Blackhawks

Myers: Hawks more of a team without full lineup

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Myers: Hawks more of a team without full lineup

Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010
12:16 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

"Sometimes it helps not having a full lineup, knowing you have to be more of a team."

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marty Turco was talking shot totals and all things positive following the team's 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild, when that statement came out. It was a simple statement and, given the Blackhawks' performance, very on-target.

The Blackhawks entered Saturday's game coming off their worst performance of the season, a 7-4 loss to Edmonton on Friday in which their lapses and shortcomings were magnified and capitalized upon by a young and hungry Oilers team. And when a third teammate was ruled out by an injury, the Blackhawks had two choices: they could come apart more or exemplify Turco's statement on the ice.

They chose the latter. They embraced it, ran with it, won with it.

"The type of game we played, it was by far our best positionally," Turco said. "We played a patient game. We're going to need that type effort."

The Blackhawks were already down two strong starters in defenseman Brian Campbell (right knee MCL) and right wing Marian Hossa (upper body). On Saturday they lost center Dave Bolland (upper body) for at least two games. It wasn't good, and it could have gotten worse against the Wild. Instead, the Blackhawks got inspired performances.

Troy Brouwer's early hit earned him an in-game line promotion and he scored his first goal this season. Patrick Kane looked like himself again. The fourth line was on the ice in the waning minutes when the Wild went empty net. The team blocked 21 shots, a jolt from the scant six they had against Edmonton. Turco rebounded from Friday's early yank, stopped 25 of 26 shots and returned to his active, puck-playing self.

Everyone got it.

"It was a team game, for sure," coach Joel Quenneville said.

Perhaps it was just simplifying their game. Or maybe it was that backed-into-a-corner-come-out-fighting sense. Whatever it was, it worked.

"Guys weren't trying to do too much," said Brouwer. "It's tough losing players especially way Hossa was playing. Guys like Tomas Kopecky and Jonathan Toews take more onto themselves; even Jake Dowell's stepping up. The guys who aren't looked upon to do those things are chipping in.

"It's going to be the entire team having to do a little more," he said. "Saturday gave us good confidence."

The Blackhawks need to remember Saturday's outing. Bottle it, refer to it and, by all means, keep copying it. The Blackhawks are starting to get good news out of their injury situation. Campbell is getting stronger by the skate and could return any game now. Bolland's is listed as day to day. Hossa could be back in two weeks.

Injuries, thin depth and the need for call-ups all happen in the midst of an 82-game (or more) campaign. The Blackhawks' lineup will change a few times this season. Their commitment to the team game can't.

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

NHL Draft Profile: D Adam Boqvist

NHL Draft Profile: D Adam Boqvist

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Adam Boqvist

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 168 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"Boqvist is a finesse defenseman who is very skilled, possesses excellent vision and tons of talent. He is fun to watch and full of surprises on the ice. He often plays bigger than his size and skated in his first games with Sweden's Senior National Team in April."

NHL player comparable: Erik Karlsson

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks would love to have Karlsson, who is probably being traded out of Ottawa this summer. Every team would love to have him. But that's not realistic for Chicago. So what if they drafted his potential mini me?

Boqvist is electric with the puck and has drawn comparisons to the Swedish defenseman as a best-case scenario.

There are two concerns, though. One is that he may need some time to develop at just 17 years old and his defense a work in progress. The second is that he's sustained head injuries over the course of his young career, which adds a little bit of risk to the equation.

If he can stay healthy and his development isn't rushed, there's major upside here. But are the Blackhawks willing to be patient? We're not so sure.

Should the Blackhawks explore bringing back Artemi Panarin?

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USA TODAY

Should the Blackhawks explore bringing back Artemi Panarin?

Here's an interesting development as we approach the NHL Draft: Artemi Panarin has informed the Blue Jackets that he's not ready to consider an extension "at this time" and because of that, Columbus is testing the market for the Russian winger, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen responded to the report shortly after in a statement released by the team:

"Artemi is an elite National Hockey League player. Our position has been that we want him to be a Blue Jacket for many years and that has not changed. He has a year left on his contract, so there is plenty of time to work towards that end. Should anything change moving forward, we will address it at that time and any decision we make will be in the best interest of our club.”

Ironically, Panarin was traded to Columbus on the afternoon of last year's draft as part of a blockbuster package that sent Brandon Saad back to Chicago. It shook up the hockey world, and has the potential to do so again.

Panarin is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019, but is free to sign an extension with Columbus on July 1. Clearly, that doesn't seem to be in the cards right now and it's why the Blue Jackets have to put out feelers. They can't risk losing him for nothing.

On the flip side, Panarin has every right to test the open market. He has one year left on his contract that carries a $6 million cap hit. He's due for a hefty raise, will be 27 years old next summer — the prime of his hockey career — and will certainly be looking for a long-term deal after accepting a bridge contract with the Blackhawks.

Speaking of whom, should his former team explore bringing him back to Chicago now that he's on the market?

Every general manager should and will do their due diligence and call for an asking price, Stan Bowman included. Those conversations might start with Alex DeBrincat or Nick Schmaltz, and if that's the case, you say thanks but no thanks and move on. 

The Blackhawks have the Nos. 8 and 27 picks in this year's draft as possible ammunition, but the Blue Jackets are ready to take that next step. They were up 2-0 in their first-round series before losing four straight to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. It's unlikely they'd be looking to center a potential deal around draft picks. 

The only way you even consider it from the Blackhawks perspective is if Panarin is guaranteed to sign a long-term extension at a price you're comfortable with, but that's one of the main reasons why they traded him in the first place. 

To cap it all off, trading for Panarin wouldn't even address the Blackhawks' biggest need and that's a Top 4 defenseman. Those don't grow on trees. The Blackhawks will have the cap space to sign a player like James van Riemsdyk to patch up their top 6. You can't say the same for the free-agent blue line group.

So while it may certainly be fun for Blackhawks fans to come up with possible trade scenarios to get Panarin back in an Indianhead sweater, it just doesn't make great sense for a variety of reasons.