It lived up to the billing. First meeting of the season between the longest-running regular season rivals in league history. Friday night. New Years weekend. The Wings trying to close in on the Central leaders.
Marian Hossa worked some of his individual magic, Corey Crawford stayed hot and the Blackhawks built their division lead to five points in the first of three meetings over 16 days versus Detroit.
After having to play catch-up twice, they didnt allow the Wings to even things up after taking their first lead of the game early in the third, even though they left that door open by going 0-for-5 on the power play. Two of those came after they took that 3-2 lead. That unit couldnt generate much against a struggling Detroit penalty-kill, and is now in a 1-for-17 slump. But thats picking nits after the home team bounced back nicely from Wednesdays shutout loss.
Daniel Carcillo offered something in his first game back after missing the previous six. Jimmy Hayes had a prime chance to score on his first NHL shift and delivered four hits in the opening period. Crawford has now allowed just six goals in his four starts following that six-game perch on the bench.
And for all the talk leading up to this one about the respectful, less chippy rivalry in comparison to that with Vancouver, the Wings M.O. versus Crawford could generate something after drawing two goalie interference penalties and keeping him busy with other bodies buzzing around him all night.
He was up to the test while the Hawks power play couldnt make them pay for it. Something to watch when theyre back a week from Sunday, then meet again at Joe Louis six days after that.
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.
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.