Chicago Blackhawks

Hawks notes: call-ups, flu, skate event

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Hawks notes: call-ups, flu, skate event

Some random musings and notes from Day 2 of Blackhawks camp:

Three more Rockford players came to camp on Monday: forwards Brandon Saad and Brandon Pirri and defenseman Ryan Stanton. Neither Saad nor Pirri were on one of the four Blackhawks lines Monday while Stanton formed a fourth defensive pair with Michal Rozsival.

Coach Joel Quenneville saw Stanton in Rockford this fallearly winter and likes what hes seen.

I really enjoyed the way hes played this year. Hes stable and adds depth back there, brings consistency on the back end, he said. Hes got some experience, got some physicality. Every game, you knew what he was going to do.

Hes very close to playing up here; hes seeing our system and learning from that as well, Quenneville continued. A lot of guys are going to get a chance to play. Hes earned it.

Getting the call

But the Rockford call-ups havent ended. Late Monday, forward Jimmy Hayes was recalled and will likely be at Tuesdays practice. Hayes has 17 points and a plus-2 rating in 37 games with the IceHogs this season.

Hayes may have been recalled due to the absence of Marcus Kruger, who missed Mondays practice with the flu. Quenneville said he wasnt sure if Kruger will return Tuesday. The flu has been bad this winter it was near epidemic in the Chicago area last week and Quenneville said its something the staff will watch.

Ive seen it happen and it can cause major disruptions, Quenneville said about flu bugs going through a locker room. Were aware of how bad it is this year. Well make sure, with a 48-game season, that were on top of it.

Alumni skate

The Blackhawk Alumni Association will host Skate with the Greats on Feb. 1 at Soldier Field. Blackhawk greats Bobby Hull and Tony Esposito will sign autographs. Blackhawk alumni taking shifts on the ice include Cliff Koroll, Eric Daze, Phil Russell, Brian Noonan, Al Secord, Grant Mulvey, Reggie Kerry, Dave Mackey and Peter Marsh. Player list is subject to change.

Tickets, 100 for adults and 50 for kids 12 or younger, provide attendees with a 30-minute skate and 30-minute autograph session. There will be four sessions, each limited to 125 registrants. Fans will be able to request their preferred session when they order tickets. Proceeds will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.

The session schedule follows:

SESSION 1: 7:30-8 p.m. On ice, 8:30-9 p.m. autograph session
SESSION 2: 7:30-8 p.m. Autograph session, 8:30-9 p.m. on ice
SESSION 3: 8-8:30 p.m. On ice, 9-9:30 p.m. autograph session
SESSION 4: 8-8:30 p.m. Autograph session, 9-9:30 p.m. on ice

To buy tickets, go to www.RonaldHouseChicago.orgskatewiththegreats.

Heading to the UC

The Blackhawks will practice at the United Center for the first time on Tuesday, starting at 11 a.m.

Jeremy Roenick thinks NBA offseason player drama 'is a joke'

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AP

Jeremy Roenick thinks NBA offseason player drama 'is a joke'

For the past decade, NBA stars have moved away from trying to beat down each other on the court and have instead looked to form superteams in an effort to maximize their chances at winning a title or building a dynasty.

There's a debate to be had whether that's good or bad for the game, but the offseason drama has gotten under the skin of one former NHL player who has seen enough.

Jeremy Roenick, former Blackhawks winger and current NHL on NBC analyst, took to Twitter to voice his opinion surrounding the drama amid the Kyrie Irving situation evolving in Cleveland, and he didn't hold back:

Do you agree or disagree?

Could Hobey Baker winner Will Butcher be an option for Blackhawks?

Could Hobey Baker winner Will Butcher be an option for Blackhawks?

The calendar is quickly approaching August and a majority of the NHL's top free agents have already signed new deals or found new homes. But there's one marquee player who has suddenly shaken loose, and will surely draw heavy interest across the league.

That would be 22-year-old defenseman Will Butcher, who informed the Colorado Avalanche that he will hit the open market and become an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 15.

Butcher, a 2013 fifth-round draft pick, was named the recipient of the 2017 Hobey Baker Award, annually given to college hockey's top player, after scoring seven goals and 30 assists in 43 games during his senior campaign while helping Denver University capture its first national title since 2005. It's the second straight year NCAA's top player has elected not to sign with the club that drafted him, with Jimmy Vesey doing the same last year when he signed with the New York Rangers instead of the Nashville Predators.

So could Butcher be a real option for the Blackhawks? There's certainly a reason for both sides to be intrigued by a potential match. 

With Brian Campbell, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya no longer in the picture, the Blackhawks could use a young, NHL-ready blue liner with top-four potential and Butcher provides just that.

He's a 5-foot-10, 186-pound puck-moving defenseman with high offensive upside but also plays a solid two-way game and is responsible in his own end. He carries a left-handed shot, quarterbacked Denver's No. 1 power play unit and possesses strong leadership skills after serving as the team's captain for two years.

While he is certainly no sure thing, Butcher would be as close to pro ready as any prospect in Chicago's system and could factor into the cards as soon as this season. It also doesn't hurt that he shared the same blue line at Denver as Blackhawks prospect Blake Hillman, who drew great reviews from Joel Quenneville at prospect camp.

The good news for the cap-crunched Blackhawks is that the maximum allowable salary for an entry-level contract is $925,000, so that eliminates the possibility of getting into a bidding war with other teams. Signing and performance bonuses can still be included, but that's the least of their worries if they can land a player of Butcher's caliber.

His decision will really come down to best fit and opportunity to play and win, and the Blackhawks can offer all of the above.