Montador ready for challenge of returning

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Montador ready for challenge of returning

Steve Montador is readjusting to the road-trip preparation.

It took me a while to pack today because I forgot what its like, even though its only a one-game trip, Montador joked. But its my turn to buy dinner, so thats probably one of the reasons why Im coming on the trip.

As much as Montador probably hopes his wallet isnt too much lighter after this quick trip to New Jersey, hes more hopeful hell play his first game in nearly two months. The Blackhawks defenseman is feeling good again after suffering a concussion Feb. 7 against the Colorado Avalanche, and he could play when the Blackhawks play the Devils Tuesday night.

Its been a long road for Montador, who has been cleared for contact for a few days but said he passed one of his better tests at Mondays practice.

Obviously, contact is a critical test. But the other part is just the game speed, game situations, and todays practice was a good, up-tempo one, Montador said. It was a good practice for me.

Montador and the Blackhawks will give it one last check at Tuesdays morning skate before deciding if hell go. If he plays, it should benefit the Blackhawks to get another veteran presence along the blue line in Duncan Keiths absence (suspension).

Still, it will be a bit of a challenge coming back right now, but Montador welcomes it.

This is as big of a challenge as the injury itself; Im back at a fast time of the season, he said. This is when teams are rolling and accustomed to each other, systems are down pat. But at the same time Im excited about that challenge.

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.