Dennis Rasmussen makes immediate impact in Blackhawks debut


Dennis Rasmussen makes immediate impact in Blackhawks debut

Dennis Rasmussen recorded a team-low 8 minutes and 33 seconds of ice time during his NHL debut in a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, but he only needed his third shift to make an impact.

At the 10:45 mark of the first period, Andrew Shaw directed a shot on net, where Rasmussen planted himself in an effort to screen Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne. Not only did he obstruct Rinne's view, but the shot was deflected by the 25-year-old rookie, who celebrated his first NHL goal (on his first shot) like anybody would.

"I yelled as loud as I could," Rasmussen said.

He had 21,432 fans at the United Center that joined him.

[MORE: WATCH: Blackhawks' Dennis Rasmussen scores first NHL goal in first NHL game]

It's not that Rasmussen scored in his debut that may have mattered most to the Blackhawks; it's how he did it. A tip-in while battling for position in front of the net, something coach Joel Quenneville has stressed his team should do more of and an area the Blackhawks additionally worked on in practice Monday.

"That's how you score in our league," Quenneville said of Rasmussen's unorthodox goal. "Pretty goals are hard to come by. Traffic, turn the puck over, get it back to the point, second opportunity or screen, tip, deflection and go off that. Lines like that, that’s the recipe for success. Bring energy, get on the body, turn pucks over and scoring a big goal like that certainly helps us in a lot of ways."

Rasmussen took a cross-check to the back after scoring the goal, but that's the price you pay when you go to the front of the net and it paid off this time.

Is that the type of goal he envisioned for the first of his career?

"I think I visualized a couple things," Rasmussen said. "This game I just tried to play a simple game and try to get into it right away and to get the goal, that's of course, I'm really happy about it.

“I felt good right away and the guys really helped me to feel on the team and to feel comfortable and talked to me a lot, especially (Bryan) Bickell and (Andrew) Shaw, so I really felt comfortable, even from the start, and after a goal of course the nerves got away a little bit too."

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Rasmussen became the second Blackhawks player this season to register a goal in his NHL debut, with Artemi Panarin being the first on opening night.

A goal on his first shot in his first career game is something Rasmussen will certainly never forget. But to cap off a memorable day, his parents and brother were in attendance for it after flying in from Sweden.

"It's the biggest day of my life so far," Rasmussen said. "It's easy to say that."

Start of the Blackhawks Dynasty, Part 9: Memorable Canucks series

Start of the Blackhawks Dynasty, Part 9: Memorable Canucks series

In a 10-part series, we look back at the 10-year anniversary of the 2008-09 season, the start of the Blackhawks dynasty.

After eliminating the Calgary Flames in six games and securing their first playoff series win since 1995-96, the Blackhawks were on to the Western Conference semi-finals, where they would meet the Vancouver Canucks. And what a memorable series this would shape out to be, the start of a terrific rivalry that would develop over the next several years.

The Blackhawks didn't have home-ice advantage this time, but it turns out they didn't need it.

After falling into a 2-1 hole, the Blackhawks evened up the series in Game 4 at the United Center when Andrew Ladd re-directed a Dave Bolland shot in overtime to put the pressure back on the Canucks heading back to Vancouver. It was a pivotal moment in the series, but the turning point may have started late in Game 3.

Although he didn't score until Game 5, Dustin Byfuglien was an absolute wrecking ball and unquestionably got into Roberto Luongo's head with his net-front presence and physicality. 

The Blackhawks locked up Game 5 in Vancouver and returned to Chicago, where they would beat the Canucks 7-5 in Game 6 thanks to a hat-trick by 20-year-old Patrick Kane. It was that night when Kane was coined with the nickname: "Hat-trick Kane."

And of course, who could forget Luongo's postgame press conference when he was moved to tears after accepting blame for the series loss?

Relive the series in the video above.

Joel Quenneville: Corey Crawford's short on-ice session part of schedule after six straight days of skating

Joel Quenneville: Corey Crawford's short on-ice session part of schedule after six straight days of skating

For the sixth straight day, Corey Crawford skated one hour before Blackhawks practice on Wednesday. But this one was the shortest on-ice workout of training camp.

After several discussions in between drills with head athletic trainer Mike Gapski and goaltending coach Jimmy Waite, Crawford's workout ended at 20 minutes. His sessions have usually lasted around 30.

Asked after practice about it, coach Joel Quenneville said not to read anything into it as it was all part of the schedule and that Crawford worked out in the gym afterwards as well. He is scheduled to have an off day on Thursday.

"We still like the progress and the way he's going along here," Quenneville said. "We're still encouraged that his progress is headed in the right direction."

Crawford said on Day 1 of camp that he's still dealing with concussion-like symptoms from last season, but that he's "really close" to returning. Conditioning is one of his biggest hurdles as well, because he hasn't been able to up the intensity on training the way he normally does over the summer.

"Every single day is movement, conditioning, he's feeling good, I think that's half the battle," Quenneville said. "You're getting conditioning out of it and all of a sudden you get in different positions and movements and then there's progress along the way with the velocity of shots, when there's traffic, there's bodies, so we're trying to add a little bit of something and a different look every single day.

"It's the routine in the schedule. Today was six in a row, let's let this slow down a little today and tomorrow he's off."

Injury updates

In other injury news, Blackhawks team physician Michael Terry released a medical update on Connor Murphy, who could now miss up to 12 weeks with a back injury.

“Connor will have a period of six weeks during which he will be off the ice," Terry said in a statement. "He will undergo further testing at that time to determine if it is appropriate for him to begin more physical activity or require an additional four weeks of rest. This puts Murphy’s overall timeline at approximately eight to twelve weeks before returning to the lineup.”

Jan Rutta is also listed as day to day with a groin injury. Quenneville said it's not believed to be serious.

First wave of cuts

In addition, the Blackhawks made their first wave of cuts by re-assigning goaltender Alexis Gravel (Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL), forward Philipp Kurashev (Quebec Remparts) and defenseman Jake Ryczek (Halifax Mooseheads) to their respective junior teams and released forward Shaw Boomhower from his amateur tryout.

"Kurashev, I didn't mind him," Quenneville said. "I think they all did alright. I think that the two kids going to Halifax, they got good coaching there. [Halifax head coach] Eric Veilleux was a guy we had him a little bit around in the Quebec days and I think they're going to be excited about that. They're hosting a Memorial Cup so those two guys will be having an exciting year for them. Phil is going to Quebec, going to play for Patrick [Roy]. Going to get great coaching as well, good opportunity for these guys. I thought he had a good camp. Jimmy was talking the goalie [Gravel] that he was impressed with him as well. For a young kid coming in here he learned a lot and I think that will be a good year for him as well."

The roster currently sits at 53 players: 28 forwards, 19 defensemen and six goaltenders.

Top guns set to make preseason debut

The Blackhawks brought a bunch of young guys to Columbus for the first preseason game, but Thursday should be different. Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane, Chris Kunitz and Jonathan Toews (and likely Nick Schmaltz and Brandon Saad) are among the most notable players that will be traveling to Detroit to face the Red Wings. Anton Forsberg and Kevin Lankinen will be the two goaltenders and are expected to split time in net.