Kane doubtful for Friday; Hawks sticking together


Kane doubtful for Friday; Hawks sticking together

Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010
1:55 PM

By Tracey Myers

The Chicago Blackhawks arent going through the best of times right now.

Theyre physically wounded Fernando Pisani will play Friday night but Viktor Stalberg and Marian Hossa are out and Patrick Kane is doubtful. The home record isnt good. The bounces arent going their way. The frustration is there.

Oh, and more good news: the Western Division-best Detroit Red Wings come to town on Friday night.

After a strong showing on their long road trip and a good start to December at home, the Blackhawks have lost three in a row and are watching others pass them by in the standings.

But at a time when the Blackhawks could be sulking, theyre pulling themselves together. As far as the remaining healthy Blackhawks are concerned, they have no choice.

You could say that (were frustrated), but you have to use it in the right way, Jonathan Toews said. You direct that anger and frustration toward each other thats not going to do anything. You have to work as hard as you can. Thats what weve got to do.

So the Blackhawks will cobble together their forward lines again, get back out there again and try to grab points again.

We beat the same drum a lot, that we need to be harder to play against, but thats something we re-emphasized today. Thats something we need to be, coach Joel Quenneville said. We need more urgency in our overall game, no matter whos playing with whom. You want to be part of the solution and look at it in a positive and objective way. We dont want to revisit the past; we need to move forward and find ways to do it the right way.

The Blackhawks were 10th in the West as of Thursday afternoon. They certainly arent conceding a thing yet; theres too much hockey to be played. Still, they cant let the points keep slipping away; theyre banding together through this tough time in the hopes that it stops.

We just do the right things out there and the results will be good, Jack Skille said. Sometimes even though you do the right things it may not turn out well, but we cant get frustrated at that. We have to play smart and the bounces will go our way.

Injury updates

Kane started practice with the Blackhawks on Thursday but didnt finish. Kane went off for a bit, came back briefly, then left for good a few minutes into practice. Quenneville said hes doubtful for tomorrow.

Its part of the process, Quenneville said. He might need a day off. He was out there for two days in a row, today he couldve aggravated it. But its not to the extent that its a step in the wrong direction.

Hossa did not skate again Thursday but Quenneville expected him to be skating on Friday morning. Stalberg also did not practice and wont play Friday, but Quenneville said he looked OK.


Corey Crawford will start against the Red Wings.

Marty Turco said he appreciated Quenneville talking with him during his recent rough stretch. Its not surprising within this organization and with Joels repertoire to see where guys are at and lend a hand where needed. Its conducive to a successful environment and its appreciated on my end that were all in it together.

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

Blackhawks getting much-needed boost on defense with return of Connor Murphy


Blackhawks getting much-needed boost on defense with return of Connor Murphy

After missing all of training camp and the first 30 games with a back injury, Connor Murphy has been activated from injured reserve and is slated to make his season debut when the Blackhawks host the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.

"Yeah, I'm definitely excited," Murphy said after practice on Saturday. "I've been waiting for a long time."

It's a much-needed boost on the back end for the Blackhawks, who have given up the most high-danger chances at 5-on-5 this season, according to He won't be asked to save the day, but any addition is a positive as the Blackhawks look to snap a six-game losing streak.

"He's a really good player," Corey Crawford said. "But we're not relying on just one guy. We've still got to play better as a team. But to add a player like that will definitely help us."

After starting the season 6-2-2, the Blackhawks are 3-14-3 in their past 20 games and have been struggling as a team to snap out of a funk that's lasted for a month and a half. And that's been a helpless feeling for Murphy, who hasn't been able to do anything about it but will now get that chance to make an impact.

"It's hard any time you miss games, whether it's one or 30," Murphy said. "It's not fun, and especially seeing the team struggle a little bit is harder. I've been lucky enough to be around the room and around the guys to feel a part of it a little bit. But any time you go through skids — there's always ups and downs in a season — but the recent ones have been hard and you feel for the guys. Everyone's working hard and wanting to win, and we're not getting the results. But we show spurts in games and playing hard and doing things well. So I think it'll come and I'm really happy to start contributing."

There will probably be some rust for Murphy to shake off. That's natural. The other challenge is that the Blackhawks made a coaching change while he was on the sidelines and he'll have to adapt to Jeremy Colliton's new defensive zone system in going from a zone coverage to a man-to-man.

"That stuff will come," Murphy said. "I don't know if you want to let that creep in your mind, thinking too much about systems or different personnel. I think just going out and having fun and competing at my hardest will be what I'm looking for."

Murphy accumulated 14 points (two goals, 14 assists) in 76 regular-season games last season, and ranked second on the team with 138 hits. He was partnered with Erik Gustafsson on the third pairing during practice on Saturday, so it appears that's where he'll start.

"It's another guy fighting for ice," Colliton said of Murphy. "We want it to be competitive for roles and roster spots, so positive to have him back and looking forward to seeing him play."

To make room for him on the 23-man roster, Gustav Forsling was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, retroactive to Dec. 5. Colliton said he doesn't believe his injury will be long-term.

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Four takeaways: Lead quickly evaporates for Blackhawks in sixth consecutive loss


Four takeaways: Lead quickly evaporates for Blackhawks in sixth consecutive loss

LAS VEGAS — Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday:

1. Running out of answers

The Blackhawks are running out of ways to explain their slow starts and so are we. Eventually they're going to break through. But it hasn't happened yet, and for the ninth straight game they allowed the first goal.

Not only that, it was the sixth time over that stretch where they allowed the first goal within the first 2:11. Reilly Smith scored nine seconds into a Vegas power play at 1:28 to put his team up 1-0 and Deryk Engelland made it 2-0 at 8:14 when his shot from the point got past Corey Crawford, who was screened by Jonathan Toews. 

At this point, it's more important for the Blackhawks not to allow the second goal rather than the first because it's piled up too many times over this stretch.

"Regardless of how things were going, I think we've played some pretty good hockey for the majority of the last two games," Toews said. "But even when you play well, every team is good and there's no guarantee you're going to win, so we've got to be more consistent with that effort and that speed. We had the pace that we needed tonight.

"Again, they score first, but at least we know that if we give up a few goals or if we go down we can find our way back into games, it's not the end of the world. But starts are big for us and at the end of the day, keep building on our game, improving our process as a team and we're bound to get over this hump. Obviously it's a tough one right now."

2. Earning your bounces

After falling behind 2-0 (again), the Blackhawks pushed back (again). It felt like the same script in Anaheim. Only this time, they earned their bounces.

The Blackhawks had 35 shot attempts in the second period compared to the 
Golden Knights' 16, and responded back with a pair of goals thanks to Toews and Dylan Strome. And both of them got fortunate breaks, which they deserved.

Toews cut the Blackhawks' deficit to 2-1 exactly four minutes into the period when he banked a shot off Marc-Andre Fleury. It was a similar situation for Strome, who scored from a bad angle — outside the left faceoff circle — that Fleury also would've liked to have back to pull the Blackhawks into a 2-2 tie. 

"We showed some heart there," Duncan Keith said. "That was good. Obviously it's a tough building to play in. They came out with a lead and we fought back and got ourselves into it. It was anybody's game going into the third."

3. A short-lived lead

Going into Thursday's game, the Blackhawks hadn't led at any point in a game since Nov. 18 against the Minnesota Wild. Artem Anisimov changed that when he pounced on a loose puck and scored on a breakaway to put the Blackhawks ahead 3-2 for their third unanswered goal at 7:14 of the final frame.

It was their first lead in a span of 527:14 regulation minutes, according to NBC Sports Chicago's stats guru Chris Kamka. But it was short-lived as Vegas responded 41 seconds later.

"It's frustrating," Brent Seabrook said. "You got to work so hard to score goals here and it seems like we give them up pretty quick the other way. The biggest shift is a shift after a goal, whether it's one of their goals or one of our goals. ... Giving up that one and getting it tied again and then the turnover, that was obviously on me. I got to better in the situation."

4. Two goals in 12 seconds

The Blackhawks have been working toward preventing opponents from adding a second goal so quickly after the first. Usually that's happened in the opening frame.

But it trickled into the third period when the Golden Knights scored two goals in 12 seconds, the second of which Crawford felt he was interfered with. But after further review, officials determined there was not enough to wave off the goal and it turned out to be the game winner.

"I'm disappointed because we played really hard to battle back and we're in good position," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Then obviously it falls apart on us. Disappointing because I want to see the guys get rewarded when we play hard. Clearly, we don't do enough. We have to be better than we are if we expect to get results. But I still feel for the guys."