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Blackhawks can't hold off Ducks, fall to eighth

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Blackhawks can't hold off Ducks, fall to eighth

Saturday, March 26, 2011
Posted 10:04 p.m. Updated 10:56 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

During their five-game home winning streak, the Chicago Blackhawks were holding onto third period leads instead of squandering them.

But on Saturday night, a bad late-game habit once again cost them.

Hossa: This one definitely hurts

Corey Perry scored twice in the third period, including the game-winner with 4:30 remaining in regulation, as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Blackhawks 2-1 at the United Center.

The loss flipped the Ducks and Blackhawks in the standings, with Anaheim moving up to seventh and the Hawks falling back to eighth. It was a big game, and the Blackhawks were stinging after not even coming away with a point.

The Blackhawks had kept the third-period push on during their latest run at home. They were looking for another goal, keeping their opponents on their heels. But on Saturday, that wasnt there. The Ducks, meanwhile, took advantage down the stretch.

That was a tough ending and obviously it was a brutal loss, coach Joel Quenneville said. Maybe a little higher push to get the second goal wouldve put us in a good spot. We were happy in that contain mode. We shouldve been pushing.

The Blackhawks went up 1-0 thanks to Marian Hossas goal about 13 minutes into the first period. But after some early solid offerings on Ducks goaltender Ray Emery, the Blackhawks good scoring opportunities lessened.

Sometimes we tried to look for a better play instead of looking for the rebound and ugly goals, Hossa said. We tried to be a little too cute and against a defensive team like this sometimes thats not going to work.

Corey Crawford staved off the Ducks chances through two-plus periods before Anaheims top line struck. A Blackhawks miscue led to a 3-on-2 for Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan and Perry, with Perry tying it barely a minute into the third period.

(The top three) dont need much opportunity to score, and we gave them a couple chances, and I think maybe I could have done a better job there on the first one, Duncan Keith said. Its tough, they make quick plays on their backhands, and theyre tough to read.

Perry added his NHL-leading 44th of the season with less than five minutes remaining.

Getting it to (overtime) was probably on both teams minds at the time. They got the break, Quenneville said. All three guys (Ducks top line) have great vision, puck possession and finishing ability. We have to know when theyre on the ice we have to be smart.

Now the Blackhawks quest for a playoff spot gets tougher. They leave Sunday for a three-game road trip, which includes games at Detroit and Boston on back-to-back nights. Theyve got two more games against the Red Wings after that.

Tough? Yes. Impossible? Hardly. But as the Blackhawks go forward, they have to stop committing the mistakes of the past.

This definitely hurts, Hossa said. Obviously we play a solid two periods and two goals in the third and we couldnt come back. Thats definitely a tough pill to swallow. We have to just dig ourselves out of it and make sure it cant happen again. The games are running down and this one was really important.

Kruger adjusting

Marcus Krugers linemates Troy Brouwer and Bryan Bickell said the young Swede is adjusting to the NHL game and his new Blackhawks teammates.

He defends well. He said he was nervous before the game so me and Bicks were trying to help him with that, Brouwer said. Everyones been there. My first game, I dont even remember half the game. Its tough sometimes but he did really well.

Kruger wasnt afraid to show a scrappy side, either, pushing a few Florida Panthers around in his debut on Wednesday.

He had a little bit of feistiness around the net, a little bit of pressure, Brouwer said. It was good to see him get right into the mix. When youre in the mix youre in the game.
Briefly

Brian Campbell was honored as Blackhawks Man of the Year prior to Saturday nights game.

John Scott was the lone healthy scratch on Saturday night.

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

Recapping breakout OHL season for Blackhawks top prospect Adam Boqvist

Recapping breakout OHL season for Blackhawks top prospect Adam Boqvist

The London Knights set high expectations for themselves going into the 2018-19 OHL campaign. They always do. Their roster is usually loaded with top NHL prospects and this season was no different.

After finishing No. 1 in the Western Conference with 99 points, the Knights looked poised to go on a deep run. They got off to a roaring start in the playoffs by sweeping the Windsor Spitfires (4-0) and kicked off the second round by winning three straight against the Guelph Storm. But then, for the first time all season, the Knights lost four in a row to squander a 3-0 series lead and were eliminated just like that. It was a disappointing finish for a team with Memorial Cup aspirations.

One of the bright spots of the postseason was Blackhawks prospect Adam Boqvist. He was tied for first among all skaters with 10 goals through two rounds; no other defenseman had more than six. And he finished with 13 points in 11 games for a points-per-game average of 1.18.

To summarize his season: Boqvist scored one goal in his first 15 games. From that point on, he finished with 29 goals and 60 points in 50 games, including playoffs. He became an offensive driving force.

It's unclear what his future holds, but with Evan Bouchard expected to turn pro and secure a full-time roster spot on the Edmonton Oilers next season, returning to London would put Boqvist in a position where he could be the No. 1 defenseman in all situations.

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Blackhawks 2018-19 season grades: Front office

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AP

Blackhawks 2018-19 season grades: Front office

If we're evaluating Stan Bowman's moves as a whole, we have to go back to July 1 when the 2018-19 season really started.

On that day, the Blackhawks announced three signings: Chris Kunitz (one year, $1 million), Brandon Manning (two years, $2.25 million cap hit) and Cam Ward (one year, $3 million). Not exactly splashy additions after missing the playoffs for the first time in 10 years — although, to be fair, it wasn't a great market to throw money around.

Eleven days later, the Blackhawks traded Marian Hossa and his $5.275 million cap hit to the Arizona Coyotes in a seven-player deal that included top-nine winger Vinnie Hinostroza. Bowman acknowledged after the trade that he tried exploring every possible avenue before surrendering that the financial flexibility became more valuable.

But the trade might've put the team in a better position going into free agency had it been executed before July 1. Because of all that, Bowman's grade isn't looking great so far.

Then we get into the actual regular season.

The biggest move Bowman made was the coaching change on Nov. 6 in going from future Hall of Famer Joel Quenneville to Jeremy Colliton, which was a controversial decision in and of itself, especially the timing of it.

“There’s no perfect way to do things," Bowman admitted. "I think we made the best of it at the time. It’s one of those things where you’ve just gotta get through it. I think he’s gonna benefit from not only having a training camp next year but also we had this whole long stretch of a season. ... We’ve got a lot more things we want to get to, and I think we did a good job of — it’s a good start, but I’m sure Jeremy will tell you that we want to be way better next year and we’re gonna push our players to be better. We’re gonna try to do things differently. It’s not just taking this exact same program and we’ll start that. We want to do different things as well and enhance our team. I think there’s reason for hope there.”

Where did Bowman start to earn high marks? The roster tinkering, beginning in late November.

Perhaps recognizing that Nick Schmaltz wasn't progressing the way the team would have liked in a contract season, Bowman dealt him for a potential future second-line center in Dylan Strome and replenished the top-nine forward they lost in Hinostroza with Brendan Perlini, who showed flashes down the stretch. That's turned out to be a win-win for both sides.

The trade that was very clearly one-sided is the one Bowman pulled off with Peter Chiarelli, who was later relieved of his GM duties with the Edmonton Oilers.

Not only did Bowman acquire rugged winger Drake Caggiula, who became such a valuable part of the Blackhawks' second-half turnaround because he was a perfect complement for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on the top line, but he unloaded the contract of Manning without having to retain salary or giving up an important piece of the roster. It essentially gave the Blackhawks an extra $2.25 million to work with this summer, which shouldn't go unnoticed when you look at how deep the 2019 free agent class is.

Bowman essentially undid the mistake he made and put the Blackhawks in an even better position going into this offseason by adding a useful player on top of it. So he certainly upped his overall grade.

Now it's time to spend the money he cleared in getting rid of the contracts of Hossa and Manning, and continue building around the current core.

"We're not going to bring the same group back," Bowman said. "That's clear. We don't do that really any year. There's changes to every team, even a team that ends up winning the Cup this year will have some different players. We're going to have some new players next year. What we're going to do is try to improve in the areas where our team needs some help and the way that looks isn't completely clear right now, but we have time over the next couple months to dive in and look at our team in greater detail and figure out how we're going to make that happen.

"There's obviously free agent signings, there's trades, there's growth from within. Those are the ways that your team improves from year to year and we're going to do that. So we're going to have some new players here next year for sure but we have a lot of players that are going to be back and I think a lot of the key guys who had good seasons they're coming back for sure, so we don't need across the board changes but we do need some new players."

Front office: B-

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