Blackhawks

'Controversy' clouds Sharp vs. Toews shooting

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'Controversy' clouds Sharp vs. Toews shooting

Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011
Posted 9:53 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

RALEIGH, N.C. Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland was enjoying the All-Star festivities this weekend, a Stanley Cup perk for he and head coach Joel Quenneville as they led Eric Staals team.

Im riding on the coattails of Q a little bit here, Haviland said Friday with a smile.

The weekend is a nice getaway for all NHL teams before returning to the grind. For the Blackhawks that grind is that much trickier as theyre on the bottom half of the Western Conferences top eight. Coming off the Cup-winning season, Haviland said he understands fan concern about this team.

They have every right to be frustrated. Weve been inconsistent this year, he said. It looks like were going to turn the corner and then we shoot ourselves in the foot. But were progressing in the right way. Guys are starting to play for each other and the team.

One particular tough area has been the Blackhawks penalty kill. Once one of the best in the league, its currently 26th.

Early on we were looking more at shorthanded goals than just killing penalties. You lose a couple key guys, and now (new) guys have to step up and theyre starting to do that now. Early on I just think we werent committed in blocking shots, whatever it may have been.

Haviland said its also about the details.

Instead of taking care of little details we started cheating a little bit. And you cant cheat. Its like the power play, if you go a couple games without scoring a goal, theres pressure. Now guys are a little nervous going out killing penalties, and you cant be nervous on special teams. So its just snowballed for us.
Sharp-Toews, Take 2

Jonathan Toews didnt hear the whistle when he was facing Patrick Sharp in the accuracy contest. So Toews, who lost the first outing to Sharp, got another chance. He won the second.

It kind of sucks for him and for me. I don't really feel great about it. Everyone's calling me a crybaby now because they gave me a rematch, Toews said laughing. Maybe we'll have to do it again in Chicago and have a rubber match, best out of three. I was kind of disappointed. I didn't hear the whistle and I might have gotten two shots off before he had hit all four targets. I think I caught him offgaurd a little bit the second time.

Said teammate Patrick Kane, Toewser, he doesnt win so he complains.

Sharp, however, would get the last laugh as Eric Staals squad beat Nicklas Lidstroms team, which had the rest of his Blackhawks teammates.

Flip this

Patrick Kane had his Flip camera for some of the on-ice action, and said he collected plenty of memories.

I thought it was pretty cool out there with (Zdeno) Chara when he hit 105.9 (mph on the hardest shot), that was pretty sweet. After (Alex) Ovechkin missed one of the (hardest) shots he said, Im terrible. I got some pretty funny things.

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 visit Niklas Hjalmarsson, Coyotes

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Niklas Hjalmarsson, Coyotes

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Niklas Hjalmarsson's new home.

Brace yourselves, Chicago. It's going to be a weird site seeing Hjalmarsson in a different sweater other than the Blackhawks, where he spent his first 10 NHL seasons and won three Stanley Cups.

Now he serves as an alternate captain and blue-line anchor for the Coyotes, who are the only team still seeking its first win of the season. You know they'll be hungry to snap that skid, especially when there's extra motivation for a player on their team facing a bunch of old friends.

2. Connor Murphy returns to Arizona, too.

The man Hjalmarsson was traded for will also be returning to a place he called home for four years. Murphy's role with the Coyotes increased every year before he was dealt to the Blackhawks as part of a shake-up for both teams, so you know he's going to play with something to prove.

Murphy is a physical defenseman, and has laid several notable big hits this season. His former teammates surely know it, and may want to keep their heads up.

3. Patrick Kane 2.0?

Ever since he was drafted with the No. 7 overall pick in 2016, Clayton Keller has drawn comparisons to Kane. They're both undersized, offensive playmakers, possess supreme stick-handling abilities and are American-born players.

Keller got a brief taste of NHL action last year, but he's secured a full-time spot with the Coyotes this season and has been arguably their best player so far.

The 19-year-old forward paces all rookies with five goals and ranks second with seven points, and leads the Coyotes in both categories. Expect to see his name as a finalist for the Calder Trophy for the league's top rookie at the end of the season.

Anton Forsberg is giving the Blackhawks exactly what they need

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USA TODAY

Anton Forsberg is giving the Blackhawks exactly what they need

Anton Forsberg had just finished an extended morning skate Wednesday morning in St. Louis. The backup goaltender had played in one regular-season game for the Blackhawks to that point, so getting in extra work to stay sharp was helpful.

“I try to keep my focus in practice and work extra every day, get a few extra shots in practice with the extra guys who are out there, work with Jimmy and try to keep my game shape,” Forsberg said, referring to Blackhawks goaltending coach Jimmy Waite.

Whatever Forsberg’s working on in practice and skates seems to be working, because in two games with the Blackhawks he’s looked sharp. Forsberg probably deserved a victory on Thursday night when he stopped 40 shots in the Blackhawks’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers. It’s the backup life to wait and see when that next start will come, but Forsberg has been ready.

“For sure I felt more comfortable today, more used to the speed,” he said following Thursday’s game. “I felt I read the game better, felt I had more time moving around. It’s tough, again, to lose in overtime. Obviously I wanted to win and it’s frustrating.”

Frustrating for sure, but Forsberg is giving the Blackhawks exactly what they want and need: a dependable backup that gives them a chance to win. The two goals Forsberg gave up on Thursday weren’t softies, either — Patrick Maroon’s goal off a ridiculous Connor McDavid pass and Mark Letestu’s over game-winner that deflected off Brent Seabrook’s stick.

“He kept us in a tight game like he did in Toronto, got us to overtime. I kind of feel bad we didn’t get him a win in either of those,” Ryan Hartman said. “He played well both of those games. It’s nice to have a guy on the back end like that.”

Forsberg has blended in well with the Blackhawks. It helps that he already knew two of them, Brandon Saad and Artem Anisimov, his former teammates in Columbus. He and Corey Crawford already have a good rapport. Same goes for he and Waite, and Forsberg has soaked up any information they’ve given him.

“I feel like both him and Corey teach me a lot. We talk about different situations, especially all the reads,” Forsberg said. “I get to know how (Crawford) thinks the game. He’s been around a long time and has been doing well, so it’s interesting every day to hear what he has to say. Even Jimmy’s been around same thing there, discussing my game, what we want to improve, what we want to do different, what to keep the same and go from there.”

The extra work in practices and skates appears to be working as Forsberg has done a lot right in just his first two games, which were 10 days apart. The Blackhawks have had a good run of backup goaltenders; two games is a small sample size but Forsberg could be the latest reliable backup.