Saad inks deal with Hawks, will start Friday

552516.jpg

Saad inks deal with Hawks, will start Friday

The Chicago Blackhawks signed Brandon Saad to an entry-level deal, general manager Stan Bowman told the media on Tuesday, and the rookie will play in the Blackhawks' season opener in Dallas on Friday.

Saad's great training camp has translated into the deal and the opportunity to start with the big club. He'll also be starting on the top line, as he practiced with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp on Tuesday morning.

"He's earned a spot," said Bowman, who noted Saad has had the Blackhawks' attention since rookie camp. "The competition has gone up each time and he's responded to the challenge. You have to credit him for his hard work and determination. He's excited to go and that's a good story for us. We put him in a position to succeed and he seized it."

For Saad, the dream of making an NHL roster is realized early. The 18-year-old said he'll try not to be overwhelmed by that first regular-season game.

"I've been through the preseason so I'll try to take it like every game. Starting the real season, it's going to be tough but exciting," he said. "I've always wanted to work to make the NHL but didn't expect to make the team (this soon). But it's nice to have."

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks beat Avalanche; Bulls lose to Mavericks

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks beat Avalanche; Bulls lose to Mavericks

Preview: Loyola faces Northern Iowa on CSN

Vinnie Hinostroza, rookies pace Blackhawks past Avalanche

Bulls can't answer Wesley Matthews' game-winner in loss to Mavericks

Jon Lester explains absence from Cubs' White House trip: 'Absolutely nothing political'

Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

White Sox prospect Michael Kopech fires a 110 mph max velocity throw

Bears challenged to replace coaches involved in three all-rookie selections

Fire draft two Charlotte 49ers to close out draft

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

Illini dominated in ugly blowout loss at Purdue

Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

DENVER – Well, that was a wild one, wasn’t it?

We’ll spare you the gory-to-glorious details (most of which are in the game story, anyway). So instead, let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 6-4 victory over Colorado.

1. Great night for the rookies. The Blackhawks’ newest players were their most prolific players on Tuesday night. Vinnie Hinostroza had two goals. Tanner Kero did too, and added an assist. Nick Schmaltz had a goal and an assist. All of these experiences are great learning curves for the Blackhawks’ youth, and coach Joel Quenneville likes how they’re progressing, not just with scoring but with their overall games. “That’s the part that’ll make them better players and us a better team is playing the right way defensively, being responsible, putting the puck in good areas and going hard to the net.”

2. Top line still too quiet. Line changes were made but the results remained the same, especially for the Blackhawks’ top trio. Ryan Hartman and Richard Panik were up there with Jonathan Toews in this one, but still nada. The three had a combined three shots for the game. Many of you have asked if Toews is still dealing with that back injury. On Tuesday morning he said, “no, it’s been really good, actually.” Still, there’s something up with a top line that, regardless of combination, just can’t get anything going.

[SHOP: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

3. Terrible second period. The Blackhawks came out of the first in great shape and with a 2-1 lead. But things got messy in the second period. Be it the inability to clear or get the puck deep in the Avs’ zone, the Blackhawks made mistakes. The Avs capitalized, scoring three goals in the second including two in a 63-second span. Outside of Tanner Kero’s goal, the Blackhawks had a forgettable second period. The Avalanche outscored them 3-1 and outshot them 8-4 in the second.

4. Faceoffs lost. The Blackhawks did not do well in this department, winning just 23 percent of their faceoffs. It didn’t cost them the game but they certainly need better nights than they got on Tuesday.

5. Corey Crawford gets through it. Crawford was stellar prior to his appendectomy but hasn’t been at that level since. Quenneville said he considered pulling Crawford during this one but decided to keep him in. Quenneville’s still happy with his goaltending – again, the Blackhawks aren’t where they are right now without it this season. But he said Crawford could be better than he was on Tuesday.