Blackhawks

Hawk Talk: Hossa looks on target for return

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Hawk Talk: Hossa looks on target for return

Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010
5:04 PM

By Chris Boden
CSNChicago.com

Six days after leaving early in the second period against the Kings, Marian Hossa was back on the ice with his teammates at Tuesday's practice. Wearing a white (non-contact) jersey, Hossa went through most drills while being conservative with his shots, and was careful afterwards not to reveal too much about his upper-body injury, while hoping to return on or around the original two-week estimate.

"Definitely I feel the progress. I'm getting there - probably halfway and just...big progress since the injury the last five days. Skating went well. Obviously, five days during the season's a long time without the ice. You can feel it even when I was running and biking. It's still different than skating."

Hossa got off to a torrid start, with seven goals and 11 points the first seven games. He confirmed the injury happened out of an awkward fall following a collision with the Kings' Jarret Stoll, but is glad his sideline time won't be anywhere close to what it was a year ago, when he missed the first 22 games following shoulder surgery.

"I went through this last year. The good thing was the MRI showed lots of good stuff so I don't have to worry about something. Right now I'm happy with how it's going and how it's progressing."

The Blackhawks feel they're progressing as a team, even though "happy" might not be their, or some fans', adjective of choice. Puck possession has gotten better the last two games, when they've outshot the Wild and Rangers (albeit opponents with some of their own top offensive guns sidelined). They're also just one game behind their pace through 14 games a year ago. They've scored one more goal, but allowed seven more in that time. They'd be much better right now if they could start and finish periods better defensively, and do a better job locking down after scoring themselves. My (very) unscientific research shows they've permitted nine goals in the first 2:43 of periods, allowed another nine thus far over the final 3:05 of periods, and have given up seven within 2:26 of scoring themselves. Each applied to the Rangers' goals in Monday's 3-2 loss in New York.

"It's something we talked about," said Patrick Kane, whose equalizer in the third period was negated by the eventual game-winner just 26 seconds later. "Taking advantage of those shifts we're out there. It's still a learning process, the 14th, 15th game. We still gotta tighten things up. Better now than later in the season."

"We talked as a group about taking pride and wanting to be out there in those big shifts following goals in last minutes of periods," Head Coach Joel Quenneville added. "You get rewarded by getting the job done going forward off of that. We're trying to make sure when you're out there, take advantage of it and get the job done."

Troy Brouwer was a bit more descriptive.

"Whenever you score a goal, the team gets up and gets momentum. If a team gets on ya right away and is able to score or get a good shift on you it kills your momentum. We made ourselves vulnerable a couple times last game and we either took a penalty or got scored on the very next shift. It just kills your team. It's tough to come back from and to establish momentum again."

Brouwer and company will try to exhibit that killer instinct against a New Jersey team that's vulnerable Wednesday night (7:00 p.m. "Chevy Blackhawks Pregame Live" on Comcast SportsNet). The Devils are on the last stop of a six-game road trip that took them to California, then Vancouver Monday night. Since an opening 4-3 overtime win, they've scored just 17 goals the last 12 games, and own an NHL-worst 3-9-1 record.

Other Ice Shavings: Dave Bolland did not join Hossa on the ice, and there was no further word on the likelihood of his return from the injury list when he's eligible Saturday in Atlanta. Fernando Pisani did not practice, but Quenneville says he's good-to-go Wednesday. Forwards Ben Smith and Ryan Potulny were sent back to Rockford of the AHL after three and two games, respectively, with the Hawks. Both went scoreless. The moves appear to open the way for Winger Bryan Bickell to return against the Devils after being a healthy scratch the last two games.
Campbell's Cards for Kids: Brian Campbell's back, and so is his "Texas Hold Em" tournament at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, benefitting his charitable foundation, "Campbell for Kids." It's January 18, 2011, with proceeds going to the Chicagoland Chapter of Autism Speaks, and Chicago's Beard School, serving 3- to 9-year-olds who have severe autism andor emotional disorders. Last year's event raised 100,000 in net proceeds, and like the inaugural event last winter, Campbell's teammates, Blackhawks alumni, and other athletes and celebrities will join him. Admission is 150, which includes drinks, dining, up-close tournament viewing, live casino gaming, and a silent auction. The Poker Tournament "buy-in" is an additional 175, and any player who eliminates any of the participating Blackhawks will get the jersey off that player's back. For more information about the event and purchasing tickets, visit www.campbellforkids.org.

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

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Could Blackhawks become sellers at trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Could Blackhawks become sellers at trade deadline?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd discuss the Blackhawks’ poor effort vs. Detroit, Corey Crawford’s health and what kind of run they will need to go on to make the Staney Cup playoffs.

Konroyd also weighs in on his roster concerns and whether or not the Blackhawks will be buyers or sellers at the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

Joel Quenneville sends message to Blackhawks going into bye week

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AP

Joel Quenneville sends message to Blackhawks going into bye week

The Blackhawks are in a position they've never been in under Joel Quenneville. It's mid-January and they find themselves below the playoff line.

To make things even more difficult, they'll be sitting at home or on vacation for the next five days while they watch other Western Conference teams accumulate points during their league-mandated bye week. That means when they return to action on Saturday they'll have lots of ground to make up and minimal margin for error.

So while the Blackhawks should certainly use their down time to recharge both mentally and physically, Quenneville's message to his team is very clear.

"Mentally, get away," he said following a 4-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. "Relax, I guess. Have a little fun. But hockey still has to be in the back of your mind. It’s still going to be on when you’re out there. Certainly knowing it’s going to take a lot more than what we showed in the first half of the season. We’re going to need everyone going all out every single night to have a chance."

And it's alarmingly true.

Here's what the wild card picture looks like going into Monday:

While just three points separate the Blackhawks from the Wild, the Blackhawks are in the worst position among the six teams in the picture. The Stars, who are already ahead by a point, have one game in hand on the Blackhawks, the Sharks have four and the streaking Avalanche have three. Heck, even the Ducks have a game in hand, which means an extra win would put them above the Blackhawks.

Every point is critical for the Blackhawks, not only because it obviously keeps them in the hunt, but because on game's they fail to collect points, they're scoreboard watching five other teams hoping they're coming away with nothing as well.

The Blackhawks will come out of the bye week with three straight home games, and if they don't play with their backs against the wall from here on out, their nine-year playoff streak could be in serious jeopardy.