Marko Dano was reflecting on this last month with the Blackhawks, the adjustments to his new team, the ups and downs -- and those near goals.
“I had a couple of chances again but I still can’t score,” Dano said with a little smile. “I have to stay patient and positive.”
Dano’s been suffering from the same scoring struggles as most of the team right now, but he’s otherwise been learning plenty with the Blackhawks. He’s been working to improve his defensive game, and every now and then brings a little feistiness to the lineup. For the most part, it’s all been good.
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“I was talking to the coaches; I played better on the road trip since I got here,” he said. “So I’m trying to do my best every night and play a simple game. Good things are going to happen.”
Dano’s played most of his time here on the third line, which did include fellow Slovakian Marian Hossa until the Blackhawks’ game in Ottawa on Friday night. As far as shadowing a player to hone that defensive game, Dano said of Hossa, “there’s the best example, so I’m trying to pick up some stuff from his game.” Hossa said his young countryman is coming along.
“I think he’s the type of player, a strong-skating player who can go to the net hard. He’s had a few opportunities; he hit a few posts, I remember, when I played with him,” Hossa said. “Obviously he’d like to create more offense as he told me, but he’s showing lots of good things.”
This last game Dano was back with Tanner Kero, who was also his line mate in Rockford when the two of them were producing. Who knows if that will be the combination by Saturday but the familiarity could provide a spark again.
“He’s been OK. We’re looking for more progression, more consistency offensively with the puck, influencing without it: basically be around it more and with more offensive zone time,” coach Joel Quenneville said of Dano. “The consistency of the one line doing all our production and trying to get some scoring and offensive zone time on the other lines is what we’re looking for. It’s not just him,” Quenneville continued. “That’s a work in progress across the board.”
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There’s no doubt about those last two sentences. Stopped us if you’ve heard this before, but the Blackhawks have gotten a bulk of their offense from second liners Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane. Several Blackhawks have had some prime scoring chances. Marko Dano is among them.
Dano’s been frustrated that the chances he’s gotten haven’t resulted in goals. But the chances are nonetheless there, and Dano figures it’s only a matter of time before he starts capitalizing on them.
“Yeah, that’s a good thing; if we didn’t get chances, it wouldn’t be good,” he said. “Those chances are there. It’s just about time when those chances are going to go in.”