Cleat Geeks

The Blackhawks Backhand

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coachq-topstory-1307The Blackhawks announced a three-year contract extension with Joel Quenneville on Tuesday, which locked up the only active coach with three Stanley Cup titles. That started a very nice Tuesday for the team, who beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 that night for their eighth consecutive win. The longest active win streak in the league moved Quenneville into a tie with Al Arbour for second on the NHL list for regular-season coaching victories, behind only Scotty Bowman’s total of 1,244. ”It’s been a special place here in Chicago for us,” Quenneville said after his 782nd career win. ”We’ve had a lot of success. Great group, right on through from Rocky (owner Rocky Wirtz) on down through the organization. It’s been eight great years.” He has a 782-451-77-110 record over 19 years as an NHL head coach, including the past eight in Chicago. Quenneville’s extension runs through the 2019-2020 season.

The Blackhawks’ eight game winning streak is their longest since November 26th-December 11th, 2014 when they went 8-0-0, and included five in a row at the United Center where they are 19-5-1 this season. That is the most victories and points (39) at blackhawks-e1452525515302home of any team in the NHL. The Hawks have outscored opponents 32-15 during their winning streak and now have a plus-23 goal differential, fourth-best in the NHL. “We’ve been doing a good job of getting up for games and getting the lead early,” Brent Seabrook said. “Crawford is doing a great job and our ‘D’ is doing a good job keeping pucks in front of us and our forwards are doing a great job of backchecking.”

ct-artemi-panarin-thriving-blackhawks-spt-1110-20151109Rookie left wing Artemi Panarin is the front-runner for the Calder Trophy at the midway point of the season. The Calder Memorial Trophy is an annual award given “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League.” Panarin had his second multiple-goal game in as many days on January 6th in a 3-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins and became the first Blackhawks rookie to have back-to-back multiple-goal games since Pavel Vorobiev (October 7th-9th, 2005). “He’s scored some big goals and I’m sure you’ll see that more as his career goes on with the Blackhawks,” Patrick Kane said. “He’ll become a better player. Sky’s the limit for that kid.”

Congratulations to Phillip Danault! He scored his first NHL goal on January 8th, which was a game winning goal in a 3-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres. Danault charged the Buffalo net with about five minutes left in the game and flipped a wrist shot, beating Sabres goalie Chad Johnson.

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