Blackhawks

Blackhawks must get traffic in front of Luongo

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Blackhawks must get traffic in front of Luongo

Thursday, April 14, 2011Posted: 5:02 PM Updated: 7:00 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

VANCOUVER, British Columbia Roberto Luongo saw many of the Chicago Blackhawks' shots that came his way in Game 1 on Wednesday night.

The Blackhawks talked of getting traffic in front of Luongo, a strategy that works in front of the Vancouver goaltender well, make that any goaltender. But it wasnt there in Game 1.

It has to be for Game 2.

The Blackhawks know they need to get bodies in front of Luongo, who recorded a 32-save shutout against them on Wednesday.

No goalie likes it, defenseman Chris Campoli said. Hanging around his crease just causes confusion. Its tough on them. Going forward, were going to try and make that part of the game plan. Its a part of the game we need to exploit.

Luongo was bumped, screened and generally messed with by the Blackhawks last season en route to their series victory over Vancouver. Yes, they had Dustin Byfugliens big body in his way last year. But any body, big or small, is better than no body.

Last year, they had Buff and guys like that. We dont have that this year but we have a few guys who can do that, said forward Michael Frolik. You do what you have to do.

Quenneville said everyone is responsible for net traffic.

Its by committee. We need to give ourselves chances, whether its on a power play or 5-on-5, he said. If (Luongo) he sees the puck he tends to stop it.

Bolland out

Dave Bolland is out of Game 2 as he continues to work back from his concussion. He skated with the Blackhawks scratches on Thursday. Quenneville said Bollands progress was encouraging. But right now hes just OK.

Bolland said on Monday that it was frustrating recovering from the concussion.

Its a drain to your body, a drain to your mind, he said. (The hazy feeling) is still there a little but thats the way they go. Youre going to have your ups and downs and roller coaster. Ill play when I feel great, whenever I feel ready.

Slow starts

The Blackhawks are certainly no strangers to being down 1-0 in a playoff series. Defenseman Brian Campbell doesnt know why it happens, but the Hawks have been resilient in coming back before.

For some reason, we tend to get off to a bumpy start. Obviously there are no excuses for that. Hopefully we can learn from mistakes going forward. Its the situation were in. We cant change it now.

Briefly

Quenneville said theres a good chance that Fernando Pisani is back in the lineup if Tomas Kopecky is unable to go for Game 2. Quenneville said they will also discuss the possibility of John Scott playing.

Except for Game 1 scratches and Rockford call-ups, the Blackhawks did not skate on Thursday. We decided to just have a morning skate (Friday) and be ready to go (for Game 2), Quenneville said.

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

Watch live: Kirby Dach's Blackhawks introductory press conference

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Watch live: Kirby Dach's Blackhawks introductory press conference

The Blackhawks made a franchise-altering move over the weekend, selecting center Kirby Dach third overall in the 2019 NHL Draft.

Monday, the Blackhawks are holding an introductory press conference for Dach, 18, at the United Center. Here's the important information for those looking to tune-in to the big event:

Time: 11 a.m. CT

Television: NBC Sports Chicago (see channel finder)

Stream: NBCSportsChicago.com or the MyTeams app

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Evaluating where things stand for Blackhawks as negotiating window opens for NHL free agents

Evaluating where things stand for Blackhawks as negotiating window opens for NHL free agents

VANCOUVER — For more than two months, the Blackhawks had been primarily focused on the 2019 NHL Draft because the hockey gods gifted them with the No. 3 overall pick and a chance to speed up the retooling process in a significant way. They used that selection on Kirby Dach, a 6-foot-4, 198-pound right-handed shot center who’s projected to be a future first-liner for many years to come.

But now all the attention has shifted to Sunday, when the negotiating window for NHL free agents opened up. And the Blackhawks are expected to be one of the more active teams throughout this process as they prepare for July 1.

With the NHL and NHLPA officially setting the salary cap ceiling for the 2019-20 season at $81.5 million — a $2 million increase from last season but $1.5 million less than the original projection — general managers can finally calculate their financial plans internally as they approach the legal tampering period. The Blackhawks aren’t one of those teams where they’re living and dying by how much the upper limit fluctuates, but it’s still noteworthy that they’re projected to have $16.5 million in cap space, according to Cap Friendly.

However, that does not include the potential new deals for their restricted free agents. 

Stan Bowman said after Saturday’s draft that Brendan Perlini will be re-signed. Dylan Sikura is expected to be as well, as is Gustav Forsling. John Quenneville, who was acquired for John Hayden, is also a RFA and is expected to receive a qualifying offer but it’s unclear whether he’ll factor into the Blackhawks’ plans next season. So they don’t have an unlimited supply of money to spend.

But they certainly have enough to add an impact-type player.

Over the last month, the Blackhawks have been linked to Kevin Hayes (before his rights were traded to Philadelphia and signed a seven-year, $50 million deal), New York Islanders captain Anders Lee and six-time 30-goal scorer Corey Perry, to name a few. That indicates the Blackhawks are in the market for a middle tier player, not the upper (sorry Chicago, but the Artemi Panarin homecoming always has been a pipe dream).

The other option is to continue exploring the trade market.

The Blackhawks already acquired defenseman Olli Maatta, but that was a deal executed because it didn't require subtracting a key piece of the roster. It really could come down to whether the Blackhawks want to handpick who they want via trade and give up the assets to do it or potentially overpay — both in dollar amount and term — on the open market, which could present challenges down the road when Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome and even Erik Gustafsson — depending on if he fits into the budget — are due new deals.

If it's the former, the Blackhawks prefer overpaying for the right player — somebody like Perry or Joe Pavelski on a shorter-term deal despite a higher cap hit would be ideal to help bridge the gap as far as responsibilities put on the younger players. If it’s the latter, the Blackhawks will pull off a trade for a high-end player only if it makes sense for the short term and long term because the offseason is a time to enhance the roster for both.

Bowman doesn’t know exactly how the next few weeks are going to play out, but you can bet that he’ll have his phone attached to his ear looking for ways to improve the roster and help turn the Blackhawks into a consistent playoff contender again. 

“We have a good position right now,” Bowman said. “For next season, we're in a better place than most teams. After that, it's hard to say, because we don't know what the cap will be a year from now and we've got a couple players that are going to graduate to new contracts a year from now. Not a lot of free agents take one-year contracts, so that's the thing — if you're going to sign a free agent, you've got to look at what's going to be the implication two years down the road. So from that perspective, trades might be more appealing to us than necessarily adding a top free agent. We're going to have some new players for next year, but I don't know if it's going to be free agents or through trades.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.