Blackhawks: Trevor van Riemsdyk takes added responsibility in stride


Blackhawks: Trevor van Riemsdyk takes added responsibility in stride

Trevor van Riemsdyk didn’t head into Thursday night’s game expecting to log a career-high in minutes.

The young defenseman knew, as did the rest of the Blackhawks, that everyone had to bring a little bit more in Duncan Keith’s absence. And by the end of the Blackhawks’ 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers, van Riemsdyk had definitely brought more.

Van Riemsdyk played a career-high 22 minutes, 34 seconds, recording three shots on goal, a takeaway and a blocked shot. Van Riemsdyk played on the power play as well as penalty kill and helped the Blackhawks fill the very large void sans Keith.

“It’s nice to come in and be able to play that many minutes, to try to contribute in any way possible,” van Riemsdyk said following Friday’s practice. “When they give you those minutes you have to make the most of them. They’re not just going to hand them out to you. So when they show that trust in you, you really have to show them it’s well deserved.”

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Coach Joel Quenneville showed that trust in van Riemsdyk pretty early last season, not long after van Riemsdyk leapfrogged other prospective defensemen to earn a roster spot out of training camp.

“You see him in situations where you feel he can take on a little bit more responsibility, not only big minutes but matchup minutes are a challenge as well. But we’re comfortable with him against top guys and I liked a lot of things about his game,” Quenneville said. “I liked him joining the attack; great patience and play recognition with the puck. It was a good start in a much bigger role and a big challenge for him and I liked the response.”

Jonathan Toews said van Riemsdyk and new partner Nicklas Hjalmarsson, who’s playing on the left side again, proved a good pair on Thursday.

“They were both making great plays, getting us the puck with speed in the D and in the neutral zone,” Toews said. “For Riemer, we talk about guys having to step up, assume more responsibility given the fact we’re missing Duncan, he’s going to be one of those guys. So it’s nice to see him play with that confidence. He’s shown a lot of poise and patience with the puck and I think that’s a great skill to have, especially earlier in your career when you have to play a lot of games.”

Patrick Kane said van Riemsdyk usually doesn’t seem fazed by anything, on or off the ice.

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“He’s one of those defensemen you get on the ice with, you look forward to the shift because you know you’ll have a chance to either catch a pass in full stride or he’s going to create something offensively. And it seems like they like what he’s doing back in the defensive end, which is probably even more important,” Kane said. “You knew some guys were going to get more responsibility, more ice time. It looked like he stepped up to the plate and answered the bell last night.”

Van Riemsdyk isn’t trying to fill Keith’s shoes. There aren’t many who can do that – “not one human can do all the things he does out there,” van Riemsdyk said. But van Riemsdyk being himself was a big help for the Blackhawks on Thursday night and they’ll need his and others’ help even more these next few weeks.

“[Keith] is the best in the world; he does everything. Every time he’s on the ice you notice him. He’s doing something positive,” van Riemsdyk said. “My goal is to play as well as I can, to be as prepared as I can and play as smart as I can out there to try and help our team win.”


- Marian Hossa did not practice on Friday. Quenneville said Hossa is fine. He’s expected to play vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.'

- Corey Crawford will start vs. Tampa Bay.

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning


Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center on Sunday:

1. Blackhawks on wrong side of history 

Earlier this year the Blackhawks made history by appearing in five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team in NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB history has ever done.

But Sunday they found themselves on the wrong side of it after allowing 33 shots on goal in the second period alone. It tied a franchise high for most given up in a single period — March 4, 1941 vs. Boston — and is the most an NHL team has allowed since 1997-98 when shots by period became an official stat.

"It's pretty rare to be seeing that much work in a period," said Cam Ward, who had a season-high 49 saves. "But oh man, I don't even know what to say to be honest. It's tough. We know that we need to be better especially in our home building, too. And play with some pride and passion. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was lacking at times tonight. The old cliche you lose as a team and overall as a team we weren't good enough tonight."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was a tough, tough period in all aspects. I don’t think we touched the puck at all and that was the part that was disturbing, against a good hockey team."

2. Alexandre Fortin is on the board

After thinking he scored his first career NHL goal in Columbus only to realize his shot went off Marcus Kruger's shin-pad, Fortin made up for it one night later and knows there wasn't any question about this one.

The 21-year-old undrafted forward, playing in his his fifth career game, sprung loose for a breakaway early in the first period and received a terrific stretch pass by Jan Rutta from his own goal line to Fortin, who slid it underneath Louis Domingue for his first in the big leagues. It's his second straight game appearing on the scoresheet after recording an assist against the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"It's fun," Fortin said. "I think it would be a little bit more fun to get your first goal [while getting] two points for your team, but I think we ... just have to [turn the page to the] next chapter and just play and be ready for next game."

3. Brandon Saad's most noticeable game?

There weren't many positives to take away from this game, but Saad was certainly one of them. He had arguably his best game of the season, recording seven shot attempts (three on goal) with two of them hitting the post (one while the Blackhawks were shorthanded).

He was on the ice for 11 shot attempts for and five against at 5-on-5, which was by far the best on his team.

"He started OK and got way better," Quenneville said of Saad. "Had the puck way more, took it to the net a couple of times, shorthanded."

4. Special teams still a work in progress

The Blackhawks entered Sunday with the 29th-ranked power play and 25th-ranked penalty kill, and are still working to get out from the bottom of the league in both departments. In an effort to change up their fortunes with the man advantage, the Blackhawks split up their two units for more balance.

They had four power-play opportunities against Tampa Bay and cashed in on one of them, but it didn't matter as it was too little, too late in the third period — although they did become the first team to score a power-play goal against the Lightning this season (29 chances).

"Whether we're looking for balance or we're just looking for one to get hot, I think our power play has been ordinary so far," Quenneville said before the game. "We need it to be more of a threat."

Four more minor penalties were committed by the Blackhawks, giving them eight in the past two games. That's one way they can shore up the penalty kill, by cutting back on taking them.

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period


Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

Well, things could be going better for the Blackhawks during Sunday's game against the Lightning.

In the second period Sunday, the Blackhawks surrendered 33 shots on goal, tying a franchise record for most in a single period. The previous instance occurred March 4, 1941 against the Boston Bruins, a game that the Blackhawks lost 3-2.

While the Blackhawks tied a franchise record for shots on goal allowed, they actually set an NHL record at the same time. The NHL did not begin recording shots on goal as an "official" statistic until the 1997-98 season.

Consequentially, Sunday's 33 shots on goal allowed in the second period is the "official" record, even though the Blackhawks accomplished the "feat" nearly 80 years ago. Confusing, huh? 

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they also surrendered three goals and scored zero in addition to the plethora of shots on goal allowed. They recorded just six shots on goal in the second period themselves, trailing 4-1 by the time the third period started.