Tomas Fleischmann quickly adjusts to Blackhawks


Tomas Fleischmann quickly adjusts to Blackhawks

When a player joins a new team it usually takes a little time to adjust. There are new teammates and usually new systems. You don’t fall into place easily.

Tomas Fleischmann did, however. The forward, who the Blackhawks got from the Montreal Canadiens before the trade deadline, looked like he needed no adjustment time whatsoever. Part of the Blackhawks’ third line with Andrew Desjardins and Teuvo Teravainen, Fleischmann was noticeable right away and scored his first goal with the Blackhawks against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.

Fleischmann said the Blackhawks made his transition easy.

“Actually I could say I felt pretty comfortable from the beginning because I felt guys on the team and every trainer and everyone was welcoming me,” he said following Saturday’s practice. “I felt, right away, part of the family. So that makes things easier.”

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Coach Joel Quenneville said Fleischmann adjusted immediately to his new linemates.

“I thought quickly he fit in with Teuvo on that line. He seems very useful in a lot of ways: positionally aware, he’s strong on the puck, sees plays, makes plays and good patience with it,” Quenneville said. “We used him on the penalty killing right off the bat. Looks good, so we have another penalty killer we can use, so he’s versatile in a lot of ways, can play all three forwards as well. We’re very happy with his contribution.”

That third line has looked much improved since Teravainen was moved to center. For Fleischmann, Teravainen’s good hockey sense was noticeable when he first teamed with the young Finn.

“He’s really good and a smart center man who can shoot and move the puck pretty well,” Fleischmann said. “So it’s easier for a winger, like myself, to play with him.”

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Fleischmann has made a few moves already in his career — this is the sixth NHL team with which he’s played. Perhaps that makes transitions easier when you’ve been through them previously. Whatever the reason Fleischmann has made an immediate impact with the Blackhawks.

“He’s one of those players who plays tenacious. He’s really good with the puck he has that sense with the puck: he makes really good plays but he’s also simple and smart,” Desjardins said. “He’s just an all-around player, really responsible defensively as well, which is good.”


- Marian Hossa skated after the Blackhawks ended practice. Quenneville said Hossa is out for Sunday but could play Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues.

- Marcus Kruger (wrist) also skated after practice. Regarding when Kruger could return, Quenneville said, “we expect him to be playing some games” before the end of the regular season.

- Corey Crawford will start vs. the Detroit Red Wings.

- Brandon Mashinter did not practice on Saturday due to illness.

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?