Blackhawks

Hawks don't lose power despite Kane's quick exit

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Hawks don't lose power despite Kane's quick exit

Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010
Updated 10:39 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks were barely into their game Sunday night when star forward Patrick Kane lay injured near the boards. As Kane was helped off, putting very little to no weight on his left leg, the Blackhawks had to regroup and respond.

They did.

Kane will be out probably a little bit after sustaining a lower-body injury that coach Joel Quenneville said is not real serious, and the Blackhawks held off the Calgary Flames 4-2 at the United Center on Sunday night.

Dave Bolland scored twice, Brent Seabrook had three assists and Corey Crawford won his sixth consecutive start for the Blackhawks.

Kane was hurt 46 seconds into Sundays contest, falling awkwardly when he was checked along the boards by Flames defenseman Cory Sarich. The Blackhawks were already without Marian Hossa (lower body) and Fernando Pisani (upper body).

Guys who are getting injured are key parts to this team. When they go down, its tough. Its a lot of offensive firepower out of your lineup, Duncan Keith said. Every team deals with that at one point or the other, but it seems like weve had a tough go of it. But weve got guys who can step up. Its just a collective team effort where everybody and get a little bit better and pick up the slack.

The Blackhawks did some of that on Sunday, when they scored all four goals on their power play. Bryan Bickell and Jonathan Toews scored on the advantage, and Bolland tapped in his first on a 5-on-3 edge.

Finally, Bolland said of his goals. Its nice to get rewarded.

The Blackhawks were giving as much as they were taking early, however, as the Flames scored on their first two power plays. Jarome Iginla and Anton Babchuk evened the game at the time, 2-2.

Toews power-play goal put the Blackhawks back up at the end of the first period. But they got in penalty trouble in the third, taking three in a row. The penalty kill, and Crawford, came up big in that sequence.

I played with him back in Norfolk (Va.), four or five years ago and hes the same. It just took time to come up and show what he can do, Bolland said. Hes been real good for us.

As for Kane's injury, just how long a little bit ends up being will be determined soon. Until then, the Blackhawks will have to depend on others to get them through this.

You dont want your star guy getting hurt, Crawford said. Hopefully hes ready to go fairly soon but the other guys, theyre able to just keep playing and step up even when we miss a guy like that.

Starting next

The Dallas Stars, with whom Marty Turco spent 10 seasons, are at the United Center on Wednesday. So does Quenneville go with Turco against his former team or Crawford, whos on a winning streak?

Well see, he said. I know I went against (going with the hot hand) the last time. Craws on a nice little roll right now but well have to give that some consideration.

Briefly

Bollands goals were his first since Oct. 16 against the Buffalo Sabres.

Quenneville said Hossa andor Pisani could be skating at some point this week.

Jordan Hendry was a healthy scratch on Sunday.

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

Evaluating Blackhawks options after Anton Forsberg is placed on waivers

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AP

Evaluating Blackhawks options after Anton Forsberg is placed on waivers

The Blackhawks have said all along that they don't plan on carrying three goaltenders, but wanted to do so during the three games in four days stretch just in case, with Corey Crawford coming back from a 10-month layoff because of a concussion.

After being encouraged by how Crawford has responded to his return, the Blackhawks placed goaltender Anton Forsberg on waivers Monday morning. Teams have 24 hours to put in a claim for the 25-year-old goaltender and would have to keep him on their NHL roster for 10 games and/or 30 days before he's eligible to go through the waiver process again.

His chances of getting claimed by any of the other 30 teams essentially depends on which teams believe Forsberg would be an immediate upgrade over their current backup — or starter, for that matter — or whether there's an injury to one of the team's two goaltenders that requires a placeholder, like we saw the Carolina Hurricanes do by claiming Curtis McElhinney from the Toronto Maple Leafs after Scott Darling's injury in the preseason.

If Forsberg goes unclaimed, the Blackhawks can assign him to the American Hockey League with the Rockford IceHogs. With Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen sharing the goaltending duties in Rockford, it's possible Lankinen gets sent to the Indy Fuel in the East Coast Hockey League to get consistent starts under his belt.

A third option, one that isn't very common but we've seen in the past as recently as last October with Maple Leafs goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo, is that Forsberg can be loaned to any AHL team while still being a part of the Blackhawks organization. This would allow the Blackhawks to keep Delia and Lankinen in Rockford while Forsberg gets his starts in the AHL, too.

Or, the Blackhawks could simply trade Forsberg to another NHL team that could stash him in the AHL, as long as he clears waivers. They did it last season with Chris DiDomenico, who cleared waivers as a member of the Ottawa Senators but was then traded to Chicago for Ville Pokka days later. Had DiDomenico been claimed by the Blackhawks, he would have had to stay on the NHL roster as noted above.

Forsberg was 10-16-4 with a 2.97 goals against average and .908 save percentage in 35 appearances last season but has not appeared in a game yet this year. He was acquired as part of the Brandon Saad package for Artemi Panarin in June 2017.

Blackhawks looking for defensive improvement from everyone, not just defensemen

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks looking for defensive improvement from everyone, not just defensemen

The Blackhawks were able to get away with their defensive lapses in the past solely because of Corey Crawford. When he went down with a concussion last December, those issues were magnified because he wasn't there to mask the flaws.

But it's reached the point where they can't rely on their goaltender to bail them out on a nightly basis, which is becoming another trend. Cam Ward allowed six goals to Tampa Bay on Sunday night, but made 49 saves — including 30 in the second period alone. He did everything he could to keep his team withing some sort of reaching distance and without his timely stops, the scoreboard could've looked much worse for the Blackhawks.

Something's got to change. 

When the Blackhawks talk about tightening things up defensively, they're not just putting it all on the defensemen. All five guys on the ice need to do their part and they're not doing it right now.

"I think we're trying to do too much and running around trying to do each other's job," Jonathan Toews said. "Sometimes we just need to simply and finish our checks and support each other."

No team has given up more even-strength high-danger chances through eight games than the Blackhawks at 110. That's 15.77 per 60 minutes. For reference, the New York Islanders finished worst in the league in that category last season and their number was at 12.96.

It didn't help that the Blackhawks spent nearly the entire second period in their own end on Sunday.

"We just couldn’t get it out of our zone, couldn’t get our stick on it, didn’t see pressure, didn’t feel pressure when we had it, were stripped," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Hence, we didn’t advance it. Kept looking like we were going up the ice and there were going to be some odd-man situations and then we’re the ones who were facing it."

That's one way to eliminate those high quality scoring chances, is getting the puck out of their own zone effectively or else it opens the door for Grade-A opportunities because of self-inflicted wounds. And it usually happens at the end of shifts when guys are tired, which often leads to goals.

"We have to learn how to play without the puck better and learn how to keep it," Quenneville said. "Whether it was our execution going up the ice, first pass poor and then we couldn’t change. A lot of things that happened yesterday were there tonight."

The Blackhawks weren't using three games in four nights as an excuse because Tampa Bay was in the same situation. It was an even playing field in that respect.

It's all about execution from everyone involved, forwards and defensemen. And the Blackhawks feel they're correctable issues.

"Of course," Toews said. "We've had some good periods this season so far. The first three, four, five games, everyone was excited and you guys are all talking to us much differently than you are right now. It's just getting back to playing that smart defensive game and playing with effort and letting our offense do the work. We know what's got to improve. It's right there in front of us."