Blackhawks

Hossa recovered from vertigo, ready for Columbus

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Hossa recovered from vertigo, ready for Columbus

Monday, Jan. 31, 2011
Posted 3:49 p.m. Updated 7:56 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

VacationAll-Star break time is over. The Chicago Blackhawks have to get back to work.

And considering how few games remain and how tight the standings are, they have to hit the ground running.

The Blackhawks will be tested often in this stretch run, and they embark on a six-game road trip beginning with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. With so many teams fighting for a playoff spot, theres little room for error.

And theres no time to waste.

WATCH: Blackhawks know time is now

"The rest of (this schedule) is such a big part of our season. We have to make up some ground here, defenseman Brent Seabrook said. Its going to be a huge battle for us but we have to be ready for every game. Weve got to have that killer instinct, and weve got to play that way every game.

The Blackhawks certainly cant say theyre tired or unhealthy any more. Theyve played just three games in the last 15 days, so theyre rested. Now they have to bring the energy level up, and fast.

Weve got to be ready, and it starts (Tuesday), defenseman Brian Campbell said. Everythings magnified and the games are harder now. There are so many teams battling and were going to be one of them, obviously.

Entering February, the Blackhawks are seventh in the Western Conference. Just four points separate them from the fourth-place Predators. Theyre playing above .500 on the road, and theyll get plenty of chances to improve upon that mark with nine of their next 13 away from home.

The restful January is over. The Blackhawks have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time, and most of their opponents are in the same boat.

Every games going to be almost like a playoff game, right wing Marian Hossa said. We need to get up in the standings beginning (Tuesday). Every games going to be important to us.
Hossa better

Marian Hossa said he suffered from vertigo last Tuesday, when he missed the Blackhawks game against the Minnesota Wild. The right wing practiced on Monday and was feeling better.

Basically it just hit me the night before. Everything starts spinning around you, said Hossa, who added it was the first time he experienced it. Its not comfortable. But Im back to normal.

Turco in

Marty Turco will be in net on Tuesday against Columbus. It will be his first start since Jan. 16, when he stopped 20 shots in the Blackhawks 6-3 victory over Nashville.

Corey Crawford started the Blackhawks previous three games heading into the All-Star break, winning in Detroit but suffering losses to Philadelphia and Minnesota.

We want to play (Marty), coach Joel Quenneville said. We need both guys and its a chance for him to play.

Briefly

Brian Campbell got engaged this weekend, popping the question to his girlfriend during their vacation in Colorado. The defenseman was mum on how he proposed. Ill keep that between myself, her and the families, he said.

WATCH: Campbell explains engagement

Ryan Johnson missed practice on Monday with a lower-body injury. Coach Joel Quenneville said Johnson is day-to-day and the injury isnt serious.

Defenseman Nick Leddy was recalled from Rockford on Monday.

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.”