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CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Blackhawks are taking a closer look at their house after missing the playoffs for the first time in a decade.They aren’t sure just yet if a complete teardown is necessary.The Blackhawks are heading into one of their most intriguing summers in years after finishing with 33 wins and 76 points Youth Colin Miller Jersey , their lowest totals since they went 31-42-9 during the 2006-07 season. While they might not make any big changes, improvement next year is mandatory, general manager Stan Bowman said Monday.”This year was extremely disappointing,” Bowman said. ”Last year was more abrupt, but this was equally disappointing. I’m not happy with where we are. We’re going to examine everything, look long and hard at ways to improve through personnel.”The Blackhawks have been on a downward trend since winning the 2015 Stanley Cup. They were eliminated by St. Louis in seven games in the first round of the 2016 playoffs, and then were swept by Nashville in the opening round last year.They stumbled all the way to last in the Central Division this season, falling short of the playoffs for the first time since star forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were rookies during the 2007-08 season.Bowman said the team’s top priority is keeping the young players who impressed this season. Rookie Alex DeBrincat had a team-high 28 goals, one more than Kane, and Vinnie Hinostroza showed flashes of promise after beginning the year in the minors.”That’s the direction we’re headed Womens Deryk Engelland Jersey ,” Bowman said. ”They’ve showed they’re part of the future.”His second priority is free agency, and Bowman said he’s more interested in short-term deals than longer pacts that would tie his hands in the future.He could look for goaltender help after Corey Crawford missed the final 47 games with an upper-body injury. He also could focus on his blue line after top defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook showed signs of age this season.”This was an off year in about every category,” coach Joel Quenneville said. ”From every individual except two or three, we expect more next year.”Both Bowman and Quenneville expressed confidence in a healthy return for Crawford, who went 16-9-2 with a sparkling 2.27 goals-against average in 28 games. Anton Forsberg, Jean-Francois Berube and Jeff Glass all struggled in goal after Crawford got hurt.”He’s on the right track, close to being ready to go,” Quenneville said.Toews, who missed the last eight games with an upper-body injury, said previous successes ”happened naturally James Neal Jersey , organically. Now there’s a lot of issues you need to find solutions. We need to take a creative approach to finding solutions. It’s humbling to a certain degree. You feel like you’re starting over.”LOTTERY FEVERThe NHL draft lottery is April 28, and Chicago has a 6.5 percent chance of winning the top pick. The Blackhawks drafted Toews with the third overall pick in 2006 and got Kane with the No. 1 selection in 2007, fueling their run to three Stanley Cup titles.TIPPING POINTCrawford’s injury just before Christmas turned the season around. They were in a playoff position on Dec. 23, his last appearance, and fell out of contention soon after he was placed on injured reserve.WRONG NUMBERSThe Blackhawks allowed 256 goals, 67 more than they gave up during the 2014-15 season. Keith, a two-time Norris Trophy winner as the league’s top defenseman, finished with a career-worst minus-29 rating, the worst such number on the team.GOODBYEOne of the most memorable moments of the season was Patrick Sharp’s final game at the United Center. The 36-year-old Sharp is planning to retire after finishing with 10 goals and 11 assists in his 15th NHL season. The team honored Sharp with a highlight video in the third period of its home finale, and he waved his stick and tapped his heart to acknowledge the sustained roar of the crowd.NEXT UPDefenseman Henri Jokiharju could get a long look during training camp in the fall. He was selected by the Blackhawks in the first round of last year’s draft Jonathan Marchessault Jersey , but he doesn’t turn 19 until June.CAPTAIN AMERICAKane has decided to keep playing. USA Hockey announced Monday that Kane will captain the U.S. team for the world championship in May in Denmark. MONTREAL (AP) There was nothing rusty about Evgeny Kuznetsov’s game when he returned to the ice for the Washington Capitals.Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson each scored twice and Nicklas Backstrom had four assists as Washington defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-4 on Saturday night.It was Kuznetsov’s first game back after missing three with an upper-body injury.”It’s tough to watch hockey from upstairs and it’s so good to be back on the ice,” said Kuznetsov, who has 23 goals this season. ”It’s even better when you win.”Jay Beagle and T.J. Oshie also scored for Washington (44-24-7), which strengthened its grip on first place in the Metropolitan Division. Backstrom posted his 20th career game with at least four points, and second this season.”It was an important game for us and it doesn’t matter how you play, how many mistakes we (made). We got the two points. That’s the key for us,” Kuznetsov said.Charles Hudon scored twice for Montreal (27-37-12), which was coming off a 3-0 win at Buffalo on Friday night. Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher each had a goal for the Canadiens, who are 2-8-2 in their last 12 games.Gallagher’s goal was originally credited to Jonathan Drouin before being changed.Canadiens goalie Carey Price struggled in his second start since returning from a concussion as Washington outshot Montreal 30-21.Price, who came back from a monthlong layoff Wednesday in a 5-3 loss at Pittsburgh Marc-Andre Fleury Jersey , has allowed 11 goals on 69 shots in two outings. He was beaten three times on the first nine shots by the high-powered Capitals.”I just focus on the next shot,” he said. ”Obviously when you give up a six-spot it’s not that much fun, but just try to focus on the process and focus on the next shot.”It’s been a tough season for the 2015 Hart and Vezina Trophy winner, with a subpar 3.10 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage in 45 appearances.Price was diagnosed with a concussion after taking a shot to the mask Feb. 20 in Philadelphia. Antti Niemi has been solid in relief, including a shutout win Friday night in Buffalo, causing some to question if Price shouldn’t just be shut down for the rest of the season.But Price and the team thought it better, with the Canadiens out of playoff contention, to get some games in before the offseason.Montreal coach Claude Julien is confident Price will be back to his old self soon enough.”There’s a goaltender on the other side, (Braden) Holtby, who’s having the same kind of year as Price and he’s a pretty good goalie Nate Schmidt Jersey , so it happens,” Julien said. ”One thing I can tell you is we know how good (Price) is and how good he will be and I’m not worried about him bouncing back.”It wasn’t his best night, but at the same time a lot of our season has gone that way. Our team wasn’t great. We talked about how many slot chances we’ve been giving up. I’m way more confident than worried about Carey right now.”Jacob de la Rose provided the forecheck that sent Galchenyuk in alone to deke Philipp Grubauer 8:35 into the game. Gallagher added another a minute later but had it called back after an offside review.The setback seemed to knock the air out of Montreal, and the Capitals jumped on the Canadiens for three goals before the end of the period.Kuznetsov, back after missing three games with an upper-body injury, scored on a wrist shot from the right circle on a power play at 11:11. Price made a soft pass from behind his net that was picked off by Backstrom and fed to Wilson to score from the slot at 14:49.Wilson was fed alone in front again to score on a high shot at 18:11.A Washington power play had just ended when Beagle tipped in Dmitry Orlov’s point shot 4:52 into the second.Montreal got it back with two seconds left in the period when Hudon redirected Jordie Benn’s shot from 10 feet in front of Grubauer.Kuznetsov was parked at the side of the net to tip in Backstrom’s pass on a power play 1:10 into the third period. Capitals defenseman Jakub Jerabek, who started the season in Montreal, saw his high shot tipped past Price by Oshie at 4:52.Hudon was credited with his 10th of the season at 9:28 when his shot through traffic from the left side looked as if it may have gone in off Nikita Scherbak’s hip at the side of the net. Drouin took a shot on a power play with 1:57 left to play that Gallagher appeared to tip in while standing just outside the crease.NOTES: Barry Trotz earned his 200th win as coach of the Capitals. … The Canadiens signed 20-year-old free-agent forward Hayden Verbeek of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to a three-year contract starting next season. He is the nephew of former NHL player Pat Verbeek.UP NEXTCapitals: At the New York Rangers on Monday night.Canadiens: Host the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night.—
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