Blackhawks

Blackhawks know what Artemi Panarin is capable of

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Blackhawks know what Artemi Panarin is capable of

Artemi Panarin hasn’t practiced with the Blackhawks since the early days of training camp. And while he could rejoin teammates in the next day or two, he’s probably out for the team’s final two preseason games.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Panarin, who’s been sidelined with an upper-body injury, skated prior to the Blackhawks’ practice on Wednesday morning. While it looks like the young forward is getting healthy, Panarin will not play on Thursday night vs. the St. Louis Blues and is also likely out versus the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

[MORE: Andrew Desjardins ready to resume role with Blackhawks]

Panarin’s absence has made it tougher for him to get used to the Blackhawks’ system. But Quenneville still knows a good deal of what they get from the forward.

“I know we got to see him play off the bat,” Quenneville said following practice. “We’ve seen a little of his history last year as well. we know what he’s capable of. he definitely shows some upside with the puck, he has some skill. The finer things of the game that we’d like to measure players, we haven’t found out those areas. but it’s a good question. you don’t mind guys like that, the opportunity’s probably going to be there. We’ll have to work with him in practice."

Meanwhile, Bryan Bickell has practiced the last two days after missing Monday for a personal matter. As far as the vertigo he suffered from last spring – he said at Notre Dame that it still flares up now and then – Bickell said he’s getting better.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up for the 2015-16 Blackhawks season!]

“Different things were offset, now they’re getting back set. I’m actually improving,” he said. “I’ve seen a bunch of different doctors to help out in ways. I think we’ve pinpointed what it is. Every day you just work on it and get stronger and improve the things inside – that I don’t understand – to get better. It’s working.”

BRIEFLY:

Michal Rozsival (ankle) continues to skate but it’ll still be a while before he plays in games. “We’ll have a better indication when he joins us in our practices but he’s not close there, either,” Quenneville said.

Scott Darling is scheduled to play the entire game vs. St. Louis on Thursday night.

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.”