Blackhawks

Blackhawks drop preseason game as Kane saga takes wild turn

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Blackhawks drop preseason game as Kane saga takes wild turn

DETROIT — Andrew Shaw scored a power-play goal, but Tomas Tatar scored a hat trick as the Red Wings beat the Blackhawks, 4-1, on Wednesday night.

The Blackhawks went with a prospect-heavy roster in Detroit. The group tested Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek, firing 17 shots at him through the first half of the game. But the Red Wings, dressing most of their regulars, got three from Tatar, including an empty-netter late in the third period.

Brad Richards, who signed a one-year deal with the Wings after winning the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks last season, had the primary assist on Tatar’s first two goals and the secondary assist on the third.

“I thought we had a good 40 minutes,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We did a lot of good things, had good energy, good pace, lots of direct plays and traffic at the net. We didn’t have the finish they had but certainly couldn’t fault the effort.”

[MORE BLACKHAWKS: Lawyer of Patrick Kane's accuser says evidence bag opened, tampered with]

The Blackhawks continued to prep for this season on a day when the Patrick Kane investigation took a strange turn. Thomas Eoannou, who represents the woman accusing Kane of rape, said Wednesday that the evidence bag containing the accuser’s rape kit had allegedly been opened, tampered with and left at the home of the accuser’s mother.

Kane’s lawyer, Paul Cambria, who spoke later on Wednesday, said if evidence were compromised, his client would be the one hurt. The Hamburg Police Department issued a statement saying its handling of the evidence in the case “is unassailable” and it will cooperate if there’s an investigation regarding its handling of the evidence. Kane, who did not travel to Detroit for Wednesday’s game — most of the Blackhawks’ top players did not — has not been charged with any crime.

Asked if today’s events changed the NHL’s stance regarding Kane being at camp, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, via email, said, “Not at this time, no.” As for the impact Wednesday’s events might have had on the Blackhawks, Quenneville said, “It’s business as usual for us. We keep moving forward. That’s where we’re at.”

[MORE BLACKHAWKS: Kane's attorney responds to allegations of evidence tampering]

Briefly

— Marcus Kruger was expected to be in Chicago by Wednesday night. Quenneville said Kruger could skate on his own on Thursday before joining the team in practice on Friday.

— Michal Rozsival will probably participate in heavier skates on Friday or Saturday. “We’re going to put a little bit more intensity over the next couple of days,” Quenneville said. “Once he’s on the ice, we’ll get a better indication of how far along he is or how far away.”

— Gordie Howe visited Quenneville prior to tonight’s game. “I’ve met him many nights, had many dinners with him,” Quenneville said. “It’s good to see him. He’s a great man and great for the sport.”

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”