Blackhawks

Hossa recovered from vertigo, ready for Columbus

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Hossa recovered from vertigo, ready for Columbus

Monday, Jan. 31, 2011
Posted 3:49 p.m. Updated 7:56 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

VacationAll-Star break time is over. The Chicago Blackhawks have to get back to work.

And considering how few games remain and how tight the standings are, they have to hit the ground running.

The Blackhawks will be tested often in this stretch run, and they embark on a six-game road trip beginning with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. With so many teams fighting for a playoff spot, theres little room for error.

And theres no time to waste.

WATCH: Blackhawks know time is now

"The rest of (this schedule) is such a big part of our season. We have to make up some ground here, defenseman Brent Seabrook said. Its going to be a huge battle for us but we have to be ready for every game. Weve got to have that killer instinct, and weve got to play that way every game.

The Blackhawks certainly cant say theyre tired or unhealthy any more. Theyve played just three games in the last 15 days, so theyre rested. Now they have to bring the energy level up, and fast.

Weve got to be ready, and it starts (Tuesday), defenseman Brian Campbell said. Everythings magnified and the games are harder now. There are so many teams battling and were going to be one of them, obviously.

Entering February, the Blackhawks are seventh in the Western Conference. Just four points separate them from the fourth-place Predators. Theyre playing above .500 on the road, and theyll get plenty of chances to improve upon that mark with nine of their next 13 away from home.

The restful January is over. The Blackhawks have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time, and most of their opponents are in the same boat.

Every games going to be almost like a playoff game, right wing Marian Hossa said. We need to get up in the standings beginning (Tuesday). Every games going to be important to us.
Hossa better

Marian Hossa said he suffered from vertigo last Tuesday, when he missed the Blackhawks game against the Minnesota Wild. The right wing practiced on Monday and was feeling better.

Basically it just hit me the night before. Everything starts spinning around you, said Hossa, who added it was the first time he experienced it. Its not comfortable. But Im back to normal.

Turco in

Marty Turco will be in net on Tuesday against Columbus. It will be his first start since Jan. 16, when he stopped 20 shots in the Blackhawks 6-3 victory over Nashville.

Corey Crawford started the Blackhawks previous three games heading into the All-Star break, winning in Detroit but suffering losses to Philadelphia and Minnesota.

We want to play (Marty), coach Joel Quenneville said. We need both guys and its a chance for him to play.

Briefly

Brian Campbell got engaged this weekend, popping the question to his girlfriend during their vacation in Colorado. The defenseman was mum on how he proposed. Ill keep that between myself, her and the families, he said.

WATCH: Campbell explains engagement

Ryan Johnson missed practice on Monday with a lower-body injury. Coach Joel Quenneville said Johnson is day-to-day and the injury isnt serious.

Defenseman Nick Leddy was recalled from Rockford on Monday.

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

Do the Blackhawks have room to sign John Tavares?

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USA TODAY

Do the Blackhawks have room to sign John Tavares?

The NHL Draft is over. Farm systems have been restocked and now the focus has shifted to free agency, where the fun is just beginning.

The biggest fish on the market is John Tavares, a franchise-changing center in the heart of his prime. For a little bit, it seemed like the loyal New York Islanders captain was ready to move on after they took another step back by missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

But then Lou Lamiorello became available and was snatched up by Long Island. His first order of business was relieving GM Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight of their duties, the first real sign that significant changes were coming. The next was securing Barry Trotz as head coach after he couldn't agree to terms on an extension with the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.

For the first time in a while, there appears to be structure in the front office and coaching staff.

Yet, Tavares has remained committed to visiting with reportedly five teams in Los Angeles during the free agent negotiating window that opened Sunday. And he's absolutely earned that right. San Jose and Toronto are believed to be two of the teams. The rest is unclear.

When asked by NBC Sports Chicago's Pat Boyle at the end of the draft on Saturday, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman wouldn't confirm nor deny that they were one of the teams scheduled to meet with Tavares.

"I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise, right?" Bowman said with a smile.

Whether or not they are, could the Blackhawks realistically even make it work?

They actually have the cap space to do it. Or at least they can make room without shuffling too many cards.

As of Sunday, the Blackhawks have $9.225 million in open cap space to fill out six roster spots. If you can find a trade partner for Marian Hossa's contract, that creates an extra $5.275 million, which brings the total up to $14.5 million. That's without subtracting any real bodies from the roster. 

Tavares is likely to command in the $10 million range for average annual value over the next seven years, and the latter part is key. While it would certainly be challenging to have three players eating up at least $10 million each in cap space — with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews at $10.5 million — they could make it work in the short term.

But signing Tavares to a seven-year deal would probably get in the way of the Blackhawks' longer-term goals, which includes re-signing Alex DeBrincat and Nick Schmaltz when their entry-level deals expire and even Vinnie Hinostroza when his new two-year contract ends.

Are the Blackhawks willing to risk that?

For Tavares, maybe. But Toews is 30, Kane is 29 and Tavares will be 28 by the time this upcoming season starts. At some point, an infusion of youth would be required to remain competitive for the long term.

Stan Bowman plays coy when asked about pitching free agent John Tavares

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USA TODAY

Stan Bowman plays coy when asked about pitching free agent John Tavares

The unrestricted free agent market opens up for the NHL on July 1. Five-time All-Star John Tavares is will reportedly be meeting with five different teams to talk about the possibility of leaving the only team he's played for his entire career, the New York Islanders. 

After a highly disappointing 33-39-10 finish to the 2017-18 season, many expect Chicago general manager Stan Bowman to be very aggressive this offseason. When asked by NBC Sports Chicago's Pat Boyle if the Blackhawks would be one of the five teams going after Tavares, Bowman gave a very reticent answer.

"I woudn't want to spoil the surprise, right?" Bowman said with a smile. 

"No, I'm not going to comment on that, but I know we're gonna have a lot of discussions over the next five or six days and we'll see where it goes."

Reports indicate that the Islanders and Tavares had been trying to work out the terms of a long-term extension, but with so many attractive options out there, it will be a tough decision for him. There are several teams coming off of playoff runs expected to go after Tavares, including Tampa Bay, Las Vegas and San Jose. In addition to those teams, his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to be in play as well.

But Chicago's rough year was so out of place for a team so used to winning consistently, that one can imagine their pitch will be enticing.

Elliotte Friedman of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada had this to say about the Blackhawks potential pursuit of Tavares: "They're not going to tolerate being that bad again, they're going to try something. I think they'll make a run at John Tavares too. I do, I think they'll ask, is there any way we can get him here?"

When taking all of this into account, it is sure to be an extremely exciting free agency period for the Blackhawks. The team is in full "re-tool" rather than "rebuild" mode, and there have been discussions that Kane may be becoming the more vocal leader of the team. But the addition of Tavares to a core of Kane, Jonathan Toews and Corey Crawford could boost the Blackhawks back into Stanley Cup contention.