Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
Quenneville hasn’t changed the Hawks’ systems radically, but his steady hand and knowledge of the game seems like the perfect fit for the youngest team in the league.
“It was a tough start to the year,” second-year winger Patrick Kane said. “It was unfortunate what happened to Savvy, but since Joel came along it seems like the right move right now.
“The team is playing great behind him. It’s a lot simpler game. It’s like we’re playing with our instincts. If we can keep winning games and find a way to get into the playoffs, anything can happen once you get there. That’s the goal for this season.”
One of the biggest question marks heading into the season was whether the Hawks had enough offense. After 20 games, that has been answered emphatically: They are second in the NHL, averaging 3.55 goals per game.
from Tim Sassone of Between the Circles,
We might not know until Friday how badly Nikolai Khabibulin and Aaron Johnson are hurt.
Khabibulin went down in the final minute of the second period of Wednesday’s 3-2 OT loss to the Sharks with what appeared to be a groin or hamstring problem. Joel Quenneville didn’t know if Khabibulin would be examined Thursday in San Jose, where the Hawks were to practice, or if he would need to return to Chicago. If the injury is serious, Cristobal Huet would vault into the spotlight and we’d likely see Antti Niemi recalled from Rockford to be the backup.
from Tim Sassone of Between the Circles at the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Is it being a little too greedy to think the Hawks can go 6-0 on this road trip?
Wednesday’s game in San Jose won’t be easy, but the Sharks can be beat and the Hawks almost did it last week at the United Center. The Hawks led 5-4 going to the third period then took a couple dumb penalties and wound up losing 6-5.
It’s on to Anaheim Friday and the Ducks aren’t anywhere near as good as they were when they won the Stanley Cup.
The Hawks close the trip Saturday at Los Angeles against an improved, but nothing special Kings team.
The way Khabibulin is playing and the way the Hawks have shown they can score goals, there’s not a game on the schedule they can’t win.
more on the Blackhawks…
From Ryan Kennedy at The Hockey News,
Whether by coincidence or design, Toronto, Atlanta and Florida have no captain at all right now and none of those teams are slated to make the playoffs at this juncture.
Yeah, maybe the captaincy is symbolic. Just because you don’t have a letter on your jersey, doesn’t mean you can’t be vocal in the dressing room when things are going pear-shaped. But a look at what even some of the newest captains are doing these days sheds a little light on how symbolism often bleeds over into reality.
Earlier in the week, an unlikely fight occurred in Phoenix when Coyotes young gun Martin Hanzal squared off for the first time in his NHL career with Chicago captain Jonathan Toews. For Toews, it was his first fight ever, according to hockeyfights.com.
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Byfuglien and defenseman Brent Sopel were scratched for the game against the Stars. Both have been mentioned in recent trade speculation. Quenneville said Sopel, often injured this season, was a healthy scratch and was in the Hawks’ locker room after the game.
Most prominent of the trade rumors have Byfuglien going to the Capitals in a deal that would bring Nylander back to the Hawks. A straight-up deal was nixed by the Hawks this week, apparently because they couldn’t stay under the salary cap if they acquired Nylander. Adding Sopel to the deal would allow them to do that…
from Tim Sassone of Between the Circles,
How’s this for a potential scenario: Would the Hawks consider putting Cristobal Huet on waivers for the purpose of sending him to the minors in order to free up cap space for Nylander? It’s certainly an option.
“I was sitting in the [penalty] box and I was asking the guy if they actually gave me five minutes, I didn’t even know if they called that a fight. I couldn’t get my left glove off so I was more worried about just making sure he wasn’t throwing at me. Next time I’m in that situation I’ll be a little bit more confident on how to protect myself and do the right things.
“Sometimes things like that happen and you can’t back down from it. You just have to step up and protect yourself and do what you have to do. “
-Jonathan Toews after his first NHL fight last night. More on the Blackhawks from Chris Kuc of Icing at the Chicago Tribune.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The Chicago Blackhawks, according to multiple NHL sources, have a standing deal ready to go at a moment’s notice to acquire veteran center Michael Nylander from the Washington Capitals.
The only hitch is that in order to make the transaction, the Blackhawks need to free up considerable cap space and conventional wisdom is the only way they can do that is trade netminder Nikolai Khabibulin.
Just one problem, though. Khabibulin is playing much better than Cristobal Huet…
from Steve Rosenbloom of the Rosen Blog at the Chicago Tribune,
Whatever numbers the Hawks threw at you, the last three games blew up the era of good feeling. The Hawks lost a shootout, lost in overtime and lost in regulation. All three games were at home, mind you.
They lost a shootout against Boston, the best team in the East.
They lost in overtime to St. Louis, a rival rivaling Detroit.
And on Sunday night, the Hawks not only lost in regulation to San Jose, the best team in hockey, but they choked in the third period at home with some dumb penalties.
The Hawks have promise. I still believe that.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Sources familiar with the negotiations say the Blackhawks turned down a deal last week that would have had ex-Bruin Michael Nylander, now with the Capitals, wearing the Indian Head by this weekend. Someone in that Hawks’ lineup would have to be going back to D.C. to even out some of the $8.5 million Nylander is due over the two seasons after this one. The likeliest candidates: Dustin Byfuglien (two more years at $3 million per) or Brent Sopel (two more years at $2.5 million per).
If the Bruins keep the juices flowing, and the Panthers continue to struggle, UFA-to-be Jay Bouwmeester, 25, would be a dream addition to the Boston back line.
more hockey topics…
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.
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