Kevin Kane

Blackhawks still searching for second-line answers

tannerkeroblackhawksslidenew.jpg
USA TODAY

Blackhawks still searching for second-line answers

Breaking news: when the Blackhawks face the Nashville Predators Saturday night it will be… Game 6 of 82 on the regular-season schedule.

No this is not an exact-some-measure-of-revenge game. That’s a silly notion that makes it sound like an early regular-season game will actually constitute some payback for the sweep the Blackhawks suffered in April. That was then. Right now, the Blackhawks are still trying to figure out the right second-line combination in the wake of Nick Schmaltz’s upper-body injury.

Schmaltz is close but he’ll be out again against the Predators. Tanner Kero, who finished Thursday’s game centering Ryan Hartman and Patrick Kane, will be there to start against Nashville. The three had a decent spark in their few minutes’ together on Thursday and look to have it right away again vs. the Predators.

“Yeah, obviously they’re both playing well, they’re off to great starts,” Kero said. “You just want to help support them, you want to be moving the puck and making sure you’re getting to those areas in front of the net and supporting them all over the ice, try to get them the puck and make plays.”

Nashville certainly was bolstered by its Stanley Cup run last season but that didn’t change the Blackhawks’ perspective of the Predators.

“We’ve always had a ton of respect for Nashville and we’ve always had hard games against them," Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said. "Tight games, close games, fun games to be involved with — obviously our playoff series wasn’t fun at all — but we feel that we know how good they are. But league-wide it was good for our game, the enthusiasm that Nashville had for its Cup run was good for their market. I think everybody thought pretty good things about Nashville to begin with but certainly that validated it.”

27 Days to Kickoff: Glenbard East

glenbardeast0612.png

27 Days to Kickoff: Glenbard East

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Jul. 31, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: Glenbard East

Head coach: John Walters

Assistant coaches: Jeff Cherry, Maurice Mason, Jim Walker, Tiff Hamilton, Dennis Lueck, Matt Lahey, Bruce Fisher , Bob Stone, Kevin Kane, Joe Cristina, Tony Bartolatta

How they fared in 2016: 2-7 (2-3 Upstate 8 Valley Conference), missed the 2016 IHSA state playoff field.

[MORE: 28 Days to Kickoff - Lake Park]

2017 regular season schedule:

Aug. 25 @ Lake Forest

Sept. 1 vs. St. Charles East

Sept. 8 vs. South Elgin

Sept. 15 @ West Aurora

Sept. 22 @ St. Charles North

Sept. 29 vs. East Aurora

Oct. 6 vs. Jacobs

Oct. 13 @ West Chicago

Oct. 20 vs. Bartlett

Biggest storyline: Can Glenbard East survive their first five games of the regular season?

Names to watch this season: junior QB Bret Bushka, senior DE Pat Lyons

Biggest holes to fill: The Rams will need to reload this summer on both the offensive and defensive line.

EDGY's early take: Glenbard East will face a very tough early schedule including games against four state playoffs team from a season ago. The Rams return nearly its entire offensive skills group and defensive back seven from last season, which is a big plus. If Glenbard East can pull off a win or two early, they have a chance of finishing strong towards the second half of the regular season.