Blackhawks

Hawk Talk: Rookie Morin proving his worth

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Hawk Talk: Rookie Morin proving his worth

Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010
Posted: 11:03 a.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Jeremy Morin sat at his stall following the Blackhawks' victory over the Blues on Tuesday night, the stitches across his bruised nose earned in a late fight with someone he apparently scrapped with in the minors earlier this season.

Be it the brawl, his energy, his hits or his odd-but-effective pass that hit glass, bounced funny and turned into his first NHL point ("I'll take it and it wasn't what I drew up, that's for sure," he said), Morin was making the most of his third NHL game.

"I think he's trying to make a name for himself and stick here for a bit," said Patrick Kane.

Yes, he is. And yes, he should.

Morin was called up when Marian Hossa went down with a lower-body injury at Monday's practice. He's not here to replace Hossa. Not many can do that. But bring energy? Enthusiasm? A little grit? He can do that. And because he's doing that, he deserves to stay a little while.

Hey, we know Hossa's out for a bit, likely 2-3 weeks as coach Joel Quenneville told us all Tuesday morning. And on Saturday night in Los Angeles, general manager Stan Bowman said the salary cap was not a problem in bringing players up from Rockford.

"We can bring a guy up tomorrow if we want to," he said. "It's not a salary cap issue."

Bowman said that when the Blackhawks were healthy the lines were rolling and there was no need to bring up another body. Now they're ailing again and they could use Morin. Tomas Kopecky said Morin's outing on Tuesday was "huge."

"He was involved and he was unafraid," Kopecky said. "Even the first goal when I scored, he made the great play in the offensive zone with a big hit there. The second goal -- maybe you don't see those little things, but it was all his work along the boards -- he caught that pass and got it to (Patrick Sharp) and he scored. I like the way he played."

Morin said Tuesday morning that playing for the Rockford IceHogs has helped him prepare for the faster pro game. Neither that, nor his first call-up, however, helped him quell the butterflies entering Tuesday.

"I think I definitely had some nerves," he said. "I come here and I'm expected to perform. I just try to take a different approach, get some hits early and that kind of loosens me up a bit."

The 19-year-old Morin was oh-so close to making this Blackhawks roster out of training camp. He earned respect there. He earned more in his first call-up earlier this month in Atlanta when he blocked a shot off the back of his knee, curled up for a few moments on the ice, then tried to play again a few minutes later.

On Tuesday, he added a few more respect-earning moments. Morin was everywhere on Tuesday, landing a big hit here, logging some power-play minutes there and adding plenty of zip.

His teammates have noticed it all.

"He's done some crazy things since he's been in our lineup," Jonathan Toews said. "That shot block he came up with in Atlanta, everybody on the bench was in pain when we saw him take that puck to the back of the leg. It was surprising to see him go after the guy he did (St. Louis' Chris Porter on Tuesday). It's fun to see that. As long as he doesn't get hurt, it gives our team the energy."

He gave them plenty on Tuesday. So at least let him stay while Hossa's sidelined. He's earned it.

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

The thought process behind overloading one line for Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

The thought process behind overloading one line for Blackhawks

Depth scoring is key in today's NHL. If you can't roll four lines, it will eventually catch up to you over the course of an 82-games season and, if you get there, in the playoffs, where it will certainly be exposed.

But equally important in today's NHL is having one dependable line that can be a difference-maker on a nightly basis. We're seeing it more and more across the league where teams overload one line as a "try and stop us" mentality and it's working.

Colorado's top line of Landeskog-MacKinnon-Rantanen leads all trios with 19 even-strength goals this season. Three other lines are tied for second with 16 (Panarin-Dubois-Atkinson in Columbus, Skinner-Eichel-Pominville in Buffalo and Hyman-Tavares-Marner in Toronto).

Boston’s trio of Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak has controlled a ridiculous 60.1 percent of the even-strength shot attempts over the last three seasons and has a plus-20 goal differential, according to corsica.hockey. Over that same span, Nashville’s first line of Forsberg-Johansen-Arvidsson has an NHL-leading plus-29 goal differential.

All of these teams are seeing the benefits both in the short-term and long-term as it’s translating to overall team success. Rather than playing pick your poison, the Blackhawks are trying to do the same in putting Saad-Toews-Kane together (along with DeBrincat-Anisimov-Schmaltz), hoping to spark some steady offensive production.

"If we play them together, they've got to produce," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "But sometimes when you spread them out, no one produces. By loading them up, it puts some pressure on them, but hopefully they play so well that it doesn't matter who has the puck. They're making plays, they break through anyways, no matter who they're playing against. That's what we ask of them, and so far they're coming through for us."

Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks with 12 goals. Jonathan Toews is second with 10. Brandon Saad has six (three in his past five games). In putting them on a line together, the goal for them is to continue scoring at a high rate, but doing so on a more consistent basis.

“We’re definitely hurting for offense right now, and that’s from top to bottom, the production has gone down,” Kane said. “You take it upon yourself as a player that’s supposed to score and produce, be able to do that every night. It would be nice to be able to do that more often.”

Hawks Talk Podcast: Are the Blackhawks relying too much on Corey Crawford?

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Are the Blackhawks relying too much on Corey Crawford?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast Adam Burish joins Pat Boyle to breakdown the Hawks’ recent four-game points streak, Corey Crawford's second star of the week honors and Brandon Saad’s best stretch of hockey since he returned to Chicago.

Burish talks about the criticism that Nick Schmaltz receives, the tweaks to the power play and whether he is impressed with how the team leaders have handled the coaching change.

Burish also shares his thoughts on Joel Quenneville attending Sunday night’s Bears game, Eddie Olczyk’s "One More Shift" and shares a couple off-ice stories about Patrick Kane.

:36 - What have you seen over this four-game points streak?

2:35 - Crow is second star of the week, are the Hawks relying too much on Crawford?

4:00 - Crow: no soft goals and rebound control

5:30 - Problems exiting zone cleanly

8:00 - Art of the hoister

9:40 - Best Saad has looked?

10:45 - Schmaltz inconsistencies

12:30 - New wrinkles on Power Play

16:30 - Sikura call up?

18:00 - Leaders handling coaching change

22:00 - What Q’s been up to

25:00 - Burish Beauty

26:00 - Edzo's One More Shift and Hockey Fight’s Cancer Night

28:30 - Kane’s 21st Birthday and off-ice 88 story

Listen to the full Hawks Talk Podcast right here: