Blackhawks

Blackhawks' Kopecky finding success on the ice

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Blackhawks' Kopecky finding success on the ice

Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010
4:11 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Tomas Kopecky doesnt dwell on his outings very long, good or bad. The Chicago Blackhawks winger said he usually takes about five minutes to think about it then moves on.

Still, even he had to revel in his career-best, four-point night on Tuesday a little longer.

Its always nice. You get a little bit more energy and it feels good, Kopecky said. On the other hand its only one game and you have to keep it for 82 games. I just try not to get too high or low and just stay right in the middle.

Kopeckys Tuesday was definitely a high after a couple low games earlier this season. Four-point games aside, the Blackhawks, missing Marian Hossa for a few more games, need Kopecky to get that steady offensive output he had at the start of the season, when he and linematefellow Slovak Hossa were surging.

Tuesday was stellar, and his teammates were impressed.

They made the announcement that he had a goal and three assists and I thought, Wow, he had that? Awesome, Patrick Kane said. He made some great plays on pretty much every goal hes been on, so thats good to see out of him. Hopefully that gives him some confidence. Especially with Hossa out of the lineup, were going to need a guy like him.

Kopecky was successful in setting up goals on Tuesday; he was strong there early this season, when he recorded assists in six of his first seven games. He had a sizeable lull after that, however, recording just one goal over a months span. The Blackhawks were struggling as a team, and Hossa missed five games with an upper-body injury.

The two do have an obvious report on the ice, and Kopecky may have missed that.

Maybe a little, he said. You play with a guy for 15 games you get the feel for each other and you know what to expect. Somebody else comes in and you have to adjust. The sooner you do the better you are. Its all about making changes.

Change was good on Tuesday, when Kopecky was with Patrick Sharp and recent Rockford call-up Jeremy Morin. The three clicked instantly and collected seven points against the Blues.

Kopecky has a plus-5 rating over his last three games. Hes also one assist off his career high of 13 set with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008-09. Kopeckys big task is crashing the net and creating traffic, but his teammates said theyd like to see him shoot more.

Id like to see him shoot more unless Im open and then I want him to pass to me, Sharp joked. Hes got a great shot. Hes got a great release and that thing just pops off the stick. He usually does the dirty work and hes good at it. But when hes got an opportunity to fire one wed all like to see him do it.

Said Kane, hes got one of the best shots Ive ever seen. You saw his goal the other night; it kind of overpowers the goalie and gets right through him. Id love to see him do it more. We were talking about some of the goals he had last year when he just ripped shots and beat the goalie. Hopefully he keeps doing that.

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

Blackhawks have found magic on power play with Patrick Kane and Dominik Kubalik

Blackhawks have found magic on power play with Patrick Kane and Dominik Kubalik

The Blackhawks’ power-play struggles this season have been well-documented. 

One week ago, they hit rock bottom by slipping to dead last with a 13.8% success rate after going 0-for-17 during their five-game road swing in Western Canada. It played a major role in the Blackhawks picking up only two out of a possible 10 points on that trip. 

After trying just about every possible power-play combination to that point, head coach Jeremy Colliton experimented by positioning Dominik Kubalik in the right faceoff circle and moving Patrick Kane to the left on the first unit. And it's paid off.

In the past four games, the Blackhawks are 6-for-19 on the power play for a percentage of 31.6, which ranks No. 6 over that span. Kubalik has two of those goals while Kane has one and a couple of primary assists as well. 

After Thursday's 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in which the Blackhawks scored a season-high three power-play goals, Colliton was asked whether he regretted not putting Kubalik in that spot on the first unit sooner. In an honest admission, he didn't sugarcoat his answer.

"Yeah, and I wish we would've put Kaner on the other side earlier," Colliton told reporters. "We've tried it off and on throughout since I've been here, and we just haven't been able to get it to click with enough success for everyone to embrace it. But we've been able to here, and it's been a nice weapon for us."

No doubt the Blackhawks coaching staff discussed this possibility earlier in the season but were probably reluctant to make the switch because moving Kane out of his usual spot would have meant moving Alex DeBrincat out of his normal spot and then your two best power play weapons are playing out of their comfort zone.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and the Blackhawks have finally found a formula that's given the power play some life.

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Brian Campbell impressed by Adam Boqvist's rookie season

Brian Campbell impressed by Adam Boqvist's rookie season

 

Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup champ Brian Campbell — currently a player development coach with Chicago — took on an active role with rookie defenseman Adam Boqvist's development. On the latest installment of "Chevy Drives", Campbell tells NBC Sports Chicago's Pat Boyle, that he likes what he sees of the 19-year-old defenseman. 

"There's definitely been a lot of strides that he's taken," Campbell said of the Blackhawks' No. 8 overall pick of the 2018 NHL Draft. Boqvist played with the Hawks' American Hockey League affiliate the Rockford IceHogs earlier this season before joining Chicago.

"The American League is a tough league to play in and I thought Adam was doing really well and kind of finding his way. A lot of times people say the American League is harder to play in than the NHL, especially for a skilled guy like Adam. Then he gets up here and you can see how well he's doing with Duncan Keith and some of the plays he's made, some of the goals he's had."

Campbell made several trips to Ontario to visit Boqvist when he was playing for the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League after he was drafted. 

"I've been impressed," Campbell said. "I didn't think he'd be at this point already. Even seeing him, he came back down to Rockford during their break, and [I] was just kind of praising him and telling him I'm proud of him. I feel like he's kind of like a little, younger brother to me. I'm proud to see where he is now and really looking forward to seeing where he's going to go."

Boqvist impressed the rest of the organization to land in Chicgao for the majority of this season and take on big minutes and big responsibilities like quarterbacking the power play on the Hawks' top unit.

"He's a really mature kid for . . . even in London, it was like, 'Okay, how are you getting around here?' There's only so much you can do [in] hockey if you're not with that person day-to-day and allowed to go in and really kind of coach them," Campbell said. "For me, I think it was more or less, 'Okay, when are you getting your workouts in,' because as you know the NHL schedule is very busy, you got to find time to get workouts in to keep your strength in your legs or else the second half of your year, you're going to start to fall through, you won't be as strong.

"So just those little insights and talks and sometimes, you can even see it in Rockford, he'd get frustrated when he wasn't getting the puck in areas, and should he get the puck in those areas? Yeah, but I'm like, 'Don't worry, once you get playing in the NHL you're going to get pucks in those areas and you have to be ready and prepared to be effective that way.'

"There's lots of little things that you can go through, the daily routine and the daily grind. Mentally, we talked a little bit about that, being prepared. He's a kid that wants to learn and he listens and asks questions. He even asked questions about my career and that only makes you a better person when you're trying to learn more and prepare yourself to be the best you can."

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