Blackhawks

Regardless of lines, Blackhawks need a stronger overall game

Regardless of lines, Blackhawks need a stronger overall game

NASHVILLE — The Blackhawks' lines looked pretty much as they did when the postseason began, especially the top two. But with the Blackhawks right now, it doesn't seem to matter who's lined up with whom. It's the overall play which has been the problem, and regardless of lineup, that has to change on Monday night.

Nick Schmaltz is back on the top line and the defensive top six will also be the same when the Blackhawks face the Nashville Predators in Game 3 of their first-round series on Monday. The Blackhawks went into full line-blender mode on Saturday, when the Predators drubbed them 5-0. Nothing worked, so they’ll go back to what was successful a good part of the season.

What has to change is the compete level.

"It's how we play and how we compete that has to be raised to the level needed come playoff time. That's probably the one thing that sticks out, the certain standard you expect everybody to be at," coach Joel Quenneville said following skatearound. "We have to meet it tonight and get that engagement across the board."

Just getting a goal at this point would be a great moral victory for the Blackhawks. Getting the lead would be outstanding but again, finding some consistency is needed first.

"Well, of course, we want to play ahead, we want to start with a lead. But we haven't had the first 20 minutes, the first periods we've been looking for in the first two games. We'll look to improve there," Jonathan Toews. "At the end of the day, it has to be energy, speed and just that competitive nature has to kick in right away and we can't wait for them to wake us up. We'll start with that and try to, in some ways, be the guys that try and frustrate and agitate them a little bit."

The Predators are in good shape coming back home but they want to avoid what they did last spring. They took a 2-0 lead in Anaheim, only to come home and lose Games 3 and 4 at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators would end up beating the Ducks seven games but now that they have an edge on the Blackhawks, they want to keep it.

"You always say it but just sitting back for a half a second and they jump all over you. It's a desperate team and they're going to be playing like that," James Neal said. "[The Blackhawks] have been in a lot of different positions over the years and in the playoffs and have come out successful. We have to be ready to go with our game, we have to have the desperation in our building, get on the attack and do everything hard, fast and strong tonight."

BLACKHAWKS AT NASHVILLE PREDATORS

8:30 p.m.
TV: CSN
Live stream: CSNChicago.com or NBC Sports app
Radio: WGN 720 AM

Chicago Blackhawks

Forward lines

Nick Schmaltz-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane

Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa

Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Jordin Tootoo

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson

Johnny Oduya-Brent Seabrook

Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

INJURIES/ILLNESS: Michal Rozsival (facial fractures), Andrew Desjardins (lower body)

 

Nashville Predators

Forward lines (projected/Predators had optional skate)

Filip Forsberg-Ryan Johansen-Viktor Arvidsson

Harry Zolnierczyk-Mike Fisher-Austin Watson

Kevin Fiala-Calle Jarnkrok-James Neal

Pontus Aberg-Colton Sissons-Craig Smith

Defensive Pairs

Roman Josi-Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm-P.K. Subban

Yannick Weber-Matt Irwin

Goaltender

Pekka Rinne

INJURIES/ILLNESS: Colin Wilson (lower body).

Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw announces he plans to return for 2020-21 season

Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw announces he plans to return for 2020-21 season

Andrew Shaw issued a statement on Instagram late Monday night, announcing he will not join the Blackhawks for the 2019-20 restart as he continues to work his way back from a concussion.

But the 28-year-old winger also revealed he plans on returning for the 2020-21 season and looks forward to coming back "better and stronger than ever!" 

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.

Here's the full statement, which has been lightly edited for clarity:

I just wanted to let all Blackhawks fans and hockey fans know that I am doing well and getting better every day! I feel healthy and am close to fully being healed from not just my last concussion but from others I have had over the years.

I've learned a lot about concussions and head injuries over the past few years thanks to the Blackhawks medical staff of Dr. Mike Terry, Mike Gapski, Jeff Thomas and Patrick Becker. They have helped me in more ways than I can thank them. I love them dearly for doing so because I am the type of person who would play through anything for my teammates.

With all that being said, along with my family who has shown me so much support, we have come to the difficult decision that these extra five months until next season would be great for my health and recovery. I look forward to being back next season, better and stronger than ever! There's nothing I would love more than to be back out on the ice with the boys battling for Lord Stanley.

I'll be cheering my teammates on and supporting the Blackhawks through this run! Love you boys and miss you like crazy!

View this post on Instagram

Go Blackhawks Go! Hey fans!

A post shared by Andrew Shaw (@shawz65) on

Shaw, who has two years left on his contract after this season, has a history of head injuries and last appeared in a game on Nov. 30. The NHL's tentative plan is to start next season on Dec. 1.

How Brent Seabrook inspired Blackhawks at Day 1 of Phase 3 camp

How Brent Seabrook inspired Blackhawks at Day 1 of Phase 3 camp

Seeing Brent Seabrook skate with his teammates at the Blackhawks' start of Phase 3's training camp on Monday was an old familiar sight during a new unfamiliar time. 

The three-time Stanley Cup champion with a hard shot and a harder check last joined the Hawks at a morning skate on December 18 ahead of a game at the United Center against the Colorado Avalanche. He was a healthy scratch for the contest then stayed in Chicago to undergo medical evaluation when the team traveled to Winnipeg the next day.

The 35-year-old blueliner then underwent a right-shoulder surgery later in December and separate hip surgeries in January and February.

"Knowing what he's done and how much he's laid on the line for this team over the last decade or more, it's crazy to see how much he's been through and how much he's given to this team," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said after Monday's practice. "So it's nice to see him get that opportunity to take care of himself and focus on himself for once because that guy always seems to put the team before himself no matter what."

"He’s been through a lot," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "He played hurt and that’s never easy. He’s proven he’s going to pay the price for the team to win and he’s gone through those surgeries and it’s been a difficult rehab for him, so happy to see him on the ice first and foremost. 

"It’s not going to be easy, but the act that he’s here and he can provide his experience and his presence in the group to the group, it’s a huge benefit for us. And then we’ll see. We have some time here for him to get skating again."

Seabrook and his thick, black beard fully participating in Day 1's practice sent an inspirational message to the Hawks according to his former D partner, two-time Norris trophy winner Duncan Keith.

"I know the surgeries that he had are not easy surgeries to overcome. That’s a testament to his drive and dedication - his commitment," Keith said. "I thought he looked good out there today. It’s been a long time since he’s played a game and to be back out here going full steam with the guys, he looked good. 

"But I think as a friend and teammate you want to make sure he’s smart. I know Brent is fully aware of his body and what he wants to do. Just let him do his thing and push it at his pace until he feels 100 percent. … To be joining the group in the middle of summer without a proper lead up to the training camp, that just shows the kind of character he has and the commitment. We all take note of that and it inspires all of us."

Toews noticed Seabrook was far from calling it quits early on after his procedures.

"Right away after his surgeries, I was really impressed at how quick he bounced back," Toews said. "He just seems to be so physically resilient. And maybe that's just something special about him that he can have three surgeries back to back to back like that and just kind of keep on trucking. 

"Been training with him before he went home to Canada for a little bit and just seeing him in the gym and seeing him on the ice, obviously the conditioning, that pop and that strength is really going to come back in his stride, but he just seems really healthy."

The Blackhawks finish their Phase 3 training camp on July 26 then head to Edmonton to take on the Oilers in a best-of-five play-in series in the NHL's 24-team playoffs under the Return To Play program.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.