Stalberg willing to take abuse for power play time

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Stalberg willing to take abuse for power play time

Viktor Stalberg was pretty happy with the way 2011-12 went for him. Not surprising, as he set career-high numbers in goals (22), assists (21) and points (43).

But when the Blackhawks conducted exit interviews last week, his focus was about what he could add to his game next season.

Or, more specifically, what parts of the game he could be added to next season.

When Stalberg scored his 22 goals this season, they were all in even-strength situations. The forward, in his third NHL season, saw little to no time on the Blackhawks power play. And thats where hed like to get more of a chance next season.

Im always looking to get a bigger role on the team, Stalberg said. Im working on little things to get on special teams and things like that. I didnt play much this year, but I want to get more into my game and hopefully I can help out there in the future.

Considering his even-strength work this season, why not give Stalberg more power-play opportunities next season? The Blackhawks power play struggled mightily in 2011-12, usually doing more to stifle momentum than build it. There were plenty of tweaks, too, as basically everyone played some on that power play. But the results were never very consistent.

Stalberg did play there. Sort of. He logged a little more than 35 minutes of total power-play time this season; that worked out to about 27 secondsgame.

I definitely want to get a chance at it, Stalberg said. I didnt get much of a chance this year, no extended time. I think its something Ill look to get better and keep working at.

Stalberg could be used in a few ways on that power play, although one role may be perfect for him in the current situation: net-front presence. Several Blackhawks talked last week about that element being MIA this season, mentioning former Hawks Tomas Kopecky and Troy Brouwer by name. Stalberg brings a big body (6-foot-3, 209 pounds) that could screen a few goaltenders and deflect a few goals.

And as far as the hits, slashes, pushes and shoves that net presence gets from the opposition on the power play, Stalbergs ready to take the abuse.

Yeah, for sure. I think you want to get all the ice time you can get, Stalberg said. Thats the role you have to take, and Id like to get that into my game. Get grittier and score more goals in traffic like that. A lot of guys made great careers standing in front of the net.

Stalberg hopes to add power play to his repertoire next season. Will he get the chance? Who knows. But considering the anemia the Blackhawks had on it this season, its certainly worth consideration.

Well see what happens, he said. Im definitely looking to get better, and hopefully Ill get a chance to be on there.

Fast Break Morning Update: Cubs visit White House; Blackhawks, Bulls in action tonight

Fast Break Morning Update: Cubs visit White House; Blackhawks, Bulls in action tonight

Here are some of the top Chicago sports stories from Monday:

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Avalanche tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls host Mavericks in search of third straight win

Cubs meet President Obama in unforgettable, symbolic White House visit: ‘They said this day would never come’

Blackhawks' rough weekend 'a little bit of a wake-up call'

The state of the Bulls after the first half of the season

Reports: Dolphins assistant Jeremiah Washburn to be Bears' new O-line coach

Does Cubs president Theo Epstein have a future in politics?

President Obama, with Cubs at White House: 'Among Sox fans, I'm the Cubs' No. 1 fan'

At Cubs' White House visit, President Obama touts Michelle Obama's Cubs fandom, shouts out Jose Cardenal

Fire trade for midfielder Dax McCarty

The state of the Bulls after the first half of the season

The state of the Bulls after the first half of the season

Who are the Bulls? The team that beat Cleveland and Toronto or lost to Dallas, Minnesota and Milwaukee?

That's the question Bulls fans are currently asking and the one Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill posed in the video above.

The Bulls have had impressive wins and shocking losses, but neither of those should be surprising at this point. The Bulls are, as Goodwill put it, consistently inconsistent.

The first half of the season has proven that Dwyane Wade still has some memorable moments left to give and Jimmy Butler continues to approach superstardom. On the downside, the drama surrounding Rajon Rondo has meant the 'three alphas' that were hyped up in the preseason haven't been the dynamic trio some Bulls fans had hoped.

Coach Fred Hoiberg doesn't have the shooters his system needs, but can he still rally the troops and get something out of Rondo?

Watch the video to see Goodwill's look back on the Bulls' first half and what could be ahead.