On a couple of different occasions this year, longtime partners Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook have been split up by Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville.
The breakup was more to spread the wealth than it was for anything that was happening on the ice. With the impressive addition of Johnny Oduya at the trade deadline, the original plan from the coach was to pair the new guy with Seabrook. It looked great on paper until they were on the ice for all three first period goals by the Toronto Maple Leafs last Wednesday.
The partnership lasted all of 20 minutes, and it doesn't mean they won't be paired together again. But what it did do was force the coaching staff to reconfigure on the fly, and what's happened since then is three straight victories, allowing only three goals against in the last eight periods.
Which brings us back to the happy reunion of Keith and Seabrook.
There's a comfort level that exists between Keith and Seabrook. They are best friends off the ice, roommates on the road and one of the most formidable shutdown duos in the entire NHL on the ice.
They've basically been paired together since then-coach Trent Yawney put them together as rookies almost seven years ago. There's a comfort level and predictability you attain when playing with a partner for that long. A lot of their communication on the ice goes unsaid, they just know where the other guy will be at any time.
It's been been fun to watch these two defensemen grow the last seven years, and with the long-term contracts they both signed last year, Blackhawk fans will have the pleasure of watching these two for a long time to come.
The Blackhawks agreed to terms with goaltender Lars Johansson, defenseman Michal Kempny and forward Martin Lundberg on one-year deals on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old Kempny had 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) in 59 games with Avangard Omsk (KHL) last season. He had two assists in eight games with the Czech Republic in the IIHF World Championship.
Johansson, 28, spent the last three seasons with Frolunda HC (Swedish Hockey League). He was 56-27-0 over those three seasons. Last season, he had a league-leading 1.74 goals-against average and a 27-6-0 record.
The 25-year-old Lundberg had 13 goals and eight assists in 44 games with Skelleftea AIK (Swedish Hockey League). He also had two goals in eight games with Sweden in the World Championship.
Less than 18 months after buying a five-bedroom, 6,400-square-foot mansion in Lincoln Park, Jonathan Toews has put it on the market for $3.899 million.
The Blackhawks captain is looking to downsize, according to the Chicago Tribune, but listing agent Kai Schirmacher said he plans to remain in the city.
Toews, 28, purchased the four-story home for $3.525 million several months after inking an eight-year, $84 million contract extension with Chicago in July 2014.
Check out pictures from when he first bought the mansion below:
The Blackhawks have reportedly agreed to terms with defenseman Michal Kempny, according to ESPN's Craig Custance. It's a one-year, entry-level contract worth somewhere in between $575,000 and $925,000, according to generalfanager.com.
The 25-year-old Czech Republic native registered five goals, 16 assists and owned a plus-17 rating in 59 regular-season games this past season with Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. He also racked up four points (two goals and two assists) and had a plus-7 rating in 11 postseason contests.
Kempny waited until after the 2016 IIHF World Hockey Championship ended before making a decision. He had two assists in eight games during the tournament, and was tied for the team-lead with a plus-7 rating. His performance was good enough to be named one of Czech Republic's best players.
Kempny is a 6-foot, 194-pound left-handed defenseman who's known for his puck-moving skills and his ability to play well at both ends of the ice.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman spoke with Scott Powers of The Athletic earlier this month about the possibility of signing Kempny, and provided a quick scouting report on him:
“He’s a mobile defenseman,” Bowman said. “He’s got that mixture of offense and defense. I would call him a really well-rounded guy. He can defend well in his own end. Mobility, he’s a good skater. He can transition the puck. He can sort of play a well-rounded game, which I think as a defenseman, you’ve seen our team play a lot, you have to be able to defend for our coaches to be able to rely on you. He’s got that ability to sort of play both ways.”
Kempny gives the Blackhawks an NHL-ready defenseman with the potential to slot into a top-four role, or at least take some pressure off a blue line group that lacked the depth it's had in previous seasons.