Hawks help reunite soldier, family for holidays

Hawks help reunite soldier, family for holidays

Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010
3:01 PM

By Tracey Myers

The Handley family was getting an inside look at the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. But it was nothing compared to the surprise that awaited them in the locker room.

Lance corporal George Handley was flown into Chicago by the Blackhawks and surprised his family after the teams practice at Johnnys Ice House West. Handley, who just turned 20 on Sunday, flew in from Japan this morning and will be home through early January.

Handleys homecoming was orchestrated by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, along with the USO of Illinois. Toews and Kane gave the Handley family a quick tour through the facility before bringing them into the locker room. A few moments later, George came out from a side room to surprise his family.

Handley hadnt seen his family in seven months and wasnt planning to come home until 2012.

Being overseas, I dont get many opportunities to come home because of the cost, said Handley, who wore a Blackhawks sweater with his name on the back. The Blackhawks gave me a plane ticket. All I had to do is take leave and they were taking care of it. Now I get to see them and Im happy.

Anthony Enrietto of the USO of Illinois, said Kane and Toews did a great job getting it together.

Patrick and Jonathan told the Hawks they wanted to bring a soldier home for Christmas. The Blackhawks contacted the USO of Illinois and we were able to make it happen, Enrietto said. With all the Blackhawks have done with veterans and active duty members on the ice, the awareness of what these guys do every day really just hit home, especially at Christmas.

Toews, who will be having some family in town soon himself, enjoyed the moment.

Im excited to see my little brother for Christmas. I cant imagine what its like for a guy like George to come home unexpectedly and have his brothers and sisters almost in tears when he walks in, he said. We were taking them around the room. I think they were getting bored with us so it was amazing to bring him in.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Blackhawks still trying to solve penalty kill issues

Blackhawks still trying to solve penalty kill issues

When considering the Blackhawks’ penalty kill, you can look at their 3-3-1 record in two ways: their record is mediocre because of it, or they’re still getting points despite it.

No matter how you look at it, however, the penalty kill’s malaise has to stop.

In seven games this season, the Blackhawks’ penalty kill has allowed 14 goals on 26 opportunities. Through their first seven games last season the Blackhawks were shorthanded 18 times, allowing three goals.

Looking at seasons overall, the Blackhawks allowed 46 power-play goals over 82 games last season. The kill allowed a scant 35 goals during the 2014-15 season and 46 goals in 2013-14.

Yes, the Blackhawks know it’s a big problem and they’ve talked about it and worked on it. So far, they just haven’t seen the results on it. Some have come off faceoffs. Some have come from long distance. Some have come off rebounds. It doesn’t seem to matter what they do: goals get scored. The Blackhawks will keep going back to the drawing board until they restore that penalty kill to its normal success rate.

“We talk a lot about the way we’re forcing it up ice, how we’re forcing it in the neutral zone, forcing entries, how we’re moving together as units, the personnel changes,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ve tried a number of different looks on the back end, as pairs up front. We’re trying to find something that clicks. we haven’t gotten that confidence yet where we’re comfortable with just about any pairs right now. hopefully we can get that stabilized.

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“We know the importance of that influencing the outcome of games and sometimes it can win a game for us. But it’s been a real negative so far,” Quenneville added. “We got through three in a row there. hopefully that’s the start of something positive.”

The Blackhawks killed off the final three penalties they took against the Calgary Flames on Monday night. It was a shot of confidence for a group that needed it, and now they have to repeat that more often.

“We just kept our feet moving. We were working. Our shifts were 20 to 30 seconds tops,” Jonathan Toews said. “When you go that short you have the energy to outwork the power play and make up for being down one man. 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.”

Artem Anisimov said those three successful kills were “intense.”

“We were skating. We didn’t give so much time to set up in our zone,” Ansimov said. “It was like, always clear. We cleared the puck 200 feet and it was successful.”

The Blackhawks have been talking “baby steps” regarding their penalty kill the past few games. Killing three in a row off on Monday night could be one, but it means nothing if they allow another one in their next game. The penalty kill is broken. The Blackhawks will keep trying to fix it.

Check out Jonathan Toews' scary Halloween costume

Check out Jonathan Toews' scary Halloween costume

Jonathan Toews isn't doing himself any favors of trying to drop the Captain Serious nickname that has stuck with him since 2008.

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The Blackhawks captain and his girlfriend dressed up for a Halloween party on Tuesday night, and their costumes were on point:

Mr. and Mrs. Dead Serious. 💀👻☠️#happyhalloween

A photo posted by Jonathan Toews (@jonathantoews) on

We wonder how long it took to wash that paint off their face.