Blackhawks

Kane, Blackhawks veto Senators in shootout

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Kane, Blackhawks veto Senators in shootout

Friday, Jan. 7, 2011
Posted 10:08 PM Updated 11:22 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks didnt play their prettiest game against the Ottawa Senators on Friday night. But for a team thats looking to get points any way they can, it was effective.

Patrick Sharp scored his 24th goal of the season and Patrick Kane scored for the first time in his last eight games as the Blackhawks took a 3-2 shootout victory over the Senators at the United Center.

The Blackhawks had another slow start and held a slim 2-1 lead in the third before Milan Michalek tied it with 1:25 remaining in regulation.

But the Blackhawks, who have lost a lot of points late, forced it to the shootout, where Jonathan Toews got the winner.

We were looking pretty good at 2-1 and it was tough to give up (the Michalek) goal there, Kane said. But we kept our composure. All of us knew this was a game we had to have.

It was also a welcome night for Kane, who had been trying to get his scoring touch back since returning from his left-ankle injury. Kane caused Erik Karlssons turnover, then beat Ottawa netminder Brian Elliott 5-hole to put the Blackhawks up 2-1.

I thought he made a great play there and got better as the game progressed, coach Joel Quenneville said. It was nice to see the timeliness of the goal.

Defenseman Brent Seabrook said Kane has been scratching at the door the last couple of games here. Hes been getting some points, but its nice to see him put one in and get that excitement back.

WATCH: Patrick Kane excited, optimistic

But it was Sharp with the resuscitating goal in the second period, a deflection of Brian Campbells blue-line shot that woke up the Blackhawks and the fans.

Sharp is just one goal shy of his total all of last season (25).

The timeliness of that goal was huge for us, Quenneville said. We didnt have a lot going offensively until that went in. Whether its power play or timeliness, game in-game out hes been the one staple for us all year.

The Blackhawks got just enough on Friday night.

No, it wasnt the most stylish game and the Blackhawks definitely would like a better start. But the two points they got are nevertheless vital in a tight Western Conference race.

Weve had a lot of games where we havent gotten two points out of the third and it was disappointing to give up the tying goal, Sharp said. There are definitely areas we can be better at, but were all going home with the win.

Leddy returns

Nick Leddy, who was recalled from Rockford Friday morning, logged 15:41 of ice time against Ottawa. Quenneville was happy with the rookie and partner Jordan Hendry.

I thought he did a good job; that was a nice pair for us, Quenneville said. They skated well together, skated out of trouble. They had good zone presence in the offensive end, very nice and patient with the puck.

Briefly

Toews shootout winner was the sixth of his career. He has now converted 17 of 30 (57 percent) shootout shots in his career.

Ryan Johnson, Nick Boynton and John Scott were the Blackhawks healthy scratches on Friday night.

The Blackhawks were credited with 44 hits to the Senators 37.

The Blackhawks will have a Heritage Night for the 1961 Stanley Cup championship team on Sunday night when they face the New York Islanders.

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

Eight-defensemen rotation tricky, but Blackhawks understand juggling act

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USA TODAY

Eight-defensemen rotation tricky, but Blackhawks understand juggling act

For Jordan Oesterle, the wait really wasn’t a terrible thing.

Sure, he was used to playing more consistently in the past. But he knew with the Blackhawks carrying eight defensemen that several players, including him, would need to practice patience and understanding.

“It hasn’t been too long. It’s only been a week and a half so it’s not terrible,” said Oesterle on Thursday morning, a few hours before he made his Blackhawks debut against his former team, the Edmonton Oilers.

For the second consecutive season the Blackhawks are going with eight defensemen to start the season. In one way, it’s good: if anything goes awry, be it someone’s game or someone’s health, the depth is readily there.

But so are the challenges. It’s a juggling act, a delicate balance between making the right decisions and making sure a player understands that a scratch may be more about the rotation and not his individual game.

Communication, above all, is key.

“It’s not easy being the guys who are in or out, right on that bubble situation where you come in not knowing if you’re going to play. But as a staff we want to keep everyone involved,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We know the depth of your defense is going to get challenged at some point during the year. We feel the eight guys who are here can play but that’s how we’ve always done it: We’ve always let guys know whether you’re in or out. Sometimes you have to be more patient than you’d like but handling it the right way, whether you’re a good pro or teammate, that can be healthy around the environment of your team.”

Based on all outward appearances, everyone has handled it well. Connor Murphy has been a healthy scratch twice – “I mean I just want to see the team win really...if we're winning and guys are playing well that's all that matter,” Murphy said after his first scratch.

Oesterle was a healthy scratch the first seven games. Michal Kempny, who Oesterle replaced, has been scratched the last two games. Cody Franson has also sat seven games. Franson, whose patience has been in place while awaiting contracts in his career, is practicing it again. But he’s appreciated the Blackhawks’ communication on it.

“This situation gets tough when they don’t say anything to you; you don’t know if it’s because of the way you’re playing, you don’t know if it’s something you did or what the situation is. The coaching staff has done a great job of being in our ear, letting us leave our work at the rink and not take it home with us,” Franson said. “That goes a long way in being able to stay positive and in the right mindset through it.”

After starting with eight defensemen last season the Blackhawks eventually went back to seven. Will they do that again this season? Maybe, but whoever gets sent down would most likely have to go through waivers. The Blackhawks reassigned Gustav Forsling last season to get back to seven defensemen and get Forsling more playing time. But this season Forsling and Jan Rutta have been dependable and have pretty much become the Blackhawks’ second pairing.

So for now, eight defensemen it shall be. Being part of the rotation isn’t always easy but so far players seem to get that it’s for the greater good.

“It’s one of those things where we’ve got eight quality guys. I think no matter who’s sitting on any given night, it might not necessary be due to how they’re playing or how they’re doing individually,” Franson said. “I think Q’s done a great job of managing that situation. That’s one of those things where it’s a great problem to have but it’s not an easy one to handle. So we’re all aware of what’s taking place right now and you just try to be as professional about it as you can.”

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 4-2 win over Coyotes: Puck don't lie

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 4-2 win over Coyotes: Puck don't lie

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night:
 
1. Surviving a crazy first period.

The Blackhawks committed four penalties in the opening frame within a 2:18 span, and escaped unscathed from it despite a pair of 5-on-3 opportunities for the Coyotes.

Of course, the only goal allowed in the period came from a fluke deflection off Jordan Oesterle's stick and slipped underneath Corey Crawford's five-hole.

Joel Quenneville likes to say the team that takes advantage of their 5-on-3 opportunities has a pretty good chance to win the game. It applied in this case, with the Blackhawks coming out victorious after surviving that stretch.

2. Power play comes alive early.

The Blackhawks got off on the right foot in an area that has been an issue for them this season, capitalizing on their first power play of the game 24 seconds into it when Richard Panik redirected a Jonathan Toews shot that tricked past Louis Domingue.

Good thing too, because it was the only man advantage they'd get. Well, excluding the power play they received with 17 seconds left in regulation when the game was already decided. 
 
3. Another controversial review in Arizona.

What's with it with controversial reviews in Arizona and the Blackhawks being on the wrong end of the call?

The Blackhawks appeared to have taken a 3-1 lead when Tommy Wingels converted on a penalty shot, but it was overturned after officials reviewed it and determined the Coyotes netminder got a stick on Wingels' initial shot. Replays didn't exactly show conclusive evidence, but the NHL released a statement proving otherwise:

Video review determined that Wingels shot the puck into the net after Arizona goaltender Louis Domingue made contact with the puck. According to Rule 24.2, "No goal can be scored on a rebound of any kind."

Shortly after, the Coyotes scored in the final minutes of the period to even up the score at 2-2 in a big turn of events at the time.
 
4. ... But puck don't lie.

The overturned penalty shot didn't matter in the end though, because the Blackhawks came away with the victory and Wingels ended up getting his first goal after all on an empty netter that iced the game.

It was Wingels' first goal as a member of his hometown team, and it was well deserved for a guy who was part of the fourth line that turned in arguably their best performance of the season.
 
5. Lance Bouma rewarded with game-winning goal.

Speaking of which, it was fitting that Bouma scored the game winner with 4:24 left in the third period because that trio of Bouma, Wingels and John Hayden was around the net for the majority of the night.

They combined for two goals and two assists, had eight attempts shot attempts (five on goal), eight of the team's 16 hits and four blocked shots.