Tanner Kero looking to make most of opportunity with Blackhawks

Tanner Kero looking to make most of opportunity with Blackhawks

Vinnie Hinostroza yelled “Tanner!” as Tanner Kero came onto the ice for the Blackhawks’ practice on Thursday. He did it again as Kero was about to talk to the media a few minutes later.

“He’s a pretty shy kid so I’m trying to get him to open up a little bit,” Hinostroza said. “We’re pretty good buddies, so it’s always good to see him come into the locker room.”

The Blackhawks’ locker room that Kero walked into on Thursday isn’t so strange to him now, thanks to the 17 games he played here last season. At that time, Kero was recalled from Rockford after putting up strong scoring numbers with the IceHogs. On another productive streak with the IceHogs, Kero’s getting another chance.

Kero was recalled on Thursday morning, as the Blackhawks put center Artem Anisimov on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. The 24-year-old Kero has seven goals and 13 assists for the IceHogs; he said the team, overall, has been finding more success lately and he’s just been part of that.

“As a group we've been playing a lot better the last few games,” Kero said. “We're focusing more on being responsible defensively and just being a little smarter in the offensive zone, keeping a higher guy and worrying about that aspect of the game and now our offense is starting to show.”

It’s been a good few weeks for Kero in general. Not only is he getting this call after a productive early season with Rockford, but he became a father to a baby boy about a month ago. Juggling hockey and parenthood has been interesting, but thrilling.

“It's a little adjustment, but it's been awesome,” Kero said with a smile. “It's crazy. It's that new adjustment right now. But it's been fun.”

As for this latest trip to Chicago, Kero said he feels, “a little more comfortable” this time around. He still expects some adjustments come game time; nevertheless, coach Joel Quenneville said past experience should help Kero.

“He’s made good progress in his development,” Quenneville said. “Last year, we liked him a lot. I thought he did a great job for us for first time being a pro and then coming up and getting some meaningful ice time, good responsibilities and just watching him practice, there’s an appreciation for watching him play and thinking I like what we saw.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Kero could also get some added responsibility right out of the gate.

“He’s going to get a chance probably to play in some situations, maybe kill penalties for us because we know he’s responsible,” Quenneville said. “He has good patience with the puck. His quickness and his speed, it looks like he can handle the NHL.”

Kero’s time with the Blackhawks may not be too long this time around. Quenneville said he’s hopeful Anisimov and Marian Hossa, also out with an upper-body injury, could return Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets. Regardless this is a great chance for Kero, and he’ll take advantage of it.

“You try not to think too much about it,” Kero said of how long you stay with the big club. “You just go out every shift and try and work hard and prove that you earned that spot here and that you kind of belong [here]. So you just want to go shift by shift and just play it from there.”

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Reacting to Round 1 of NHL Draft


Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Reacting to Round 1 of NHL Draft

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Round 1 of the 2018 NHL Draft.

They discuss the pair of puck-carrying defensemen that the Blackhawks selected on Friday, Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin. When can we expect to see these first-round picks play in the NHL?

Boyle also goes 1-on-1 with Boqvist and Beaudin. The guys spoke with Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville on Friday.

The guys also share their biggest takeaways from those interviews, which includes your daily Corey Crawford update and Quenneville appeared excited that the team has plenty of cap space to spend in free agency.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks add another defenseman to pipeline, draft Nicolas Beaudin at No. 27


Blackhawks add another defenseman to pipeline, draft Nicolas Beaudin at No. 27

DALLAS — Despite taking Adam Boqvist with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Blackhawks took a second defenseman at No. 27 with the selection of Nicolas Beaudin.

Beaudin is a 5-foot-11, 172-pound defenseman who prides himself on playing strong at both ends of the ice and tries modeling his game after Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins.

"I’m a two-way defenseman," Beaudin said. "I can provide offense, too. I’ve got a great IQ. I think in my zone I’m just getting better and better."

Beaudin is also a left-handed shot, which is something the Blackhawks could use more of in the organization along the blue line when it comes to impact-type players.

"Nicolas is a very efficient defender," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "He’s got a really nice skill set. He makes the game look pretty easy. He’s a smooth player, not a lot of panic to his game. He’s a good skater so when he has to turn back and get to the puck he can get there first. Usually he just gets his setup and makes the simple play.

"You watch him play and he makes it look really easy. He’s not a guy that’s getting run over a lot. He’s not a real big player, but he uses his brain really well and he had over a point a game, too. He’s got a good feel for making plays and scoring points."

The 18-year-old registered 69 points (12 goals, 57 assists) in 68 games with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL, and added three goals and eight assists in 10 postseason contests.

Beaudin is the third defenseman the Blackhawks have taken in the first round the last two years, with Henri Jokiharju and Boqvist being the other two.

"It’s a winning culture in Chicago," Beaudin said. "They won a lot. I know they’ve got some young guys coming in. For sure in the next few years I want to earn my place and I want to try to learn a lot from a guy like Duncan Keith."