Blackhawks

Blackhawks breakdown: Brendan Morrison

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Blackhawks breakdown: Brendan Morrison

CSNChicago.com Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers and PGL host Chris Boden will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Hawks roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.
After being acquired in a trade with the Calgary Flames on Jan. 27, Brendan Morrison was uses sparingly by Joel Quenneville. He only played in 11 games for the Blackhawks, averaging 12 minutes and 22 seconds of ice time and did not record a point in the regular season, while finishing minus-4. Morrison played in three games of the firs-round series vs. Phoenix, playing just over 12 minutes per game and scoring a goal in Game 4.

Boden's take: Stan Bowman took a flyer on beating the trade deadline by a month and acquiring the 36-year-old from Calgary with the hope he could compete for second-line center. It backfired, but to this point, the price wasn't steep (Rockford defenseman Brian Connelly). Morrison had been slow to recover from a knee injury he suffered against the Hawks almost a year earlier, and Quenneville intimated he wasn't in the kind of physical shape as the rest of his players. He was a healthy scratch in 21 of 32 games after his acquisition, not registering a point until he scored a goal when given a chance in Game 4 against the Coyotes -- replacing Jamal Mayers in the lineup.

Myers' take: When the Blackhawks traded for the veteran forward a month before the trade deadline, they didnt give up much for him. Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they didnt get much out of their him, either. Morrison suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Blackhawks in 2010-11, and it looked like he still had off-and-on issues with that knee. Morrison struggled to break into the lineup, especially once the Blackhawks started winning late in the regular season. While he got in a few playoff games - and scored a goal - it was an otherwise forgettable few months here.

2012-13 Expectations

Chris: The final three games vs. Phoenix were his best games as a Hawk. Still, unless no one else is giving him a shot and the Hawks just want to give him a tryout in camp, the UFA's career in Chicago would seem to be over.

Tracey: Anythings possible but I dont foresee Morrison returning to the Blackhawks next season. The veteran has had a solid career and is a great locker-room presence. But the injuries have piled up - hes hurt, and had surgery on, both knees - and there may not be anything left in his career. At least not with the Blackhawks.

How do you feel about this evaluation? As always, be sure to chime in with your thoughts by commenting below and check out Morrison's only Blackhawks goal by watching the highlights above.

Previously: Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, SteveMontador, Sean O'Donnell, Brent Seabrook, Nick Leddy, Patrick Sharp, Daniel Carcillo, Andrew Brunette, Marcus KrugerUp next: Jonathan Toews

Blackhawks Opening Day roster starting to take shape

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Opening Day roster starting to take shape

The Blackhawks' Opening Day roster is starting to take shape.

With the Rockford IceHogs starting training camp on Sunday, the Blackhawks made a large wave of roster cuts over the weekend and trimmed their roster from 51 players to 33.

Let's take a look at the remaining list:

Forwards (17):
— Artem Anisimov
— Alex DeBrincat
— Victor Ejdsell
— Alexandre Fortin
— John Hayden
— Matthew Highmore
— Luke Johnson
— Dominik Kahun
— David Kampf
— Patrick Kane
— Marcus Kruger
— Chris Kunitz
— Andreas Martinsen
— Brandon Saad
— Nick Schmaltz
— Dylan Sikura
— Jonathan Toews

Defensemen (12):
— Adam Boqvist
— Carl Dahlstrom
— Brandon Davidson
— Gustav Forsling
— Erik Gustafsson
— Henri Jokiharju
— Duncan Keith
— Brandon Manning
— Connor Murphy
— Jan Rutta
— Brent Seabrook
— Joni Tuulola

Goaltenders (4):
— Corey Crawford
— Collin Delia
— Anton Forsberg
— Cam Ward

Of those 33, Forsling and Murphy are expected to start the season on injured reserve. It's unclear whether Crawford will be ready by that point too. That means seven more cuts need to be made for the Blackhawks to reach the 23-man limit.

A few things to note: Joel Quenneville reiterated on Sunday that they will not carry eight defensemen, which eliminates a spot on the back end. He also said the hope is to have 22 players rather than 23 — to avoid having three healthy scratches every night — but that will likely depend on who's most deserving of the vacant spots. If three players are deserving of being on, it wouldn't seem fair to cut one simply because they want to stay at 22 even though it would be beneficial to have whoever is sitting out play meaningful minutes in Rockford.

Up front, five guys appear to be battling for one or two spots: Fortin, Highmore, Johnson, Kampf and Kahun. Each of them have made a solid case to stay.

Kahun was promoted to the top line with DeBrincat and Toews during Sunday's practice, indicating they've liked what they've seen from him and are giving him a stronger look at what he can do in a top-six role.

"He's coming off a real good game the other night in Ottawa," Quenneville said of Kahun. "He can play basically all three positions, I thought he played well at center. But I want to see how handles playing up there and playing some top guys. I think he sees plays, makes plays. We'll see how well he complements them."

It's also worth noting there's a clause in Kahun's contract that allows him to return to Europe if he doesn't make the team out of camp, but even if he didn't, he has been one of the standouts from the young crop and it's unlikely the Blackhawks would keep him around strictly because of that. He's earned his way if he's one of the 23 left standing.

At the same time, Johnson has been equally impressive and could be fighting for the 13th or 14th forward spot if the Blackhawks choose to go that direction.

"He’s really improved each year, how he’s trained, how he’s taking care of himself, his quickness in the game," Quenneville said of Johnson, who said he dropped a lot of weight this summer. "Bigger, stronger, faster. He always had a pretty good head for the game but he’s got some bite to his game as well and has made some nice plays. Some physicality, some tight areas. From the faceoff circle, he’s been really effective."

On the back end, Boqvist, Dahlstrom, Davidson, Jokiharju and Tuulola are essentially vying for two spots. At this point, it's hard not to see Jokiharju making it. But Dahlstrom and Davidson have also each done their part so far on making these decisions difficult on the coaching staff.

There also remains the possibility of Boqvist staying on and playing in a few regular-season games — up to nine before burning the first year of his entry-level deal — before getting sent to the OHL's London Knights. Quenneville said there's a "good chance" he plays in each of the remaining three preseason games at the United Center and will re-evaluate then. Boqvist took several shifts with Keith at practice on Sunday, so don't be surprised to see the two of them together during one of the preseason games to see how Boqvist handles playing against top competition and with high-end players.

It's all up for grabs.

In goal, Quenneville has already been on record saying he doesn't plan on carrying three goaltenders, so a decision will have to be made on whether Delia or Forsberg will back up Ward if Crawford isn't ready to go. Forsberg might have the inside track because of experience along with the fact he'd have to clear waivers if he were to be sent to Rockford, but Delia has been sharp and it showed during Friday's preseason game in Ottawa.

"He’s done a real good job," Quenneville said of Delia. "Last year was a good year for him as far as getting stabilized and being a pro and getting a lot of net, and did a really good job of getting [Rockford] in the playoffs. He’s coming off a special game the other night, and he can do some pretty neat things. But [Forsberg] has had a good camp as well. We’ll see how it all plays out. Those things are going to get answered for us either by performance or time.

"We’re in a winning business. Sometimes it’s who’s more deserving. We know with goalies, time is probably beneficial, but at the same time, if a young kid’s ready to go, we don’t want to get in their way."

All of this could get interesting if Crawford is, indeed, cleared to play by Oct. 4. He has yet to practice with the team after skating on his own with goaltending coach Jimmy Waite for a little more than a week now, but Quenneville said Crawford had a "real good day" on Sunday and didn't rule out the possibility of him joining the team this week.

Kanye West threw out a first pitch and yeah it wasn't that great but who cares

Kanye West threw out a first pitch and yeah it wasn't that great but who cares

The Cubs and White Sox are playing the last of their Crosstown Classic games today, and WAIT IS THAT KANYE: 

Sure enough, Chicago's own Kanye West graced Guaranteed Rate Field on Sunday afternoon and threw out the first pitch. 

We will not be grading this pitch or breaking down the quality of his delivery because it does not matter, it's Kanye. He's apparently back in Chicago for good, so maybe he can throw out every first pitch?