Blackhawks

Jets' Maurice: Work ethic sets Blackhawks' Kevin Dineen apart

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Jets' Maurice: Work ethic sets Blackhawks' Kevin Dineen apart

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Kevin Dineen’s work ethic as a player was apparently a great one. It was certainly something Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice noticed when he coached Dineen for the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes.

Maurice talked of Dineen, the Blackhawks’ assistant coach, following Thursday morning’s skates. Maurice said Dineen brought a workmanlike mentality that, according to Maurice, was sorely lacking with the Whalers at that time.

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“He was the first guy who had an NHL work ethic,” said Maurice of Dineen, who started his second stint with Hartford in December of 1995, when he was traded there from Philadelphia. “So I’m brand new, I didn’t know what to expect, the only thing I kept thinking early on in Hartford was, ‘My junior team worked way harder than these guys did.’ And Kevin came in and he practiced like what I thought an NHL guy would practice like.”

Maurice said the Whalers had other players who worked hard but those teams were not good. The attitude and work ethic of Dineen, who served as captain from 1996-98, left their mark. Maurice said it wasn’t long after that the Whalers/soon-to-be Hurricanes started making the necessary changes – aka, bringing in Dineen-type players.

“All of a sudden those guys became a priority for [general manager] Jim Rutherford," Maurice said. "Gary Roberts came in. Ronnie Francis, Marty Gélinas, Roddy Brind’Amour. We had a hole for those kind of guys and he was the first guy that came in. Kevin left that impression, that’s what one of those guys is really like, one of those high-end workers, high-end character, captain guys.”

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The personnel changes led to positive results on the ice, even after Dineen’s time with the franchise ended. Over the next four seasons the Hurricanes finished third or better – including first twice – in the Southeast Conference.

“We went to four consecutive winning seasons which, again in Chicago, you’re not getting excited about that,” Maurice said. “But at that time for the Whale, nobody had done that before. And he was a huge part of that.”

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: