Blackhawks gear up for opener with team scrimmage

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Blackhawks gear up for opener with team scrimmage

Call it a simulated game. Call it a dress rehearsal. The Blackhawks called it their best chance to have a game-type situation in this shortened training camp. And they didnt mind what they saw.

The Blackhawks played the, um, Blackhawks in front of youth hockey kids and their parents on Wednesday night, with Red beating White 3-2. For the Blackhawks, it was an opportunity to look at their new lines and new power play combinations. For the players, it was a chance to play as close to a game as some of these guys have done since last April.

And all things considered, the dress rehearsal wasnt too bad.

The first period was a definite wakeup call for me, said Daniel Carcillo, who got his first real game-like test on that surgically repaired knee since he was injured last January. The second felt better and so did the third. You just have to get rid of the bad habits and start playing. Its positioning and those start-and-stop battles. And even with those, youre hesitant to make a big hit; you have teammates out there. But as the game went on, I think everyone in this room felt a little better.

Patrick Sharp concurred.

I now I felt better every period, every shift, he said. Its good to know the legs and conditioning are there. We just have to tune up a few little things.

The Blackhawks did power-play work during their morning skate on Wednesday, and got two power-play goals in the evening practice (Marcus Kruger and Patrick Kane). Coach Joel Quenneville liked what he saw from both units.

I liked the power play, Quenneville said. We were shooting the puck more as the game went on. We missed some empty nets but I liked the overall emotion and movement we had. It seemed like the guys, off those levels, should get better.

Yes, it was something to simulate a game. It certainly wasnt the real thing; the Los Angeles Kings will provide that come Saturday afternoon. But everyones in the same boat this training camp, every teams just trying to get an idea of what theyve got entering the season. The Blackhawks were liking that dress rehearsal, and wishing they could get another one in before it all starts counting.

Plays on the boards and getting it into the middle on the forecheck, I thought (the timing) was good, Carcillo said. It wouldve been nice to get a couple of those (scrimmages in), to be honest. It was really good.

TIDBITS

Steve Montador (concussion) is still out. Coach Joel Quenneville was uncertain when he would return.

Defenseman Sean ODonnell, who played last season with the Blackhawks, announced his retirement on Wednesday after 17 seasons in the NHL. ODonnell was part of the Anaheim Ducks Stanley Cup season in 2007.

The Blackhawks will have one more practice here tomorrow before heading to Los Angeles.

Kevin Dineen to stay on Blackhawks' staff as Avalanche hire Jared Bednar

Kevin Dineen to stay on Blackhawks' staff as Avalanche hire Jared Bednar

The Blackhawks' coaching staff will be intact for the 2016-17 season.

Two weeks after Patrick Roy abruptly resigned as head coach, the Colorado Avalanche officially picked Jared Bednar to be his replacement over Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen, who was among the favorites for the coaching vacancy.

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Bednar has no National Hockey League coaching experience, but did guide the Columbus Blue Jackets' American Hockey League affiliate to a 15-2 postseason record last season en route to the franchise's first Calder Cup championship.

Retaining Dineen is good news for the Blackhawks, who start training camp next month, but it goes without saying that Dineen is certainly deserving of a second crack at a head coaching position in the near future.

Dineen, Mike Kitchen and head coach Joel Quenneville will enter their third season together after helping the Blackhawks capture a Stanley Cup in their first year as a group in 2015.

Jonathan Toews named Team Canada alternate captain for World Cup of Hockey

Jonathan Toews named Team Canada alternate captain for World Cup of Hockey

Jonathan Toews was named alternate captain of Team Canada on Thursday for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

Sidney Crosby was named Team Canada’s captain. Crosby, who claimed his second Stanley Cup in June, was also Team Canada’s captain en route to the gold medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

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Toews, who has been the Blackhawks’ captain since the 2008-09 season, was also alternate captain of Canada’s 2014 Olympic squad. Shea Weber of the Montreal Canadiens will serve as Team Canada’s other alternate captain.

Duncan Keith won't play for Team Canada in World Cup of Hockey

Duncan Keith won't play for Team Canada in World Cup of Hockey

Duncan Keith will not be part of the Blackhawks’ World Cup of Hockey contingent after all.

Keith will focus on improving his health rather than play for Team Canada in the tournament, which takes place next month in Toronto. The Blackhawks released a statement regarding Keith on Wednesday afternoon.

"As Duncan continues offseason rehabilitation on the right knee injury that he sustained last season, we understand his decision not to participate in next month’s World Cup of Hockey," team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in the statement. "We believe it is in his best interests to focus on getting stronger and not risk further injury."

Keith had surgery on that knee last October and was sidelined about one month.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will take Keith’s place.