Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Posted: 12:20 a.m.
By Tracey Myers
Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson is used to playing in pain. Its just the price you pay for being a shot blocker.
Hes done what hes had to during his latest injury, a hand issue that has him taking maintenance days when he can and playing through it when necessary. But if he was hurting Monday night against the San Jose Sharks, he wasnt playing like it.
Hjalmarsson played just under 19 minutes, blocked three more shots and scored his third goal of the season in the Blackhawks 6-3 victory over San Jose. Hjalmarsson has logged lower minutes in recent games as he works through a hand injury. But on Monday, he had what coach Joel Quenneville called a special game.
Thats as hard as Ive seen him shoot the puck, Quenneville said. He had a great shot (on his goal) and another in the third period as well. He keeps trending and he really enhances his overall contribution from the defensive perspective.
Could the harder shots on Monday be a sign that Hjalmarssons completely healed?
I wont say that, he said. Im just playing through it, just trying to do as best as we can.
Hjalmarsson says he just keeps the positive attitude going.
Its just mental a lot. You just try to handle the pain in a good way, he said. Sometimes youre almost more pumped up because you cant play as you want to. Maybe that prepares you in a different kind of way. It sounds weird, but thats how it is.
When Patrick Kane scored his 100th career goal on Monday night, captain Jonathan Toews made sure he picked up the puck for his linemate.
Hes been thinking about it for a couple of games, Toews said. I could see him looking over there. So I figured I had to go get it.
Kane said his only disappointment was not getting the 100th goal in Washington on Sunday, when his parents and sisters were at the game.
Patrick Kane received the puck from his 100th career goal, even though justice could have been served by Jonathan Toews and left Kane without the memorable piece of rubber. (AP)
(Patrick) Sharp was saying, Dont worry about that one. Youll get more important ones than the 100th. But its nice (Toews) went and got it. I told him Id get his 100th and then I forgot, Kane said.
Brian Campbell (left leg) and Dave Bolland (concussion) did not play against San Jose on Monday night. Campbell played the first half of the Blackhawks 4-3 overtime loss to Washington on Sunday and is still listed as day to day. Quenneville hoped that, with the Blackhawks not playing again until Thursday, Campbell could be ready for that game.
Bollands situation is murkier. The center took an elbow to the head from Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kubina last Wednesday and is still apparently feeling the effects of it. Quenneville could give no timetable for Bollands return.
Right now I dont think anythings changed over the last couple of days, said Quenneville. Asked if Bolland is feeling any better, Quenneville said hes about the same.
Patrick Sharps four-assist night gives him 68 points this season, a new career high. Sharps previous high was 66 last season.
Brent Seabrook played just under 24 minutes with an assist, a team-high six blocked shots and four hits. He finished a plus-2.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.