Blackhawks

Turco ready for emotional return to Dallas

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Turco ready for emotional return to Dallas

Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011
Posted 5:39 p.m. Updated 8:24 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

EDMONTON, Alberta When Marty Turco walks back into Dallas American Airlines Center on Friday morning, hell likely take the same route he did for nine seasons as the Stars goaltender.

Hell probably walk the same hallway and see a lot of the same crew and trainers. And then hell keep on walking, for the first time, into the visitors locker room.

WATCH: Turco's Degree father-son shootout

Itll certainly be a strange trip for Turco, but a memorable one as hell start against his old team in his old stomping grounds for the first time as a Blackhawk. Turcos wife and three children were already in Dallas when the Blackhawks were scheduled to land on Thursday evening. Hes been looking at this day on the Blackhawks schedule for a long time.

Thereve been plenty of thoughts, probably since the day I knew I wasnt going to be back and the schedule came out, Turco said. It seemed like it was a long time away until February but that was probably a good thing. I was getting used to a new team, city and surroundings.

All that aside, its going to be a big game, period, he said. On top of it Im sure therell be some emotions, but I think Ill be all right handling them.

Patrick Kane said he talked to Turco about going back to Dallas on Wednesday night.

He said he was there nine years and nothing changed, from the security guards to the way he walked in to the guys who helped him with his equipment, Kane said. Ive never been on that side, but growing up a huge Sabres fan, I felt like I was part of that team in my childhood. But its pretty cool. Im sure hes going to put forth a good effort.

And Turco will have some good fun at his old teams expense. He said he wouldve liked to have played the Stars when they came to Chicago earlier this season to get some of the slashing I need to do out of the way. But I guess Im just going to have to do it all in one night.

Stars captain Brenden Morrow, Turcos best friend, said hell be prepared.

Itll be tough on my calves. Hes pretty good with the stick, Morrow told the Dallas Morning News. But itll be different. Ten-odd years or so, everything we went through together. Itll be a little weird.

For Turco, its a journey to the past and it has a lot of memories, most of them good. There were the great regular-season marks, the 2008 run to the Western Conference Finals and the longtime friends still in that locker room. He and Morrow have been best friends for years.

We spent a lot of time together, probably more than any two men should in a hockey relationship, Turco joked. But there are a lot of guys in that locker room that I had a chance to see grow up or grow up with and go through the ups and downs. Thats cool. Those are the memories you make when you wrap up a career.

Turco was a longtime fan favorite in Dallas. Given the way his time ended there, he should probably get a good reaction from the crowd.

We all want rose petals and foghorns you know, he said with a smile.

Turco admits hell deal with the emotions early. After that, itll be business as usual. The Blackhawks are in a situation where points take precedent over reunions pretty quick. Still, Turco will enjoy the moment for what it is.

It was a long time there, he said. From when they drafted me in 94, I had dreams of playing for the Stars and had a good run with them. It was a huge chunk of my life. My time has come and gone, and this is just a fun moment and a memorable one.

Hossa questionable

WATCH: Coach Q insists Hossa isn't hurt again

Marian Hossa has the flu and is questionable for Fridays game against the Stars. Replays showed Hossa took a Ladislav Smid elbow around the chin area in Wednesdays 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. But coach Joel Quenneville said Hossas status had nothing to do with the hit. Hossa traveled separately from the team to Dallas.

Froliks introduction

WATCH: Hawks get steal in Frolik

Newly acquired forward Michael Frolik met the Blackhawks in Dallas on Thursday and will play Friday against the Stars. Where he fits into the Blackhawks lines, exactly, isnt known yet.

You have an idea, some things you want to try, said Quenneville, who added some depends on Hossas status for the game. We might be experimenting a little more tomorrow than we anticipated. There are a lot of options.

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

Blackhawks mailbag: Goaltending situation and how draft could affect free agency

Blackhawks mailbag: Goaltending situation and how draft could affect free agency

Every Friday this offseason, Charlie Roumeliotis will look to answer your Blackhawks and hockey-related questions. Be sure to chime in using the hashtag #HawksMailbag on Twitter for a chance to have your question answered in the next edition.  

When are the Blackhawks going to announce their recent signings?

This question came on Wednesday and the Blackhawks officially announced the signing of 26-year-old Swedish forward Anton Wedin on Thursday. Wedin, who's a 5-foot-11, 194-pound winger, had a breakout season in the Swedish Hockey League and is expected to battle for a full-time roster spot for the Blackhawks in 2019-20.

The other one to watch for is Dominik Kubalik. He has reportedly agreed to an entry-level contract with the Blackhawks, but word is it won't be made official until the 2019 IIHF World Championship ends. He's currently representing the Czech Republic, which advanced to the semifinals on Thursday. Kubalik's rights were acquired by the Blackhawks from Los Angeles in January for a 2019 fifth-round pick.

Does Crawford get extended during the summer?

Corey Crawford has one year left on his six-year contract that carries a $6 million cap hit. The expectation is that he will be re-signed — and he should be. When that comes remains to be seen.

Given his health situation, the Blackhawks may prefer to see how the 2019-20 campaign plays out before diving into contract negotiations with their two-time Stanley Cup-winning goalie. Or they could try ironing one out starting on July 1 so that it doesn't hang over his head all season long. 

Crawford will be 35 in December, but that should not be the primary concern. It's whether or not the Blackhawks can count on his availability. When healthy, he's still one of the best in the game and the importance of the goaltending position is at an all-time high. Term will be the thing to watch for when it comes to Crawford's next contract.

Outside of the number 3 pick, what players or positions should the Hawks target in the draft?

The Blackhawks' philosophy is to take the best available player, especially in the first round of the NHL Draft. In 2018, the hope for the organization was that they would come away with a forward and defenseman in Round 1 but instead landed two defensemen (Adam Boqvist at No. 8 and Nicolas Beaudin at No. 27). Same with 2017 when they ended up Henri Jokiharju (No. 29) and Ian Mitchell (second round, No. 57 overall).

The later rounds (4-7) are where that thinking gets trickier because there isn't as much separation between the best available players. At that point — if it's close — positional need might be the deciding factor. 

Given the surplus of high-end defensemen in the pipeline, it's easy to say the Blackhawks should focus more on forward depth and the goaltending position. And that's probably true. But you still want to take the player with the highest ceiling because there's value in developing players the right way and making them attractive trade pieces down the line if there's no room for them on the Blackhawks roster. 

Favorite UFA targets? How do those affect your draft, if at all?

This is an interesting question, and the cliché answer is that it shouldn't impact the draft at all. In fact, the draft may have more impact on what the Blackhawks do in free agency more than vice versa.

The top of the draft is loaded with centers (Dylan Cozens, Kirby Dach, Jack Hughes, Peyton Krebs, Alex Turcotte, Trevor Zegras). The other name generating buzz is Bowen Byram, who's a defenseman. If the Blackhawks pick one of those centers at No. 3 overall, which is very possible, they'll be adding that player — whether he's NHL ready next season or not — to a center group that already includes Artem Anisimov, David Kampf, Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome. 

Toews is going to retire a Blackhawk. Strome is likely going to earn a long-term contract as well. And Kampf appears to be the perfect fourth-line center. Which leaves one center spot left. 

The odd man out may be Anisimov, but even so, there might be less of an inclination to sign a center to a long-term deal this summer if they draft a center at No. 3 because they will have filled that long-term need through the draft. If it's still an area they'd like to address in the short-term, then that could change the Blackhawks' way of thinking going into July 1.

Is Collin Delia the best option behind Crawford or are there other goalies in the system who are ready?

The Blackhawks are very much invested in Delia as Crawford's backup for the 2019-20 season. GM Stan Bowman said as much during exit interviews.

"I think Delia has taken a nice step as a pro this second year," Bowman said. "He didn't play a lot of NHL games, but certainly early on when he was playing a lot, he was really, really good. The hardest part for someone like Collin is trying to adjust to the NHL to not playing every night. I think when he came up and played in a few consecutive games, he was really good. And once we started rotation a bit, that's an adjustment for a young goalie. He wasn't sharp. But now he goes back to Rockford and I think he's the No. 1 or No. 2 in the American League in all his statistics. So he's doing all he can do to show that he's ready. That's nice knowing we have him signed for a couple of years and his best years are ahead of him." 

Kevin Lankinen is somebody that's quietly emerging as an intriguing prospect for the Blackhawks. He was put in tough spot this past season, starting with the Indy Fuel of the ECHL then rotating in and out with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL, where he had a 2.50 goals against average and .910 save percentage in 19 appearances. 

At the 2019 IIHF World Championship, he's been a big bright spot for Finland. He has a 1.83 GAA and .916 save percentage in six games. The Blackhawks want to see him handle No. 1 responsibilities in Rockford before putting him into the conversation as a potential NHL backup.

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Blackhawks fill assistant coach vacancy with hiring of Tomas Mitell

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Blackhawks fill assistant coach vacancy with hiring of Tomas Mitell

One month after "mutually" agreeing to part ways with assistant coach Don Granato, the Blackhawks have hired 38-year-old Tomas Mitell as his replacement on Jeremy Colliton's staff. 

Mitell spent the past two seasons as head coach of AIK Hockey (Allsvenskan) in Sweden, where he guided the team to an overall record of 64-27-13. He led AIK to a league-best 35-8-9 record during the 2018-19 campaign, with their 35 wins and 109 points each setting franchise records.

Perhaps more notably: Mitell served as an assistant coach under Colliton with Mora IK (Allsvenskan) during the 2016-17 season, so there's obvious familiarity between the two. 

Mitell rounds out Colliton's staff that also includes assistant coach Sheldon Brookbank and veteran goaltending coach Jimmy Waite. It's a young group behind the Chicago bench, with Colliton (34), Brookbank (38) and Mitell (38) each having little NHL coaching experience but offer a new-school way of thinking.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.