Blackhawks

Olesz ready to do whatever it takes for Blackhawks

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Olesz ready to do whatever it takes for Blackhawks

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011Posted: 6:45 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com Blackhawks InsiderFollow @TraMyersCSN
Rostislav Olesz is just looking for his opportunity.

The new Chicago Blackhawks forward is fully healthy after having right knee surgery six months ago. Hes not sure what line hell be on, whether or not hell be a net presence guy or what role hell have on special teams. It doesnt matter.

Anything. Ill do anything the team needs me to do, he said. Whatever it takes.

The word that comes up with Olesz a lot is potential. Hes had his injuries, including that knee and a sports hernia in early 2009. Hes had two 14-goal seasons, including 2009-10 when he played in 78 games.

But hes been skating for a while now, passed his physical on Friday and said hes way past the struggles he had immediately after surgery.

It was really tough because my right leg was not healthy, not 100 percent with the strength, Olesz said. But I feel comfortable on the ice now. Ive got the new brace and theres no limitation at all.

So now, the 6-foot-1, 214-pound Olesz has to tap into that potential. Joel Quenneville said he watched Olesz on Saturday and didnt mind him. It should also help Olesz to have fellow Czech and former Florida Panthers teammate Michael Frolik here with him.

He has familiarity from the Florida days here and hopefully that can help his transition quickly, Quenneville said. This guy can play. Hopefully he can elevate his game where hell be a big part of our team.

Olesz has talked plenty with Frolik, who came here last February and completed his transition with a strong postseason. Frolik said Olesz could be advantageous with his strength.

Hes a big body. Hes very strong and hes hard to get off the puck in the corners, Frolik said. The injuries have stopped him (in the past). So far hes been good and he can play 100 percent again.

Defenseman Steve Montador, who also played with Olesz in Florida, echoed that sentiment.

He has a lot of skill mixed with a very strong body, Montador said. He can control the puck, work the puck along the walls. He may not be the biggest height-wise but hes a thick guy. You put all that together and if hes comfortable here, can get it going, hell have a lot to offer.

Oleszs time is now. General manager Stan Bowman said Friday it was just a matter of figuring out where Olesz fits into the lineup. If he can find his niche, the potential could turn into consistent performance.

Yes, its coming. My best hockeys coming, Olesz said with a smile. Everything will be new for me and Im really looking forward to it.

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

Robin Lehner's honest assessment of Blackhawks: 'It looks far away but it’s really close'

Robin Lehner's honest assessment of Blackhawks: 'It looks far away but it’s really close'

The Blackhawks wanted to take advantage of seven straight games at the United Center after kicking off the 2019-20 campaign in Prague, but it hasn't exactly gone according to plan.

They're 2-2-2 through the first six home games as they prepare to host Philadelphia on Thursday for the final tilt of the homestand, but the Blackhawks feel like they've left points on the table. The last two games especially, the feeling around the locker room is that the two losses aren't reflective of the overall performance.

After dominating the Washington Capitals in every aspect but the scoresheet on Sunday, the Blackhawks were 1:33 away from shutting out one of the most dangerous Western Conference teams in Vegas before falling 2-1 in a shootout. That's one point out of a possible four when it easily could've been four out of four for the Blackhawks.

Robin Lehner was fantastic against the Golden Knights, turning aside 33 of 34 shots for .971 save percentage. And he was very honest about his assessment of the team after the game and had an optimistic but realistic viewpoint.

"When I chose to sign with this team, it’s because I really believe in this team," Lehner said. "There’s a lot of great hockey players on this club and we’ve seen it in spurts in the beginning of the season. I think the last few games have been really really good. Small, small details and we’re going to be very dangerous. I’m really liking what I’m seeing from a lot of the guys. A lot of the young guys are playing great and the core guys here, maybe it looks far away but it’s really close. It really is.

"Washington is a good team, Vegas is a good team, and at times we were totally dominating. It should have been 4-0 after two. Couple of posts were in the way, couple of missed bounces. That’s hockey sometimes. If we just keep playing like we’re going, we’re going to get good results and we’re going to have a good season."

Lehner is coming from a New York Islanders team that allowed the fewest goals against last season, and the fact the Blackhawks gave up only three high-danger chances at even strength and were 5-for-5 on the penalty kill against a Vegas team who had a top-five power play going into Tuesday's matchup is encouraging. 

Lehner is as candid as they come and he legitimately believes the Blackhawks are trending in the right direction, despite what the results may show. And if the Blackhawks can play like they have the last two games, the points will even out over time.

"There’s a lot of new guys to this team," Lehner said. "Great core players, a lot of new guys. They’re still trying to implement the system and we’re getting better and better at it. Again, I think we’ve seen it really well in spurts when we manage the puck and when we stick to our details. Such an offensive-talented team. If we just can keep going like this, we’re going to be successful. It really is.

"Honestly right now, I don’t even care about the standings, because we’re going to start getting wins. We’ve played some good teams and I think we’ve dominated them at times and are these small mistakes and we just gotta keep pushing the pace like the third today, we just got to keep pushing. We’ve got to keep pushing. We’ve got to keep attacking."

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Blackhawks handle Kirby Dach's future?

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Blackhawks handle Kirby Dach's future?

Should Kirby Dach see more ice time? What should the Blackhawks do with Erik Gustafsson? Has Robin Lehner separated himself in the goalie tandem?

Patrick Sharp and Charlie Roumeliotis join Pat Boyle to discuss that and much more on the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast. Plus, you'll hear Robin Lehner's postgame comments after the loss to the Golden Knights and why he thinks the Blackhawks are "really close" to putting it all together.

1:08 - Blackhawks come up with best defensive effort of the season

2:52 - Changes made to the power play units

4:14 - Evaluating Erik Gustafsson's play so far

6:04 - Who fills in after the Connor Murphy injury

7:49 - Patrick Sharp remembers Patrick Kane rookie season

9:08 - What does the future hold for Kirby Dach?

12:04 - Struggles of the Blackhawks' top-six

14:44 - Another strong performance by Robin Lehner

16:33 - Lehner's strong post-game comments after Vegas loss

20:07 - How to handle the goalie-split going forward

23:25 - Biggest thing the Blackhawks need to improve upon

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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