Blackhawks looking to break skid vs. Jets

Blackhawks looking to break skid vs. Jets

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – The Blackhawks reversed their regular-season woes against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night. Now they’ll try to do the same against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night.

The Blackhawks have lost all four games to the Jets this season. Creating offense against Winnipeg has been a problem — it took them until Jan. 26 to score more than one goal against the Jets, and that was a 5-3 loss. In that game the Blackhawks finally fought their way to the net against a Winnipeg group that usually keeps them boxed out.

“We’ve done a pretty good job on this trip of finding a way to get screens, second opportunities by getting there,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Tough loss last game. The first three games we didn’t play very well. Give them credit in all four games but certainly a tough loss against them last time. It looked like we were going to get something out of that game.”

The Blackhawks have won three in a row coming into this one and would like to put an end to the Jets’ hold on them much like they did the Wild’s.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“Obviously for us it’s huge points-wise to try and get that extra point or two, edge-wise, against Minnesota,” Jonathan Toews said. “For us, we had a really rough season against Minnesota last year and we wanted to play better than we played against them in the first game of the year. So same goes for Winnipeg. It’s a team that has had a lot of success against us. We need to prepare better, we need to come out and have much more respect for that team and what they can do. They have a lot of offense and a lot of ability and they always play great in their building. We’ll have to be ready for that and bring our best game.”

Corey Crawford will get the start. Marian Hossa took the morning off but is expected to play.

Broadcast information

Time: 7 p.m.

TV: CSN

Live stream: CSNChicago.com

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

Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook

Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries

Michal Rozsival (lower body)

Jets forward lines

Andrew Copp-Mark Scheifele-Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers-Bryan Little-Patrik Laine

Shawn Matthias-Adam Lowry-Joel Armia

Mathieu Perreault-Nicolas Petan-Drew Stafford

Defensive pairs

Tobias Enstrom-Dustin Byfuglien

Josh Morrissey-Jacob Trouba

Ben Chiarot-Paul Postma

Goaltender

Connor Hellebuyck

Injuries

Tyler Myers (lower body), Marko Dano (lower body)

Blackhawks make another change, fire Rockford coach Ted Dent

Blackhawks make another change, fire Rockford coach Ted Dent

Ted Dent was another longstanding member of the Blackhawks' organization. On Tuesday, he was the latest to be let go.

Dent, head coach of the Rockford IceHogs for the past six seasons, was fired on Tuesday morning. Dent spent a total of 11 years in the organization; he was the IceHogs' assistant coach for five seasons before taking the head coaching job for the 2011-12 season.

Just over a year ago, the Blackhawks gave Dent a three-year contract extension that was set to run through the end of the 2018-19 season.

"The Chicago Blackhawks thank Ted for all of his contributions throughout his tenure with the organization," Blackhawks general Manager Stan Bowman said. "He played a major role in helping a number of players reach the NHL level with the Chicago Blackhawks, many of whom became Stanley Cup champions. We wish Ted and his family the best."

The IceHogs didn't have the depth this season they had in previous years, and they struggled all season en route to a 25-39-9-3 record. The struggles got worse after the March 1 trade deadline, when the Blackhawks sent Spencer Abbott and Sam Carrick to the San Diego Gulls (Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate). At the time, Abbott led the IceHogs in points with 35 (15 goals, 20 assists) and Carrick was second with 28 points (11 goals 17 assists).

After the two were traded, the IceHogs went 4-12-1.

It's the second consecutive day in which the Blackhawks fired a member of their organization's coaching staff. Mike Kitchen, the Blackhawks' assistant coach since 2010, was fired on Monday. Kitchen and head coach Joel Quenneville have been friends going back to their NHL playing days, when the two were teammates with the Colorado Rockies and the New Jersey Devils. Kitchen was also part of Quenneville's coaching staff in St. Louis.

Blackhawks fire assistant coach Mike Kitchen

Blackhawks fire assistant coach Mike Kitchen

When Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman addressed the media on Saturday, he said that there would be change. That started on Monday when assistant coach Mike Kitchen was fired.

The move came five days after the Blackhawks were swept out of the first round by the Nashville Predators. Bowman said in a statement that, “we believe this decision is best for our organization moving forward. Mike had an impact on two different Stanley Cup championship teams during his tenure in Chicago. We appreciate his many contributions and wish he and his family success in the future.”

Kitchen has been a member of coach Joel Quenneville’s staff since 2010. The two go back to their playing days, however, when they were teammates with the Colorado Rockies and also the New Jersey Devils. Kitchen was Quenneville’s assistant when the two were with the St. Louis Blues and when Quenneville was fired as Blues coach midway through the 2003-04 season, Kitchen was promoted to head coach.

As part of the Blackhawks’ staff Kitchen’s focus on special teams, mainly the penalty kill. That kill finished the regular season 24th overall in the league, although that has to come with an asterisk. The penalty kill started the 2016-17 season so poorly that it was never going to get too far out of the basement. It did get stronger as the season wore on, and it was fourth overall during the Blackhawks’ short stay in the playoffs.