Blackhawks

Kane doubtful for Friday; Hawks sticking together

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Kane doubtful for Friday; Hawks sticking together

Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010
1:55 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks arent going through the best of times right now.

Theyre physically wounded Fernando Pisani will play Friday night but Viktor Stalberg and Marian Hossa are out and Patrick Kane is doubtful. The home record isnt good. The bounces arent going their way. The frustration is there.

Oh, and more good news: the Western Division-best Detroit Red Wings come to town on Friday night.

After a strong showing on their long road trip and a good start to December at home, the Blackhawks have lost three in a row and are watching others pass them by in the standings.

But at a time when the Blackhawks could be sulking, theyre pulling themselves together. As far as the remaining healthy Blackhawks are concerned, they have no choice.

You could say that (were frustrated), but you have to use it in the right way, Jonathan Toews said. You direct that anger and frustration toward each other thats not going to do anything. You have to work as hard as you can. Thats what weve got to do.

So the Blackhawks will cobble together their forward lines again, get back out there again and try to grab points again.

We beat the same drum a lot, that we need to be harder to play against, but thats something we re-emphasized today. Thats something we need to be, coach Joel Quenneville said. We need more urgency in our overall game, no matter whos playing with whom. You want to be part of the solution and look at it in a positive and objective way. We dont want to revisit the past; we need to move forward and find ways to do it the right way.

The Blackhawks were 10th in the West as of Thursday afternoon. They certainly arent conceding a thing yet; theres too much hockey to be played. Still, they cant let the points keep slipping away; theyre banding together through this tough time in the hopes that it stops.

We just do the right things out there and the results will be good, Jack Skille said. Sometimes even though you do the right things it may not turn out well, but we cant get frustrated at that. We have to play smart and the bounces will go our way.

Injury updates

Kane started practice with the Blackhawks on Thursday but didnt finish. Kane went off for a bit, came back briefly, then left for good a few minutes into practice. Quenneville said hes doubtful for tomorrow.

Its part of the process, Quenneville said. He might need a day off. He was out there for two days in a row, today he couldve aggravated it. But its not to the extent that its a step in the wrong direction.

Hossa did not skate again Thursday but Quenneville expected him to be skating on Friday morning. Stalberg also did not practice and wont play Friday, but Quenneville said he looked OK.

Briefly

Corey Crawford will start against the Red Wings.

Marty Turco said he appreciated Quenneville talking with him during his recent rough stretch. Its not surprising within this organization and with Joels repertoire to see where guys are at and lend a hand where needed. Its conducive to a successful environment and its appreciated on my end that were all in it together.

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

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Niklas Hjalmarsson, Coyotes

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Niklas Hjalmarsson, Coyotes

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Niklas Hjalmarsson's new home.

Brace yourselves, Chicago. It's going to be a weird site seeing Hjalmarsson in a different sweater other than the Blackhawks, where he spent his first 10 NHL seasons and won three Stanley Cups.

Now he serves as an alternate captain and blue-line anchor for the Coyotes, who are the only team still seeking its first win of the season. You know they'll be hungry to snap that skid, especially when there's extra motivation for a player on their team facing a bunch of old friends.

2. Connor Murphy returns to Arizona, too.

The man Hjalmarsson was traded for will also be returning to a place he called home for four years. Murphy's role with the Coyotes increased every year before he was dealt to the Blackhawks as part of a shake-up for both teams, so you know he's going to play with something to prove.

Murphy is a physical defenseman, and has laid several notable big hits this season. His former teammates surely know it, and may want to keep their heads up.

3. Patrick Kane 2.0?

Ever since he was drafted with the No. 7 overall pick in 2016, Clayton Keller has drawn comparisons to Kane. They're both undersized, offensive playmakers, possess supreme stick-handling abilities and are American-born players.

Keller got a brief taste of NHL action last year, but he's secured a full-time spot with the Coyotes this season and has been arguably their best player so far.

The 19-year-old forward paces all rookies with five goals and ranks second with seven points, and leads the Coyotes in both categories. Expect to see his name as a finalist for the Calder Trophy for the league's top rookie at the end of the season.

Anton Forsberg is giving the Blackhawks exactly what they need

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USA TODAY

Anton Forsberg is giving the Blackhawks exactly what they need

Anton Forsberg had just finished an extended morning skate Wednesday morning in St. Louis. The backup goaltender had played in one regular-season game for the Blackhawks to that point, so getting in extra work to stay sharp was helpful.

“I try to keep my focus in practice and work extra every day, get a few extra shots in practice with the extra guys who are out there, work with Jimmy and try to keep my game shape,” Forsberg said, referring to Blackhawks goaltending coach Jimmy Waite.

Whatever Forsberg’s working on in practice and skates seems to be working, because in two games with the Blackhawks he’s looked sharp. Forsberg probably deserved a victory on Thursday night when he stopped 40 shots in the Blackhawks’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers. It’s the backup life to wait and see when that next start will come, but Forsberg has been ready.

“For sure I felt more comfortable today, more used to the speed,” he said following Thursday’s game. “I felt I read the game better, felt I had more time moving around. It’s tough, again, to lose in overtime. Obviously I wanted to win and it’s frustrating.”

Frustrating for sure, but Forsberg is giving the Blackhawks exactly what they want and need: a dependable backup that gives them a chance to win. The two goals Forsberg gave up on Thursday weren’t softies, either — Patrick Maroon’s goal off a ridiculous Connor McDavid pass and Mark Letestu’s over game-winner that deflected off Brent Seabrook’s stick.

“He kept us in a tight game like he did in Toronto, got us to overtime. I kind of feel bad we didn’t get him a win in either of those,” Ryan Hartman said. “He played well both of those games. It’s nice to have a guy on the back end like that.”

Forsberg has blended in well with the Blackhawks. It helps that he already knew two of them, Brandon Saad and Artem Anisimov, his former teammates in Columbus. He and Corey Crawford already have a good rapport. Same goes for he and Waite, and Forsberg has soaked up any information they’ve given him.

“I feel like both him and Corey teach me a lot. We talk about different situations, especially all the reads,” Forsberg said. “I get to know how (Crawford) thinks the game. He’s been around a long time and has been doing well, so it’s interesting every day to hear what he has to say. Even Jimmy’s been around same thing there, discussing my game, what we want to improve, what we want to do different, what to keep the same and go from there.”

The extra work in practices and skates appears to be working as Forsberg has done a lot right in just his first two games, which were 10 days apart. The Blackhawks have had a good run of backup goaltenders; two games is a small sample size but Forsberg could be the latest reliable backup.