Between the Circles
Posted by TimS on Mon, 10/17/2011 - 13:06
The Blackhawks left on their two-game road trip to Arizona and Colordao Monday with Marian Hossa along for the ride.
While Hossa missed practice again Monday with an upper body injury, coach Joel Quenneville did not rule him out of Tuesday's game against the Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz.
“Hoss is doing better today and we're hoping he can play tomorrow,” Quenneville said.
Rostislav Olesz skated in Hossa's spot on the line with Patrick Kane and Daniel Carcillo at Monday's practice.
Carcillo took Hossa's spot on the second power play unit.
“I'm just hoping Hossa plays tomorrow,” joked Quenneville.
Corey Crawford will start in goal against the Coyotes, Quenneville said.
Posted by TimS on Sat, 10/15/2011 - 11:54
Marian Hossa sat out Saturday night's game against Boston because of an upper body injury Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville stressed wasn't serious.
“Upper body, not serious, hopefully he could play,” Quenneville said following Saturday's morning skate. “I don't foresee this (as serious). This is very short term.”
Hossa's health has been a regular cause for concern since he signed with the Hawks as a free agent in 2009. Considered one of the game's most durable players after sitting out only 16 games in his first eight NHL seasons, Hossa now has missed 43 in his first two years with the Hawks.
Hossa, 32, signed a 12-year contract with the Hawks in 2009.
Posted by TimS on Fri, 10/14/2011 - 13:02
Corey Crawford will be back in the net Saturday night when the Blackhawks host Stanley Cup champion Boston.
Crawford was rested on Thursday after missing two days of practice this week with a lower body injury.
“I'm 100 percent and ready to go,” Crawford said.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said left wing Viktor Stalberg might return to the lineup for the first time since hurting his left knee in the preseason. Stalberg likely would take Rostislav Olesz's place on the fourth line.
Quenneville said Ben Smith still was progressing in his recovery from a concussion.
Marian Hossa got Friday off but will play on Saturday.
The Bruins come to town off to a 1-3 start and hearing the same questions the Hawks did last season about a Stanley Cup hangover.
Posted by TimS on Wed, 10/12/2011 - 16:03
It was a good run while it lasted for Brandon Saad.
The Blackhawks returned the 18-year-old rookie and the surprise of training camp to his junior team in Saginaw on Wednesday after two games.
Saad averaged 14 minutes in his first two NHL games and was even with no points and 3 shots on goal. He started Friday's opener at Dallas on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp, but that lasted just one period.
With Daniel Carcillo coming off his suspension, and Viktor Stalberg (knee) and Ben Smith (concussion) recovering from their injuries, the Hawks obviously felt the best thing for Saad was go to back to Saginaw and play regularly.
Stalberg returned to practice and might play Thursday.
Posted by TimS on Sat, 10/08/2011 - 11:53
The Blackhawks recalled center Marcus Kruger from Rockford on Saturday morning and returned center Brandon Pirri to the American Hockey League team.
Pirri had an assist in Friday's 2-1 loss at Dallas, but he struggled at times. Pirri missed a great scoring chance in the second period and lost a faceoff in his own zone before the Stars scored their second goal.
In Kruger, the Hawks likely believe they have a more dependable player defensively.
Kruger probably would center the third line if Dave Bolland misses his second straight game. Coach Joel Quenneville was optimistic Bolland could play on Saturday.
The Hawks did not hold a full-team morning skate on Saturday.
Posted by TimS on Fri, 10/07/2011 - 12:59
DALLAS – Blackhawks 18-year-old rookie Brandon Saad said he planned to treat Friday's regular season opener here against the Stars as just another game.
“That's the mindset,” Saad said following the morning skate.
Sorry, kid, no way.
Not only will Saad be making his NHL debut after coming out of nowhere to win a job at training camp, he will be skating on a line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp, two of the best players in the sport.
“Especially to play with these two guys on opening night as young as I am, it's going to be incredible,” Saad said.
“Obviously there's nervous getting close to game time, but once you get on the ice you just play your game. It's been the same thing throughout training camp, not let it get to you and just play your game.”
Posted by TimS on Thu, 10/06/2011 - 22:35
DALLAS – Not since Nikolai Khabibulin a few years ago are the Blackhawks going into a season as sure about their No. 1 goaltender as they are about Corey Crawford.
Last year, Marty Turco started the season as the No. 1 guy only to struggle and lose the job to Crawford.
Two years ago it was Cristobal Huet opening as the top guy only to falter with Antti Niemi taking over the big job and cleaning up that mess.
Crawford won 33 games last season as a rookie and was sensational in the playoffs. General manager Stan Bowman rewarded him with a new three-year contract, which put Crawford in a deserving spot among the Hawks' core group.
Crawford, though, is taking nothing for granted and plans to work hard to prevent what happened to Turco and Huet.
Posted by TimS on Wed, 10/05/2011 - 13:02
The Blackhawks might be short-handed more than they thought for Friday's regular season opener at Dallas.
Center Dave Bolland (upper body) didn't practice again Wednesday and is questionable for the weekend along with forward Ben Smith, who still hasn't been cleared for contact after suffering a concussion last week.
Coach Joel Quenneville maintained that Bolland's injury isn't serious.
“He skated there after (practice), tried it; he's questionable for the weekend,” Quenneville said. “Hopefully we get him in.”
Smith practiced but couldn't hit or be hit.
With left wing Daniel Carcillo also unavailable for the first two games while he serves a suspension, Quenneville said there could be a need to recall players from Rockford for Friday and Saturday.
Posted by TimS on Tue, 10/04/2011 - 14:21
The Blackhawks signed 18-year-old rookie left wing Brandon Saad to a three-year entry level contract on Tuesday, assuring the second-round draft pick would start the season on the NHL roster.
Not only has Saad made the roster but he will skate on the first line with all-stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp in Friday's regular season opener at Dallas.
“It's going to be awesome,” Saad said. “It's pretty unbelievable. It's sinking in a little bit.”
Saad still can be returned to his junior team in Saginaw before he appears in his 10th NHL game. He cannot be assigned to Rockford as long as he has junior eligibility remaining.
According to a Hawks source, if Saad is "only average" in the games he plays, it's likely he would be sent back to juniors.
Posted by TimS on Mon, 10/03/2011 - 12:46
The battle for the Blackhawks' backup goalie job has been won by veteran Ray Emery.
The Hawks signed Emery to a one-year, $600,000 contract on Monday and demoted rookie Alexander Salak to Rockford.
Rookie centers Marcus Kruger and Brandon Pirri didn't make the cut either.
Kruger and Pirri were among the six players sent to Rockford, bringing the training camp roster to 26. It must be at 23 by Wednesday.
Also sent to the American Hockey League with Kruger, Pirri and Salak were defenseman Dylan Olsen and forwards Jimmy Hayes and Peter LeBlanc.
What's likely to happen to get the roster to 23 is the Hawks will send injured forwards Jeremy Morin and Philippe Paradise to Rockford while putting Viktor Stalberg on injured reserve.