Apr 20, 2024  |  
 | Remer,MN
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NextImg:Blackhawks notes: Colin Blackwell brings rescued puppies to practice

The Blackhawks have generally done a good job keeping the mood light through their many losses this season, but Colin Blackwell came up with an idea Friday that trumped all others in terms of sparking instant happiness.

He brought puppies to practice.

As part of a new Hawks partnership with Determined to Rise Animal Foundation — a partnership initiated by Blackwell and his fiancé, Lauren Prodoehl — 13 Golden Retrievers rescued from kill shelters scrambled on the ice at Fifth Third Arena for a “naming ceremony” to help them find homes.

“Looked like some of them were buzzing around,” Blackwell joked. “They’re better skaters than me.”

One puppy fell asleep in Jujhar Khaira’s arms and then was carried to the interview by Blackwell. Reese Johnson, a proud dog lover, took care of another. Even always-serious Jonathan Toews — on the day he announced his return to the lineup — was won over.

“I don’t care what kind of mood you’re in, it’s hard to stay stuck in it when there’s a bunch of puppies running around,” Toews said. “Everyone is smiling ear to ear.”

Blackwell said he and Prodoehl have fostered several DTR Foundation dogs in their “small apartment” in Chicago this year, including a 150-pound Great Dane that “was like having a horse.”

He does have more time to spend with the puppies since his season ended prematurely due to a groin injury, which required sports hernia surgery on March 22. He’s keeping a positive attitude about the situation and he does have another year left under contract.

Richardson relates to Toews

In summer 2009, now-Hawks coach Luke Richardson was faced with the decision to either retire and accept a position on the Senators’ coaching staff or voluntarily get waived to try to continue his playing career elsewhere.

The facts that Richardson was 39 then and the coaching position was in his Ottawa hometown convinced him to choose the former option. But he can relate to the difficulty Toews might encounter this summer as he weighs whether or not to retire himself.

“For guys who have had so much success like Jonathan and [become] a leader of a team, [it’s tough],” Richardson said. “It’s not just [that] he plays on a team. He’s in control of that dressing room, has a bead on everything and inspires the guys. That’s a lot to put aside and just become a mere mortal again.”

Injury update

Defenseman Jarred Tinordi missed his third consecutive game Saturday due to his nagging hip injury, but he has practiced fully the last two days and will likely go on the road trip that begins Tuesday at the Flames.