Blackhawks

Hawks looking to add to the mix at trade deadline

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Hawks looking to add to the mix at trade deadline

Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011
4:20 PM
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

With a day and change remaining until the trade deadline, Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman still has his eye on depth and defense.

Bowman, who spoke as the Blackhawks wrapped up their Saturday afternoon practice at Johnnys Ice House, said theres still plenty of talk going on but nothing to report yet.

Were still looking for depth at center and a defenseman to eat up some minutes for us, said Bowman. Its the same thing weve been looking for over the last month or two. I think its about trying to find the right fit with salary and there are a lot of higher-price guys who dont fit into our plans. I think there are a lot (of teams) looking for a similar thing. Well keep talking. Hopefully something will work out.

The trade deadline is 2 p.m. CST on Monday. The Blackhawks will be in Minnesota playing the Wild that night.

The Blackhawks freed up roster and cap space when they put Nick Boynton on waivers on Friday. The 31-year-old defenseman was picked up by the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. The Blackhawks have about 2 million in cap space as the trade deadline looms.

Bowman said were not adding an All-Star player to the mix. Were looking for a situational-type upgrade.

The Blackhawks traded Jack Skille and two others to Florida for Michael Frolik and goaltender Alexander Salak in early February, but Bowman said hed rather not touch the main roster again.

Were kind of starting to come together as a group. Its taken a while, but were not looking to change the core guys. Were looking to add to the mix instead of take from it, Bowman said. Were continuing down the path we charted a while ago. We dont think we need drastic changes here and hopefully we can do something.

The Blackhawks have won three in a row and four of their last five heading into Sunday nights game against the Phoenix Coyotes. If the Blackhawks stand pat, Bowman said hes happy with the product on the ice. If they can tweak, theyll do so.

Youre looking at things to make us a better hockey team. Things are always tight when you look at the economics of our situation. Deals are hard to make and its always a tough situation, coach Joel Quenneville said. At the end of the day we still like our team in a lot of ways, but if we can add depth or improvement in some areas, thats what were looking for.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: After 20 games, do we know the identity of this Blackhawks team?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: After 20 games, do we know the identity of this Blackhawks team?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast Tracey Myers and Jamal Mayers join Pat Boyle to discuss the teams wins over the Rangers and Penguins.  Have they figured some things out and what is the identity of this team after 20 games?

Jammer weighs in on Artem Anisimov’s big week and are there enough Hawks committed to net front presence?  They also discuss the surging play of the blue liners and did the Hawks fail to send a message to Evgeni Malkin, after he kneed Corey Crawford in the head?

Blackhawks’ much-maligned power play is now clicking

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks’ much-maligned power play is now clicking

It’s an annual rite of passage if you cover or are a fan of the Blackhawks: you question the power play, because there always seems to be an issue with the power play. You wonder why every season, given the talent on this team. And again this fall the power play has sputtered.

But a funny thing happened at the end of the weekend. The Blackhawks’ power play started to look good, started to generate chances and started to score. In 10 games prior to the Blackhawks’ Nov. 12 game against New Jersey they had just three power-play goals in 40 opportunities. In their last three games (vs. the Devils, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins), they’ve tallied five goals on 13 opportunities.

So what’s been working?

“I’ll probably give you the same answer as when it wasn’t working: pucks to the net, guys in front,” Patrick Sharp said. “We have the shot mentality more so than just moving it around and getting it set up. You look at the goals we’ve scored, it’s nothing overly complicated. It’s just getting the puck to the net. Just stay with it.”

Sounds simple enough, but the stay-with-it part has probably been the toughest segment of the equation. When the Blackhawks slumped they really slumped, and their lack of confidence on the power play was as evident as their lack of scoring on it. Yes, stressing over it can have its affect; and when the Blackhawks got those two power-play goals against the Devils it seemed to be a release.

“You get one, that weight gets lifted off your chest a little bit, you can play a little loser and maybe not grip your stick as tight as when things weren’t going well,” Cody Franson said. “When you’re confident out there you’re moving the puck cleanly, things happen a little quicker for you and give you those better looks at good chances. When you’re not that confident sometimes you’re not executing as well and things were moving slower and you’re not generating too much. Confidence definitely plays a big part in it.”

So back to what’s working. The Blackhawks started becoming more active on the power play, cutting down on the passes and increasing the shots. They’ve been there for rebounds. They started feeding off the success, be it with the power play as a unit or with individual performances. Artem Anisimov has returned to being a force at the net again; of his five goals in his last three games, two are power-play goals.

“A couple of broken plays and sometimes you get some breaks. You win a faceoff and make a quick little play after a couple of great opportunities on the prior whistle there that didn’t go in. I just think shots at the net and traffic and off that, sometimes they go in,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Our entries have always been alright this year, so we’re getting zone time and let’s get some simpler looks and sometimes they go in. I think gaining confidence there, it seems like we’re having the puck more and longer and sustaining some offense off it.”

The Blackhawks have struggled more than they’ve succeeded on the power play the last few seasons. But as their overall scoring has increased again, so has their power-play production. Good timing.

“People tend to say the power play can keep you in games and the penalty kill can win you games. Our penalty kill’s been great and has given us chances in a lot of games. [Corey Crawford’s] been playing pretty well,” Franson said. “And when our power play can give us success we find ourselves in better situations to try and win games.”