Blackhawks

Blackhawks mailbag: So many trade deadline questions

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Blackhawks mailbag: So many trade deadline questions

Ah, the trade deadline is approaching. The next week promises to offer a few deals around the league, some prognostication and way too many baseless rumors. We’ll gnash our teeth, and probably shoot down, at the thought of that last one.

I believe the Blackhawks absolutely will do something at the trade deadline, which is 2 p.m. next Monday. The question is, do they focus on just getting a left wing, just getting a defenseman or both? According to generalfanager.com, the Blackhawks are estimated to have approximately $4.76 million of salary-cap space on trade deadline day (please read the site to see the full explanation as to how it gets to that number). They’ll also have to be mindful of any season bonuses (among them, Artemi Panarin). So there is some wiggle room, but not a ton.

Of course, you all have questions on what could happen. Brandon Fisher (@BK_FiSH3R) asks, “Who else besides (Andrew) Ladd are the Hawks looking to acquire?” Ladd is on the Blackhawks’ list, but that doesn’t mean he’s the only guy on that list. Sure, it would be a great fit, a natural fit. But does he even leave Winnipeg? And if he does, what do the Jets want in return? Gary Lawless of TSN wrote of the interest Ladd is generating (that’s my way of telling you to read his story). Not surprisingly, there is plenty; Ladd is a proven winner in the final year of his current contract. He’s also playing very well lately. If the Jets part with Ladd, he’s going to the highest bidder. The Blackhawks have to be careful not to part with too much here. Leave the mortgaging-the-future packages to teams looking for their first Stanley Cup in a while, not their fourth in seven seasons.

Sean Fitzgerald (@Diesal3426) asks, “Do they acquire a defenseman at the deadline?” I still say the Blackhawks go the forward route. It all depends on what general manager Stan Bowman can swing. They got three players at last year’s deadline (Antoine Vermette, Andrew Desjardins and Kimmo Timonen), but they also had cap space from Patrick Kane going on long-term injured reserve.

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Related to that, Pamela (@pamela22427464) asked about the possibilities of acquiring Ladd or Mikkel Boedker. This falls into the same answer in terms of what the Arizona Coyotes would like in return. Boedker might not have the familiarity of Ladd to the Blackhawks, but he could certainly pick teammate Antoine Vermette’s brain. That turned out well last season, didn’t it?

Mark St. Lawrence (@Markamos43) asks, “Do you see the Blackhawks adding (Kris) Versteeg back if the return price is reasonable?” Anything that’s reasonable is possible, though I’m not sure if I see Versteeg doing a third go-around with the Blackhawks. Depends on if the Blackhawks want to make more than one move at the deadline or shoot for a higher-priced forward rental.

And one more from Artem Kanarin (@ThatSportzGuy88), who asks, “What are the odds the Hawks include (Teuvo) Teravainen in a trade package? I think it would be a mistake.” I agree. A few years ago, Bowman was asked about possibly trading Teravainen. There was no chance at that time. Even though Teravainen isn’t having the season he or the Blackhawks envisioned, I would absolutely keep him. There’s too much potential.

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Now, let’s get on to some other questions.

What do you think is ahead for (Andrew) Shaw? Does being such a fan favorite make him any more of a priority to keep? (Angelo Auriemma, @UhOhAngelo). Here’s one thing I can guarantee: How much fans love a player has nothing to do with whether he stays or goes. There’s a long list of Blackhawks favorites who have been traded. As of now, I see Shaw staying. Anything’s possible at the trade deadline, but I don’t foresee the Blackhawks packaging him in any deal. The Blackhawks certainly have offseason decisions to make and cap issues looming again, but Shaw’s proven his worth. He’s still one of the few guys willing to plant himself in front of the net — outside of Artem Anisimov now, of course — and he’s a guy coach Joel Quenneville will move up and down the lineup.

What changes do the Blackhawks alumni need to make to be more competitive? Do you blame Pat Foley for this loss? (Brian Morris @BMorris2711). Haha! I loved the alumni game. I could only imagine how heated those Blackhawks-North Stars games were back in the day, but to see these guys later in their careers, going out there and having a ball, was entertaining. I do not blame Mr. Foley for the loss. I just wish he was mic’d up for the entire game so we could have heard his call on Jimmy Waite’s third-period stop on Mike Modano.

Apologies if already known, but any news on return dates for (Marian) Hossa and (Marcus) Kruger? (Stu Haas, @stuhaas): The Kruger question has come up a lot. The Blackhawks said back in mid-December they’re not expecting Kruger (wrist surgery) back until the start of the postseason, and that hasn’t changed. As for Hossa (lower body), he’s also on schedule (Quenneville anticipated about two weeks from when he was injured on Feb. 13). When asked on Saturday if Hossa has started skating yet, Quenneville said, “I don’t think so.”

What was the most unbelievable Blackhawks comeback win you ever covered? (Hockey ebooks, @Hockey-ebooks). I wasn’t here for that ridiculous comeback over the Calgary Flames back in 2009, which I believe is the biggest comeback in franchise history. (Right?) So for me, it’s still the 17 seconds of Game 6 vs. the Boston Bruins. It might have just been overcoming a one-goal deficit, but the way it happened, the stage on which it happened and the speed in which it happened rank it my clear No. 1.

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On average, what is the reaction time between a loss and the sky-is-falling crowd calling to break up the team? (Brian Cook, @bcookin). OK, I know you’re asking this in half jest, but it really is something how quickly some lose their minds. I make fun of it a lot; the fact that some panic over this team, this team that wins constantly, cracks me up. Also, most of this reaction comes from Twitter which, love it or not, isn’t the most rational haven. So you take it for what it is.

Good red wine recommendation, one to drink and cook with? (Jessica Geraci, @TheRealJay_Gee). Oh, we could be here for a while. Here’s my deal with red wine: I am not a connoisseur by any means. I just know what I like, which is pretty much everything but Merlot. As far as cooking, just get a red that doesn’t cost too much. Seriously, most of it is going to get burned off in the cooking process (or so I’m told by people who get more of a chance to cook than I do).

How bad of a postseason threat are the Caps? How does their depth and experience compare to ours? (Kathryn Marie, @Kati1727). This is more of a concern for their Eastern Conference opponents, but the Washington Capitals look pretty damn good. Barry Trotz is a great coach, and now he has the right blend of offensive talent and defense. Mix that with Braden Holtby’s great year, and the Caps are intimidating. But how will they fare in the playoffs? They’ve had a few early-round exits, so will they have the right combination of physical readiness and mental fortitude in the postseason? Don’t underestimate the mental toughness necessary in the playoffs; ask the Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings, two of the best in that department. The Caps have a long way to go to get to the Cup. So do the Blackhawks, for that matter, just in case anyone was already penciling them in there.

Any stories on the Blackhawks’ public relations people? (Jenna, @brentseabs). I could tell stories, but then I’d probably meet the same fate as Luca Brasi.

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

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?