Blackhawks

Blackhawks 'lucky' to escape Columbus with win

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Blackhawks 'lucky' to escape Columbus with win

Saturday, April 2, 2011Posted: 3:40 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Troy Brouwer could laugh about it on Saturday.

The Chicago Blackhawks forward was as relieved as his teammates for getting out of Columbus with a 4-3 shootout victory on Friday night. But he also recognized that, considering their play, they couldve come home empty-handed.

I don't even know if we deserved to win. We tried real hard to not win that game, he said. If we tighten up our game, stop taking penalties, we'll have no problem making the playoffs. But we need to do those things.

True and true. And the Blackhawks know that has to come Sunday when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center.

The Blackhawks got out of Columbus with a victory, despite sloppy play and taking too many penalties in the second period. The latter problem cost them one goal, a 5-on-3 Blue Jackets tally that tied the game.

As Quenneville said Friday night, the Blackhawks were lucky to get out of that second giving up just one power-play goal. Maybe it helped that Columbus, already missing Rick Nash, has a power play ranked 28th in the NHL.

But against the Lightnings sixth-ranked power play seventh on the road the Blackhawks need to be disciplined. They also need to avoid some of the turnovers that didnt prove costly on Friday.

We were fortunate to come out even (in the second). There are some games you have disappointing losses but you're happy when you get that win, Quenneville said. When we start making East-West (passes), there are certain times when our offense leads to their offense. We want to be more direct in those types of plays and not let teams feed off of what we do.
Bollands status

Dave Bollands progress from his concussion has been minor. On Saturday, Quenneville said Bollands recovery status is slow. Its probably been a frustrating time for Bolland and the Blackhawks will be reminded of what they lost when they face the Lightning on Sunday.

Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina elbowed Bolland in their March 9 game in Tampa Bay, and Sunday marks the rematch between the teams. But Blackhawks coaches and players said retaliation cannot be part of the game.

Its not really a focus, Brouwer said. At this time of the season, you cant be trying to take liberties on players and cost your team power plays and points that are so important. Its one of those things that youll always remember it. But right now, it's not the time to be thinking about those things.

Quenneville concurred.

We have to be smart, he said. At this stage of the (season), as far as getting even, the best we can do that is win hockey games.
Sharp improving

Patrick Sharp continues to make progress from his left knee injury. Quenneville is hoping Sharp is skating sometime this week and will have a better idea of when he could return after that.

Right now well get a better indication when we get him on the ice. And well see if he's close to getting on the ice the next couple of days, Quenneville said. Hopefully this week he will be (skating).

Hejda suspended
Columbus defenseman Jan Hejda was suspended two games by the NHL for elbowing Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger on Friday night. Hejda got a minor penalty during Fridays game; the suspension came down Saturday morning.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: