Blackhawks look to close out road trip against Oilers on high note

Blackhawks look to close out road trip against Oilers on high note

EDMONTON, Alberta – The Blackhawks have played a lot of hockey lately and the upcoming break will give them a chance to recharge and regroup for the stretch run.

But before they relax, they have to get through one more team. And that team gave them a heck of a time in November.

Scott Darling will get the start as the Blackhawks face the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. This is the Blackhawks' second visit to the Oilers' new home, Rogers Place. The first trip was forgettable as the Oilers pummeled the Blackhawks 5-0 on Nov. 21. The Oilers, who are coming off their bye week, lost three of four entering their break.

The Blackhawks have won four in a row and, regardless of Saturday's outcome, will finish above .500 on the Ice Show trip. Still they'd like to go into their bye week on a positive and keep pace with the Minnesota Wild. The Wild, who are idle tonight, have a five-point lead over the Blackhawks in the Western Conference.

"It's been a great trip for us," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Every game we played well and we want to make sure we keep doing the same things. Playing the right way is important as well. When we do it, it seems we're better, we're deeper and that balance can be the difference. We'll need a better effort than we saw in here the last time against this team. We lost our negative streaks against Minnesota and Winnipeg. We'll try to delete our last game in here as well."

Quenneville said he'd make one more lineup change but wouldn't divulge what it'll be.

Broadcast information

Time: 9 p.m.

TV: WGN

Radio: WGN 720 AM

 

Chicago Blackhawks

Forward lines

Nick Schmaltz -Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane

Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa

Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Vinnie Hinostroza

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson

Gustav Forsling-Brent Seabrook

Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Scott Darling

Injuries/illnesses: Michal Rozsival (lower body).

 

Edmonton Oilers (via team website)

Forward lines

Patrick Maroon-Connor McDavid-Leon Draisaitl

Milan Lucic-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Jordan Eberle

Benoit Pouliot-Drake Caggiula-Anton Slepyshev

Anton Lander-Mark Letestu-Zack Kassian

Defensive Pairs

Andrej Sekera-Matt Benning

Oscar Klefbom-Adam Larsson

Brandon Davidson-Jordan Oesterle

Goaltender

Cam Talbot

Injuries/illnesses: Jujhar Khaira (wrist), Darnell Nurse (ankle), Tyler Pitlick (knee), Kris Russel (undisclosed).

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

On April 22, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman vented his frustrations on the team’s all-too-abrupt exit from the postseason, adding that he and coach Joel Quenneville, “are going to work together to make sure that this never happens again.”

There will be plenty of decisions for the two to mull between now and September, when the Blackhawks convene for training camp. When it comes to the assistant head coach vacancy, however, that might need to be decided with a more one-sided approach. That choice ultimately should be made by Quenneville.

In a recent podcast, Pat Boyle and I discussed the Blackhawks’ need to work together on some upcoming decisions. But with the assistant coach, the head coach has to have the loudest voice. The head coach probably should even have the final vote. The relationship between coaches has to be there because they’re around each other constantly. They’ve got to be on the same page. There has to be trust from Day 1.

As for when the Blackhawks name that assistant, there appears to be nothing imminent. A source said Monday that the Blackhawks and Ulf Samuelsson have been in communication about the job — Chris Kuc of the Tribune first reported on Samuelsson on Sunday. On paper it looks like it would be a great fit. Samuelsson and Quenneville played several seasons together with the Hartford Whalers, along with current Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen. The relationship with Samuelsson has been there for a long time and it would make for a smoother transition. It might also provide somewhat of a panacea for Quenneville after former assistant Mike Kitchen, whose friendship with Quenneville also went back to their playing days, was fired last month.

Earlier this month Bowman told the Sun-Times that Quenneville will have a big role in the Blackhawks’ finding their next assistant coach, with the final choice being a “joint collaboration.” We get that there’s an order to these things and everyone has to be in agreement with the final decision. But in the end the head coach has to be 100-percent happy with his immediate staff. So whoever the next assistant coach is, the decision has to be 100 percent Quenneville’s.

Blackhawks share condolences after passing of six-time All Star Bill White

Blackhawks share condolences after passing of six-time All Star Bill White

The Blackhawks shared their condolences after the passing of former defenseman Bill White on Monday.

"The Chicago Blackhawks organization extends its thoughts and heartfelt condolences to Bill White's family as we mourn his loss," the team's statement read. "He will be remembered as a leader, generous teammate and tough player to play against. His energetic style helped the Blackhawks see great success during his tenure with the team."

White spent seven seasons with the Blackhawks — part of a nine-year NHL career — scoring 30 goals and tallying 149 assists.

He appeared in six consecutive All-Star Games from 1969 to 1974 and helped the Blackhawks to the playoffs in all seven of his seasons in Chicago.

White also had a brief stint as the Blackhawks' head coach, manning the bench for the final 46 games of the 1976-77 season.