Blackhawks

Hiatus helps Kane, Hossa get near 100 percent

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Hiatus helps Kane, Hossa get near 100 percent

Friday, Jan. 21, 2011
2:36 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Patrick Kane was moving around the ice much like the rest of the Chicago Blackhawks were on Friday morning: quick, spirited, with plenty of pace.

The Blackhawks used this five-day hiatus to rest, regroup and get their legs back. That goes double for Kane, whos still working back from left ankle injury he sustained on Dec. 5 against Calgary. And while hes still not 100 percent, Kane is feeling good and ready for this weekends games against up-tempo Detroit and Philadelphia.

Ive been doing some different things with it and it feels pretty good on the ice, said Kane. Just doing exercises, (working on) a lot of different machines. Obviously practice is different than game action. Its a little bit away to get 100 percent but Im happy with the progress.

It was a good break for Kane. Quenneville said the break also helped Marian Hossa, who suffered upper and lower-body injuries in the first half, and both he and Kane were looking ready to go.

I would say (the break) can only help, Quenneville said. (Kane) went into the break on a high note, hes played well the last few games. Hossas coming around as well.

Quenneville said the rests effect on the team was evident these past two practices, which the coach said could be the Blackhawks best this season.

Pace. Yesterdays pace was excellent as well, Quenneville said. Theres crispness with the puck, good speed and energy. The thing we stressed recently is the pace of our team game, and we reinforced with practice.

The Blackhawks will get plenty of pace from Detroit and Philadephia this weekend. Kane said hes especially looking forward to tempo likely coming this weekend to get a good idea of where his game is.

Nashville was a different opponent; you sit back with that patient game. These next two will be more my style, up-tempo, fast, and hopefully that helps for me, Kane said. You always want to play better and keep getting better. I think Im heading in the right direction so thats good.

The Blackhawks are back to business on Saturday and Sunday. This weekend will truly let them know how much the rest and pace-filled practices helped.

The freshness and crispness, everybody looks 100 percent or as close as youre going to get right now, Quenneville said. So lets take advantage of it.

Wheres the puck

With the Flyers coming back to Chicago for the first time since the Stanley Cup Finals, the once-burning question returns: what happened to that Cup-winning puck?

I havent heard much about it lately, Kane said. It was a big question at the beginning of the year. I know some restaurants in Chicago putting up big money for it. From what I heard, it never showed up.

Briefly

Corey Crawford will start in net for the Blackhawks on Saturday.

The Red Wings signed Evgeni Nabokov to a one-year deal on Thursday. But the former San Jose goaltender has to clear waivers, where he was placed at noon EST on Friday, before joining Detroit.

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

Patrick Kane hits milestone, but Blackhawks get blown out by Islanders

Patrick Kane hits milestone, but Blackhawks get blown out by Islanders

Probably not the way the Blackhawks wanted to start their second half of the season.

After a five-day break, the Blackhawks suffered a brutal 7-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday night at the United Center. This coming after a 4-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on home ice last Sunday.

"It was a game we had to win," Quenneville said after Saturday's loss. "Disappointing in a lot of ways."

The Blackhawks needed both goaltenders to get through 60 minutes. Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass combined for 39 saves on 46 shots.

On the offensive side of things, Patrick Kane hit a milestone.

The 29-year-old had two goals and an assist and recorded his 800th career point, becoming the fifth player in franchise history to reach 800 points.

The Blackhawks are now 22-18-6 on the season with 50 points and rank last in the Central Division, five points behind the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild.

The Blackhawks' schedule doesn't get any easier when the Tampa Bay Lightning — the league-leader in points — come to town on Monday.

See what Quenneville and Kane had to say about Saturday's loss in the video above.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks return to action against Islanders

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks return to action against Islanders

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the New York Islanders tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Erik Gustafsson's season debut.

The Blackhawks recalled one of their top defensive prospects on Jan. 9 but haven't been able to get him some game action yet. All signs point to that changing tonight.

He skated on a pairing with Brent Seabrook during Friday's practice, and was even placed on the second power play unit during special teams drills. Joel Quenneville was excited about the possibility of finally getting Gustafsson into the lineup.

"Good option, good opportunity," Quenneville said. "We’re not for sure but certainly he’s been around, he’s eager to go. I look forward to seeing what he can do."

2. Anthony Duclair's promotion.

He hasn't been in Chicago for very long but Duclair is quickly working his way up the lineup. The newly-acquired Blackhawk registered an assist in his team debut last Friday in a 2-1 victory over Winnipeg, and was put on a power play unit as well.

On Friday, Duclair was promoted to the top line with Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews and continued getting reps on the second power-play unit. Let's see if the 22-year-old can take advantage of that opportunity in a top-six role.

3. Mathew Barzal.

Three rookies will be named finalists for the Calder Trophy at the end of the season. Barzal is a lock to be one of them.

He not only leads all rookies with 48 points, but he ranks 15th in the entire league in the scoring race and is the only first-year player averaging at least a point per game. 

The 20-year-old center has been sensational and he already has two five-point games in his young professional career. To put that into perspective, Patrick Kane recorded his first NHL five-point effort two weeks ago against the Ottawa Senators.