Blackhawks

Penalty keys Hawks' loss to Edmonton

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Penalty keys Hawks' loss to Edmonton

The Chicago Blackhawks wanted to avenge their ugly 9-2 November loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. Instead they had another mistake-riddled game and suffered another loss to them.

Former Blackhawks forward Ben Eager had the game-winning goal, and a Daniel Carcillo five-minute boarding call led to two Oilers goals in their 4-3 victory over the Blackhawks. It was Edmontons first road victory in its last eight games.

Jonathan Toews and Andrew Brunette scored, and Jimmy Hayes tallied his first career NHL goal for the Blackhawks, who started off January with a loss and could be without Carcillo for a bit.

Carcillo was whistled for boarding after pushing Edmonton defenseman Tom Gilbert face-first into the boards. Carcillo, who was given a game misconduct, also injured his left knee on the play. Coach Joel Quenneville said hed know more about Carcillos injury status tomorrow. There could also be more disciplinary action for Carcillo.

Im not going to argue the call (on Carcillo), Quenneville said. He beat him to the counter-hit. It wasnt intent; both guys went for the same type of a play and he beat him, had better position on the guy. Its unfortunate what happened.

Oilers coach Tom Renney said the hit (on Gilbert) speaks for itself and the penalty does as well. I think at least to this point its been addressed and Im hoping that itll be looked into even further.

The Blackhawks faced a five-minute penalty kill and they couldnt come out of it unscathed. Ryan Smyth scored 16 seconds into it and Taylor Hall added another before it ended to give the Oilers a 2-1 lead.

That kind of changed the momentum of the game, Patrick Kane said. But, you know, theres still no excuse to lose to a team like that. Maybe we just thought we were going to come in and do the same thing they did to us last game. But its not going to happen in the NHL, especially when you have that mindset.

Goaltender Corey Crawford said he shouldve had two of Edmontons goals. Quenneville expressed unhappiness at giving up Andy Suttons goal.

I gave them two goals, Crawford said. A team like that, they thrive on power plays and the more you give them, the more jump and the more energy theyre going to have. It was just a tough one, one we think we shouldve gotten points out of.

Defenseman Duncan Keith said the lengthy power play didnt cost the Blackhawks the game. But it didnt help, either.

We need to do a better job penalty killing there but I dont think thats the reason why we lost, he said. We made a lot of mistakes, and at the end of the day we have to start outworking teams. We need to bear down and kill that off.

Despite that, the Blackhawks still had a chance. Hayes scored late, and the Blackhawks had three power plays in the final 10 minutes of regulation including a double minor high-sticking. But the power play came up empty once again.

Its a tough stretch, said Quenneville of the power play, which is now 1 for 21. Well tweak it and well look at doing different things with different people.

The Blackhawks loss to Edmonton in November was ugly in every way, and especially on the scoreboard. The score wasnt so brutal in Mondays game, but it still wasnt pretty.

In games like this we need to take it upon ourselves, Keith said. Its one game. But for us to get better and to do what we want to do at the end of the season everybody has to try to get better, to be the guy and be the difference.

Blackhawks have found magic on power play with Patrick Kane and Dominik Kubalik

Blackhawks have found magic on power play with Patrick Kane and Dominik Kubalik

The Blackhawks’ power-play struggles this season have been well-documented. 

One week ago, they hit rock bottom by slipping to dead last with a 13.8% success rate after going 0-for-17 during their five-game road swing in Western Canada. It played a major role in the Blackhawks picking up only two out of a possible 10 points on that trip. 

After trying just about every possible power-play combination to that point, head coach Jeremy Colliton experimented by positioning Dominik Kubalik in the right faceoff circle and moving Patrick Kane to the left on the first unit. And it's paid off.

In the past four games, the Blackhawks are 6-for-19 on the power play for a percentage of 31.6, which ranks No. 6 over that span. Kubalik has two of those goals while Kane has one and a couple of primary assists as well. 

After Thursday's 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in which the Blackhawks scored a season-high three power-play goals, Colliton was asked whether he regretted not putting Kubalik in that spot on the first unit sooner. In an honest admission, he didn't sugarcoat his answer.

"Yeah, and I wish we would've put Kaner on the other side earlier," Colliton told reporters. "We've tried it off and on throughout since I've been here, and we just haven't been able to get it to click with enough success for everyone to embrace it. But we've been able to here, and it's been a nice weapon for us."

No doubt the Blackhawks coaching staff discussed this possibility earlier in the season but were probably reluctant to make the switch because moving Kane out of his usual spot would have meant moving Alex DeBrincat out of his normal spot and then your two best power play weapons are playing out of their comfort zone.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and the Blackhawks have finally found a formula that's given the power play some life.

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Brian Campbell impressed by Adam Boqvist's rookie season

Brian Campbell impressed by Adam Boqvist's rookie season

 

Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup champ Brian Campbell — currently a player development coach with Chicago — took on an active role with rookie defenseman Adam Boqvist's development. On the latest installment of "Chevy Drives", Campbell tells NBC Sports Chicago's Pat Boyle, that he likes what he sees of the 19-year-old defenseman. 

"There's definitely been a lot of strides that he's taken," Campbell said of the Blackhawks' No. 8 overall pick of the 2018 NHL Draft. Boqvist played with the Hawks' American Hockey League affiliate the Rockford IceHogs earlier this season before joining Chicago.

"The American League is a tough league to play in and I thought Adam was doing really well and kind of finding his way. A lot of times people say the American League is harder to play in than the NHL, especially for a skilled guy like Adam. Then he gets up here and you can see how well he's doing with Duncan Keith and some of the plays he's made, some of the goals he's had."

Campbell made several trips to Ontario to visit Boqvist when he was playing for the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League after he was drafted. 

"I've been impressed," Campbell said. "I didn't think he'd be at this point already. Even seeing him, he came back down to Rockford during their break, and [I] was just kind of praising him and telling him I'm proud of him. I feel like he's kind of like a little, younger brother to me. I'm proud to see where he is now and really looking forward to seeing where he's going to go."

Boqvist impressed the rest of the organization to land in Chicgao for the majority of this season and take on big minutes and big responsibilities like quarterbacking the power play on the Hawks' top unit.

"He's a really mature kid for . . . even in London, it was like, 'Okay, how are you getting around here?' There's only so much you can do [in] hockey if you're not with that person day-to-day and allowed to go in and really kind of coach them," Campbell said. "For me, I think it was more or less, 'Okay, when are you getting your workouts in,' because as you know the NHL schedule is very busy, you got to find time to get workouts in to keep your strength in your legs or else the second half of your year, you're going to start to fall through, you won't be as strong.

"So just those little insights and talks and sometimes, you can even see it in Rockford, he'd get frustrated when he wasn't getting the puck in areas, and should he get the puck in those areas? Yeah, but I'm like, 'Don't worry, once you get playing in the NHL you're going to get pucks in those areas and you have to be ready and prepared to be effective that way.'

"There's lots of little things that you can go through, the daily routine and the daily grind. Mentally, we talked a little bit about that, being prepared. He's a kid that wants to learn and he listens and asks questions. He even asked questions about my career and that only makes you a better person when you're trying to learn more and prepare yourself to be the best you can."

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