Blackhawks' Scott Darling: 'I'm going to keep my foot on the gas'

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Blackhawks' Scott Darling: 'I'm going to keep my foot on the gas'

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – A year ago, Scott Darling went to the Blackhawks’ training camp as an unknown goaltender just looking for a chance.

A year later, Darling is well known around the league as the Blackhawks’ backup goaltender and a Stanley Cup champion. With his two-year deal with the Blackhawks kicking in this season, Darling’s feeling more secure – well, sort of.

“Maybe a little more but you’re never really secure,” said Darling following Saturday’s sessions at Notre Dame. “I’m on a two-way this year; they can send me down whenever they want. I’m going to keep my foot on the gas and just do what got me here.”

It’s been an incredible year for Darling, whose feel-good story was a popular one to tell throughout last season. After so many trying years Darling broke through, saving his best performances during the Blackhawks’ first-round series against the Nashville Predators.

But as he prepares for this season, Darling isn’t resting on his laurels or last year’s outing.

[MORE: Blackhawks test out new 3-on-3 OT format during training camp]

“The thing is, you can’t get comfortable,” Darling said. “I was an unknown guy last year and here I am. You can’t let your foot off the gas. I’m going to work for it this year.”

Darling still remembers those first few days at camp last season, not long after he signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks. He still has some of those feelings in his second go-around.

“It’s a good memory. I was really nervous, excited to be here. I’m just as excited, maybe a little less nervous [this year], so that’s a nice feeling,” Darling said. “It’s just fun to see the guys again and meet all the new guys.”

The Blackhawks goaltending situation looked set last fall when Darling came here. Then backup Antti Raanta had just signed a two-year deal the previous summer. But Darling garnered notice immediately.

"He got our attention opening game, opening day: big-bodied, wow. He wowed us,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “It was one of those surprises you don't see every year. There [are] always some surprises, but the level he got our attention was new heights and it continued on.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“Each and every day he got the opportunity to play in NHL exhibition games and everything, no matter if it was practices, games, so he came on the scene in a real nice way for us and helped solidify that goaltender position that was maybe up for grabs at the time for him,” Quenneville said. “It took him a while to get it secured, but he took advantage of it when it was there again."

Darling doesn’t plan on getting too comfortable in goal – as he said, anyone can come out of nowhere to take the job, much like he did last year.

At the same time, there’s still a more feeling of security for Darling, who bought a house in Chicago last summer. In sports there are always changes and there’s never guaranteed security.

But it’s still more than he’s had in a while.

“A lot of things changed in my life. I got to unpack my bags for the first time in a few years, so it’s nice,” Darling said. “It’s a big relief, a little less stress this year and hopefully enjoy it.”

Blackhawks: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews have taken their bromance to Twitter

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Blackhawks: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews have taken their bromance to Twitter

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have always had a brother-type relationship on and off the ice since coming up to the National Hockey League together in 2007-08, and now their bromance has shifted to social media.

Toews, who turned 28 years old last Friday, received birthday wishes all day from fans on Twitter, including Kane, who doesn't tweet often — at least during the season.

While the birthday wish was appreciated, the Blackhawks captain still felt a little empty:

It took a few days but Kane eventually gave in on Wednesday and followed Toews, albeit reluctantly:

Meanwhile, Toews is still getting the hang of Twitter.

Many of the replies he gets are from fans calling him "dad" or "goat," and he can't figure out why:

The Blackhawks even offered to inform him what it means, but the fans were quick to let Toews know (GOAT is short for "greatest of all time"):

Signing off for the day, Toews couldn't help but throw a friendly jab at Kane:

Oh, and Scott Darling joined in on the fun later on, posting a GIF of an actual goat:

It's safe to say the Blackhawks aren't used to these long summers. Chicago isn't either.

Report: Blackhawks sign Gustav Forsling to entry-level contract

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Report: Blackhawks sign Gustav Forsling to entry-level contract

The Blackhawks have reportedly signed defenseman Gustav Forsling to a three-year entry-level contract, according to Johan Svensson of Kvällsposten.

According to the report, Forsling's deal will include a loan clause that allows him to return to Europe for the 2016-17 season if he doesn't crack the Blackhawks' roster out of training camp.

The 19-year-old Swedish defenseman spent the last two seasons with Linkopings HC of the Swedish Hockey League, where he accumulated nine goals and 18 assists in 86 combined games.

He also played a significant role with Sweden in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, registering three goals and five assists in seven games. His eight points led all defensemen in the tournament, and was tied for fourth-most among all skaters.

Forsling was acquired by the Blackhawks in Jan. 2015 from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for defenseman Adam Clendening.

He was a fifth-round pick (No. 126 overall) by the Canucks in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Over 5.5 million Chicago market TV households tuned in for 45 live pro games in April on CSN

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Over 5.5 million Chicago market TV households tuned in for 45 live pro games in April on CSN

 

#1 Highest-Rated “Cable” Network in Primetime in April for Households & ALL Key Adult, Male & Female Demos

Chicago, IL (May 4, 2016) – Fueled by the highest-rated pro game telecast in network history (Blackhawks at St. Louis/Game 7 – 19.07 Chicago market household rating), an amazing start to the 2016 MLB season featuring the top team in the American League (White Sox) and the top team in the National League (Cubs), along with a massive month-long marketing blitz, which included a media signage takeover throughout the Metra Ogilvie Transportation Center in downtown Chicago, Comcast SportsNet’s #WhatAnApril proved to be one of the network’s busiest and best-performing months to date.  Note the following April 2016 highlights for Comcast SportsNet Chicago:

  • Comcast SportsNet was the #1-highest rated “cable” television network in the Chicago market during primetime (7:00-10:00 PM CT) for every major TV ratings category including Households (HH) & all key Adult, Male, and Female demo categories (see below chart as it pertains to Adults 25-54). 

  • Comcast SportsNet was also #1 “overall” in primetime (which includes all broadcast TV stations) in the demo categories of Men 18-34, Men 18-49, and Men 25-54 (NOTE: Comcast SportsNet was #2 overall in Adults 18-34 and #3 overall in Adults 18-49 & Adults 25-54).
  • Over 5.5 MILLION Chicago market TV households tuned in to 45 live professional game telecasts from April 1 – May 1 (Blackhawks: three regular season/five playoffs; Bulls: three regular season; Cubs: 14 regular season; White Sox: 17 regular season; and Fire: three regular season). 
  • Comcast SportsNet also attracted an additional 3.7 million Chicago market TV homes tuning in for all editions of Pregame Live and Postgame Live, along with the network’s locally-produced, live sports news, talk, and Original Content programming, which includes SportsNet Central and SportsTalk Live.  (Source for all ratings information is provided by Nielsen Media Research)
  • Comcast SportsNet’s live streaming of its Chicago Bulls game telecasts experienced significant year-to-year traffic growth as over 10.9 MILLION total minutes were consumed by fans in the network’s second season of live streaming coverage on CSNChicago.com and via the NBC Sports Live Extra app (an increase of 30% compared to the 2014-15 season).  (Source for all digital traffic information is provided by Adobe Reports & Analytics)