Blackhawks notes: Colin Blackwell brings rescued puppies to practice

Thirteen Golden Retriever dogs rescued by Determined to Rise Animal Foundation invaded the ice at Fifth Third Arena after practice Friday, bringing smiles to all faces. Blackwell and his fiancé initiated a partnership between the Hawks and the foundation.

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Golden Retriever puppies scramble around the ice at Fifth Third Arena after Blackhawks practice Friday.

Golden Retriever puppies scrambled around the ice at Fifth Third Arena after Blackhawks practice Friday.

Chicago Blackhawks Photos

The Blackhawks generally have done a good job of keeping the mood light through their many losses this season, but forward 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 — one initiated by Blackwell and his fiancée, 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 forward Jujhar Khaira’s arms, then was carried to the interview by Blackwell. Forward Reese Johnson, a proud dog lover, took care of another. Even always-serious captain 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 from ear to ear.’’

Blackwell said he and Prodoehl have fostered several dogs in their ‘‘small apartment,’’ including a 150-pound Great Dane that ‘‘was like having a horse.’’

Blackwell has more time to spend with the puppies after his season ended prematurely because of a groin injury, which required sports hernia surgery March 22. He’s keeping a positive attitude about the situation and has another year under contract.

Richardson relates to Toews

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

That Richardson was 39 years old and that the coaching position was in his hometown convinced him to choose the former option. But he can relate to the difficulty Toews might encounter as he weighs whether to retire this summer.

‘‘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 because of a hip injury, but he has practiced fully the last two days and likely will go on the road trip that begins Tuesday at the Flames.

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