Quenneville's message to young Blackhawks: Play to your strengths in season-opener

Quenneville's message to young Blackhawks: Play to your strengths in season-opener

Here we are again, prepping for another season-opener.

For half of the Blackhawks, this is old hat. For several, however, this is new territory. It’ll be a little nerve-wracking, it’ll be a little daunting, but the Blackhawks are sending a message to their new players right away: Stick with what got you here.

Coach Joel Quenneville had individual player meetings heading into Wednesday night’s game, the Blackhawks’ season-opener against the St. Louis Blues. There are a lot of new faces in the lineup, but the overall message is the same for all of them.

“Make sure you’re comfortable out there, play to your strengths and the things we’re trying to instill in them technically. We don’t want you to be thinking out there every single shift, so trust your instincts and we’ll reinforce doing the right things and the good habits as you go along here,” Quenneville said following Wednesday morning’s skate. “Be comfortable, be confident and be ready to play.”

The Blackhawks’ bottom two forward lines have a bulk of their new faces, including Tyler Motte. The former University of Michigan star is lined up with Marcus Kruger, with whom he’s already found good chemistry on the penalty kill. Any familiarity the youth has developed with the veterans is key in how quickly everything clicks.

“He’s done a great job of helping me with the systems especially on the PK here,” Motte said of Kruger. “It’s nice to have a guy like that on your line and in situations like that.”

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While the Blackhawks have new personnel, the Blues have somewhat of a new identity. Gone are some of their most familiar faces, including former captain David Backes. Troy Brouwer and goaltender Brian Elliott are also gone. So the Blues will have their own adjustments.

“It’s been a little different, but guys like me and (Vladimir Tarasenko) and Jaden Schwartz, who are being asked to have more of a leadership role this year, we learned from those guys. We were fortunate we were able to play with them and be in a locker room with them for so long,” Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. “It’s something we’ll have to adjust to, and (we’re) asking younger guys to step up but those are the growing pains you have to go through as a young player.”

It’s a whole new season, and for some of the Blackhawks, a whole new experience. They’re here for a reason. Now they’ll see if it translates into successful regular-season hockey.

“I’m not going to come out and try and play a different game. Coaches and (veteran) guys have told me that,” Motte said. “It may be on a bigger stage, the official opening-night game, but the sport’s no different. You have to go and play the same way.”

Expected forward lines/defensive pairs


Richard Panik-Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa
​Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Tyler Motte-Marcus Kruger-Ryan Hartman
Vinnie Hinostroza-Nick Schmaltz-Jordin Tootoo

Duncan Keith-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook
Gustav Forsling-Brian Campbell


Robby Fabbri-Paul Stastny-Alex Steen
David Perron-Jori Lehtera-Vladimir Tarasenko
​Dmitrij Jaskin-Patrik Berglund-Nail Yakupov
Scottie Upshall-Kyle Brodziak-Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
​Robert-Bortuzzo -Kevin Shattenkirk
Joel Edmundson-Colton Parayko

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Patrick Sharp gives insight on the team's struggles

USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Patrick Sharp gives insight on the team's struggles

Former Blackhawk Patrick Sharp joins Pat Boyle on the latest episode of the Blackhawks Talk Podcast to discuss the Blackhawks' recent struggles (1:45) and to look back on winning the 2013 Stanley Cup Championship with the Hawks (7:45).

Plus, Sharpy looks back on the games following the birth of his two daughters (11:45), memories from the mother's and father's trip (13:45) and finally starting a new chapter with his broadcasting career (15:00).

Listen to the full episode here or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks Talk Podcast


Blackhawks place Duncan Keith and Andrew Shaw on injured reserve

USA Today

Blackhawks place Duncan Keith and Andrew Shaw on injured reserve

The Blackhawks placed defenseman Duncan Keith and forward Andrew Shaw on injured reserve Friday, retroactive to Nov. 29 and 30, respectively. The move opens up two spots on the 23-man roster, although the team did not make any corresponding transactions due to cap reasons.

Keith, who has missed the last three games with a groin injury, and Shaw, who is in the league's concussion protocol, will not play in Friday's game against the New Jersey Devils but they will both be eligible to return after that, whenever they're cleared to do so. Injured reserve requires a player to miss a minimum of seven days from their retroactive date.

The Blackhawks do not receive any cap relief by putting Keith and Shaw on regular injured reserve, but if their injuries continue to linger, the team could transfer one or both to long-term injured reserve (LTIR) for financial reasons, which would force them to miss a minimum of 10 games and 24 days from the time of their injury.

The Blackhawks do not have the cap space to make a call-up and with Drake Caggiula, who's on LTIR, inching closer to a return, that complicates things from a financial standpoint. They're currently sitting at 21 players and have $240,030 in projected cap space, according to Cap Friendly.

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