Change has to come for struggling Blackhawks

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Change has to come for struggling Blackhawks

At 35,000 feet on the road back from Phoenix to Chicago, the Sam Cooke classic, A Change is Gonna Come was playing on the old iPod shuffle.

Its appropriate, really. Because as the Chicago Blackhawks muddle through their eight-game winless streak, a change has gotta come. And at this point, it may have to be a drastic change.

The Blackhawks are past the struggling point. This may be more of a reeling point. And when a team that many including its bosses pegged for a long playoff run is suddenly in danger of falling out of the top eight, somethings got to give.

So what will the Blackhawks do? Will there be a coaching change? Do they need a major acquisition? Do they make an eye-popping, multi-player deal?

Only time will tell, but you have to think something has to happen soon.

Firing a head coach during a big slump is nothing new. Its already been done, what, six times this season? Sometimes it works, as with St. Louis bringing in Ken Hitchcock. But it may not be the right move for the Blackhawks right now. Yes, coach Joel Quenneville changes lines at a furious rate, probably too often. But at this point his dismissal would be a temporary salve, a band aid on a gaping gash.

And if the Blackhawks make one big move before the trade deadline, would a top-four defenseman solve all the team-defense ills? Likely not. No, it may take making a big move, and it may have to be for a goaltender.

General manager Stan Bowman said he was confident in his goaltenders, but that was on Feb. 3, before the Blackhawks lost four more in a row. Between Corey Crawford and Ray Emery, neither of whom have proven to be a true No. 1 this season, they gave up 14 goals in those four games.

The trading markets probably going to be a tough one. Its going to take giving up something to get something. It may singe a little, but it cant hurt any more than an eight-game winless streak.

The Blackhawks didnt expect this kind of skid. Theyre doing everything they can to hold onto a playoff spot, but they need a jolt and they need it fast. This is going to be a true test for them, be it players, coaches or team brass.

A Change is Gonna Come. It has to.

Report: Former Blackhawks winger Kris Versteeg to sign with Swiss League

Report: Former Blackhawks winger Kris Versteeg to sign with Swiss League

After struggling to find a new home this offseason as an unrestricted free agent, Kris Versteeg is expected to leave the National Hockey League and sign with SC Bern of National League A, better known as the Swiss League, according to TSN's Darren Dreger.

The former Blackhawks forward, who spent five seasons in Chicago from 2007-10 and 2013-15, scored 15 goals and 23 assists in 77 games last year with the Carolina Hurricanes and Los Angeles Kings.

It was his highest point total (38) in a season since 2011-12 when he tallied 54 with the Florida Panthers.

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There's no question Versteeg can contribute on the bottom-six for a contender in the NHL, but at 30 years of age and already with two Stanley Cups under his belt, perhaps he feels he can play a larger role elsewhere and will look to accomplish that overseas.

Bouncing around six different times (all via trades) certainly takes a toll, too.

In 550 career games, Versteeg has 131 goals and 182 assists across nine seasons in the NHL with the Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, Panthers, Hurricanes and Kings. 

He was drafted in the fifth round (No. 134 overall) of the 2004 draft by the Boston Bruins.

Blackhawks Marketing Department wins Golden Matrix Award

Blackhawks Marketing Department wins Golden Matrix Award

The Blackhawks organization doesn't only win on the ice.

The team announced Wednesday that their Marketing Department's #WhatsYourGoal campaign, specifically the #WhatsYourGoal: Jenny spot with Head Coach Joel Quenneville, was honored with the Golden Matrix Award for the Best Promotional Video at the 2016 Information Display Entertainment Association (IDEA) Conference for the second consecutive year. 

Additionally, the Blackhawks Game Operations Department and United Center Scoreboard Operations Department were named the NHL's Best Overall Video Display and Production for the second year in a row. These same departments also received the Golden Matrix Award for Best Overall Video Display in the NHL at the 2008 and 2009 IDEA Conferences. 

IDEA recognizes superior achievement throughout the large screen video and matrix display industry by awarding its Golden Matrix Awards (GMAs) at the annual IDEA Conference. The purpose of the GMAs is to recognize artistic and technical excellence in the programming of large screen video and matrix displays located at stadiums, arenas, racetracks, convention centers and other public assembly facilities.

Just last month, Blackhawks players Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin took home multiple awards at the NHL Awards ceremony for their impressive performances on the ice in 2016. Kane won the Hart Trophy for most valuable player, as well as the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's regular-season scoring leader and the Ted Lindsay Award as the league's most outstanding player. Panarin was named the Calder Trophy winner for top rookie in the NHL this past season.

Blackhawks to appear on NHL-high 21 nationally televised games

Blackhawks to appear on NHL-high 21 nationally televised games

The Blackhawks announced their 2016-17 regular-season national television schedule Thursday, and there will be plenty of opportunities (21, to be exact) for people across the country to catch a Chicago Blackhawks game on television this year.

The Blackhawks will be making a league-high 21 national television appearances starting with their season-opener on Wednesday, Oct. 12 when they host the St. Louis Blues at 7 p.m. on NBCSN.

Stay tuned for CSN to release the entire local television schedule, including the preseason broadcast schedule, at a later date.

Here is the full Blackhawks' national television schedule: