Blackhawks working to improve power play

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Blackhawks working to improve power play

DENVER Five Blackhawks gathered on one side of the Magness Arena ice at the University of Denver on Wednesday afternoon. Next five had their turn. Repeat. Practice makes perfect. Or at least, hopefully, it makes production.

The Blackhawks power play has been another source of frustration this season, and especially during this recent 0-5-1 skid. So on Wednesday, with several players out with illnesses, the Blackhawks spent practice solely on that listless power play.

It worked out that the guys who were on the ice are power-play guys. We were moving it around pretty good, said coach Joel Quenneville. That has to be a point of emphasis; that we have to rely on that to get us through tough times. We dont want it to lose momentum for us like it has recently.

That happened as recently as Tuesday night in the Blackhawks 5-2 loss against the Colorado Avalanche. They were down 3-2 in the third period when they went on two power plays within four minutes of each other. The Blackhawks didnt even get a shot on goal in either. Same goes for a first-period power play.

We know if we score a power-play goal last night its a different game. But we didnt, Marian Hossa said. Were just trying to make things more simple, more flowing, get the basics and just take shots at the net. Right now we feel like we can win the games by the power play and were not scoring any goals.

Theyve now gone four consecutive games without a goal on the man advantage (0 for 10). The Blackhawks road power play was ranked eighth in the league prior to Tuesdays game, but recent outings arent helping that figure or the Blackhawks win-loss record.

Its been letting us down and could be a key part of us winning games, said Patrick Kane, who was on the first power-play unit with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Hossa and Brent Seabrook. We practiced it and I think we have some different setups, things to be excited about. Hopefully it starts clicking soon because its a big part of us losing games here.

The Blackhawks are trying to improve a bunch of parts to their game right now. The power play is just one portion thats been struggling.

The power plays huge for us, Sharp said. We want to put teams away and a big goal does a lot. Today we saw some good units and a lot of guys playing different schemes. Its a work in progress.

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.