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NHL

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Blackhawks ink stars Toews, Kane to deals

Talents such as Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane come around once in a lifetime in the NHL.

No one realizes that more than Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough, Stan Bowman and the rest of the Chicago Blackhawks’ hierarchy, so they did not wait long to lock in the young forwards to eight-year contract extensions worth $10.5 million per year that will run through the 2022-23 season.

“When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization,” Chairman Wirtz said in a statement. “There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago. We are excited for our future and proud that they will continue to be a part of that commitment and success for years to come.”

Added team president John McDonough: “The signings of Jonathan and Patrick symbolize an important milestone in franchise history.”

Like they did with their second NHL contracts, Toews and Kane agreed to new deals together Tuesday that should help ensure that the Hawks remain Stanley Cup title contenders for the next decade or so.

“I could not be more grateful for the amazing moments and opportunities I’ve been given by the Chicago Blackhawks,” Toews said. “There’s no organization in sports that cares more about the overall experience of their fans and the success of their players. To have the chance to continue with this amazing group of teammates and people throughout the organization is an incredible honor. There’s nothing we want more as players than to continue to win Stanley Cups for the best hockey fans on the planet.”

The extensions will keep the dynamic duo from reaching free agency and kick in for the 2015-16 season.

“It’s great to be able to continue my career in Chicago,” Kane said. “Playing with the best organization in sports and the best fans in the game is a blessing. Since I was drafted by the Blackhawks, the people of Chicago have really embraced me and treated me with nothing but respect. I look forward to many more years of success with the Blackhawks.”

Toews, 26, and Kane, 25, already have amassed hockey résumés that put them in discussion for the Hockey Hall of Fame. In addition to both being two-time Cup champs, each has won a Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable players in a postseason.

“Jonathan and Patrick have become cornerstones of this franchise during their time in Chicago,” general manager Stan Bowman said. “We are excited to ensure they will continue to lead our organization for years to come.”

Around the rinks

Anaheim signed left wing Dany Heatley to a one-year deal, returning the 33-year-old unrestricted free agent to the Pacific Division. Heatley spent last season with Minnesota. He played for San Jose from 2009-11, compiling 65 goals and 81 assists in 162 games for the Sharks. Heatley also has played for Atlanta and Ottawa in his career, notching 372 goals and 419 assists in 863 career games. … New Jersey signed goaltender Cory Schneider to a seven year, $42 million contract extension. Schneider was 16-15-12 record in 45 games with New Jersey last season and posted a 1.97 goals-against average.

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