Blackhawks

Blackhawks mixing up power play lines

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Blackhawks mixing up power play lines

The power-play combinations were different when the Chicago Blackhawks hit the ice on Tuesday morning. Different combinations put together in the hopes for different results.

The Blackhawks power play is struggling once again, so coach Joel Quenneville was switching up the units on Tuesday to try and spark it. The top unit was Andrew Brunette, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp. The second unit featured Brent Seabrook, Nick Leddy, Patrick Kane, Dave Bolland and rookie Jimmy Hayes.

Its another experiment, one the Blackhawks hope shake them from their 1-for-22 power play skid.

I think thereve been games where had chances and didnt score, and others where it hasnt been as good as it could be, defenseman Duncan Keith said. We had a good practice today on it. Both units looked good, so well give it our best (shot) next game.

For the most part, the Blackhawks have overcome their power-play issues lately. But last night it hurt them. They had three opportunities in the last 11 minutes of the game -- including a four-minute effort when Toews was high-sticked -- and came up empty. They were down just one goal on their final power-play attempt.

Marian Hossa said its sometimes been a mix of tough luck and poor planning.

I think some nights we had pretty good looks but the puck didnt go in, and on some nights we werent on the same page. We need to know what were going to do before we get on the ice, he said. Maybe an ugly goal gets us going again.

The Blackhawks will take any type of goal on that power play. They liked how the experiment was working on Tuesday -- the 6-foot-6 Hayes, who scored his first NHL goal on Monday, is a pretty good option in front of the net. But scoring them in practice is one thing. Getting them in a game is another.

Thats what you look for: just get one (goal) and you get more confidence, more puck awareness and patience. Suddenly everybody has more cohesiveness, coach Joel Quenneville said. But last night we miss an empty net or two and now it gets worse. You have to change it up when its not going well. Lets try to get a fresher look and maybe get one of those ugly ones and kick-start it.

What to make of Blackhawks moves on NHL trade deadline day

What to make of Blackhawks moves on NHL trade deadline day

ST. LOUIS — The Blackhawks were always going to be sellers leading up to the NHL trade deadline, but the real question was to what degree? Chicago got its answer on Monday.

After a quiet morning, the Blackhawks struck two deals in the final hour: Erik Gustafsson to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a third-round pick in 2020 and, more notably, Robin Lehner to the Vegas Golden Knights for a second-round selection in 2020, goaltender Malcolm Subban and defenseman prospect Slava Demin. The Blackhawks also retained 50 percent of Lehner's salary in a complicated three-way deal that saw Toronto eat 44 percent of that for a fifth-round pick in 2020 to help Vegas become cap compliant.

And the immediate impressions on the return? Pretty underwhelming. But, at the same time, the market played a big role in that and it didn't favor the Blackhawks by any stretch.

The Carolina Hurricanes had two first-round picks and were as desperate a team as ever to acquire a goaltender at the deadline after relying on a 42-year-old Zamboni driver to get them through their last game. No doubt the Blackhawks were hoping to land at least a first-rounder for Lehner, but if the Hurricanes weren't biting on that price tag, neither was anyone else.

Six first-round picks were traded in February and not one of them was moved for a rental player. Five of those skaters had term left on their contract and the other signed a long-term extension after the trade, which helped justify it.

[MORE: Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Trade deadline recap plus Stan Bowman 1-on-1]

The reality is, the decision came down to whether the Blackhawks wanted to risk letting Lehner walk for nothing this summer or take the best offer on the table and just accept they won't get 100 cents on the dollar, especially if they weren't seeing eye to eye on a potential extension, and they chose the latter. Whether the Blackhawks should've re-signed Lehner is a separate discussion, but both sides could always revisit things on July 1 if they choose.

It's also difficult for Chicago to get excited about the return for Gustafsson after several similar-type impact defensemen were traded last week for more than that, and rightfully so. Did the Blackhawks wait too long to move him? Probably. But he wasn't going to fetch much on his own to begin with, and you have to wonder how hard the Blackhawks tried to package Gustafsson with another asset to help sweeten the deal and get the first-round pick they were looking for.

There's a large portion of the fanbase that felt Gustafsson should've been dealt in the summer when his value was highest after he turned in a breakout 60-point campaign. And that's fair. But the Blackhawks were hoping to make the playoffs this season and subtracting a key piece from their roster wasn't something that would've aligned with those goals.

In the end, the Blackhawks went into trade deadline day hoping to recoup some draft picks and prospects and continue building from within. They did that.

But the expectation in Chicago was this could've served as a prime opportunity to restock the pipeline with future assets and get fans excited about the retooling process. And while the Blackhawks didn't exactly strike out, they didn't hit a home run, either.

"The goal was to try to get some asset value in return for them and we certainly did that," GM Stan Bowman said in a conference call. "Going into a period like this at the trade deadline, you have to try to manage your assets going forward. When you have expiring assets and you talk around the league to teams and find out if there’s interest in them, then you do your best to try and get the maximum return you can. "

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Trade deadline recap plus Stan Bowman 1-on-1

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AP

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Trade deadline recap plus Stan Bowman 1-on-1

The Blackhawks traded goalie Robin Lehner and defenseman Erik Gustafsson ahead of Monday's NHL trade deadline. Pat Boyle discusses all that went into the trades with Steve Konroyd, Jamal Mayers, and NBC Sports Chicago Blackhawks writer Scott King.

To further provide details on the trades, Blackhawks Insider Charlie Roumeliotis goes 1-on-1 with GM Stan Bowman on why he made the moves.

(1:00) - Blackhawks trade Lehner and never offered him an extension?

(5:30) - Could the Hawks sign Lehner in the offseason?

(10:12) - Why the Hawks had to trade Gustafsson

(14:07) - Stan Bowman 1-on-1 after the trade deadline

(19:42) - Reaction to Bowman 1-on-1 interview

(23:17) - Overall assessment of what the Hawks got back in the trades

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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