Blackhawks

Jokes aimed at Bolland; but is joke on Canucks?

Jokes aimed at Bolland; but is joke on Canucks?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Posted: 9:02 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Dave Bolland received a good-natured ribbing from his teammates after his great Game 4 performance on Tuesday night.

We were joking he was well rested and had lots of legs left, Patrick Sharp said on Wednesday.

Bolland definitely had the legs and the game the Blackhawks needed on Tuesday. With Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik on Tuesday, the Blackhawks had a line that was sharp offensively and stingy defensively, holding the Sedin twins to one goal and a combined minus-7 rating.

Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo said after Game 4 that one guy wasnt going to change a series. Maybe not, but Bolland altered momentum with his performance, and the depth his return adds can effect the rest of it.

No matter who you're playing against you have so many more (options) as far as putting lines together, said coach Joel Quenneville, who now has Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Bolland as his top three centers. He's a competitive guy and he gives you a different look as a team. He certainly brings more weapons in the lineup and does pretty well against the Sedins.

Sharp said he really noticed the Bolland lines impact when he watched the game again late Tuesday.

Froley goes back to the wing and he was flying all night, Sharp said. With his speed he created a lot of those goals; it was a very underrated game from Froley. You can see what Bicks is capable of doing when he plays that way. He's big, he can move and he has some great skills. That line was big.
Seabrook and Scott

Brent Seabrook traveled with the Blackhawks when they headed to Vancouver on Wednesday and Quenneville said there is a possibility of him playing in Game 5 on Thursday.

John Scott filled that vacant defenseman spot in Game 4 and could again in Game 5. Scott was never out there to take Seabrooks place and pick up his duties, specifically that was a concerted effort among all the defensemen. Scott was there to do what he does best: pick up some minutes and be a big body to keep havoc from breaking out.

If Seabrook plays, Quenneville said theyd look at Scott maybe playing at forward.

A lot of people rolled their eyes Tuesday morning when we announced he'd be on the back end, he said. But we played five big games down the stretch with John Scott on the back end. He played meaningful minutes in those games but they were important. He settled things down, played well defensively and he has purpose to his game.
Froliks time

Michael Frolik isnt used to playing past early April. But the Blackhawks forward, who was acquired from the Florida Panthers for Jack Skille in early February, is starting to soak up the postseason vibe.

It's amazing, so different than what it was in Florida, he said. Its my first playoff so I didn't know what to expect. Its a great experience for me.

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

Blackhawks and Blue Jackets both going through own challenges of Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad trade

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks and Blue Jackets both going through own challenges of Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad trade

The Blackhawks and Blue Jackets blockbuster trade from the 2017 offseason is always a hot topic in Chicago when things aren't going great. It especially is when the two teams square off against each other, like Saturday at Nationwide Arena for the first time this season.

If it wasn't already apparent in Chicago, Artemi Panarin has emerged as a real NHL superstar and is set for a giant payday when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2019. He set a Blue Jackets record with 82 points in a single season and has nine points (three goals, six assists) through six games this season.

Brandon Saad, on the other hand, had a challenging first year back with the Blackhawks in 2017-18 after netting only 35 points in 82 games and is off to a slow start this year as well with zero goals and two assists through six games. After a demotion to the fourth line, he was close to being a healthy scratch on Thursday, which only magnifies where things are at as the two get ready to clash.

But Saad was never going to be able to replace Panarin's offensive production. Everybody knows that. Yet, the offensive comparisons will always be there as a barometer and that's something Saad doesn't think about, no matter how much fans talk about it.

"I don't think I do it," he said. "We're different players. He's a great player. Fans are going to do whatever comparisons they want, but at the end of the day you've got to be true to yourself and do what you bring to the table. He's a great player around the league. You can see his highlights and his goals, he's definitely a special player. But at the end of the day I've got confidence in my abilities too. We both bring different attributes, but they're going to make comparisons regardless."

A big reason why the Blackhawks reacquired Saad, other than his ability to play a 200-foot game, is because he carries a $6 million cap hit through 2020-21, which is two years more than Panarin at the same cap hit. (It's also important to note that the Blackhawks hoped they were getting a reliable, young backup goaltender in Anton Forsberg, but the injury to Corey Crawford thrust him into a role he wasn't exactly prepared for.)

It's not all rainbows for Columbus right now regarding where things stand with Panarin, who has made it clear he's not ready to sign a long-term extension. All signs point to the 26-year-old winger hitting the market, putting the Blue Jackets in a tricky situation ahead of the trade deadline. The Blackhawks very well could have found themselves in this position, too, had a deal not been made.

Both sides are dealing with their own challenges of the trade. Saad is still a key piece to the Blackhawks' puzzle and they're hoping to get more out of him, for no other reason than the team's overall success.

"You want to have success regardless of who you're playing for, who you're traded for, things like that," Saad said. "Naturally, just as competitors, you want to bring that excitement and you want to have success with the team and personally."

Anthony Duclair regrets not making most of opportunity with Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

Anthony Duclair regrets not making most of opportunity with Blackhawks

Anthony Duclair knew what kind of opportunity he had in front of him when he was traded to the Blackhawks in January. The first day he stepped into the locker room, he admitted he was a little "star-struck."

But the marriage didn't last very long. 

After recording only two goals and eight assists in 23 games, the Blackhawks chose to move on from the restricted free agent by not extending a qualifying offer. Duclair later latched on with the Columbus Blue Jackets on a one-year, $650,000 "prove-it" deal.

"I wasn't surprised," Duclair said before Saturday's game against his former team. "I knew that I didn't perform as well as I did when I was there. I think I was there for only 20 games and didn't live up to the standards. As soon as I didn't hear anything from my agent I sort of got the message. But it was time to move on."

Duclair made no excuses for what went wrong in Chicago and accepted responsibility for not taking advantage of his opportunity, even though a leg injury sidelined him for the final month that prevented him from giving the Blackhawks a larger sample size.

"I just didn't perform well," he said. "It's going to be one of my regrets, to get that opportunity in Chicago and not perform in the way I did. It was something I had to look in the mirror this summer and move on obviously, but at the same time whenever a team comes next I think I'm going to take that opportunity and run away with it."

It's obvious that Duclair's got the potential to be an effective offensive player in the NHL. But we've only seen that in flashes, which is a large reason why it didn't work out in Chicago and why, entering his fifth season in the league, he still finds himself trying to play for a long-term contract.

"Just being more consistent," Duclair said. "Thats comes up a lot and my agents talks to a couple GMs around the league and it's something I'm trying to work on. It's not something you can work on in the summer, it's more preparing mentally and physically and that's what I've been trying to do."

So far, so good in Columbus.

Duclair has two goals and two assists through six games and is averaging 15:22 of ice time playing in a top-six role, on track to shatter his previous career high in that category (14:23) when he did so as a sophomore in 2015-16 with Arizona. He even made headlines on Thursday after scoring a highlight-reel goal against the Philadelphia Flyers, saying his "phone blew up quite a bit."

How he scored it is what stood out and his perspective after it is encouraging for his overall growth, as well.

"I've already put it behind me to be honest with you," Duclair said. "I'm just focused on Chicago now. I want to be consistent throughout every shift. Look at that goal, [it was] second and third efforts. That's what I want to bring to the table every shift, especially with the guys I'm playing right now. I just want to be having the puck whenever you can and being big on the forecheck."