Konroyd: One statistic tells the story

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Konroyd: One statistic tells the story

I know were only three games into the season, but there is only one team (as I write) with three wins: the Chicago Blackhawks. There are a few noticeable reasons for the fast start: the return of Marian Hossa, the improved play of all six defensemen, the depth on all four lines and the solid net-minding we have seen thus far.
After being around the game as long as I have, I know there are certain stats that coaches zero in on, and one of the top attention-getters is penalty-killing. Chicago currently ranks third in the NHL in this department, and this, albeit in a small sample size, is a good sign.
Like the NFL, the NHL is a copycat league, and you just have to look at who has won the Stanley Cup over the last six seasons to figure out who gets to the final dance. Of the six teams that have hoisted Lord Stanley since 2007, only the Boston Bruins finished outside of the top eight in penalty kills. Chicago (10), Anaheim (07) and Los Angeles (12) all finished with the fourth best penalty-killing records when they won their respective Cups. We see a trend here and so do coaches, that your penalty killing is a reflection of your team defense.
Obviously your goaltending has a lot to say about your penalty killing, and for the Blackhawks, so far so good. Another trend coach Joel Quenneville has got to love is the lack of penalties called on his team. The Blackhawks have been whistled for 10 infractions in the first three games. So lets enjoy this view atop the NHL standings for now, as we may be looking from a different vantage point next week. And lets applaud the Blackhawks for getting their penalty kill from the outhouse to the penthouse during this extended offseason.

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.