Saad slips onto 23-man roster again


Saad slips onto 23-man roster again

In September of 2011, Brandon Saad got the best surprise of his young hockey career, making the Chicago Blackhawks roster out of training camp. On Thursday, for his second consecutive Blackhawks camp, he got the nod once again.
Saad made the Blackhawks 23-man roster, the group that will travel to Los Angeles to play the Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings on Saturday afternoon. For Saad, its a dream come true. Again.
It definitely (feels great), Saad said as he packed up for the Blackhawks flight to L.A. today. Confidence-wise its good, and I feel more comfortable up here.
Saad was one of several Rockford players who got the call-up early in the Blackhawks abbreviated camp. He was coming off a strong week with the IceHogs, and he earned AHL Player of the Week honors for it. While Andrew Shaw and Brandon Bollig were assumed nods to stay with the Blackhawks they had been among forward lines all week Saad wasnt a shoo-in.
Still, his work in last years camp and in the few games he played in a Blackhawks uniform gave the team brass an idea of what he could do. Coach Joel Quenneville said earlier this week that Saads potential was huge, and reiterated that today.
We saw it last year in training camp. Hes got some special skills and does a lot of things a lot of guys cant do: protects the puck, sees plays and makes plays, Quenneville said. He had some good and OK stretches in Rockford, and the last week or so did some things that really caught your attention. He can play with some top players as well.
Quenneville, however, wouldnt say that Saad was definitely in Saturdays lineup. He also wouldnt specify where hed fit in if he did, but it would likely be on the third or fourth lines.
Weve seen some top players over their careers start on the fourth line, Quenneville said. You look at the history of the (Montreal) Canadiens, it was a work-your-way-up-the-ladder type of thing. With (Saad), hes capable of playing in that role and could be inserted with johnny or someone up there, based on how he plays and based on his production. Right now were happy to have him starting here.
Saad isnt overly concerned with where he fits in at the moment. Hes here, and the rest is up to him.
Either way, its a huge step for me, he said. Its a short camp and Im able to make the trip. Its a process and I have to keep playing well.

Eric Semborski gets his own hockey card as Blackhawks' emergency goalie

Eric Semborski gets his own hockey card as Blackhawks' emergency goalie

Eric Semborski lived out his childhood dream by calling himself a National Hockey League goaltender for one day, and he will never forget it.

Now there's proof nobody will.

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Topps revealed Wednesday that it has produced a trading card for the 23-year-old after he signed a one-day contract on an amateur tryout basis to serve as the emergency backup goaltender for the Blackhawks in Saturday's contest against the Philadelphia Flyers.

While he didn't see any action, Semborski said after the game that absorbing shots during warmups from some of the best players in the league was “the best 20 minutes of my life.”

Add this to the memory bank of a story that keeps getting better.

Jonathan Toews donates $1 million to community center in Winnipeg

Jonathan Toews donates $1 million to community center in Winnipeg

Jonathan Toews was the highest paid player in the NHL this past year, and he's giving back to the community that helped him become one of the best players in the league.

The Blackhawks captain donated $1 million to the Dakota Community Centre in Winnipeg, where he was born and raised, making it the largest ever private donation to a community centre in Manitoba.

“From my earliest days playing hockey, Dakota Community Centre has always played a pivotal role in my upbringing and my career," Toews said in a statement. “Today, I continue to be honoured to have my name associated with the Sportsplex on the Dakota campus. My parents have instilled in me the importance of giving back, and I believe that in supporting Dakota, we will see endless possibilities for the Community Centre’s future and transformation in the lives of our community members.”

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Toews will also serve as the honorary chairman for the Dakota Futures Capital Campaign, which will support the construction of a new 60,000-square-foot, $20-million fieldhouse and future development of the campus.

The fieldhouse will include a 30,000-square-foot gymnasium that will contain multiple court sports, such as basketball and volleyball, sport training and conditioning, all of which will be connected to the Jonathan Toews Sportsplex. It's expected to open in the fall of 2017.

The Sportsplex was named in Toews' honor in 2010, and includes two indoor ice rinks, a gymnasium, and strength training facilities, among others.

“We are so proud that Jonathan has chosen to give back to the community in this way," said Toews' parents Andrée Gilbert and Bryan Toews. "Our family has such fond memories of hockey practices and friendships made at the Dakota Community Centre. We look forward to the opening of the new Fieldhouse and the continued growth of the Dakota  campus. Through programs for all ages and acting as a gathering place in our community, the Dakota Community Centre transforms thousands of lives each year."