Blackhawks

Hawk Talk: All quiet so far on trade deadline day

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Hawk Talk: All quiet so far on trade deadline day

Monday, Feb. 28, 2011
Posted: 9:54 a.m. Updated: 11:45 a.m.
By Chris Boden
CSNChicago.com

Four hours prior to the NHL's 2 p.m. (Chicago time) trade deadline, it's not a big surprise things have gone slowly around the league. We're for the most part, standing still with teams bottle-necked in Hillside on the inbound Ike for the move or two that'll open things up. Save for Radek Dvorak moving from Florida for Niclas Bergfors & Patrick Rismiller, nothing's happened since St. Louis shipped Brad Boyes to Buffalo last night. But every year, the action picks up over these final hours.

Stan Bowman continues working the phones with an even more urgent need for a defenseman after Jordan Hendry went down with a lower body injury last night. Joel Quenneville said more details should be known today. After needing help from two people to get off the ice, the eye test tells you it's an injury that needs weeks more than days to heal. With Nick Boynton gone and John Scott the only player on the present roster who's played defense before, other teams know they can hike up the price to do business. The GM has said he isn't interested in dealing anyone off the current roster, leaving the Hawks with between 1-12 and 2 million of salary cap space to add to their roster, prorated to about a quarter-season of any player's salary.

Atlanta's Mark Stuart appears to be off the potential acquisition list after the Thrashers recently acquired him from Boston. TSN's Bob McKenzie reports this morning he's on the verge of signing a three-year extension. Save for Colorado (Matt Hunwick?) and Edmonton (Ladislav Smid?) don't expect anyone from the West to help the Hawks out, particularly with just about everyone else still in contention. While the Blues now appear to be sellers, you wouldn't think they'd want to help a division rival's cause. From that standpoint, options have dwindled, at least until some more dominoes start to fall today.

We'll keep you updated throughout the day as things happen, yours truly here in Chicago, and Tracey Myers in Minnesota. Bowman is expected to remain unavailable to the media until he arrives at the Xcel Energy Center prior to tonight's game with the Wild.
Trade Winds? Not Even a Gentle Breeze

Approaching two hours ahead of the NHL trade deadline, Dale Tallon and the Florida Panthers have been the only busy team. It hasn't been the Booths and Weisses who've been sent packing, but Radek Dvorak and Dennis Wideman, and both went to fellow Eastern Conference teams (Atlanta and Washington, respectively). While that may be great if Stan Bowman would want to go back and get Marty Reasoner to help up the middle and on the penalty kill, defensive help remains elusive at this point. He and the Blackhawks are up against many other contenders seeking the same thing, with more salary cap space, and perhaps with more to offer besides minor leaguers and draft picks, or at least high draft picks. Thus far, nibbles haven't turned to bites. The longer it goes, the more likely it is that something will open up, but a couple of more deals would have to happen first.

Bowman said prior to Jordan Hendry's injury last night he'd be confident with his present team going forward, based on the progress they've been making, but the blue line got even thinner since. At this point, however, no one else in the West has gotten better, either, in hat's been a quiet countdown to 2 p.m. so far.

Chris Boden is the host of Blackhawks Pre and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet.

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.