Blackhawks

Luongo exorcises demons, shuts out Blackhawks

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Luongo exorcises demons, shuts out Blackhawks

Friday, Dec. 3, 2010
Updated 11:07 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Tomas Kopecky looked to the sky with a look of angst.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo was sprawled on the ice when the Chicago Blackhawks winger fired what he hoped was a sure shot.

But it didnt go in. And for the Blackhawks on Friday, none of them would.

Luongo stopped all 32 shots he faced and Henrik Sedin scored as the Canucks beat the Blackhawks 3-0 at the United Center. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Blackhawks, who were also shut out for the first time this season.

The Blackhawks had some choice opportunities throughout this one. Kopecky, who had six shots on net, was stopped on several close calls, including a third-period attempt that wouldve tied the game 1-1 at the time.

Im really frustrated right now, especially with myself, he said. I missed that empty net and it would be a totally different game (if I scored). Then I took a penalty and they scored, and it changed the game. Weve got to bounce back, and I know we will. We have a good team, we just need to stay out of the box and bury our chances.

Luongo didnt make things easy for the Blackhawks. After being yanked midway through the teams Nov. 20 matchup in Vancouver, Luongo was big and unbeatable on Friday.

He flashed the leather a few times and made it look pretty. Obviously if the other teams going to win, theyre going to need him to make big stops and he did that tonight, Jonathan Toews said. Weve proven in the past its nothing we cant deal with. Hes one player and we just have to make it harder on him. When weve had success against this team, thats what weve done well. Obviously we didnt do that well tonight.

Vancouver, meanwhile, made the most of their few chances. Tanner Glass knocked home a rebound Marty Turco couldnt corral to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead midway through the second. Christian Ehrhoff scored just seconds into a Vancouver power play and Henrik Sedin added another late in the third.

Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks missed golden opportunities on their end.

Give (Luongo) credit, he played well. We had some high-quality chances in that game, he said. I liked our preparation and our approach; 5-on-5 was pretty tight both ways, but we did miss some high-quality opportunities.

Turco, getting his first start since Nov. 23 in San Jose, allowed three on 18 shots. Quenneville said Turco was fine.

Turco said when youre in a goalie battle like I was, you have to hold up your end of the bargain. Its disappointing losing anytime. But when you have a week off and a chance to put in some hard work, its even more disappointing.

Briefly

The Blackhawks observed a moment of silence in honor of Chicago Cubs legend Ron Santo, who died Thursday night of complications from bladder cancer. He was 70 years old.

Jonathan Toews played in his 250th career game on Friday.

Fernando Pisani was out on Friday (upper body). He is still listed as day to day.

Jordan Hendry was a healthy scratch on Friday.

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."