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.

Blakchawks Talk Podcast: What should the Blackhawks be asking for this holiday season?

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USA TODAY

Blakchawks Talk Podcast: What should the Blackhawks be asking for this holiday season?

On the latest Hawks Talk podcast, Pat Boyle, Steve Konroyd and Charlie Roumeliotis discuss Corey Crawford's concussion, Henri Jokiharju leaving the team to play in World Juniors, how the Blackhawks defensemen stack up, and what gift do the Blackhawks need this holiday season?

01:30 Corey Crawford's concussion

04:00 You can't use Crawford's injury as an excuse this season

06:10 Hawks able to get a look at Collin Delia

07:00 Henri Jokiharju to play for Finland in World Juniors

10:30 Erik Gustafsson's potential

14:00 Strome and Kane playing on the same line

17:00 What have the guys seen from Dylan Sikura

21:30 Tough back to back games at Dallas and Colorado

24:30 Guys give their holiday gift to the Blackhawks

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Four takeaways: Blackhawks turn in complete effort, wrap up homestand with win

Four takeaways: Blackhawks turn in complete effort, wrap up homestand with win

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators at the United Center on Sunday:

1. The Full 60

The Blackhawks have been preaching playing a full 60 minutes ever since Jeremy Colliton took over as head coach. Heck, even before then. And they turned in arguably their most complete effort under their new head coach against a Predators team that came in tied for second in the NHL with 46 points.

Even more impressive, the Blackhawks shut the door in the final 40:33 and gave up one or fewer goals for the first time since Nov. 18 in a 3-1 victory over Minnesota — a span of 15 games. Cam Ward was a big reason for that, stopping 30 of 31 shots for a save percentage of .968 to pick up his first win in almost a month.

It was a well-deserved win for the Blackhawks, who earned five out of a possible eight points during their four-game homestand.

"I thought our guys competed and worked really hard all 60 minutes," Ward said. "Defensively we didn’t give them a whole lot and it’s a credit to the guys for the way that they played. We kept it much more simple and executed and, to be quite honest, we could have had more goals if it wasn’t for [Pekka] Rinne. He made some big saves and it was tight right till the end."

2. Contributions from the back end

With Henri Jokiharju being loaned to Finland for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, a void opened up on the Blackhawks blue line. But with that comes opportunity for others.

Gustav Forsling, who returned after missing six games with a shoulder injury, scored his second of the season to put the Blackhawks on the board at the 15:22 mark of the second period. And 1:54 later, Erik Gustafsson made it 2-1 when he scored 17 seconds into a power play.

Despite deserving better fate in the first period, the Blackhawks stayed with it and responded with two goals and outshot the Predators 16-7 in the middle frame to hand Nashville its first loss of the season when leading after one period (10-1-0).

"We always want to score," Forsling said. "But I think the most important thing is not to get scored on and we did a good job at that too."

3. A strong start spoiled

The last time the Blackhawks clashed with the Predators, they allowed three goals in the first 4:11. It wasn't great.

Perhaps motivated by revenge, the Blackhawks were ready to play from the moment the puck dropped this time around, outshooting the Predators 12-11 and generating 13 scoring chances, according to naturalstattrick.com, in the opening frame. But the Predators spoiled their good start when Kevin Fiala scored with 32.2 seconds left.

It's the 15th straight game the Blackhawks allowed a first-period goal, although this is one they can't get too worked up about.

'"We talked about it before: we've got to be ready," Gustafsson said. "Nashville's a great team. We know they're going to come out hard. Right from the start, we battled hard, we stuck together as a team and when we [got] tired, we stuck together in front of [Ward]. It was a team win tonight."

4. Alex DeBrincat is in good company

The Blackhawks celebrated a birthday on Tuesday, with DeBrincat turning 21 years of age. It's weird to think he's only 21, but at the same time it feels like he's been around for a while now and has become part of the core. 

There are only six players in Blackhawks history who have scored more goals than him before turning 21: 
— Eddie Olczyk (65 in 228 games)
— Jeremy Roenick (58 in 146 games)
— Jonathan Toews (58 in 146 games)
— Bobby Hull (55 in 177 games)
— Denis Savard (54 in 129 games)
— Patrick Kane (53 in 181 games)

Of those seven players, DeBrincat ranks fourth in goals-per-game (.362). And the best is yet to come.

"It's a nice weapon to have in your lineup," Colliton said. "He's probably exceeded expectations that people had for him when he first came to training camp a year and a half ago. But there's no reason why he can't keep getting better."

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