Return to Philly brings back sweet memories for Hawks


Return to Philly brings back sweet memories for Hawks

Patrick Kane has scored a lot of goals in his career. But its that goal he scored in Philadelphia, that sharp-angled, how-did-that-go-in goal that still ranks higher than the rest.

Theres not one that compares, said Kane of that Game 6 Stanley Cup-winning goal. It was a fun time for us. It was great to be part of a team like that.

The Blackhawks wont have much time to think about past glories when they hit the Wells Fargo Center ice Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, the first time theyve been back there since claiming the Cup in 2010. But for the past two days the Blackhawks have been remembering those great moments from a season and a half ago.

Jonathan Toews said it will hit him a few times in Philadelphia, from when he walks into the hotel to when he gets back on that ice.

Its been a long time, but just to be back well have some old stories we can tell, Toews said. Im sure the new guys are sick enough of hearing about all that stuff. Well just have a couple more days of it, I guess.

Toews said he recently downloaded Games 5 and 6 from that series and played them on the team plane, with teammates huddled around watching with him.

You know the outcome but it makes you nervous to watch, he said. A lot of those cool feelings come rushing back, everything from the celebration on the ice to everything in the locker room, too.

Even head coach Joel Quenneville got a big smile on his face when reliving Game 6.

What a moment. What a cigar, Quenneville said with a laugh. Everyone there will recapture the feeling, theyll all laugh about where they were, where they stood and recount those precious memories. At the same time theres the importance of (Thursdays) game.

And Thursdays game is important, as the Blackhawks try to come back from Mondays loss to the Edmonton Oilers. The Flyers, coming off their 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers in the Winter Classic, are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and will be looking to get going again on home ice.

The Blackhawks have had their moment in the sun. Theyll have their return moment in Philly on Thursday night. But once the puck drops, its about the present again.

Weve got some good memories there but at the same time, its a while ago now and weve all moved on, defenseman Duncan Keith said. We know that these are two different teams, its a regular-season game and we need two points.

Dennis Rasmussen taking advantage of opportunity with Blackhawks

Dennis Rasmussen taking advantage of opportunity with Blackhawks

During training camp, Mike Kitchen talked of what Dennis Rasmussen had to do entering this season.

Be proactive, the Blackhawks assistant coach said at the time, be bold.

“That’s what they told me,” Rasmussen recalled. “Since I got called up I have to do things a little bit quicker, I have to create a little bit more and be more active.”

Rasmussen got the message, and in the time he’s been in the lineup he’s done what the Blackhawks have wanted him to do. He scored his first goal of the season on Tuesday, when he took advantage of a fallen Philadelphia defender, and he’ll be on the fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Jordin Tootoo again on Friday when the Blackhawks face the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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“He showed a lot of character and determination to find a way to make an impact in the game. He bided his time here and then got in there, and he’s done a great job for us,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Gives up some size, gives us some depth, gives us some usefulness as far as playing a couple positions and can take face-offs, kill penalties as well. He’s turned out to be very useful and in a situation where we needed someone to come in and take advantage of it.”

The Blackhawks needed someone to step in after Ryan Hartman was injured last week in Nashville. Rasmussen, who’s played center most of his career, is currently on the wing. It’s different, but Rasmussen isn’t complaining.

“I haven’t played a lot of wing since I moved over here but it’s great. I like to play with Kruger, too, because we can take each other’s spots and cover for each other,” Rasmussen said. “I feel comfortable right now.”

Rasmussen’s in the lineup at the moment but how long will that last? Marian Hossa is out of Friday’s game with a lower-body injury but could come back on Saturday. Still, even when the Blackhawks are healthier they may have to keep Rasmussen in there. As long as he’s playing, he’ll keep trying to be the proactive forward the Blackhawks want him to be.

“I just try to work as hard as possible, win a lot of loose pucks and try to create some chances,” Rasmussen said. “At the same time be reliable, stay on the right side of the puck and be a two-way player.”

Marian Hossa out, Trevor van Riemsdyk in vs. Columbus

Marian Hossa out, Trevor van Riemsdyk in vs. Columbus

Marian Hossa will be out and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

Coach Joel Quenneville said “it’s possible” that Hossa, who suffered a lower-body injury against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, could play Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Meanwhile, it looks as if Trevor van Riemsdyk will be back in the lineup against the Blue Jackets. Van Riemsdyk, a healthy scratch the previous three games, was paired with Gustav Forsling the past two practices. Brian Campbell could be a healthy scratch, although Quenneville wouldn’t say for sure.

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The Blackhawks have eight defensemen this season, and Quenneville said, “we don’t want to see the same guys sitting out for extended periods of time.” Van Riemsdyk, who played in all 82 games last season, was scratched the previous three games.

“We have a lot of great players here, so you can’t get too frustrated about it or anything like that. Sulking around or feeling sorry for yourself won’t get anything done, so you just have to come to the rink every day and make the most of it, even when you’re watching games,” van Riemsdyk said. “Even though you may not want to be, you can learn a lot just watching.”

Campbell’s natural side is his left but he’s been playing on the right while paired with Forsling. He said there are some adjustments that come with that.

“I know it should be natural and it comes and I’m obviously getting used to that so it’s just different things. You’re not as open to the ice, but you have to find a way,” Campbell said. “I felt good last game. Felt like even last game might’ve been one of my better games, but I just have to keep working hard. That’s all I’ve ever done in my career.”