Blackhawks

Five Things: Artem Anisimov flying under radar for Blackhawks

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Five Things: Artem Anisimov flying under radar for Blackhawks

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A little good, a little bad: the Blackhawks had a little of both in Friday night’s loss to the Minnesota Wild.

Certainly, this is a team still trying to figure things out, and their last several games prove that. When their defense has been stellar, the offense was quiet. On Friday their offense got going and their defense gave up too much.

You take the bitter with the sweet, realize this team, as Brent Seabrook said, has some work to do, and now they have to do it. So before we head home, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 5-4 loss to the Wild.

[MORE: Offense comes alive, but Blackhawks fall short in loss to Wild]

1. The defense had an off night. The Blackhawks gave up a few odd-man rushes. They struggled at times to get Minnesota out of their zone. What that ticked coach Joel Quenneville off most were those lapses at the beginning and ends of periods. The Wild scored two goals early in periods (18 seconds into the first and 32 seconds into the third) and another with 11 seconds left in the first.

2. Jonathan Toews on a roll. The offense did plenty of good things on Friday night, and it’s no surprise that Toews was a big part of it. His two goals – one short-handed, the other the Blackhawks’ first 5-on-5 goal in more than a week – now give him four for the season.

3. Artem Anisimov continues to contribute. While a smattering of fans keep asking when Marko Dano comes back to Chicago, everyone might want to give credit to the center in that trade. Anisimov is what the Blackhawks needed immediately, a capable second-line center that filled the void left this offseason. He’s been just that, scoring his fourth goal on Friday and showing he’s not just the other guy on that second line with Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

4. Will Andrew Desjardins get supplemental discipline? Desjardins went knee-to-knee with Minnesota forward Justin Fontaine in the second period on Friday night. Fontaine needed help to get to the locker room, and Minnesota writers reported that Fontaine could be out for a few weeks. A source said the league will look at the hit, but any decision on if there is/isn’t supplemental discipline won’t be made until this weekend.

5. Finding their way. The Blackhawks won their first three games without Duncan Keith but they weren’t going to roll without him. They miss Keith on defense. They miss him on the other side, too. But he’s not even getting on the ice for a bit so the Blackhawks will have to find ways to get through a few more weeks without him.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”