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.

Preview: Blackhawks open preseason against Penguins Wednesday on CSN+

Preview: Blackhawks open preseason against Penguins Wednesday on CSN+

Scott Darling and the Blackhawks open up preseason play against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, and you can catch all the action on CSN+ at 7:30 p.m. 

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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After World Cup of Hockey, Patrick Kane joins Blackhawks at training camp

After World Cup of Hockey, Patrick Kane joins Blackhawks at training camp

Patrick Kane’s break from the ice lasted less than a week, his time in Toronto serving as a good preseason primer, of sorts.

And with the season about two weeks away, Kane said he’s about where he needs to be.

Kane and Michal Kempny joined the Blackhawks on Tuesday, two of several players beginning to trickle in from their World Cup of Hockey stints. For Kane, the World Cup didn’t go nearly as long as expected – Team USA was ousted in the preliminary round. But now, the focus is on honing things before the season begins.

“I feel pretty good,” Kane said following the second group’s practice on Tuesday. “I feel like everything’s starting to come around right now for sure. I guess, starting to feel kind of like myself again on the ice, so to speak. It’s good to be back in the locker room here with all the guys and back in a Blackhawks uniform, too. It’s always fun coming back. Feels like home, for sure.”

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Kane will not play Wednesday, when the Blackhawks face the Pittsburgh Penguins in their preseason opener. How many preseason games he does get is uncertain; but considering Kane’s time in World Cup of Hockey, the Blackhawks aren’t concerned with him getting rusty.

“He’s going to probably want to do it sooner than later, but I think we can be patient because he’s already been playing games,” assistant coach Mike Kitchen said. “Usually the veteran players when you come into a normal camp, they want to play maybe two or three games to just get their timing. For him, he’s already played quite a few games. There’s no reason to get him in right away, so we’ll just kind of bring him along, especially this early into camp.”

Team USA had a dismal showing at World Cup of Hockey, losing all three games in the preliminary round. But Kane said he’s put that behind him.

“It was a situation, looking back on it now, where we lost to a good team in Europe – they’re in the championship now – and I think at that point there’s a lot of noise from the outside that maybe crept in to our locker room a little bit. We needed to beat Canada. You could say they probably outplayed us but we had chances I that game to keep ourselves in it and ended up losing that one and we were out. But you’re playing in the World Cup of Hockey, you’re playing for your country, it’s always an honor to play for the United States. I’ll always remember playing for my country and always want to do it if you get the opportunity.”

BRIEFLY

  • Duncan Keith skated with the second group on Tuesday. The Blackhawks will continue to monitor him. “He’ll probably want to get maybe a couple of [preseason] games just for his timing, especially for a defenseman, too. Just so he’ll able to get his gap control and things like that. I imagine he’ll want to try and get some games, but we’ll just see how his knee’s come along and how he responds,” Kitchen said. “We don’t want to put him in a situation before we have to because it only is preseason. We’ll just have to monitor that.”
  • Scott Darling is scheduled to play the entire game vs. the Penguins tomorrow.