Corey Crawford will get the start for the Blackhawks and Michal Rozsival will be among the defensive starters again as the Chicago Blackhawks open their home schedule against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center tonight.
The Blackhawks (2-0-0) will face a Blues squad that pulled out a shootout victory in Nashville on Monday. Brian Elliott is slated to start in goal for St. Louis.
For the Blackhawks, the seasons start couldnt have been much better. They outscored Los Angeles and Phoenix by a combined 11-6 and want to bring that power and intensity back home.
That's what we talked about this morning here going into today's game, coach Joel Quenneville said. We're playing a team we know has played very well over the last year and have gotten off to a strong start. We want to make sure we do everything quick, that we've got good energy going into the puck area. We want the puck. Our transition was good, and we want to make sure that's going to be continued on here today.
Each team presents their challenges. The Blackhawks have had a much stronger start on special teams this season, and Marian Hossa is looking as heathy as hes ever been. He has five points in two games. For the Blues, goaltending remains a strong suit. Elliott came in for Jaroslav Halak midway through the Blues game in Nashville on Monday and earned the shootout victory. And rookie Vladimir Tarasenko is off to a five-point start of his own (3-2-5).
Hes a kid that just loves to compete and play, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. He has a real throwback attitude, which I really appreciate, a real sincere menality. He respects the game and veterans. All talent aside, who knows where this thing goes career-wise. But when you have that type of attitude and sincerity to your disposition, it bodes really well for him.
As for stopping guys like Hossa and Jonathan Toews, Hitchcock said its always a challenge.
To me, theres skill and then theres skill with strength. And they both have (the latter), Hitchcock said. They both can buy enough time one on one to make it difficult. Theyre probably best pair in the league because they can buy time to create 2 on 1s, because theyre so strong with the puck. Theyre big difference makers. Hopefully they have an off night.
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.
The Colorado Avalanche are looking for a new head coach, and Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen is reportedly a "major candidate" to land the job, according to Mike Chambers and Terry Frei of The Denver Post.
Dineen, 52, has spent the last two seasons as Joel Quenneville's right-hand man, and helped guide the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup victory in 2015.
He previously served as the head coach for the Florida Panthers, where he went 56-62-28 in two and a half seasons with the team.
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Dineen is familiar with the Colorado area as well, playing collegiate hockey at the University of Denver from 1981-83. He scored 26 goals and 23 assists in 67 games across two seasons with the Pioneers, and was named captain as a sophomore.
Because he's under contract with the Blackhawks for the 2016-17 season, the Avalanche would have to seek permission to interview Dineen, and it's possible it already happened.
The Avalanche are looking to replace Patrick Roy after he resigned on Aug. 11 due to philosophical differences with management.
Roy was 130-92-24 in three years with the Avalanche, guiding his former club to a Central Division title in his first season but missing out on the playoffs the past two years.
Patrick Sharp is back in Chicago, and spent Saturday evening at Wrigley Field taking in the Pearl Jam concert, one of his favorite bands.
The former Blackhawks forward happened to bump into another fan-favorite athlete Chicago is well familiar with: Paul Konerko of the White Sox.
Together, the two of them have helped bring four championships to the city.
Sharp couldn't resist tweeting the photo Saturday night to document the moment: