Blackhawks

Same story, different day for desperate Hawks

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Same story, different day for desperate Hawks

Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011Posted: 1:50 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Another disappointing loss, another day the Chicago Blackhawks were trying to figure out how points slipped by the wayside.

Its becoming redundant, for sure, but its nevertheless true. The Blackhawks are a desperate group, a team that is somehow still clinging to 11th place entering Saturdays games despite their inconsistencies. And now theyre in must-win mode again with back-to-back games against Pittsburgh and St. Louis on Sunday and Monday.

So is it getting old to keep hearing the critical tag slapped on the situation.

Its not. Maybe the more you say it, the more it will be drilled into our heads, said Troy Brouwer. Theyre points we desperately need. Were falling behind right now and we cant let that happen.

Why has sustained success been so hard to find?

Thats a tough one, but I think some of the youth in the room, coach Mike Haviland said. Again its an excuse, but certainly some of the youth in the room. You can talk all you want, but youve got to show and thats what we talked about the other night before Minnesota. Its time to start showing and not just keep talking about it.

The Blackhawks say they havent lost hope, havent lost focus on the task at hand. But with 24 games remaining, they cant lose any more ground. The glimpses of good have to turn into a decent winning streak.

I think its just knowing we have talent in here to do it and its just a matter of getting it done, defenseman Duncan Keith said. You always believe in yourself as a player and an individual and its no different as a team. When you look at the situation were in, we havent gone on a long streak but were still right there. I think theres confidence in knowing if we can get there, well do some damage.

Now its about getting there. Haviland wasnt happy with the Blackhawks getting outworked by Columbus on Friday night, something he said was unacceptable. He said the Blackhawks were all businesslike at Saturdays practice.

You could tell they were upset about last night and they took it to heart, which is a good thing, Haviland said. They know the task at hand and they were disappointed in what went on. They knew it, we talked briefly about it this morning and we just have to move on and concentrate on (Sunday).

Yep, the Blackhawks critical situation hasnt changed. Their need for points hasnt either. They say they still have time, still have that winning streak in them.

It needs to come out.

We havent been able to piece a couple games together. Weve had short spurts, but when you cant piece together consecutive wins, youre gong to be in the pack every time, Brouwer said. You have to find ways to separate yourself.

Quenneville coming home?

Head coach Joel Quenneville, who has been hospitalized with an ulcer since Wednesday morning, could be heading home soon. Haviland said hopefully well get him back later today.

Haviland said he and Quenneville talked for about 20-25 minutes after Friday nights loss, and again briefly Saturday morning.

We basically talked about the missed opportunities we had, talked about juggling some of the lines around, Haviland said. The first line (Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane) had a great night but we were looking for a little bit more from everyone else. That was basically the gist of the conversations.

Briefly
Corey Crawford will get the start Sunday against Pittsburgh. Haviland said he hasnt decided who will start Monday in St. Louis.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch

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AP

Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch

Brandon Saad played a majority of last season on the first line, started this season on the second to change things up, got demoted to the fourth by the fifth game, and could find himself out of the lineup in the sixth.

Before the Blackhawks hit the ice for practice on Monday, the 25-year-old winger found a white jersey hanging in his stall. That's usually reserved for players who are injured — Andreas Martinsen (back) was the only other player wearing one — or players who are on the outside looking in, which appears to be Saad right now considering he was not part of the four-line rotation.

"I don't think anyone wants to be wearing white around here," he said. "But it is what it is and there's nothing you can do but keep trying to improve. It's their job to make the call to put the best team out there to win hockey games."

Known for being even-keeled through the ups and downs, Saad expressed disappointment about the possibility of being a healthy scratch on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes. He didn't exactly show that emotion following his demotion to the fourth line, perhaps out of respect to the players he was playing with by noting how it brings balance.

But he did on Monday, and it was the first time we've really seen some sort of emotion out of him.

"Everyone makes mistakes and things aren't always going to go your way but to be out of the lineup, a little surprised today," Saad said. "But it is what it is. ... No one wants to be out of the lineup. That's never fun regardless of who you are."

When asked to pinpoint what's gone wrong, Saad said he wasn't the right person to ask.

"I think you got to ask him that," he said, referring to Joel Quenneville and the coaching staff. "It's his calls. For me, you can talk pros and cons as much as you want but just trying to go out there and compete and win hockey games. We've won a few here, I know every game has gone to overtime so they've been close. Nothing was said to me about lineup change or anything like that. You just come in and you see your jersey and you go out there and you play."

So Quenneville was asked.

"Just expect more," he said. "That's the situation."

Is his mindset in the right place?

"I think he's fine," Quenneville said. "His mindset is what it is. Whether it's urgency or passion, coming up with loose pucks in those areas is going to be the difference."

The Blackhawks sending a message shouldn't only be directed at Saad. It also serves as a reminder to his teammates and is important to note for the younger guys about earning your ice time.

"I don't really know where the coaches are coming from so I'm not going to comment on that," Jonathan Toews said respectfully. "But [Saad] has been doing some good things and I think it's good for all of us to know what's going on there because if [Saad] can get his ice time taken away, then so can a lot of guys, myself included. So we all want to play well and have team success."

The Blackhawks need Saad to return to form quickly because he's crucial to their overall success. There's no debate about that. It's why the thought of Saad, who played in all 82 games last season, serving as the 13th forward is frustrating for everyone involved.

It hasn't been a problem in the past, but now it's becoming one because of the Blackhawks' aspirations of getting back to the playoffs and their dependence on their top players.

"I don’t think it’s an issue," Quenneville said. "We just expect more out of him."

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

The Blackhawks made sports history on Saturday after they appeared in their fifth straight overtime game to start the season.

No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. It also has never happened in the history of MLB, NBA or NFL, showing just how crazy this early season run has been for the Blackhawks, who have rallied from all five games and have come away with wins in three of them.

"We’ve had five games, every one of them have been extremely intense and the game’s been on the line from start to finish," coach Joel Quenneville said following a 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues. "Our group’s been competitive this year, the guys have been working hard for one another. I don’t know how many games we’ve been down in the third period, and coming back to win is special."

The Blackhawks appeared in 17 overtime/shootout games last season and won seven of them. They are one of six teams this season that have yet to pick up a regulation win.

On a separate note, Saturday marked the eighth time in Blackhawks history that one player scored a tying goal in the third period and scored in overtime (Alex DeBrincat), according to the NHL's PR department. It's the second time it's happened this year for the Blackhawks, with Jonathan Toews the other on Oct. 6 against St. Louis.