Blackhawks' Colin Blackwell records first career NHL hat trick after stressful trade deadline

Blackhawks' Colin Blackwell records first career NHL hat trick after stressful trade deadline originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

Chicago Blackhawks forward Colin Blackwell had a pretty stressful week. He wasn't sure whether he was going to be traded ahead of Friday's deadline and was vocal about not wanting to go anywhere.

Well, the deadline came and went, and Blackwell remained with the Blackhawks. Two days later, he recorded his first career NHL hat trick in a 7-4 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday at the United Center.

"I mean, it takes a little bit of an emotional toll and stuff just because it used to be just me, I'd pack a bag and I'd go," Blackwell said. "But now I have a family, a pregnant wife, a dog now, so it's a little bit more stress than maybe what it used to be. But I had really good talks with Kyle [Davidson] and this is where I said I wanted to be and I'm enjoying my role here.

"I think I mesh really well with some of the young guys and I really am grateful for the opportunity that I'm getting and playing here. This is where I wanted to be and I'm grateful that that day has passed and I'm here and that I get to continue to show my stuff. Obviously I missed a lot of time in the beginning of the year, so 17, 18 more games here to go to prove that this is where I want to be. Yeah, it's good that the day has passed."

Blackwell came close to scoring a hat trick earlier in the season but he just missed an empty-netter in a 4-3 win over Calgary on Jan. 7. He got his shot at redemption two months later.

"Thank God," Blackwell said when he saw his hat-trick goal go into the net. "[Against] Calgary I had one and I was just a little too antsy. For me, it's a cool gesture. It's come a long way, especially over the last 12 months or so here. So to be able to get a hat trick, it was pretty special."

Blackwell is beloved inside Chicago's locker room. They loved it for Blackwell just as much if not more than him.

"Blackie has been awesome all year," said Seth Jones, who had a career-high four assists on Sunday. "He always brings a great attitude, he's determined, his work ethic is off the charts. I'm happy for him that a workhorse like him can get a hat trick for us."

His teammates love it for Blackwell because of the adversity he faced over the last year. On March 22 last year, Blackwell underwent sports hernia surgery and was put on a 12-week timetable.

Blackwell ended up missing roughly 10 months after fighting through multiple setbacks. It was a long, grueling process, but his energy has been infectious for the Blackhawks since he returned to the lineup in December.

"He's a guy, he's like a little muscle ball," Richaredsin said. "He's built, he's always in the gym, he's working on his body all the time to be a 100 percent pro all the time and he's doing a good job at it and he's a good mentor for the younger guys and how he looks after himself. He's not afraid to tell the other guys to get in there too with him. He's got that personality, so that's great.

"It's good to see him have some success. And you know what, it's all determination from him, but we can't do anything but provide him the opportunity and he made the most of it."

While his recovery process is a great story, Blackwell has moved on from the injury. He feels like he's back to being the player he knows he's been capable of when healthy.

"I believe in myself," Blackwell said. "It’s kind of how it’s always been. If I didn’t believe in myself, I would have given up a long time ago. But, yeah, it’s been a long 12 months. To be honest with you, that’s in the past. I feel really good right now.

"I think I played 35 games right now. It’s kind of one of those things, that’s a majority of a season, halfway through. I’ve been putting in the work. It’s nice to get rewarded. But for me, some of the stuff that happened in the past year, it’s in the past and I feel good.

"I thought my first stretch of games I trying to find to my legs, find my confidence. Now it’s kind of second nature. It’s good to know some of that stuff is in the past. I can just focus on playing hockey and not worry about some of the other stuff that goes on in the hockey world.

"The trade deadline’s passed. Hockey’s fun, so when you get back to playing and stuff like that and playing the role I think I’m envision myself playing when I first got here, so it’s been good for me to get that confidence back."

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