Marko Dano's approach benefits him with Blackhawks


Marko Dano's approach benefits him with Blackhawks

Marko Dano wasn’t happy when he got the news: he was headed to the minors. He was frustrated he wasn’t getting his chance with the big club. He was, as he put it, “surprised and pissed off.”

But we’re not talking about Dano getting sent to the Rockford IceHogs at the start of this season. We’re talking about last season when, as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, he was sent to minor-league affiliate Springfield Falcons. Despite his youth and the likely need to get some minor-league work in, Dano didn’t take it well at the start.

But he eventually realized time in the minors last season was in his best interest; and when he started in Rockford this season, he knew it was to benefit his game, not hinder it.

Dano, who had the right attitude and a strong game with the IceHogs, was rewarded for both on Monday when the Blackhawks recalled him. He scored his first goal with the Blackhawks on Wednesday night, when he played with fellow Rockford linemates Tanner Kero and Ryan Hartman. Dano said no massive expectations were placed on him when he was recalled. He just has to do what worked for him in Rockford.

[MORE BLACKHAWKS: Five Things - Again, Blackhawks give up too many goals in loss]

“Just be strong on the puck, move my feet and those chances will come if I do the hard work. That’s the key: if you’re going hard to the net those rebounds are going to be there. I have to be in the right spot at the right moment,” Dano said. “Just keep working hard and maybe at some point they’ll come toward me.”

When Dano was reassigned to Rockford on Oct. 2, he understood the move. Dano remembered his not-so-accepting attitude when Columbus did the same thing last season – he said he “didn’t get it right away,” and it showed in his game. Then he changed his attitude; his game soon followed.

“I realized I’ve got to be positive, start doing good on the ice, make simple plays and get better in my game. And that helped me,” Dano said. “When I got better they saw that and they couldn’t keep me down in the minors. I got called up and stayed [with Columbus] for the rest of the season.”

Dano had a goal and six assists in nine games with Rockford. He also got to play in just about every situation.

[SHOP BLACKHAWKS: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

“I got a lot of minutes on the ice in Rockford,” Dano said. “I played power play, PK, so I got more comfortable. It was a good move from the staff.”

Coach Joel Quenneville said Dano’s positive approach isn’t always an easy one to take, but it does help a player’s game if he does.

“It's probably not a pleasant conversation for them, but it's an important point that they accept that. And the quicker that they accept it,it's going get them back here sooner,” Quenneville said. “He had a great start to the season down there and got himself back here as quick as possible. And you know, I think he can help us.”

There’s no guarantee Dano stays up the rest of the season. For young players, there’s always a schance of returning to the minors. But Dano’s not worried about that; he’ll bring the right attitude and game no matter where he is.

“I’ll just go out there, play my game and just have fun,” Dano said. “I’m not thinking about if I make a mistake I could possibly be sent down. I’m just trying to do my best here and we’ll see how it goes.”

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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?