Injuries, competition could lead to busy off-ice weekend

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Injuries, competition could lead to busy off-ice weekend

Its already going to be a busy weekend for the Blackhawks, who will have back-to-back road games against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.

But could results around the league make for a busy trading weekend? And if so, will the Blackhawks be part of it?

The Blackhawks players have enough to think about with their on-ice task, games against a Los Angeles team that just pulled off a big trade and an Anaheim squad thats not completely out of playoff contention just yet. The Blackhawks are focused on their own situation foremost, with just 20 games remaining in their regular season. Sitting in sixth place with 73 points and with teams pushing at them, the Blackhawks know every point is critical.

The next (game) is the most important one, and thats the way it is from here on out, Patrick Sharp said Thursday night, after the Blackhawks squandered a chance to pick up one or two points against the Dallas Stars.

The Blackhawks tough weekend task is made tougher since theyre missing Jonathan Toews, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Steve Montador for both. None traveled with the Blackhawks when they headed to Los Angeles this afternoon. If the Blackhawks can conjure up the game they played against Detroit, theyll be just fine this weekend. The team-first mentality got the through that, got them two points.

And as the team works on how to beat the Kings and Ducks, general manager Stan Bowman has his own decisions to make. Hes said he wants a defenseman, and he has until 2 p.m. CST Monday to find one. One would expect action to pick up this weekend on the trade front. Some dominoes have already fallen, as Kyle Quincey was traded to the Detroit Red Wings and Jeff Carter was acquired by Los Angeles for defenseman Jack Johnson, whos headed to Columbus.

Bowman also mentioned a while back a potential trade for a center. With Toews out, does that need grow? Toews is officially listed as day to day, and could be suffering concussion-like symptoms. He could be back by Monday. He could be out longer. And missing Toews for any amount of time is tough. Will the Blackhawks make getting a center a higher priority now?

Its going to be a busy weekend, one way or the other for the Blackhawks. They need points, need to keep pace with an ever tightening Western Conference what coach Joel Quenneville calls, the amazing race. Theyll have to collect them through this recent rash of injuries.

Bowman could do something over the weekend to help alleviate the struggle.

Alexandre Fortin signs three-year deal with Blackhawks

Alexandre Fortin signs three-year deal with Blackhawks

Alexandre Fortin was hoping to get a good enough look to earn a contract with the Blackhawks. On Sunday, he got it.

The Blackhawks agreed with Fortin on a three-year contract. The 19-year-old, who garnered attention at the team’s prospect camp in July, recorded 43 points in 54 games with Rouyn-Noranda (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League).

Fortin was passed over in two NHL drafts but his prospect camp was impressive enough to earn him an invitation to this training camp.

Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen appreciates interview opportunities

Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen appreciates interview opportunities

Kevin Dineen is back with the Blackhawks but there were times this summer you wondered if another team would take him away.

The Blackhawks’ assistant coach was a major candidate for the Colorado Avalanche head coaching job, according to the Denver Post, following Patrick Roy’s surprising departure. There were probably other inquiries, too.

“It’s always nice to go through a process of talking about the way you do your business. It’s also a reflection of where you are,” said Dineen following the Blackhawks’ White-Red scrimmage on Saturday. “No. 1, you have to get permission to do that, and the Blackhawks have been great about giving me the opportunity to go out and do that. But also, when you have success, a lot of people want to get your feedback or whatever it is.”

Dineen’s name will likely come up whenever there’s a coaching vacancy. He coached the Florida Panthers from 2011-13 and coached Team Canada women’s team to a gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Dineen will get another opportunity in the NHL but for now, life is good in Chicago.

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“For me, I couldn’t be happier right here,” he said. “I have a great person and hockey mind to work with in Joel [Quenneville]. But you know, down the line, those things play their way out and we’ll see where it goes.”

Arriving soon

Patrick Kane, Ville Pokka and Michal Kempny will join the Blackhawks’ training camp on Tuesday. The three finished up round-robin World Cup of Hockey play with their respective teams on Thursday.

Dineen said there’s a chance one of the defensemen, Pokka or Kempny, play in Wednesday night’s preseason game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“They’ll get into the swing of things here on Tuesday,” Dineen said. “So that’ll give them a good rest after a long, tough September, and we expect them to hit the ice flying.”

Briefly

  • Duncan Keith will skate during one of the Blackhawks’ practices on Sunday and Monday.
     
  • Team White defeated Team Red 4-3 in Saturday’s scrimmage at the United Center. Spencer Abbott led Team White with two goals.