Olesz ready to do whatever it takes for Blackhawks


Olesz ready to do whatever it takes for Blackhawks

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011Posted: 6:45 p.m.

By Tracey Myers Blackhawks InsiderFollow @TraMyersCSN
Rostislav Olesz is just looking for his opportunity.

The new Chicago Blackhawks forward is fully healthy after having right knee surgery six months ago. Hes not sure what line hell be on, whether or not hell be a net presence guy or what role hell have on special teams. It doesnt matter.

Anything. Ill do anything the team needs me to do, he said. Whatever it takes.

The word that comes up with Olesz a lot is potential. Hes had his injuries, including that knee and a sports hernia in early 2009. Hes had two 14-goal seasons, including 2009-10 when he played in 78 games.

But hes been skating for a while now, passed his physical on Friday and said hes way past the struggles he had immediately after surgery.

It was really tough because my right leg was not healthy, not 100 percent with the strength, Olesz said. But I feel comfortable on the ice now. Ive got the new brace and theres no limitation at all.

So now, the 6-foot-1, 214-pound Olesz has to tap into that potential. Joel Quenneville said he watched Olesz on Saturday and didnt mind him. It should also help Olesz to have fellow Czech and former Florida Panthers teammate Michael Frolik here with him.

He has familiarity from the Florida days here and hopefully that can help his transition quickly, Quenneville said. This guy can play. Hopefully he can elevate his game where hell be a big part of our team.

Olesz has talked plenty with Frolik, who came here last February and completed his transition with a strong postseason. Frolik said Olesz could be advantageous with his strength.

Hes a big body. Hes very strong and hes hard to get off the puck in the corners, Frolik said. The injuries have stopped him (in the past). So far hes been good and he can play 100 percent again.

Defenseman Steve Montador, who also played with Olesz in Florida, echoed that sentiment.

He has a lot of skill mixed with a very strong body, Montador said. He can control the puck, work the puck along the walls. He may not be the biggest height-wise but hes a thick guy. You put all that together and if hes comfortable here, can get it going, hell have a lot to offer.

Oleszs time is now. General manager Stan Bowman said Friday it was just a matter of figuring out where Olesz fits into the lineup. If he can find his niche, the potential could turn into consistent performance.

Yes, its coming. My best hockeys coming, Olesz said with a smile. Everything will be new for me and Im really looking forward to it.

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

Alex DeBrincat records third career hat trick, but Blackhawks lose to Blues in overtime

Alex DeBrincat records third career hat trick, but Blackhawks lose to Blues in overtime

For Alex DeBrincat, it was probably nice to hear Chelsea Dagger again.

But how about three times?

The 20-year-old rookie snapped out of a 13-game scoring drought in a big way on Sunday night, recording his third hat trick of the season. DeBrincat did all he could to help give the Blackhawks two points, but they only came away with one in a 5-4 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues.

DeBrincat is now the first rookie in franchise history with three hat tricks in the same season, passing Steve Larmer. His last two hat tricks came against the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 27, 2017 and Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 25.

"It's pretty cool," DeBrincat said of his third hat trick, "but I wouldn't be able to do that without the guys we have in this locker room and the linemates I've had. Most credit to them."

Entering Sunday, his last goal was on Feb. 17 against the Washington Capitals.

"Obviously it's frustrating when you go through a slump that like that but what I've learned is to stay positive and there's other things you can help your team win with," DeBrincat said. "Just kind of focus on those things."

He netted goals No. 23, 24 and 25 on the season, tying Patrick Kane for the team lead. He is also tied for second among goals scored by a rookie this season.

DeBrincat opened the scoring with nice wrist shot on the power play to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead midway through the first. With less than a minute to go in the period, he tapped one home in front of the net to make it 2-0.

In the third period with the game tied at 3-3, DeBrincat put his team in front 4-3 with 3:13 left in regulation. 

“We were talking about [DeBrincat] today, it had been a while since he had scored," coach Joel Quenneville said. "But whether he scores or not, he does a lot of good things in the game, and he’s very aware of his positioning, and doing the right things, finding pucks, getting in shooting lanes, or denying passing lanes. So he’s effective in a lot of ways, but nice to see him score a nice power-play goal today.”

But Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo even things up again after a shot from the point found its way past J-F Berube with 1:22 left. Patrik Berglund would net the game-winner in overtime to hand the Blackhawks a loss.

"I feel like we’ve played well and we just came up a little bit short," DeBrincat said. "I feel like that’s been the theme of this whole season.”

The pros and cons of reuniting Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on Blackhawks top line


The pros and cons of reuniting Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on Blackhawks top line

Jonathan Toews' offense usually comes in spurts. We're seeing it again right now.

But it's no coincidence his numbers have spiked since Patrick Kane joined him on the top line.

After recording another two points in Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, the Blackhawks captain has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past eight games; he had 11 points in his previous 23 games total.

Toews also reached the 20-goal mark for the 11th straight season, joining Kane and Alex Ovechkin as the only three active players to accomplish that feat to open their NHL careers.

Kane has seen his offensive production pick up, too. He has 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in his past 13 games after going five straight without one, which was his longest point drought of the season.

When the two of them are on the ice together at even strength, they control 57.9 percent of the shot attempts. It hasn't quite translated on the scoresheet (14 goals for and 17 goals against) maybe the way it should, but they are certainly spending far more time in the offensive zone than the defensive end and are generating a high volume of shots.

So yes, reuniting the dynamic duo has worked stats-wise.

But it comes at a cost:

— Vinnie Hinostroza and Nick Schmaltz haven't scored in six straight contests.

— Alex DeBrincat's season-long goal drought is up to 13 games.

— Artem Anisimov's last even-strength goal came nine games ago.

When you put Kane and Toews together, you risk losing some balance across the lineup and that's why Joel Quenneville has always been reluctant to go to that nuclear option. He prefers when opposing teams are forced to play 'Pick Your Poison.'

Ideally, you'd like to spread out the scoring, but one thing is for certain: The Blackhawks are better when Kane and Toews are each producing offensively, whether they're apart or together. 

When the wins start to dry up though — and they have — that's normally when it's time to try something different.

Perhaps more importantly, the last thing you want are those scoring droughts mentioned above to stretch even further and get inside the younger skaters' heads, then carrying it with them into the offseason.