Blackhawks

Blackhawks' Quenneville returns to practice

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Blackhawks' Quenneville returns to practice

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011
Posted: 11:17 a.m. Updated: 3:39 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Coach Joel Quenneville came onto the ice around 11 a.m. on Wednesday. Within a few minutes, it was just business as usual for the Chicago Blackhawks coach, from practice to diagnosing his own injury.

I was on IR for a week. Well call it an upper body injury and were all good to go, said Quenneville with a laugh. The only pain I was in last week was sitting in the hospital watching games.

As the Blackhawks head to Nashville to play the Predators on Thursday, Quenneville is ready to assume all his normal duties again after going to the hospital a week ago with internal bleeding related to an ulcer. Quenneville said he feels great after being treated for the ulcer, which he said was caused by the daily aspirin hes been taking for years for other reasons.

He added that he figured he was getting the same flu bug the rest of the team had last Tuesday night before heading to the emergency room.

I actually didnt feel that bad, particularly, that night, he said. I thought I was coming down with the flu like everyone else. We were waiting and all of a sudden it wasnt just the flu.

Quenneville said he learned a few things in his down time and his stay in the hospital, from where he was discharged on Saturday.

I got to observe the value of teamwork (in the hospital) and you watch that process and equate it to what we do, he said. We know how fortunate we are and the position we are in and the team that we can be. Its a different perspective sitting back and observing it from a different angle. There are some things you can take from it.

Quenneville missed four games, during which the Blackhawks went 3-1-0 under assistant coach Mike Haviland. Quenneville said he felt good enough to come back for the last three games, but we had to get our blood work up to a different level.

The Blackhawks were obviously happy to have their coach back on Wednesday.

Its good energy. It looked like the first day of training camp for him, defenseman Brian Campbell said. (His return) is definitely going to help us. It brings a fresh person in the locker room after having a few days off, so its good to see.

Troy Brouwer said having (Quenneville) back brings familiarity to the group, line calls and play calls. He expects us to continue to play like we have been. He jumped right back into it; he was excited and moving pucks. We had the usual practice.

Quenneville hopes the Blackhawks learn from this latest surge, and from the final 40 minutes they played against St. Louis on Monday. The Blackhawks enter Wednesday night in 10th place in the West, and

(The Monday victory) puts you at 68 points, where everybody is. There are six or seven teams fighting for that space, so that really put us in a good spot, Quenneville said. Weve got games against teams that are all in the airspace were in, so lets gather that momentum from St. Louis.

Pisani better

Fernando Pisani (concussion) practiced on Wednesday and has been cleared to play. Pisani has been out since sustaining his injury against the Dallas Stars on Feb. 11.

I skated for a couple of days and havent had any problems. I feel 100 percent, said Pisani, who hasnt seen replays of that Mark Fistric hit that knocked the back of his head into the bench railing. I felt it, so I dont think I need to see it again. Its one of those hits where I got caught in vulnerable position and my head hit the boards. I feel good now and thats the focus.

Quenneville said Pisani is a game-time decision against Nashville on Thursday.

Leddy ill

Defenseman Nick Leddy was sick and did not practice on Wednesday. Leddy was sent to Rockford on Tuesday and was set to be recalled on Wednesday but his illness scratched that. Quenneville said Leddy could be recalled Thursday for the game.

Briefly

Corey Crawford will start against the Predators.

Nashville is 3-2-0 against the Blackhawks this season.

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 look to bounce back against Panthers

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks look to bounce back against Panthers

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Florida Panthers Saturday on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

(Reminder: Use #AskEdzo on social media and your questions may be answered by Eddie Olczyk, who will be in studio along with Adam Burish, Brian Campbell and Pat Boyle).

1. Another fast start coming?

The Blackhawks had one of their best starts of the season Wednesday in Tampa Bay, and the numbers favor Chicago to dictate the pace of play early again.

The Panthers are tied with the Buffalo Sabres for the fewest goals scored in the first period (13), and have taken a lead into the second period only four times (3-1-0) in 21 games. They are 2-7-1 in the 10 games they've trailed after the opening frame.

The Blackhawks, on the other hand, are tied for fourth when it comes to first-period goals (22) — albeit, five of them came on Opening Night against Pittsburgh — but they are just 4-2-2 in eight games when leading after one period. In fact, they took a 2-0 lead into the second in their most recent game against the Lightning and lost in overtime 3-2.

So while a fast start could certainly be in the cards, the finish must also be there.

2. Take advantage on special teams.

The Panthers are one of two teams ranked among the bottom six in both power play percentage (26th at 16.0) and penalty kill percentage (30th at 73.2).

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks are coming in hot in both areas. They're 6-for-17 (35.3 percent) on the man advantage in their last four games, and own the fourth-best penalty kill unit (84.8 percent).

This is the area to exploit for the Blackhawks going into the matchup, and it could decide the game.

3. Feed Lance Bouma!

In his seventh season, Bouma has faced every NHL team at least five times in his career, with the exception of Vegas (pointless in one game this season).

Bouma is not known for his offensive prowess (72 points in 325 career games), but it's a different story when he plays Florida.

In six career games against the Panthers, Bouma has one goal, six assists and a career-high plus-8 rating. That one goal also happens to be one of his six career game winners.

Florida is the only team Bouma is averaging at least a point-per-game against for his career, so you know what that means: Feed No. 17!

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night:
 
1. One too many penalties.

The Blackhawks flirted with danger in the first period when they handed the Lightning three straight continuous power plays, a four-minute double minor high-sticking penalty from John Hayden and a Jonathan Toews hooking call that resulted in a 5-on-3 opportunity for Tampa Bay for 43 seconds. 

The penalty kill unit that ranked fourth in the league entering the matchup, however, killed off all three of those penalties against the NHL's top-ranked power play, and did so in commanding fashion.

The Blackhawks went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in regulation, but couldn't stop the sixth one — a questionable slashing call on Nick Schmaltz —  in overtime when Brayden Point buried the winner on a 4-on-3 opportunity.

It was also interesting that Jon Cooper elected to go with four forwards (Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Point and Steven Stamkos) and zero defensemen during that man advantage, putting all of his offensive weapons out on the ice. It's something more teams should do in that situation.

2. Patrick Kane gets going.

After scoring just one goal in his previous 10 games, Kane found the back of the net twice in the opening frame against Tampa Bay and stayed hot against a team he historically plays well against. And he nearly netted a hat trick in overtime but couldn't cash in on a breakaway opportunity.

Kane has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 14 career regular-season games against the Lightning, and extended his point streak to five games. He has three goals and four assists over that stretch.

We wrote about how important it is for the Blackhawks' superstars to get going again with the offensive contributions mainly coming from role players as of late, and Kane getting into a groove is a perfect step in that direction.

3. How about that goaltending battle?

Corey Crawford and Andrei Vasilevskiy showed us exactly why they belong in the Vezina Trophy discussion, and as of this moment, it's hard not to include both of them as finalists. They put on a goaltending clinic, seemingly topping the other as the game went on.

The two teams combined for 71 scoring chances, and Crawford and Vasilevskiy came up big when their teams need them the most.

Crawford finished with 35 saves on 38 shots (.921 save percentage) in the loss while Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 31 (.935 save percentage), and improved to 15-2-1 on the season. 

4. Missed opportunities.

You couldn't have asked for a better start for the Blackhawks. They scored the first goal 3:49 into the game and the second on the power play at 15:54, killed off three penalties, including a 5-on-3, had 24 shot attempts (13 on goal) compared to the Lightning's 16 attempts (11 on goal) and led in even-strength scoring chances 9-6.

It was a different story the rest of the way.

The Blackhawks took their foot off the gas pedal a bit and let the Lightning back in the game by getting away from what they do best, and that's control the puck. Obviously, you expected the league's best offense to push back and it's certainly not an easy task to keep them off the scoresheet all together. 

But the Blackhawks had their chances to stay in front or retake the lead and just couldn't bury them. Tampa Bay had 50 shot attempts from the second period on while the Blackhawks had only 32, and finished with 44 scoring chances compared to Chicago's 27.

5. Richard Panik in the doghouse?

Joel Quenneville didn't go to his line blender in this one, but he did shorten some leashes. Panik, most notably, had a season-low 12:28 of ice time in the loss and had 15 shifts, which was second-fewest only to Ryan Hartman (13) on the team.

Panik had a prime chance to break a 2-2 tie in the third period but was denied by Vasilevskiy, who made a remarkable left-pad save. Instead, Panik extended his goal drought to 12 games and didn't get a shift in overtime.

He's certainly better and will get his scoring chances when playing on the top line with Toews and Brandon Saad, but the missed opportunities are magnified in tight losses. It doesn't look like a move down in the lineup is coming given the success of Alex DeBrincat, who gives the Blackhawks an offensive weapon on the third line, but perhaps it should be considered.