Blackhawks

Ryan Garbutt's game progressing with the Blackhawks

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Ryan Garbutt's game progressing with the Blackhawks

Ryan Garbutt was looking to play like he did in the preseason.

When Garbutt first joined the Blackhawks, who acquired him and Trevor Daley when they sent Patrick Sharp to Dallas, he fell right into their game. Then the Blackhawks’ systems came into play, and Garbutt said he needed some time to adjust.

Judging from his recent games, he has.

Garbutt has played well, be it on the Blackhawks’ third line or the top one, which is where he’s been the last few games. His second assist with the Blackhawks set up line mate Jonathan Toews’ goal against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night. Two lengthy passes to Artemi Panarin led to two Panarin breakaway goal opportunities. Even on the top line Garbutt’s kept the edgy part of his game; he’s is leading the Blackhawks (and is 10th in the NHL) with 38 hits.

For Garbutt, it was just about getting used to the Blackhawks, before and after all systems were in place.

“Preseason was easy to adjust because you didn’t really play any systems,” he said. “Once we started getting down to the season it was definitely more structure and it took me a few games to get used to it.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Coach Joel Quenneville said that’s when playing by instinct is important, regardless of a player is new or a veteran.

“The first thing you tell a guy when they're playing their first NHL game is, 'Trust your instincts out there and we'll correct you after.’ And you don't want to slow them down at all, especially guys with quickness and speed [and] that’s always been part of their game, fore-checking and on the fore-check in the offensive zone. They get that little hesitation, should I or shouldn't I go, and then it's too late,” Quenneville said. “But he's the kind of guy that, he likes to go and brings energy. He's a go-go guy and I really liked the way he's played the last few games. He's made some nice plays offensively with the puck, as well.”

Daley, who was also Garbutt’s teammate in Dallas, isn’t surprised the forward has fit in here.

“He played in the East Coast Hockey League four or five years ago but he’s come a long way. So I’m not surprised one bit what he’s capable of,” said Daley of Garbutt, who played for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves and ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators in 2010-11. “He’s a hard worker and not too hard to play with.”

Garbutt’s recorded some hits and assists, has played on the top line and has logged some minutes on the penalty kill. The one thing left to do? Score a goal. He’s come close a couple of times, be it 5-on-5 or short-handed. Considering how he’s progressed with the Blackhawks thus far, it seems like it’s just a matter of time before the goals come, too.

“First and foremost, I just want to take care of the team aspect and make sure we’re winning,” Garbutt said. “But it’ll be nice if I can chip in offensively to help with that.”

BRIEFLY

  • Brent Seabrook did not practice on Tuesday. Quenneville said Seabrook is fine and will play tomorrow vs. the St. Louis Blues.
  • Marian Hossa (lower body) did not practice on Tuesday and has been ruled out of Wednesday’s game.
  • Duncan Keith (right knee) is close to taking the next step in his recovery. “He’s around here. He’s anxious to get going here. But we anticipate him being ready in that [4-6 week] time frame we set forth,” Quenneville said.
  • Michal Rozsival was skating some late sprints with a mini-parachute on his back. Regarding Rozsival, Quenneville said, “the parachute’s extended, so that’s a good sign.” Quenneville already said Rozsival was doubtful for this week but is hopeful the defenseman is closer next week.
  • TSN’s Darren Dreger reported earlier today that Mike Babcock is expected to be named coach of Team Canada on Thursday and Quenneville is expected to be named assistant coach. Quenneville wouldn’t say if he was asked to join the coaching staff but, if he was named assistant coach, “it would be the thrill of a lifetime.”

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”