Blackhawks

Coach Q's message to Hawks: Time to wake up

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Coach Q's message to Hawks: Time to wake up

Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011Posted: 5:20 PM Updated: 7:08 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

EDMONTON, Alberta The Chicago Blackhawks sprinted down the ice, one after the other.

Skate at full speed. Take a shot on goal. Circle around behind the net. Do it again. And again. It was a tough practice, but all things considered not a surprising one.

We knew it was coming, center Dave Bolland said. The way we played (Monday) night, I think the guys expected it.

Message sent. Now it has to be received and heeded from here on out.

The Blackhawks had little compete level in their 3-1 loss to Calgary on Monday, so coach Joel Quenneville made sure they practiced on Tuesday the way they shouldve played the night before: hard, determined and with the urgency that was absent against the Flames.

Our skating and our battle and compete levels need to come up, said defenseman Duncan Keith. Against Calgary, we had a slow start and even though the score was close we still had a lot more to give. Weve got to play harder in all areas of the ice.

The intense practice lasted about 45 minutes. For the 11th-seeded Blackhawks, with 29 games remaining it had also better be a wakeup call.

Last nights a good example. You get what you deserve, coach Quenneville said of the missing competitive level. Youve got to play hard every night. With Vancouver, the way you play, even though you lost, you still have to come out again like that. (Monday night) was one of the biggest (games) of the year, the importance of it all and it was disappointing. We didnt handle it the way we shouldve.

Indeed, the Blackhawks lack of gumption with what was at stake entering Monday night was puzzling. Their up-and-down season is trending down, with losses in four of their last five games.

When you dont compete like we did last night, youre going to have practices like that, Patrick Kane said. You can make a lot of excuses but it comes from within this locker room. Every guy has to take advantage of the opportunity we have and make sure this doesnt happen again.

The Blackhawks had a terribly slow start against the Flames, recording just three shots on goal through the first 20 minutes. And getting traffic in front of the net, something they did do in firing 45 shots against Roberto Luongo on Friday? It never really materialized against the Flames, and Keith was vocal about it after the game. His teammates concurred.

Only three or four shots in the first, thats obviously not getting it done, Kane said. Its like (Keith) said: you get bodies to the net. Thats what we did a lot last year and you see the results we had. Its tough for anyone to play against that traffic.

Bolland said when you see us compete we can dominate the game. We get in their faces and lay the body on them and get in their zone. That wasnt there for everybody (on Monday), including myself. We know we all have to be accountable and we better be ready for (Tuesdays) game.

Quenneville said its his No. 1 responsibility to make sure the Blackhawks compete level is there, and as a team we have to make sure its standard, game in and game out, (that) theres a predictable level of compete.

He has given the Blackhawks another wake-up call. It should be heard and heeded. The Blackhawks are running out of time to respond.

We shouldnt need wakeup calls from the coaching staff. It should always come from within our locker room, Toews said. If one guy think its time to take a night off and take it easy, hes not only letting himself down hes letting the other guys around him down. You remind yourself of that, and its not as easy to let yourself off the hook.
Switching again

The Blackhawks top two lines were altered at Tuesdays practice. Patrick Sharp was on the left wing with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, and Troy Brouwer was on the left side with Tomas Kopecky and Marian Hossa.

The Kopecky-Sharp-Hossa line has been struggling as of late.

Weve got some lines mix up a little bit. We might move Sharpie over with Jonny, Quenneville said. Its something well look at (on Tuesday).

Briefly

Brent Seabrook talked about the unsportsmanlike penalty he took late in Mondays game: (The officials) have got a hard enough job making the right calls without us yelling at them and sometimes we have to show a little more respect. Thats the best way to get some respect for ourselves.

Niklas Hjalmarsson who took a few tough blocks in Monday nights game, did not practice on Tuesday.

Corey Crawford will start in goal against the Oilers.

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

Why Blackhawks are eager for 'heck of an opportunity' ahead of NHL's restart

Why Blackhawks are eager for 'heck of an opportunity' ahead of NHL's restart

When the NHL paused its season on March 12, the Blackhawks had a 2.6 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to Hockey Reference. They were six points out of the final wildcard spot in the Western Conference and had four teams to jump, which would have been virtually impossible with only three weeks of hockey left.

But because of the financial ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the league was forced to get creative about its Return to Play plan and announced a 24-team format in May. The Blackhawks, as we know, were the final team in the West to get in.

And while it may not feel like their postseason drought has ended, the Blackhawks won't apologize for it. They've been handed a gift and want to take advantage of this new life.

"It's a heck of an opportunity," Jonathan Toews said after Day 1 of training camp. "We were kind of going down that road where our playoff chances were dwindling. It would've been a long-shot otherwise, but we were able to sneak in under these rules and under this format, so it's an opportunity for all of us. Regardless of whether there's fans in the building or not, there's something to play for."

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.

You won't find a bigger competitor than Duncan Keith, who's a two-time Norris Trophy winner and wears his emotions on his sleeve. He wants to get back to playing consistent playoff hockey and is as motivated about the restart as anyone. Just check his Instagram page.

"The biggest thing is just the fact that we're getting a chance to compete and be in the playoffs," Keith said. "You go back to the regular season, we were several points out and it wasn't looking good. Now we're in this opportunity — it's a great opportunity for us to try to prove that we deserve to be in the playoffs. ... We know we've got our work cut out for us, but I think as a group, we're excited to have this opportunity and show that we belong and that we could make some noise as an underdog."

On one end of the spectrum, you have a group of multiple Stanley Cup winners hungry to play meaningful hockey again. On the other end, you have a group of young players that haven't had a taste of the postseason yet and are itching to find out, even though there won't be any fans in attendance.

Put the groups together and you have a hungry Blackhawks squad that's eager to show they can make a potential run.

"It's good experience for everyone because the veteran guys that have played a lot of playoff hockey have never been through something like this before and the young guys who have never played in the playoffs, there's no better opportunity to try and get your feet wet and try and show your teammates what you can do," Toews said. "So, every game, that thought of the Cup being on the line has to be in the back of your mind. You win one game, there's no telling how far you can go, so we'll really try and build that feeling and that mindset in the locker room over the next couple weeks before we start."

Podcast: Corey Crawford deemed "unfit to play" by the Blackhawks

Podcast: Corey Crawford deemed "unfit to play" by the Blackhawks

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford was not at practice for the Hawks' Day 1 of Phase 3 training camp as they prepare to play the Edmonton Oilers and was deemed "unfit to play" according to Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton and GM Stan Bowman. On this fresh Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis, and Scott King discuss what the NHL's new term "unfit to play" means and if Crawford be able to get ready before the matchup vs the Oilers. Later on, the crew gives their thoughts on what they saw from Hawks practice and what Brent Seabrook looked like on the ice after being out since December following three surgeries.

(1:30) - Jeremy Colliton and Stan Bowman on Corey Crawford being "unfit to play"

(6:38) - Who can replace Corey Crawford if he isn't available to play?

(12:00) - How did Brent Seabrook look on the ice after being out?

(17:00) - Jonathan Toews has a new appreciation for Chicago, and hockey

(22:00) - More news and tidbits from Hawks practice

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.