Blackhawks

Blackhawks' Campbell could return vs. Panthers

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Blackhawks' Campbell could return vs. Panthers

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Posted: 3:53 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Defenseman Brian Campbell was feeling the usual rust and other not-quite-there feelings when he came out after practicing on Tuesday.

I havent skated too much so Im a little winded. The timings a little off, but overall I felt pretty good, said Campbell, who could play Wednesday after dealing with a foot injury sustained March 8 against Florida.

Im not going to say 100 percent (about Wednesday). If I can play Ill play, he said. Ill just see how it is in the morning and go from there.

READ: Blackhawks hopeful Sharp can make quick return

Campbells return was a welcome sign for the Blackhawks, who were already without Dave Bolland (concussion) and now have lost Patrick Sharp (left knee). Campbell said he was tripped up in the Florida game when he was injured. He started in the Blackhawks shootout loss to the Washington Capitals on March 13, but could only play half the game.

I thought it was going to be pretty good but just couldnt go with how I felt, he said. I left my teammates in a tough spot and I was disappointed that way. I had to give it some time to rest and get back.

Its lingering, its going to be around, Campbell said of his injury. I just have to deal with it.

Defensive mindset

With the Blackhawks down a couple of forwards, they will have to get back to the hard-hat mentality that got them through their December games without Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane.

And staying strong defensively is going to be key.

At this time of the year, going into the playoffs, thats the type of hockey necessary for winning teams, Quenneville said. When we think we want to outscore teams is when we get ourselves in a lot of trouble. We got carried away being up three goals and loosened our defensive game a bit. We have to tighten that up.

CSN, Blackhawks team up with 'Save of a Lifetime'

Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook will be paired again. The duo, who were separated for a while, were back together as the Phoenix game progressed on Sunday.

Its going to be a tough matchup game in and out and they thrive on that. Thats what made them so successful as a partnership and theyre looking forward to the challenge, Quenneville said.

No change in Bolland

Dave Bollands status has not changed as the center has shown just some progress from the concussion he sustained in Tampa on March 9. Quenneville said he talked with Bolland on Tuesday about it.

Its probably frustrating and disappointing that he cant really say exactly when hes going to get on the ice or give us an idea of when to expect him back, Quenneville said. We see some signs of encouragement in his case, but right now we just wait and see.

Hendry talks

Jordan Hendry had successful surgery last week to repair to the torn ACL he suffered against the Phoenix Coyotes on Feb. 27. Hendry said he knew immediately that something was wrong that night.

I hurt my knee in college once, and I knew when (Phoenix captain Shane) Doan hit me I knew what it was, he said. I think I knew right before I hit the ice that I was hurt. Think I knew it wasnt good. I just kind of lay on the ice and felt the pain.

Hendry cant do much with the knee right now, until the swelling goes down and mobility returns. Hendry is an unrestricted free agent this summer, but said hes not looking that far ahead.

Im focused on now, he said. Im just get ready for the next step. The last time I had this I bounced back and had a great season, so Im not worried about that.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

What Olli Maatta and Calvin de Haan trades mean for future of Blackhawks defense

What Olli Maatta and Calvin de Haan trades mean for future of Blackhawks defense

After finishing 30th in goals against average (3.55) and 31st in penalty kill percentage (72.7) this past season, the Blackhawks are clearly making it a priority to patch up their defense this summer. And that's been evident with the acquisitions of defensive-minded defensemen Calvin de Haan and Olli Maatta.

But it raises some interesting questions about the future of the Blackhawks blue line.

With the de Haan and Maatta additions, the Blackhawks now have five defensemen under contract through at least the 2021-22 season: Brent Seabrook ($6.875 million cap hit), Duncan Keith ($5.538 million), de Haan ($4.55 million), Maatta ($4.083 million) and Connor Murphy ($3.85 million). That's $24.8 million tied up to five guys.

The money isn't the primary concern, though. It's the limited amount of roster spots available. The Blackhawks don't have to immediately figure out how it's going to work a year from now and beyond, but it makes you wonder how the cards may eventually be shuffled.

Let's run through the situations:

— Erik Gustafsson had a breakout season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He's obviously not part of the five current players under contract after next season, putting the Blackhawks in a spot where they have to consider trading him or be comfortable with letting him walk for nothing if he isn't re-signed. (They could always trade his negotiating rights after next season and pull off a sign-and-trade as well, if it came to that).

And even if Gustafsson is re-signed, the Blackhawks would then have six players locked up for the 2020-21 season and on, and that's enough to submit a lineup.

— Henri Jokiharju, who was drafted No. 29 overall in 2017, is probably ready to take the next step and become an everyday player. Where does he fit into the long-term plans?

— Adam Boqvist, who was taken No. 8 overall in 2018, likely needs one more year in the OHL before making the jump to the NHL, which would put him on a timeline to become part of the Blackhawks next season. Does he occupy that sixth spot if another one isn't opened by then?

— Nicolas Beaudin, who was drafted No. 27 overall in 2018, is expected to start the upcoming season in Rockford after four years in the QMJHL but might be NHL-ready by the 2020-21 campaign.

— And then there's Ian Mitchell, who's returning to Denver for his junior season and will serve as the team's captain. He's said all along that he intends to sign with the Blackhawks once he's finished with college, but does the organization value him enough to create a spot for him when he's ready?

To make things a little more complicated, the Seattle expansion draft is set to occur in 2021 and the same rules will apply as Vegas in 2017.

The Blackhawks have the option to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters and one goaltender. All players with no-movement clauses at the time of the expansion draft (and who decline to waive them) must be protected; Keith and Seabrook have a NMC. And all first- and second-year pros are exempt; Jokiharju would have to be protected.

As of this moment, the Blackhawks are likely to use the eight-skater option, but they will also have valuable forwards to protect. They're going to lose a good player one way or another, and it's probably going to come from the defensive group. All of this comes into play when weighing roster decisions for next season and beyond.

As stated above, the Blackhawks do not have to make an immediate decision on the future of their blue line corps. They can play out the 2019-20 season with the group as currently constructed. But the decisions the Blackhawks have to face next season could impact how Stan Bowman operates the rest of this summer and throughout the upcoming campaign.

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WATCH: Blackhawks draft pick Kirby Dach throws out the first pitch at Wrigley in his first trip to Chicago

WATCH: Blackhawks draft pick Kirby Dach throws out the first pitch at Wrigley in his first trip to Chicago

Kirby Dach was taken by the Blackhawks with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft on Friday.

On Monday, the Blackhawks introduced him to the city of Chicago. Dach took his first trip to Chicago for his introductory press conference.

Later in the day, the Canadian threw out the first pitch at the Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Dach didn't throw a strike, but it wasn't a blooper reel pitch either.

Watch Dach's first pitch in the video above.

 

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