Blackhawks

Hawk Talk: A night to remember, a result to grow on

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Hawk Talk: A night to remember, a result to grow on

Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010
3:24 p.m.
By Chris Boden
CSNChicago.com

"Some guys...across the board - we need more."

With that subtle (or was it?) insight at the podium Saturday night, Joel Quenneville let everyone know how he felt about the one-goal loss in the home opener that followed the one-goal loss in the road opener. Welcome to the new bar that you've set, boys.

Just as their journey to the Stanley Cup that was so magnificently celebrated was a learning process, so is what comes after all of that. The team the Blackhawks lost to Saturday night knows a little something about that. Detroit may not have dominated the team they'll now try to knock off, but they were strong enough, and, in some cases, lucky enough against a champion without two key, injured ingredients.

The "fourth" line of Dowell, Skille, and Stalberg was the Hawks' best over the sixty minutes. None of them have their names on the Cup. Who knows - maybe that's why the were so effective against a Detroit team that may have been unfamiliar with them. They got a majority of the ice time late, when Quenneville was looking to tie the game. But Jake, Jack and Vic should be supplementing, not highlighting, this team's offensive play. All three drew penalties in the loss. While the Blackhawks will probably take 25 percent accuracy on the power play over the course of the season (as they've been through these first two games), coming up empty in the six minutes they had over an eight-minute span of the third period - looking to equalize - left a bad taste. The absence of Patrick Sharp and Brian Campbell hurt, and I think we're now all starting to understand this team isn't quite the same without Campbell, no matter how you feel about his salary cap hit. Niklas Hjalmarsson misses him, too, being on the ice for
all seven of the opposition's goals thus far with varying partners.

Coming up empty added to the frustration because the eventual game-winner was so...weird. It started with John Scott's tumble that cleared a path for Valtteri Filppula. It ended with Filppula's semi-whiff on his shot, Hjalmarsson's semi-whiff on his block attempt, and the off-speed puck sneaking past Marty Turco. Scott and Turco both stood up afterwards and blamed themselves for the loss. That's nice of them, but they're hardly the only reasons. The new goalie's first two games have included some spectacular stops and a couple of exasperating shots that've slipped past him. He now has the pair of openers behind him, and can move on past those two emotional hurdles. With Quenneville indicating he sees Turco's game count being somewhere in the fifties, Corey Crawford will get his first action of the season with four games over six nights this week.

And the rest of the team can now move past the celebrations and pats on the back that the returnees have earned, and try to get back to a normal hockey routine. One couldn't help but get emotional Saturday night when the rare prize that's been so central to our sporting consciousness the past four months was given a final smooch, a twirl for all in the building to see, and a final pat on its side by Jonathan Toews as the captain skated away, and the Stanley Cup was turned back over to the NHL. Then the banner being passed from the '61 champs to the current ones, and raised to the rafters as The Madhouse roared. One last pose, one last group hug.

Now it's on to the business at hand and the challenges ahead. The opposition will treat the remaining 80 regular season games like Game 7 of the Cup Finals. As great as the party's been, the Hawks are admittedly weary of the Cup celebration questions. Now they'll have to figure out ways to prove the Cup Hangover questions will not apply to them.

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

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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?!

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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: