Boden: One step at a time

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Boden: One step at a time

Perspectives important. But so are wins. Remember how hard those were to come by just four days ago?

Sure, the Blackhawks beat up on the NHLs worst team one theyve now gone 5-0 against this season. But the Blue Jackets also found a way to beat the Blues and the red-hot Ducks recently, and actually controlled the first half of the first period.

There were encouraging signs throughout, as Corey Crawford had his second straight strong outing, the Hawks stayed out of the penalty box and killed the only minor they drew, and the Toews-Sharp-Kane line performed as youd expect. But the real sign of whether this team has its mojo back is whats straight ahead. They cant do anything about the nine-game losing streak now, which could very well land them in fourth place in the Central when the regular season wraps up in seven weeks. But there are 23 games left, and nine of them are against those three teams ahead of them in the division, starting Sunday morning back at home against the Blues, then Tuesday versus the Wings. The opportunitys certainly there, but realistically, there may not be time to make up a 15-point gap with Detroit and 10- points with St. Louis. But if the Hawks keep progressing, get answers to the current questions, win their share against those three opponents down the stretch, and get healthy and add a key body or two, they can focus strictly on building momentum towards that second week of April, and building off the disappointments of the past month.

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Michal Kempny was in and out of the Blackhawks lineup last season but he’ll likely get a bigger opportunity this coming season. On Saturday, he was assured of coming back to get that chance.

Kempny and the Blackhawks agreed to a one-year extension, the team announced on Saturday morning.

“Michal’s style of play is an asset to our defense,” general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “He is the type of player who will continue to improve now that he has transitioned to the National Hockey League. We look forward to his continued development on the ice for the Blackhawks.”

Kempny was part of a very crowded blue line last season — he was one of eight defensemen at the start of it — and played 50 regular-season games. He recorded two goals and six assists in those contests but did not play in the Blackhawks’ four postseason contests. With Johnny Oduya and Brian Campbell likely not returning, however, Kempny should get a bigger opportunity this season.

The 26-year-old Kempny also had two goals and an assist in eight games for the Czech Republic team at the 2017 World Championship.

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

With exactly a month to go until Chicago hosts the 2017 NHL Draft for the first time ever, the Blackhawks and league announced Wednesday their plans for Fan Fest held outside the United Center on June 23 and 24.

A handful of Blackhawks players and alumni will be in attendance and made available for photo opportunities, as will the Stanley Cup. Fans will also be able to explore the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, "a 53-foot museum truck with an innovative interior featuring more than 1,000 square feet of interactive digital displays, original video content, one-of-a-kind historical memorabilia, unique photo moments and a social media wall," according to the press release.

A full list of activities, special guest appearances and schedule will be posted at a later date.

Friday's events will run from 3 to 9 p.m. while Saturday's festivites will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Parking Lot C, north of the United Center.

Additional passes for the weekend will be made available to the public starting June 9. For more information, visit chicagoblackhawks.com/fanfest.