Blackhawks

Ryan Garbutt's game progressing with the Blackhawks

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Ryan Garbutt's game progressing with the Blackhawks

Ryan Garbutt was looking to play like he did in the preseason.

When Garbutt first joined the Blackhawks, who acquired him and Trevor Daley when they sent Patrick Sharp to Dallas, he fell right into their game. Then the Blackhawks’ systems came into play, and Garbutt said he needed some time to adjust.

Judging from his recent games, he has.

Garbutt has played well, be it on the Blackhawks’ third line or the top one, which is where he’s been the last few games. His second assist with the Blackhawks set up line mate Jonathan Toews’ goal against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night. Two lengthy passes to Artemi Panarin led to two Panarin breakaway goal opportunities. Even on the top line Garbutt’s kept the edgy part of his game; he’s is leading the Blackhawks (and is 10th in the NHL) with 38 hits.

For Garbutt, it was just about getting used to the Blackhawks, before and after all systems were in place.

“Preseason was easy to adjust because you didn’t really play any systems,” he said. “Once we started getting down to the season it was definitely more structure and it took me a few games to get used to it.”

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Coach Joel Quenneville said that’s when playing by instinct is important, regardless of a player is new or a veteran.

“The first thing you tell a guy when they're playing their first NHL game is, 'Trust your instincts out there and we'll correct you after.’ And you don't want to slow them down at all, especially guys with quickness and speed [and] that’s always been part of their game, fore-checking and on the fore-check in the offensive zone. They get that little hesitation, should I or shouldn't I go, and then it's too late,” Quenneville said. “But he's the kind of guy that, he likes to go and brings energy. He's a go-go guy and I really liked the way he's played the last few games. He's made some nice plays offensively with the puck, as well.”

Daley, who was also Garbutt’s teammate in Dallas, isn’t surprised the forward has fit in here.

“He played in the East Coast Hockey League four or five years ago but he’s come a long way. So I’m not surprised one bit what he’s capable of,” said Daley of Garbutt, who played for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves and ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators in 2010-11. “He’s a hard worker and not too hard to play with.”

Garbutt’s recorded some hits and assists, has played on the top line and has logged some minutes on the penalty kill. The one thing left to do? Score a goal. He’s come close a couple of times, be it 5-on-5 or short-handed. Considering how he’s progressed with the Blackhawks thus far, it seems like it’s just a matter of time before the goals come, too.

“First and foremost, I just want to take care of the team aspect and make sure we’re winning,” Garbutt said. “But it’ll be nice if I can chip in offensively to help with that.”

BRIEFLY

  • Brent Seabrook did not practice on Tuesday. Quenneville said Seabrook is fine and will play tomorrow vs. the St. Louis Blues.
  • Marian Hossa (lower body) did not practice on Tuesday and has been ruled out of Wednesday’s game.
  • Duncan Keith (right knee) is close to taking the next step in his recovery. “He’s around here. He’s anxious to get going here. But we anticipate him being ready in that [4-6 week] time frame we set forth,” Quenneville said.
  • Michal Rozsival was skating some late sprints with a mini-parachute on his back. Regarding Rozsival, Quenneville said, “the parachute’s extended, so that’s a good sign.” Quenneville already said Rozsival was doubtful for this week but is hopeful the defenseman is closer next week.
  • TSN’s Darren Dreger reported earlier today that Mike Babcock is expected to be named coach of Team Canada on Thursday and Quenneville is expected to be named assistant coach. Quenneville wouldn’t say if he was asked to join the coaching staff but, if he was named assistant coach, “it would be the thrill of a lifetime.”

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

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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?