Chicago Blackhawks

Sizzling Toews, Hawks top Flames for six straight

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Sizzling Toews, Hawks top Flames for six straight

Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Posted 10:34 p.m. Updated 11:51 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The mantra had been there throughout the season: the Chicago Blackhawks needed a winning streak, a lengthy, point-producing, surge-up-the-standings streak.

They couldnt get it for a long time, but theyre getting it now.

Jonathan Toews scored twice and Michael Frolik had a goal and two assists, his first points in a Blackhawks uniform, as the Blackhawks beat the Calgary Flames 6-4 at the United Center on Wednesday night.

WATCH: Toews beaming with confidence

That Blackhawks, who were struggling and in 11th place not so long ago, have now won six straight and jumped to fourth in the Western Conference.

Weve been saying all year that we needed to put something like this together to put ourselves in the spot we want to be out. Just about every team in the conference around us has had that kind of roll, coach Joel Quenneville said. What we just did were happy about, but its what were going to do moving forward thats going to determine what we have to do.

Toews, who was the NHLs No. 1 star for February, is now on a seven-game points streak. Brian Campbell and Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist and Dave Bolland also scored for the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford got the victory in net.

Once again, the Blackhawks strong start came from their stellar top line. Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Toews worked a pretty tic-tac-toe passing effort, with Toews finishing for a 1-0 lead. Frolik added his goal, his first in 32 games, at the end of the period.

Yeah, I finally got the monkey off my back, said Frolik. We won and I helped the team do that. And I like that.

If there was any negative it was the Blackhawks third period. For the second consecutive game a comfortable three-goal lead turned into a shaky one-goal one for a while. The Blackhawks were up 4-1 heading into the third when the Flames responded, getting to within one twice before Hossa sealed it with an empty-net goal with 39 seconds remaining.

Well take wins how we can get them, said Sharp. Its frustrating the way the game ended but were going to have to win those tight games down the stretch. We can look at it in a negative way that in the third periods weve given up a few goals, but I like to look at it that we hang on to the lead and get the points.

The Blackhawks are rolling now. Theyve gone from the outside of the standings to right in the middle of them. Theyve done it by not getting too far ahead of themselves, just focusing on the next game on the docket.

Rinse and repeat.
Michael Frolik and Marian Hossa celebrate Hossa's empty-net goal. Frolik recorded his first points as a Blackhawk with a goal and two assists. The goal was his first since Dec. 17 when he was with the Florida Panthers (US PRESSWIRE)
The standings are so tight right now, these two points make a huge difference, Toews said. Every win that we have lately weve been able to put it behind us and focus on the next game. Thats what were going to do this week and focus on Friday now.

Campolis debut

Defenseman Chris Campoli played nearly 17 minutes in his Blackhawks debut, finishing with two shots on goal and three hits. Campoli, who was paired with Brian Campbell, also played some on the power play and penalty kill.

I liked him, Quenneville said. He was very active off the back end, made a lot of direct plays and was patient. I think that pair could have the puck a lot, be it off the point in the offensive zone or forechecking pressure in our own end. Hell get more comfortable in our system but it was a good first game.

Ring for HOF

Hockey Hall of Fame chairman Bill Hay and Blackhawks president John McDonough will add a 2010 Stanley Cup ring to the special Cup display at the Hockey Hall of Fame later this month. The ring, donated by the Blackhawks, will be displayed next to the first Stanley Cup ring (1893).

Briefly

Ryan Johnson won 11 of 12 faceoffs for the Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

Fernando Pisani and John Scott were scratches against the Flames.

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

Tommy Wingels on 'cloud nine' getting to suit up for hometown Blackhawks

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AP

Tommy Wingels on 'cloud nine' getting to suit up for hometown Blackhawks

Tommy Wingels remembers his Chicago youth hockey days. A native of Wilmette, Wingels said the leagues were pretty good then but nothing like the opportunities area kids have to play hockey here now.

“This city has so many youth programs, so much ability for kids to play at every level. If they want to travel, pursue it professionally, if they want to go to college or they just want to enjoy it because their buddies play it. You can do it everywhere around here, and it’s such a unique aspect,” said Wingels. “I think the expectation has changed now. Kids think everyone can make it now. Back then, nobody thought they would make it.”

Count Wingels among those who wasn’t sure he’d make it. But he did, and on July 1 he made a childhood dream come true when he signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks. Wingels was elated when Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville called him about his potential signing. The details of those calls? Well, those are a little sketchy.

“I don’t even remember half the stuff they said to me because you’re on cloud nine and you’re saying, ‘Yeah, when can we sign and where?’” Wingels said at the Blackhawks convention on Saturday. “My wife commented on how big of a smile I had [walking] off our porch and back into the living room. It was very exciting.”

As a kid growing up in the Chicago area, Wingels played plenty of travel hockey. He watched the Blackhawks when he could, trying to catch what games were on television at that time. But the thought of playing in the NHL, let alone suiting up for the Blackhawks someday, wasn’t in his mind at that time.

“I wouldn’t say until the middle of high school did I ever think playing professional hockey was a possibility,” Wingels said. “Coming into high school you think college might be one [possibility]. But not until then did I ever talk about it or think about it.”

Wingels said he talked to a good deal of teams in 2006, the first year he was eligible for the NHL Draft, but he wasn’t selected that summer or the next. It wasn’t until the 2008 NHL Entry Draft that former Blackhawks defenseman/now San Jose general manager Doug Wilson picked Wingels, then playing for Miami University, in the sixth round. Wingels was a steady presence for five-plus seasons with the Sharks, putting up career numbers in goals (16), assists (22) and points (38) in the 2013-14 season. Wingels is forever grateful to Wilson for the opportunity.

“He’s the No. 1 reason why I’ve had an NHL career,” Wingels said. “[He had] the confidence to draft me and he was extremely patient in developing me through my years at Miami. He’s one of the best guys I’ve met in the game and I’ve enjoyed all the interactions we’ve had with him. He’s a guy I’ll definitely keep in touch with while I’m here and for many years.”

On the ice, Wingels should help the Blackhawks’ penalty kill and add some necessary grit – “bring in some sandpaper, finish checks and at the same time chip in some goals, all kind of things I think [Quenneville] and Stan expect me to bring here,” he said. Wingels has gone on long postseason runs (2016 Stanley Cup final with the Sharks and the 2017 Eastern Conference final with the Ottawa Senators), and he can be another veteran voice and presence for the Blackhawks’ young players.

“Your star players will lead and be the best players that they are. But for a young guy coming up on the third or fourth line sometimes it’s tough for those guys to relate to the star players, not because what the star players do but they’re guys who are up and down and they’re guys who have different roles. [I’ll] be a part of that group who can help transition the young players, who can play a similar role to some of those other players and be a sounding board for guys as well. I’m 29 now. I feel young but somehow I’ve become a veteran. So I’ll just try to help out any way I can.”

As excited as Wingels is to be home, he said his family may be more so. His parents, Bob and Karen, get to spend more time with Wingels’ 1 ½-year old daughter. The Wingels are close to Scott Darling’s family, and know from the Darlings how great it was to have their son play here.

Wingels grew up wondering how far hockey would take him. Now it’s bringing him back home.

“It didn’t take long to decide this is where we want to be. My wife is extremely happy – she lived here a couple of years out of college and knows the city very well – and I have a ton of friends here with my family being from here,” Wingels said. “It’s going to be a fun year for us and I can’t wait to get started.”

What a difference a year makes: Blackhawks sign goaltender Collin Delia

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USA TODAY

What a difference a year makes: Blackhawks sign goaltender Collin Delia

One year ago Collin Delia had just wrapped up his first Blackhawks prospect camp, hoping to improve off a sophomore season at Merrimack College where he struggled in net.

Fast forward to this summer and Delia, who responded in a major way as a junior, is now joining the professional ranks after signing a two-year deal with the Blackhawks on Friday, the team announced.

After playing well in limited ice time as a freshman, Delia became the full-time starter for the Warriors as a sophomore. But he had his growing pains in a new role, going just 8-12-6 while allowing 2.96 GAA. That number ranked 12th of 15 in the Hockey East League, and his .889 save percentage ranked dead last.

But Delia's struggles as a sophomore were non-existent as he returned to Merrimack for his junior season. He rose from the bottom to the top of the conference in save percentage (.927) and ranked third in GAA (2.15). His GAA ranked 14th in the nation and his save percentage ranked 9th nationally.

He recorded three shutouts (he had none as a sophomore), including a 33-save performance in a 2-0 road victory over Wisconsin, and was named a Hockey East Third Team All-Star.

The Blackhawks clearly noticed his improvements as a junior as he arrived last week for his second round of Blackhawks prospect camp.

Last year the Blackhawks signed Alexandre Fortin out of prospect camp. As Insider Tracey Myers wrote last week, Fortin could force his way onto the Blackhawks roster this summer.