Blackhawks

Timeout turns game in favor of Kane, Hawks

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Timeout turns game in favor of Kane, Hawks

Maybe it was missing those first two regular-season games. Or maybe it's because that's just his game all the time.

Whatever the reason, Daniel Carcillo came out flying -- and hitting. And with Carcillo doing his part, linemates Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa were freed up to do theirs.

Kane scored a goal and two assists and Hossa had a goal and an assist in his 900th career game as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 at the United Center on Thursday night. Carcillo, who played in his first game with the Blackhawks after serving a suspension the first two, took his pent-up energy out on the Jets early. He was all over the ice, throwing his body at whoever he could.

For Carcillo, it's all part of the job. At least part of his job.

"That's my game: playing the body, getting fans into it early and getting the team into it early," said Carcillo, who also walked away from a potential scrap with Winnipeg defenseman Mark Stuart. "I usually wouldn't walk away from that. But after a minute, 20 (seconds) on the ice I'm not going to engage on the fight."

Coach Joel Quenneville liked the energy and offense that line generated.

"Danny's first shift in a Blackhawk uniform was very noticeable. He started that line in a positive way," he said. "I thought they had several high-quality shifts and the production to back it up. Everyone on that line had outstanding games."

The Blackhawks weren't looking too stellar early, though. Jim Slater scored two quick deflected goals on backup goaltender Ray Emery, putting the Blackhawks down 2-0 less than eight minutes into the game. But after one much-needed time out following Slater's second, the Blackhawks went on a four-goal run sparked by Andrew Brunette's power-play goal -- his second of this young season.

Dave Bolland also scored and goaltender Emery got his first victory as a Blackhawk.

But the night belonged to Kane, Hossa and Carcillo, who also garnered his first Blackhawks assist. The line was the right mix of venom and velocity; Carcillo opened the space Quenneville wanted him to and it led to success.

"Danny did a great job creating lots of room for us. Me and Patrick just tried to get open," Hossa said.

For a first-time run, the Carcillo-Kane-Hossa line was a success. Carcillo provided the jump. Kane and Hossa provided the rest.

"Its good, especially when you add a guy like Carcillo who likes to get pucks back to us and bang his body around and we can move it around the offensive zone," Kane said. "You see his antics before and after the whistle, which is a good thing when youre playing with him, but he draws a lot of attention and opens up some space for us."

Emery's debut

Ray Emery got the victory in his regular-season Blackhawks debut, stopping 27 of 30 shots. Emery had faced all kinds of odd and deflected goals in preseason, and faced two more to start the game on Thursday. But Emery, who was out with the flu on Wednesday, got stronger as the game continued.

"He was rock solid in the third and it was a great test to see how he responded to some dangerous opportunities," Quenneville said.

Emery stopped all 11 shots he faced in the third period, his best thus far.

"I was actually getting a little tired (in the third) after that (flu) bug yesterday," Emery said with a laugh. "I just tried to stay in the middle of the net and make plays."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Seth Gruen (Big Ten Unfiltered) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) join Kap on the panel. 

The Blackhawks drop their 8th straight. So should their “One Goal” be to tank?

Plus, Jon Lester isn’t a fan of the new pace of play proposals. Is he right?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here:

With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

After losing their eighth straight game and falling 12 points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks' playoff chances have dipped to a season-low 0.2 percent. It would take a miracle for them to extend their postseason streak to 10 at this point, where getting just one win seems like a monumental task.

The Blackhawks were probably never really going to be buyers before the Feb. 26 trade deadline even if they were still in the hunt, but it's hard to imagine they had plans to be sellers. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has reiterated over and over again that he's confident in this group, one that's getting younger and faster.

But now they've reached a territory where they have to consider selling off spare parts simply to coup some draft picks or prospects that they could perhaps retain or use as sweeteners in the offseason.

So which players could the Blackhawks realistically sell?

Let's start with the two players getting rewarded with top-six ice time as of late: Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels.

These are two players that play with high energy and go to the greasy areas, something that's important in the playoffs when scoring goals becomes more difficult. They can clean up rebounds. Wingels, particularly, likely has more value and it's showing given his recent success on the power play as a net-front presence guy. He also isn't a stranger to the playoffs with 54 games under his belt compared to Bouma's five.

Both of them are pending unrestricted free agents and are making $1 million or fewer, which certainly works in the Blackhawks' favor considering they won't cost much and their cap hits are easy to fit in on any interested team.

Maybe a team would like to take a flyer on Tomas Jurco, who's a restricted free agent at the end of the season, but that would be a move somebody makes as more of a longer term project than strengthening your depth for a playoff run this spring.

On the back end, Michal Kempny and Jan Rutta could be in play for a contender looking to ensure some depth as a sixth or seventh defenseman. Again, each of them are making less than $1 million so it's a low-risk situation for clubs whose Plan A or B fall through and may be interested in at least getting something.

While they don't have much NHL experience, they're both 27 years old and have played the sport long enough to know what they can bring to the table.

Once Feb. 26 passes and potential roster spots open up, expect the Blackhawks to start calling up the kids. 

Matthew Highmore deserves a look after leading the Rockford IceHogs with 20 goals and 32 points. John Hayden has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 15 games since joining Rockford, and belongs in the NHL. Even Anthony Louis, who's taken a step forward, should get a taste of the action as he continues his development.

Carl Dahlstrom is getting his shot now. Erik Gustafsson is in that process as well. Gustav Forsling had another extended look during the first half of the season before the team decided it would be wise to continue his development in Rockford, where he can play top-pairing minutes.

All of this would give the Blackhawks a better indicator of how they can approach the upcoming offseason, and which young guys they can possibly add into the mix for 2018-19. But first, we have to see how the end of February plays out before making those calls.