Blackhawks

Kane likely to return vs. Blues, Morin injured

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Kane likely to return vs. Blues, Morin injured

Monday, Dec. 27, 2010
1:31 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Patrick Kane has had to practice patience while healing his left ankle injury. Now it looks like hes ready to go again.

Kane is likely to start when the Chicago Blackhawks play the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night, coach Joel Quenneville said on Monday. Kane, who is currently on injured reserve (retroactive to when he was hurt on Dec. 5), said hell give the ankle one more test Tuesday morning before deciding.

Im really happy with the last couple of days. Once Im in a game itll feel a little bit different but (Monday) it was good, said Kane, who was on a line with Troy Brouwer and Jonathan Toews on Monday. Weve played together a lot over the past couple of years, so you know where each other is going to be. Right now dont care who I play with. Itll just be nice to get back into the lineup. Hopefully itll be tomorrow.

Marian Hossa said he felt good Monday morning after playing for the first time in 10 games on Sunday.

Nothing snuck up on me so thats a good sign, he said. I feel pretty good this morning.

Marty Turco will get his second consecutive start on Tuesday after stopping 26 of 27 in the Blackhawks 4-1 victory over Columbus on Sunday. Corey Crawford was back at practice on Monday but said hes still not 100 percent recovered from the flu. Still, hes available for backup duties Tuesday in St. Louis. The Blackhawks sent Hannu Toivonen back to Rockford on Monday morning.

Quenneville said that outing could help bolster Turcos confidence again.

It was a big win for him and us as well, he said. Its been a while since he got into the net and he responded to a great opportunity and took advantage of it. He looked sharp, looked quick. It was good for everyone. Its a great situation to be in when both guys are playing well and we have a tough decision to decide who plays.

Stalberg good
Viktor Stalberg played nearly 12 minutes in his first game back since sustaining a concussion against Colorado on Dec. 15. He finished plus-1 with two shots on goal and a blocked shot.

I thought he played well, Quenneville said. He did a lot of good things and he protected the puck better.

Morin injured

Quenneville said he didnt know the status of BlackhawksRockford wing Jeremy Morin, who TSN.ca reported suffered a shoulder injury in Team USAs victory over Finland on Sunday night. Quenneville did not have any update on Morin 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.”