Patrick Kane was talking about the Blackhawks’ younger players and their early contributions when the talk transitioned to him and the rest of the more seasoned guys.
“I think they’ve been great for us, to be honest with you,” Kane said. “I think it’s more on us veteran guys to pick up the slack and make sure we’re playing better.”
In the Blackhawks’ opening games there have been two big problems: the struggling penalty kill and lack of puck possession. As Kane said, much of the onus for fixing that falls on the players who have been here for a few years. That’s what the Blackhawks will keep trying to do when they host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
The Blackhawks tweaked lines a bit again on Monday as they try to build off Saturday’s victory over Nashville. As much as they’ll take that victory there were still issues, from not enough puck possession to too many good scoring opportunities against them. Coach Joel Quenneville said the team has to “tighten up in all aspects of our game.”
“I think whether it’s our younger or older guys, we can be better,” Quenneville said. “I think we normally have the puck more and then [it’s] keeping the puck when we’ve got it in the offensive zone, puck support and getting to the net. That’s what we’re looking at.”
[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]
As much as the Blackhawks benefit from more puck possession, the second line of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Kane really do. It was almost a game with the three of them last season, and it led to plenty of production. Neither has been there through the first three games as much as they’d like.
“I think we’re still working on getting that chemistry back playing with one another again,” Kane said. “We’ll build it up. I think we’ll be OK. Hopefully we can figure it out sooner than later.”
The Blackhawks saw some things they liked in their third game. But their usual strengths, including puck possession, still aren’t there. Kane said the young guys are doing their part right now. The veterans need to do the same.
“It’s just about us taking control, not waiting for the next guy to do it,” Kane said. “Make sure, when you’re out there, you’re taking advantage of your ice time and also the opportunity of being out there, trying to make something happen. There may be too much waiting around, waiting for the next guy to do it.”
- Jordin Tootoo did not practice Monday due to illness. If he cannot play against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, the Blackhawks could dress seven defensemen.
- Ryan Hartman (lower body) also did not practice on Monday. Quenneville said there’s a possibility that Hartman could skate Tuesday morning but he is unlikely to play vs. the Flyers.
- Corey Crawford will start vs. Philadelphia.