the World Championship.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews lists Lincoln Park mansion for $3.9 million

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Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews lists Lincoln Park mansion for $3.9 million

Less than 18 months after buying a five-bedroom, 6,400-square-foot mansion in Lincoln Park, Jonathan Toews has put it on the market for $3.899 million. 

The Blackhawks captain is looking to downsize, according to the Chicago Tribune, but listing agent Kai Schirmacher said he plans to remain in the city.

Toews, 28, purchased the four-story home for $3.525 million several months after inking an eight-year, $84 million contract extension with Chicago in July 2014.

Check out pictures from when he first bought the mansion below:

Report: Blackhawks agree to terms with defenseman Michal Kempny

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Report: Blackhawks agree to terms with defenseman Michal Kempny

The Blackhawks have reportedly agreed to terms with defenseman Michal Kempny, according to ESPN's Craig Custance. It's a one-year, entry-level contract worth somewhere in between $575,000 and $925,000, according to generalfanager.com.

The 25-year-old Czech Republic native registered five goals, 16 assists and owned a plus-17 rating in 59 regular-season games this past season with Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. He also racked up four points (two goals and two assists) and had a plus-7 rating in 11 postseason contests.

Kempny waited until after the 2016 IIHF World Hockey Championship ended before making a decision. He had two assists in eight games during the tournament, and was tied for the team-lead with a plus-7 rating. His performance was good enough to be named one of Czech Republic's best players.

Kempny is a 6-foot, 194-pound left-handed defenseman who's known for his puck-moving skills and his ability to play well at both ends of the ice.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman spoke with Scott Powers of The Athletic earlier this month about the possibility of signing Kempny, and provided a quick scouting report on him:

“He’s a mobile defenseman,” Bowman said. “He’s got that mixture of offense and defense. I would call him a really well-rounded guy. He can defend well in his own end. Mobility, he’s a good skater. He can transition the puck. He can sort of play a well-rounded game, which I think as a defenseman, you’ve seen our team play a lot, you have to be able to defend for our coaches to be able to rely on you. He’s got that ability to sort of play both ways.”

Kempny gives the Blackhawks an NHL-ready defenseman with the potential to slot into a top-four role, or at least take some pressure off a blue line group that lacked the depth it's had in previous seasons.