Blackhawks

Toews will play, Sharp questionable vs. Canucks

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Toews will play, Sharp questionable vs. Canucks

Updated: Monday, Jan. 30 at 9:59 p.m.

VANCOUVER The Chicago Blackhawks will need their injured stars healthy for this stretch run. Theyll get one back on Tuesday, and the other is pretty darn close.

Jonathan Toews will play and Patrick Sharp is questionable when the Blackhawks take on the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. Toews, who suffered a left-arm injury against Florida and had it re-aggravated against Nashville, said he felt great during the teams practice Monday at Rogers Arena.

Sharp, who suffered a broken wrist when he was slashed scoring his 20th goal three weeks ago, could still play Tuesday but will have to see how he feels after morning skate.

Toews didnt go to the All-Star game festivities in Ottawa over the past four days. He said he hated to miss it, but those four days off were beneficial in helping him get better quickly.

Its one of those things that never bothered me enough to complain about it to begin with. I was just trying to take a shot against Florida tweaked it, and the next game (against Nashville) it just got worse, said Toews, who left that Jan. 21 game in the second period. Its one of those things, you walk around every day you may not feel it. But you shoot pucks and the little things, it kind of pops up on you. You try to be careful. I took care of it this week and I feel a lot better.

Sharp, meanwhile, could start against Vancouver. Monday was his first practice with the Blackhawks since he suffered the injury against Detroit on Jan. 8. He said he spent the All-Star break skating on his own.

Sharp said he didnt realize anything was wrong in that game until a few minutes after he scored the goal. He tried to take a few more shifts against the Red Wings, but it was worse and worse, he said.

(Monday) was the first tine I touched a puck since the injury but there are all kinds of precautionary things you have to go through, said Sharp, who did skate on the second line with Marian Hossa and new Blackhawks center Brendan Morrison. Id like to think (I could play tomorrow). Im a little rusty but, again, well see how it feels in the morning.

For Sharp, missing the past three weeks has been aggravating. He got hurt scoring his 20th goal of the season, and probably wouldve been an All-Star selection if not for the injury. Understandably, he wants to get back as soon as he can.

Its been tough but the teams played really well, he said. We had a tough (two games) with Nashville but a lot of different guys have stepped up last seven or eight games. Toews stayed red hot and the young guys played well. Hopefully I can get back into the lineup one of these days.

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.