Future Olympic coach Katey Stone hosts girls' clinic


Future Olympic coach Katey Stone hosts girls' clinic

LINCOLNWOOD -- The Under-14 girls took turns fighting for control of the puck, pushing each other as if they were competing for a spot on a team.

On Saturday, these were just drills. But they were also drills led by one of the most successful coaches in Division I womens ice hockey history and coach of the U.S. Olympic womens team.

Katey Stone, who was named 2014 U.S. womens Olympic hockey coach back in June, led a clinic with Chicago Young Americans girls hockey players at American Heartland Arena on Saturday. Stone, who has the most Division I womens hockey victories among active coaches (378 at Harvard University) ran separate sessions for U14, U16 and U19 girls. Longtime friend Kenny McCudden, the Chicago Wolves skating and skills coach, also helped run the clinic.

For Stone, theres nothing like the game of hockey.

It empowers women, young women, to do something at a highly intense level and be successful at it, Stone said. Its fast, its competitive and its so different than any other game.

For the girls who participated, working with Stone was a tremendous opportunity.

Its fun because she has so much experience. Shes a really great coach and really an inspiration, said 14-year-old Shea Nelson of Evanston. Its fun to be on the ice with someone with that much history of hockey. It makes the whole game that much better.

Amelia Murray, 14, of Crystal Lake, said it was an enjoyable day.

She just tried to get us to have fun, said Murray, who switched to hockey from figure skating after her dad told her she was too fast for the latter. We were working on skills, but she was making sure we had fun at the same time. We also get to know what we need to know for college. CYA, all these teams, their goal is to get you into a great college.

Stone grew up at a time when girls playing hockey was truly a rarity. She began playing when she was three, when she and her older brothers would get on the pond in front of her house in Connecticut. She was the only girl playing at the squirt level, with only a few more playing at the bantam level. But being one of few girls playing didnt stop Stone.

Some came after you a little bit, but it was good for me, Stone said. I held my own and learned a lot of lessons. The prep school where my dad worked had a girls team, and from that point on I played.

Flash-forward to today, when these girls have so many more opportunities to play. There were more than 100 girls combined at Saturdays clinic, and Stone said the lessons they learn from playing are immeasurable.

We never went overnight to a tournament; it was always local, just in and out. For these kids, that transition going to college now is so much easier, she said. They play a ton of games, travel a lot and learn how to manage everything else in their life, which is critical.

Still, a few more lessons from Stone didnt hurt.

She taught us that, if you make a bad play, just get over it and make up for it. Dont sweat it, Nelson said. A lot of times in games if I make a bad play, I just keep focusing on it the rest of the game. Its good to just let go.

Hockey paved a great path for Stone I couldnt be luckier, honestly, she said. Now hockey is giving another generation of girls the tools to succeed, on and off the ice.

One of the biggest things for me is the willingness to prepare. Its one thing to be competitive but how willing are you to really prepare and put yourself in a position to win? Stone said. Thats something that women thrive on, and thats why women in business and everything in life have been so successful. Theyve had great opportunities and theyve made the most of the ones theyve had.

Five Things from Blackhawks-Flames: Same old story on the penalty kill

Five Things from Blackhawks-Flames: Same old story on the penalty kill

Here we go again.

Listen, it’s been one of those nights for everyone, including the Blackhawks. So let’s just save ourselves some time and get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames.

1. Good and bad about the penalty kill. OK, let’s start with the good. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill was successful on their last three penalties, including Tyler Motte’s double-minor high-sticking. The bad news is they allowed goals on their first two kills and have now given up 14 in seven games. So what worked on the three late penalty kills? "We just kept our feet moving. We were working. Our shifts were 20 to 30 seconds tops. When you go that short you have the energy to outwork the power play and make up for being down one man," captain Jonathan Toews said. "Yeah, I mean, I think that’s the key right there, and I think our systems fall into place when we’re all moving and we’re all skating the right way."

2. Puck possession. When the Blackhawks are playing at their best, they are dominant in this department. They looked discombobulated in this one from the start and had very little possession, especially early. "Our identity in the past was fast and having the puck. Now we don’t have quite the four-line rotation or the puck enough to get that precision we look for, that identity we’re accustomed to having," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We’re not playing as fast because we’re defending a lot more than we’re used to."

[SHOP BLACKHAWKS: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

3. Forsling hurt. Blackhawks rookie defenseman Gustav Forsling was injured in the second period and did not return. Forsling took a big hit from Lance Bouma along the glass between the two benches. Quenneville said Forsling is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The Blackhawks have better depth at defense this season. Now, with Trevor van Riemsdyk out for a few weeks and Forsling potentially missing some time, they’ll need all of it.

4. Corey Crawford doing just fine. Yes, he’s part of the Blackhawks’ penalty kill that is not doing much of anything right now. But he’s also been stellar at 5-on-5, where he’s allowed just three goals this season. If not for Crawford tonight, the Blackhawks aren’t in striking distance when the third period begins and they probably don’t earn that overtime point.

5. Brian Elliott just a little better. Elliott stymied the Blackhawks in Game 7 of their first-round series last spring, and he aggravated them again on Monday night. Richard Panik nearly had the winner on Elliott until the Flames goaltender stopped his shot with his right skate. Elliott was also good in overtime (6-for-6), when the Blackhawks had a 4-on-3 power play. The Elliott of Monday night is the Elliott the Flames were hoping for when they traded for him this offseason.

Blackhawks get a point but Kris Versteeg wins it for Flames in shootout

Blackhawks get a point but Kris Versteeg wins it for Flames in shootout

When watching Blackhawks hockey over the last few years, several things stood out. Among them was their penalty kill and dominant puck possession.

Both of those things have been missing so far this season, and both have cost the Blackhawks.

Patrick Kane scored his second goal of the season but Kris Versteeg had the shootout winner as the Calgary Flames beat the Blackhawks 3-2 on Monday night. The Blackhawks are now 3-3-1 on the season as they keep trying to find more consistency in their game.

Gustav Forsling suffered an upper-body injury in the second period when he was hit by Lance Bouma on the glass between the team benches. Coach Joel Quenneville said the defenseman is day-to-day.

Corey Crawford stopped 29 of 31 shots in the loss. Despite the two power-play goals tonight, Crawford was good. He’s allowed just three 5-on-5 goals on the season.

But that penalty kill did hurt once again, as the Blackhawks allowed the Flames two power-play goals. While they killed the final three penalties they took, including a Tyler Motte double-minor high-sticking, the damage had been done. The Flames power play entering the game was just 1-for-25.

“It just seems no matter what it finds a way, a different way, every time,” Quenneville said. “We had a couple big kills in the second period and that was positive, built off it, had a good third period and found a way to get a point. Could have had two.”

The Blackhawks didn’t look great at the start of this one, something that’s becoming a trend with them. Couple that with that penalty kill – they gave up both power-play goals 39 seconds into each kill – and it was no surprise the Blackhawks were down 1-0 after the first.

“We’ve got to get that out of our game,” Jonathan Toews said of the slow first period. “As I’ve been saying, the penalty kill usually translates from our effort 5-on-5 and if we’re not starting games well, then we’re getting behind. Obviously [we’re] giving up power plays to begin with and we’re not killing the penalty kills that we’re on. Unfortunate to get behind again tonight.”

[SHOP BLACKHAWKS: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

Brian Campbell got his first goal of the season when his shot (or pass) went off Calgary defenseman TJ Brodie’s stick. Richard Panik nearly had the game winner in the waning seconds of regulation but Brian Elliott, who was also great tonight, knocked the puck off his right skate.

The Blackhawks also had a 4-on-3 power play in overtime on which they couldn’t capitalize.

“You can talk about the penalty kill tonight but we’ve had a couple 4-on-3 chances in overtime the past couple games where our power play needs to be better,” Kane said. “We need to capitalize in those situations.”The Blackhawks are struggling with parts of their game that used to be familiar and successful. There’s plenty of time left in the season but they need to find their well-rounded game again.

“We can be play better, collectively, as a group as far as dictating the pace of games and controlling the puck, getting pucks back. That's really the key with hockey is winning those battles, controlling the puck,” Kane said. “We're so used to playing a puck-possession game. That's really something we've been getting away from here. It's early on in the season, so it's something to build on.”