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 re-sign defenseman Ville Pokka to one-year deal

Blackhawks re-sign defenseman Ville Pokka to one-year deal

The Blackhawks signed Ville Pokka to a one-year contract on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Pokka played in all 76 regular-season games for the Rockford IceHogs last season, recording six goals and 24 assists.

The Blackhawks’ defensive depth has already taken a hit this offseason, with Niklas Hjalmarsson traded to Arizona – Connor Murphy came here in the deal – and Trevor van Riemsdyk, selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, then traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. While the Blackhawks will probably explore free-agent options this offseason, Pokka could vie for an opportunity at training camp.

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

Dennis Rasmussen was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks, a source confirmed on Tuesday. Rasmussen will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Rasmussen was coming off a one-year deal worth $575,000. He was expected to be among those the Blackhawks extended qualifying offers – the deadline was Monday afternoon – but he was not.

The 26-year-old played 68 games for the Blackhawks this past season, recording four goals and four assists. He gave the Blackhawks some options, as he also played some wing and was part of the penalty kill. But he was a surprise healthy scratch more often than not as the regular season continued.

The Blackhawks will enter this season without Rasmussen and, if Marcus Kruger is traded, the team will have some holes to fill at center.