Blackhawks

Flames too hot for Hawks to handle

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Flames too hot for Hawks to handle

Monday, Feb. 7, 2011Posted: 10:57 PM Updated: 11:59 PM
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

CALGARY, Alberta You would think that being in 11th place on Monday morning wouldve sparked the Chicago Blackhawks. Or that even the November drubbing they took to Calgary up here last time wouldve sparked them.

But no. And no.

On a night the Blackhawks desperately needed production, urgency and points, they got very little of one and none of the other two.

Patrick Kane scored his 15th of the season, but the Blackhawks came out sluggish and couldnt make it up in late in a 3-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday night. It was another disheartening loss for the Blackhawks, who have now lost four of their last five.

Be it the slow start or the 0-for-4 performance on the power play, the Blackhawks could generate little on the offensive side.

It reminded me of the first period here last time, said coach Joel Quenneville, referring to the Blackhawks 7-2 loss here in November. The play was in our end, we got behind early. We had some stretches in the second period we had moment, but we cant give up that winning goal tonight.

The Blackhawks managed just three shots on goal in the first while the Flames countered with 10 and a 1-0 lead at the end of the first 20 minutes to show for their work.

They had a good start to our game but ours was flat, there wasnt much to it, not a whole lot of intensity, Troy Brouwer said. To have a start like that in such an important game for us is disappointing.

The Flames, meanwhile, were strong throughout the night. A surging squad that distanced themselves a little more from the Blackhawks on Monday, the Flames were tenacious and determined. They got on top first a Mikael Backlund goal off a pretty Lance Bouma pass and didnt relinquish much momentum.

Curtis Glencross scored midway through the period and Rene Bourque added an empty-net goal for the Flames.

The Blackhawks had their chances to tie it, go ahead and build a decent lead with four power plays. But much like their game against Vancouver on Friday, the Blackhawks came up empty. Theyre now 0 for 9 on the power play that not long ago was their modus operandi.

The guys on the power play are the guys can get it done and we just have to find way to bang one home, said Jonathan Toews, who assisted on Kanes goal. There are a lot of times pucks are bouncing around us and not giving each other flat passes. Its frustrating. You can pinpoint one thing like that that makes big difference in your game.

The Blackhawks end Monday as they began it: sitting in 11th in the Western Conference. The desperation level should be growing by now. But as defenseman Brian Campbell said, I hope it grew a while ago.

Its not easy to win hockey games; for us, I dont know if we expect its going to be easy, Campbell said. There are a lot of good teams in the conference. Were not making it easy for ourselves and we have to start proving were a playoff team. Right now, obviously were not a playoff team.

Late call

Defenseman Brent Seabrook was whistled for an unsportsmanlike penalty with 1:14 remaining in the third period. Why Seabrook was sent off wasnt exactly clear when asked if Seabrook said something to officials, Quenneville said likely.

Quenneville said hes fine if the Blackhawks start getting angry with the way things are going, as long as its directed the right way.

I think were better with anger, but it being channeled properly has to be part of it, he said. Thats an undisciplined penalty at the end we cant take.

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

What Jeremy Colliton has learned about the Blackhawks after one week

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USA TODAY

What Jeremy Colliton has learned about the Blackhawks after one week

It’s been a week since Jeremy Colliton took over as head coach of the Blackhawks. In some ways, it feels longer than that. In reality, he's just getting started.

Coming into a situation where the team had lost five straight games didn't help make the transition easy for Colliton, and dropping his first three contests as an NHL coach hasn't been ideal, either.

But he's been around long enough to get a feel for what he has in the locker room and how his players are responding to the adversity. 

Asked what he's learned from this group so far, Colliton didn't hesitate.

"I've learned that they want to win," he said. "They're extremely open to feedback. They want to get better. They want the video. They want the meetings. They want to talk. They want these ideas. They want to know how we can win. What's the plan? And it's right on down the line. The youngest guys I knew that because I had them in Rockford. But the oldest guys, they're almost the most excited about talking hockey and how we're going to turn this around. So that's been a pleasant surprise and makes me very excited about the future."

There are nine players on this Blackhawks roster with at least two Stanley Cups on their resume. Yet, none of them are satisfied with where they're at right now, which isn't surprising to anybody in Chicago. That’s why they’re winners.

The Blackhawks want to turn this losing skid around as quickly as possible and it's the veterans who are leading the charge in that respect, both on the ice and in the film room. That's the kind of leadership they have and need to have in the locker room, especially as a 33-year-old rookie NHL coach looks to gain respect of the group on the fly.

Gustav Forsling call-up comes at perfect time for Blackhawks

Gustav Forsling call-up comes at perfect time for Blackhawks

The Blackhawks recalled defenseman Gustav Forsling from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League and placed forward Marcus Kruger (left leg) on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 9, the team announced Tuesday.

Forsling, who underwent wrist surgery in the offseason, was sent to Rockford on Oct. 22 perhaps more-so as a conditioning stint and appeared in five games. He missed four contests with a groin injury, but is coming off a two-assist game against the Chicago Wolves over the weekend.

"It's been a long summer with the injury," Forsling said. "It's good to be finally back here."

The 22-year-old defenseman had three goals and 10 assists in 41 games with the Blackhawks last season before getting assigned to the IceHogs for the remainder of the campaign. He recorded five points (two goals, three assists) in 18 regular-season games and five points (one goal, four assists) in 13 postseason contests, where he really proved himself.

"Happy to have him here," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "We think he can help us. He's a fantastic skater, moves the puck clean, with his gap he can really defend lines well, we think he can add something to our group.

"Really pleased with how we played in the playoffs for us in Rockford. He played a huge role, not so much power play, but 5-on-5 and killing penalties and that's probably how we see him here for now. But he can move the puck and he can shoot the puck and he's got a lot of tools. Watching his play down in Rockford since he's come back, he's picked up where he left off and he can play the left and the right side, so it's a positive for our team."

Forsling said Colliton was a "huge" reason why Rockford went on such a deep playoff run last season, but also credited his new coach for the role he played in his development.

"He helped me a lot [in getting] my game to be at the top and I felt like I did very good in the playoffs down there," Forsling said. "He just wanted me to be consistent and show up every night, play good defensively. And I felt like he brought that out of me."

The Blackhawks' roster currently sits at 23 players, meaning they will be carrying eight defensemen for now despite the team's reluctance to do so again this season after it backfired a year ago — Colliton said he's not against the idea, but isn't for it, either. Brandon Davidson (right leg injury) did not practice on Tuesday, which was believed to be a reason for bringing up Forsling, but Colliton dismissed the thought that Forsling is only here for insurance.

"No, we think he can play," Colliton said. "We feel that he's back up to speed and it's up to him to prove himself."

Forsling's call-up certainly comes at a desperate time for the Blackhawks, who have lost eight in a row (0-6-2) and could use all the help they can get on the back end. 

"More competition the better," Colliton said. "It's going to push everyone to be better. Guys got to earn what they get and that's good for our group, that's good for the minimum level of our team. They know they've got to perform every night. It's up to us to be clear with what we're asking from the guys, so when they go out or come out, they know why, they know what they have to do to go in, they know what they have to do to stay in, and I think the overall performance of the team will go up."