Blackhawks

Minus Stars, Morin's milestone goal lifts Hawks

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Minus Stars, Morin's milestone goal lifts Hawks

Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010
Posted 10:20 PM Updated 11:36 PM

Associated Press

CHICAGO - Even without Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, the Chicago Blackhawks can generate offense.

They proved that Wednesday night, beating the Dallas Stars 8-3.

Rookies Bryan Bickell and Jeremy Morin scored goals and the Blackhawks were able to hang on after building a three-goal lead in the second period, then watching Dallas cut the lead to a goal.

"We were better in the third period and we had to be," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "This has been a trend around here for at least a year or two. We get up by three or four and we lose our concentration."

Chicago led 4-1 after Troy Brouwer's goal 2:21 into the second, but Dallas rallied behind goals late in the period by Brandon Segal and Loui Eriksson 1:05 apart. Quenneville immediately called time to focus his players, then had plenty to say to them between periods.

"He just gave us a little slap in the butt to get us going," Bickell said. "We just needed to shut them down."

The Stars took 13 of their 31 shots in the final period, but goalie Corey Crawford turned them all away.

Dallas coach Marc Crawford was angry that a potential penalty shot infraction went uncalled in the final minute. Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook's stick slid out of his hands, and Crawford thought he was trying to knock the puck away from Trevor Daley. Nothing was called, prompting Crawford to scream obscenities at the officials as they went to their locker room.

"You can't miss a call like that at the end of the game," Crawford said. "There's no excuse. It's a penalty shot in every sense of the word. You've got to be focused in on that."

Dallas had one power play to Chicago's six, but the Blackhawks squandered them all.

"We lost a lot of momentum when we had two in a row in the second period," Quenneville said. "We didn't take advantage. All of a sudden, it was a real hockey game."

It was the second straight win and fifth in the last six games for the Stanley Cup champions.

Chicago evened its home record at 8-8-0 and moved into fourth in the Western Conference with 34 points. Dallas, second in the Western Conference, is 0-1-1 after winning six straight.

Bickell and Jonathan Toews scored Chicago's first-period goals, with two other shots ringing off the posts.

Bickell shrugged off a check from Dallas defenseman Matt Niskanen in the slot and beat Andrew Raycroft with a wrist shot to the glove side at 3:18. Toews scored his 13th goal of the season with a wrist shot from deep on right wing that deflected off Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas in the crease.

Chicago expanded its lead to 4-1 with goals by Morin and Brouwer early in the second period.

James Neal had the Dallas goal, and the Stars rallied late in the second period with goals 1:05 apart by Segal and Eriksson. Segal beat Crawford with a screened 55-foot wrist shot, and Eriksson converted Brad Richards' pass into a score from the right-wing crease.

Patrick Sharp scored an empty-net goal for Chicago in the last second.

The Blackhawks were playing their first game without Kane, whose sprained left ankle will keep him out for up to three weeks. Hossa missed his fourth straight game because of a lower-body injury.

Notes

Dallas outshot Chicago 31-25. Chicago placed Hossa on injured reserve while bringing up rookie forwards Morin and Rob Klinkhammer. Morin played five games for the Blackhawks earlier this season. ... Crawford, the Hawks' backup goalie, has started six of the last eight games, and got the nod ahead of former Dallas goalie Marty Turco.
Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Stan Bowman explains how Blackhawks may utilize extra cap space

Stan Bowman explains how Blackhawks may utilize extra cap space

The Blackhawks had cap space to use this summer but elected to shore up their depth rather than make a splash when free agency opened up on July 1. Perhaps a large reason for that was because Marian Hossa's $5.275 million cap hit over the next three years complicated what they could do exactly in the short term without jeopardizing the long term.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman admitted Tuesday that they had had discussions about moving Hossa's contract for a year now. But it finally reached a point where they simply needed to get it off their hands, even if it meant giving up Vinnie Hinostroza as a sweetener.

"We tried to make that deal work in every other way possible but they obviously said he had to be in it," Bowman said of including Hinostroza.

That's how important it was to free up even more cap space. By trading Hossa's contract in a nine-piece trade with the Arizona Coyotes, it created more options for the Blackhawks and financial flexibility going forward.

"It was a difficult trade from a sentimental perspective, because we'd love to not have to do that," Bowman said. "But on the practical matter, it was becoming challenging to try to operate with that contract here. It necessitated us trying to make the move that we did make. You don't know when those opportunities are going to come to try and make that type of a move. ... When this presented itself, we talked it through and got to the point where we thought it was something we had to take advantage of."

The problem for the short term is, it's mid-July and the big-name free agents are off the market. There's not much the Blackhawks can do to improve their roster externally unless they make a trade, which would require dipping into the pipeline.

And it's unfair to put a grade on the Hossa trade as a whole without seeing how they utilize that extra cap space. Could that be before the 2018-19 season starts?

"It's an option if we can find the right player or the right situation," Bowman said. "We certainly have more options now than we did before. I wouldn't say we have to do something. Having cap space is an asset in and of itself, so things will come along maybe in the summer or maybe in the beginning part of the year where teams have a couple players that make their team unexpectedly and that makes some other players more expendable. In the past we probably haven't really been a good match for those types of situations because we didn't have the cap room at that time, so now we're going to be in the mix for those types of things.

"Whether we use it right away or whether we use it during the season, I think the nice thing is we have the flexibility now going in to the coming years where we're going to need cap room, all that and more, to sign the young players."

It doesn't sound like there's much urgency to pull something off between now and when training camp rolls around in September. At least for now.

That doesn't mean there won't be once the market picks back up again. 

"Each year teams have surprises, good and bad, in camp," Bowman said. "Our team’s the same way. You have ideas on how your lines are going to look or how your players are going to be ready. Sometimes guys surprise you in a good way, sometimes it’s not what you think. There’ll be some adjustments around the league, but probably not a lot of activity.

"If you look back the last couple of seasons, late July and August are quieter as far as transactions. But there are some arbitration cases coming up around the league; those may get settled ahead of time. But if they do go to arbitration, if the number's not the way the team likes it, they may look to do something. There’s the possibility of moves, but probably closer to training camp is more when changes may happen."

All eyes on Blackhawks defensemen as prospect camp opens

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AP

All eyes on Blackhawks defensemen as prospect camp opens

The second wave of Blackhawks defensemen is on the way. That's exactly where all the attention was when prospect camp opened up Monday at MB Ice Arena.

Nicolas Beaudin. Adam Boqvist. Henri Jokiharju. Ian Mitchell. Call it the Big Four. Where are they all at in their development? When will they be ready to make an NHL impact? Who's the most pro ready? 

Lots of questions. Those will slowly start to get answered and it begins now.

While there may not necessarily be an open competition among the group right away, there's certainly a desire to make a strong first impression in front of the upper brass that included Stan Bowman, John McDonough and Joel Quenneville watching on Day 1.

"Every NHL team has a lot of good defensemen prospects, so I mean obviously when you want to go out there you want to showcase yourself as best as you can," Mitchell said. "Obviously you want to be the best defenseman here so that's my goal going into this, I want to prove to everyone that I'm a good defenseman, I deserve to play at the next level. Obviously there's lots of good players here, but you're trying to all succeed."

Said Beaudin: "There's a lot of competition. There's a lot of good, young defensemen. I think you just need to be different when you play when you show what you can do."

Said Boqvist: "I'm trying to be better every day. Of course I will play in the NHL one day and win Stanley Cups, so that's my mindset."

The theme? Focus on your own game, take what you learn out of this week and apply those tools in your game when advancing your development next season. The rest will take care of itself.

Mitchell will go back to Denver for his sophomore campaign to continue his development. Beaudin is expected to return to the QMJHL with the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Boqvist signed with the OHL's London Knights, where he will look to get accustomed to the North American style of play.

For Jokiharju, the goal is different. This is his second development camp. He signed an entry-level contract in June. Making the big club is a real goal and a legitimate possibility for a Blackhawks team looking for young, impact defensemen immediately.

"I think if Henri has a really good summer of training, comes into camp, I certainly thinks he gets a good look," Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley told NBC Sports Chicago last month.

Jokiharju showed poise and confidence with and without the puck during drills, like someone who knows this is only the first step towards that ultimate goal.

"Yeah," Jokiharju responded when asked if the expectation is to make it to the NHL this season. "You want to set the bar high, you don't want to set the bar too low. I want to dream big and that's the dream."

That's the dream for everyone. When that happens, it's up to them. This week is a chance to set an early tone.