Blackhawks must find road success again for annual Circus Trip


Blackhawks must find road success again for annual Circus Trip

The Blackhawks were just that much happier following their victory against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.

They’re always glad to get that Central Division victory, especially against longtime rival St. Louis. But they were especially pleased because this triumph came on the road, where victories have been elusive thus far. And as the Blackhawks embark on their annual Circus Trip they’re looking to build off their game in St. Louis, which was just their second road victory of this season.  

“There was a sense of urgency, an importance to that game and we had to find a way to win on the road, too, which was important for us,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “It was a very intense game, very competitive game and I liked our team game across the board.”

What was going wrong through those early road games? It could’ve been the newness the Blackhawks experienced: new teammates, new lines and new defensive pairs. They got off to bad starts in a lot of those games, went into catch-up mode, and that is rarely good.

[MORE: Trio of quick goals gives Blackhawks win over Flames]

“I just think we’ve started slow in some of those games on the road, putting ourselves behind the 8-ball a little,” Trevor van Riemsdyk said. “I don’t know if there’s a real reason for that, but we just have to come out focused and ready to play a quick and smart game on the road. The home teams sometimes come out with that big jump and press early with the fans and all that excitement there. So we have to be ready for that, come out playing smart and keep it really simple.”

Two other problems were injuries and one line doing all the scoring. Both issues have improved recently. Duncan Keith and Michal Rozsival returned on Saturday and the others not named Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov have shown up on the score sheet.

Now the Blackhawks have to put it all together on the road. Here’s the good news for them about the Circus Trip: it’s usually been a successful trek. The Blackhawks went 5-1-0 on it last season, then won seven of their next eight after that. The team has always considered this trip a good bonding opportunity. Considering how many new faces are on the team this season, that time together may be especially beneficial.

“We spend time with each other, get to know each other. That’s been great,” Marcus Kruger said. “That trip is always something we look forward to and it’s good to come together as a team, practice, play and get to know each other a little bit better. We’ve done a good job in previous years with that. Hopefully we can keep that going.”

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Quenneville said the Blackhawks seem to find the right balance on the Circus Trip.

“There’s a lot of business to be attended to and a lot of good moments as well for the team bonding to exist. I think there are some fun moments for everybody but I certainly think your team gets a lot closer. And with the number of new guys we have, I think that’ll be a good experience for some,” Quenneville said. “And the best thing about it is, it’ll be a good test for us to find out how we can play consistent on the road in some real tough buildings.”

The Blackhawks used to be as reliable on the road as they were at home. That wasn’t there at the start but they’re about to go on what’s usually been a good trip for them. They need to find that again.

“We need to keep it a little more simple. I think in previous years we’ve been pretty good on the road and pretty comfortable there, too,” Kruger said. “We have to climb back to that.”

Blackhawks honor Dave Bolland with “One More Shift” Friday

Blackhawks honor Dave Bolland with “One More Shift” Friday

Former Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland will be honored with “One More Shift” on the ice at United Center this Friday prior to Hawks matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Bolland will stand with the team during the National Anthem and skate on ice in full gear. Along with time on ice, the United Center will also honor Bolland by showcasing his career highlights throughout the arena.

The Blackhawks will be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their 2010 Stanley Cup win at five games this season, coinciding with “One More Shift” nights to honor individual players.  The United Center Atrium doors will open at 4pm, giving fans a chance to look at the interactive photo opportunities and historical items on display. Bolland will participate in a Q&A in the atrium at 6:30 p.m. before he hits the ice.

Dave Bolland was drafted by the Blackhawks in 2004 and spent ten seasons of his NHL career in Chicago. Bolland played with the team during two Stanley Cup championships, scoring the game-winning goal in the final minute of Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals against the Bruins. Bolland played in all 22 playoff games in 2010, garnering 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) which shared fifth among Blackhawks skaters in the postseason. Bolland recorded his best season of his career during the 2008-09 campaign with the Blackhawks, skating in a career-high 81 regular-season games and recording career highs in goals (19), assists (28) and points (47).

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks show urgency vs. the undefeated

USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks show urgency vs. the undefeated

The Blackhawks finally got on the board for the season and did so in front of the 500th consecutive capacity crowd at the United Center.

Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis break down the impressive performance by the Blackhawks against the undefeated Edmonton Oilers and discuss how Jeremy Colliton’s message got through to Alex Nylander and the rest of the team.

Plus, after an impressive performance in net, should Corey Crawford get the next game vs. the Blue Jackets? And what does the future have in store for Kirby Dach? Jamal makes a bold prediction.

0:54 – Blackhawks finally show urgency in 2nd period

2:47 – Penalty kill starting to show some life

5:00 – Thoughts on the Shaw/Strome/Kane line

6:43 – Blackhawks eliminating some defensive breakdowns

9:23 – Big rebound performance from Corey Crawford

11:36 – Colliton’s message to Alex Nylander got through

15:21 – Brandon Saad has been a pleasant surprise early on

17:15 – Dominik Kubalik’s impressive performance

18:31 – Will Kirby Dach be with the Blackhawks all season?

22:42 – Does Crawford or Lehner start vs. the Blue Jackets?

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast


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