Daley, Garbutt ready to blend in with Blackhawks


Daley, Garbutt ready to blend in with Blackhawks

Trevor Daley was an offensive-minded defenseman, especially last year when he scored a career-best 16 goals in what turned out to be his final season with the Dallas Stars.

Will that be his role with the Blackhawks? Or will he be expected to be more of a defensive-minded defenseman for a team that puts that element first? Whatever the task, Daley’s willing to do it.

“I’m coming on to a team that just won a Cup. I’m looking to fit in, follow their lead and listen because I want to win one with them,” Daley said via conference call on Monday. “I’m willing to do whatever I’m supposed to do."

“When I sit down with Joel and figure that out or if it’s just let your game come to it, either way, I’m excited about the opportunity I’m getting here,” Daley said. “And I’ll try to take full advantage of it.”

Daley and Ryan Garbutt, both acquired by the Blackhawks in the deal that sent Patrick Sharp and Stephen Johns to Dallas, echoed the same sentiment: they’ll do what they’re told to do with their new team. That’s a mantra most have taken when they’ve joined the Blackhawks in recent years. From these two to Brad Richards to Antoine Vermette, joining an established team like the Blackhawks means you may or may not play the same role you’ve had previously. And that’s just fine with Daley and Garbutt.

“Any time you change teams you think, where do you fit in?” Garbutt said. “Coming onto a team like the Hawks, with the pedigree they have, you just want to do whatever you can to fit in and play whatever role they want you to play.”

Daley underwent hip surgery in April but said he will be “ready to go on Day 1.” Indeed, the Blackhawks are a defense-first team; but general manager Stan Bowman, who talked of the deal on Friday night, liked the offensive edge Daley could lend to the blue line. He will join an established group on the Blackhawks’ blue line with Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson. The Blackhawks’ top four got extra work last spring, especially after Michal Rozsival was injured. That and the Blackhawks’ penchant for playing an up-tempo game are enticing for Daley.

“Both teams that were playing in the final… there was a lot of skill and they played a fast-paced game,” Daley said of the Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning. “That excites me because that’s the game I like to play.”

Garbutt, meanwhile, adds some sandpaper to a team that already has a few guys contributing that, Andrew Shaw and Andrew Desjardins among them. If Garbutt just adds to that or develops a few new wrinkles to his game – the Blackhawks always like players willing to expand their roles – he’ll do so.

“They play a high-speed game with a lot of offense but they take care of their own zone,” Garbutt said. “I think of myself as someone who can play both ends of the rink. I’ll definitely work hard every night. I see guys who play hard, 100 percent every night; that’s something I’m definitely looking forward to learning from the group and I can’t wait to get started.”

Some who have joined the Blackhawks in recent years have learned a common theme: playing your game is encouraged but accepting a different role is sometimes necessary. It’s not always easy. But for a chance to win the Cup, several have rolled with the changes with great results. Daley and Garbutt will look to do the same thing.

“I get to go play for the best team in hockey, go watch some future hall of famers play hockey and play with them on the same team,” Daley said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge and I’ll just try to take advantage of it and run with it.”

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.