Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Corey Masisak of NHL.com,
There are not many franchises in the NHL where a 10-7-1 start to the season would elicit varying degrees of panic amongst the fan base, but the Chicago Blackhawks live in that space in 2014.
The Blackhawks have been one of the best teams in the NHL for seven seasons now, winning the Stanley Cup twice and reaching the Western Conference Final twice in the past six campaigns. There is an expectation to be playing in June 2015, or this season will be considered a failure.
So 21 points in 18 games, which as of Thursday morning was only good enough for ninth place in the West, has set off warning alarms in some homes in the greater Chicagoland area. One person who is not concerned? That would be Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman.
"I think we've played very well, probably better than our record shows," Bowman said Tuesday in Toronto after the League's general managers meeting. "I've been very pleased with our performance. One thing we haven't done until recently is scored a lot of goals, and that has always been a strength for us. We have essentially the same cast of characters back, so that will work itself out. We've been very good defensively. I think we've been No. 1 or 2 in goals against all year, and I think that is going to bode well for us down the stretch."
continued plus the Super 16 Power Rankings with the Blues and Blackhawks in the top 2 spots...
“He had the instincts of a Wayne Gretzky as a goalie. Really, he was one of the few goalies who ever played the game who could intimidate the other team before the puck dropped. They didn’t know how to score on him because you never knew what he was going to do.”
-Chris Osgood on Dominik Hasek. Much more on Hasek from Nicholos J. Cotsonika of Yahoo.
from Scott Powers of ESPNChicago,
He’s scored two goals on 50 shots for a 4.0 shooting percentage. He’s only once been under 11 percent in his career and was at 12.4 percent last season.
“I had lots of good opportunities and lots of great chances, but you know obviously the puck is not going in the way I like, so try to work hard and stay positive,” Hossa said.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville thought an issue for Hossa has been his individual puck possession. Quenneville didn’t think Hossa was carrying the puck as much as usual.
“It doesn’t seem like he has the puck as much as he has in the past,” Quenneville said. “When he does have it it’s tough for opponents to get away from him. Just seems like his possession time, particularly in the offensive zone, is down. Usually he has it good things evolve on that. We got to have him have the puck a little bit more, be comfortable in that scoring area.”
Tyler Johnson did not return to the game and Jon Cooper only said he was being evaluated.
Below, the Tampa broadcast view of the hit...
"Every team is getting better and tightening up. They get up to play us, we're on TV and we're in the playoffs a lot. We have to understand -- and it's not something new -- that teams are ready to play against us and I think that showed the first part of this season.
"As a group, we can all do better."
-Duncan Keith fo the Chicago Blackhawks after losing to the Washington Capials last night. Read more on the Blackhawks from Mike Spellman of the Chicago Daily-Herald.
via Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Several hours later, following a cathartic 5-0 victory over the Canadiens, Toews did his best to put a brave face on a new concern — an injured Patrick Sharp, who will be out “a bit” with an apparent right knee injury, according to coach Joel Quenneville. For Kris Versteeg, “a bit” meant a couple of weeks. For Daniel Carcillo, it meant a month. Quenneville said he’d know more in the next day or so.
Sharp was hurt in the third period when he was hit in the corner by Alexei Emelin. Sharp had to be helped off the ice and back to the dressing room.
With Carcillo already sidelined, that leaves the Hawks with just 11 healthy forwards, meaning a call-up is imminent.
“We’ve got some guys that have some skill and want more ice time,” Quenneville said. “So we’ll see how that works out. A lot of important ice time [is available], and someone should look to take advantage of that.”
from Kelsey Patterson at ESPNChicago,
Joel Quenneville is trying to jumpstart the Chicago Blackhawks' offense by shuffling his first two lines.
In the hopes of waking his team’s slumbering forwards, Quenneville will put Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews together on the first line when the team takes to the Bell Centre ice Tuesday evening against the Montreal Canadiens.
“These guys should be leading our offence,” said Quenneville of Kane and Toews. “Usually we like them spread out to give us a little bit more of a balanced attack, but putting them back together… They like playing with one another, and right now we are looking for a little more scoring.”
The Hawks have scored just two goals in their last two games and 12 in their last seven. The team is on a two-game losing streak. Their last time out, the Blackhawks were shut out by the Winnipeg Jets at home.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
I don't think anybody should be surprised to see the NHL's top two powerhouses with middling records as the NHL's second month gets going. For teams like the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, the regular season just doesn't mean a whole lot.
You won't hear anybody from either team ever admit this, but it's just hard to get up every night during an 82-game season when you know the real hockey awaits in the spring. It's just the truth. So you're going to see stretches like this for the Kings and Blackhawks this year, and each coach is going to use those struggling stretches to find ways to motivate his players.
But these players are human, you can't fool them. Their true hunger comes in the playoffs. Both of these teams have won two Cups apiece over the past half-decade. It's just hard to get excited and pretend to truly care about regular-season division titles. That means a lot more to teams trying to prove they're for real, teams worried about home ice in the playoffs, teams wanting regular-seaon glory. The Kings and Hawks? Sure they want to win every game, but from a mental and physical standpoint, it just wont' be there every night this early in the season.
read on for the rest of the hockey writers at ESPN for Blues/Rangers talk...
Below, watch a Legends of Hockey feature on Glenn Hall.
His consecutive game streak ended at 502 and one which will never be broken.
The Ducks beat the Blackhawks 1-0.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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