Blackhawks

Carcillo's chatter, contributions hard to ignore

572588.jpg

Carcillo's chatter, contributions hard to ignore

Daniel Carcillo is just itching to connect on a goal.

The Blackhawks left wing has come close a few times, including Wednesday night against the Anaheim Ducks, but figures hes just pressing too much right now.

Nevertheless hes looking forward to that first goal. OK, and even that first fight.

You cant buy one in the West anymore. My first year in Phoenix (with the Coyotes), it was every night, said Carcillo, whose been biding his time in that category. Obviously you dont want to fight when youre up unless someone takes liberties on a teammate. That hasnt happened. Its just little things I think about, just a way to chip in.

He has been chipping in. Its just that, so far, hes done it with his forecheck instead of his fists.

Carcillo has fit just fine on a line with Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, a combination that balances Carcillos penchant for attracting opponents attention with his linemates thriving in the space that creates. He was there again on Wednesday, giving Kane enough space to send that highlight-reel pass to Hossa for a goal.

You see Kanes highlight a lot but Danny was driving the net and distracting the goalie and defenseman, coach Joel Quenneville said. I dont think hes that one-dimensional guy who just provides energy. He has skill, ability, and hell get better playing with those guys once hes more familiar with them.

Kane appreciates Carcillos work on the ice, if not his talking off it.

Sometimes you have to tune him out on the bench because he talks too much, Kane said with a laugh. Hes good for us because hes that personality on the ice; teams are more worried about him than just focusing on us two. So its nice to have that out there.

Its not a total surprise to see Carcillo among the top lines. In his first season with the Flyers he was with Mike Richards and Simon Gagn for a good chunk of games. And hes reveling in this opportunity.

I know I can play with those types of guys. I never wanted to be just a fourth-line kind of guy in this league, he said. Every games different; Q likes to shuffle lines, so if its not going one particular period itll get changed up. Its a particular game I play and if Im not playing it, its noticeable. So I just have to be ready every night.

The line most thought wouldnt last past a game or two is still doing just fine through nearly three weeks. Still, Carcillo admitted he was taken aback when he originally found out this assignment.

Its been a bit of a surprise, coming back from (a two-game) suspension and being thrown on that line. I didnt expect that, he said. But I know what my job is, whatever line I play on and especially with those guys: get them the puck and get on the forecheck. Theyre two of the best in the league, so I just have to play Xs and Os.

So for now, the potential KOs will take a backseat. Carcillo has behaved himself, avoiding pot-stirring incidents. Quenneville said he commends Carcillo on his early-season discipline and is happy with his work with Kane and Hossa.

Carcillo is happy with his opportunity.

This is a good situation, he said. I just wanted to come here and show what I can do. And I think Ive been doing pretty good.

Briefly

Corey Crawford will start Friday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Blackhawks will be looking for their first victory in Carolina since Jan. 14, 1998 (they won 4-1).

Lance Bouma's second chance has meant steady work with Blackhawks

bouma.jpg
USA TODAY

Lance Bouma's second chance has meant steady work with Blackhawks

Lance Bouma took his place at fourth-line left wing as the Blackhawks rolled their forward rushes on Tuesday morning. As the Blackhawks have tinkered with their trios, Bouma, whose final two seasons with the Calgary Flames were filled with uncertainty, has found a consistent role in this lineup.

“Obviously I was brought here for a reason,” Bouma said. “Things didn’t go the way I wanted them to in Calgary. To come here to Chicago and have that role, it’s been a lot of fun so far.”

The Blackhawks knew what they wanted from Bouma and his fellow fourth liners: some physical play, some energy and if there are any scoring opportunities, bonus. It’s a second chance for Bouma, whose contract was terminated by the Flames on June 30.

“I think it’s definitely a motivator knowing that you get in that situation where all of a sudden, ‘OK, I have to almost start over again and I have to prove to a new team that I belong in this league and I can play,’” coach Joel Quenneville said on Tuesday. “There are always circumstances where teams make decisions like that. We’ve been a part of it. And moving forward as a player, you’ve gotta look at it as a fresh opportunity. It’s an opportunity to get back to playing your game.”

After recording 16 goals and 18 assists in the 2014-15 season, Bouma signed a three-year, $6.6 million deal with the Flames. The next two seasons didn’t go as planned as Bouma dealt with injuries, inconsistent play and healthy scratches. So getting that call from the Blackhawks was a huge lift.

“I was just looking forward to a fresh start and something new,” he said. “I just was ready to come into camp and have a great season and it’s been great so far.”

[MORE: Eddie Olczyk expected to return to broadcasting booth this week

Tommy Wingels, who has centered the Blackhawks’ fourth line the last several games – and will again vs. St. Louis on Wednesday – said Bouma looks “refreshed” this season.

“Obviously whether it’s a team doesn’t want to bring you back or it’s a trade or buyout, there’s certainly something that deep down gets you going,” Wingels said. “I think it was a good summer for him mentally to come to a new organization, come to a new group of guys and re-establish his game. It’s tough when you’re with the same coaches, same team for so long; maybe what you do gets taken for granted. He looks good and he’s skating really well and I think he moves really well for a big man. He’s strong on the pucks and he’s a good asset for us.

Bouma isn’t here to be a top-six player. He’s not here to fulfill a contract that he no longer has. The Blackhawks needed depth, energy and a physical presence and in brining that, Bouma has earned steady work.  

“We knew the player coming in that we wanted him to play that style and he’s done a good job of it, too,” Quenneville said of Bouma. “So it’s something we were looking for in our needs and it fit perfectly."

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Nick Schmaltz isn’t the only one returning; guess who is back in the booth?!

schmaltz-pod.jpg
USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Nick Schmaltz isn’t the only one returning; guess who is back in the booth?!

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Tracey Myers and Pat Boyle discuss Nick Schmaltz returning to the Blackhawks line-up on Wednesday night and which player is looking forward most to his return?

They also weigh in on Corey Crawford’s incredible start to the season and why he’s the major reason why the Hawks begin the week in first place in the Central.

They also discuss who is the biggest Hawks rivalry right now, which new defenseman has impressed the most and how is Connor Murphy dealing with being a healthy scratch at times this season?

Plus, they discuss someone other than Nick Schmaltz returning to work on Wednesday night.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below: