Blackhawks

Hawks fall in return to United Center

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Hawks fall in return to United Center

The Blackhawks werent throwing out the tired excuse on Tuesday night, and they werent willing to use it when they were asked about it.

Nevertheless, they sure looked it.

Four different Coyotes scored, including Shane Doan with the game-winner, as the Blackhawks dropped a 4-1 decision to Phoenix at the United Center on Tuesday night.

The Blackhawks, who wrapped up their 13-day road trip on Saturday night, were looking to bring their road game at least the California part of it -- home. Instead they looked sluggish against a Coyotes team that improved to 7-3-1 on the road this season.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Monday that a game like Tuesdays was potentially dangerous: jet lag, tired legs and trying to get too cute at home could be culprits against a solid road team like Phoenix. And it looked like one or a few of those were at play, as the Blackhawks showed little fire or push-back against the Coyotes.

There were a couple of shifts that there was some (energy) but it wasnt enough for me, Quenneville said. We were really weak in the puck area. They had better, quicker sticks and quicker feet. We didnt win any puck battles.

Duncan Keith said I dont know if it was lack of energy. We were skating out there, we just didnt accomplish anything. Wed get the puck out of our zone and it seemed like it was rammed right back into it. It seemed like they were on top of us every time. I dont know if thats energy or just being smart with the puck.

And they didnt do much with the puck when they did possess it. The Blackhawks were once again looking for the perfect scoring opportunity instead of just firing it at Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith, who stopped 24 of 25 for his 12th victory this season.

Only Patrick Sharps power-play goal with 42.9 seconds got past Smith. Otherwise, it was just a lifeless night for the Blackhawks.

You sure fatigue didnt creep in just a little bit?

Maybe, but its still not an excuse, especially at this level and at home, Patrick Kane said. There should be enough energy and motivation to play in front of our own crowd and adrenaline to build off that, so thats really not an excuse for us.

Corey Crawford allowed all four goals and was pulled after Whitneys score 5:02 into the third period. Damon Langkow, Radim Vrbata and Ray Whitney also scored for the Coyotes, who will be back here on Monday night.

The Blackhawks wanted to continue their roll started in the Los Angeles area. Instead they came out decent and went to flat pretty quick. Theyll get some rest now before hosting the New York Islanders on Friday. By then, fatigue definitely wont be a potential excuse.

We know that scoring first was important, Quenneville said. We had a decent start. They played that perfect checking game and it frustrated us. It wasnt pretty.

Carbomb radio

Forward Daniel Carcillo will host a new show called The Bomb Shelter, debuting on Dec. 2 at 11 p.m. The hour-long program will focus on Carcillos love of all types of music, as well as personal anecdotes, special guests and more. Future shows will air following weekend home games on dates yet to be announced.

Briefly

Niklas Hjalmarsson was a minus-3 for the Blackhawks on Tuesday night.

Sami Lepisto, John Scott and Ben Smith were the Blackhawks healthy scratches.

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.”