Blackhawks' Quenneville returns to practice

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Blackhawks' Quenneville returns to practice

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011
Posted: 11:17 a.m. Updated: 3:39 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Coach Joel Quenneville came onto the ice around 11 a.m. on Wednesday. Within a few minutes, it was just business as usual for the Chicago Blackhawks coach, from practice to diagnosing his own injury.

I was on IR for a week. Well call it an upper body injury and were all good to go, said Quenneville with a laugh. The only pain I was in last week was sitting in the hospital watching games.

As the Blackhawks head to Nashville to play the Predators on Thursday, Quenneville is ready to assume all his normal duties again after going to the hospital a week ago with internal bleeding related to an ulcer. Quenneville said he feels great after being treated for the ulcer, which he said was caused by the daily aspirin hes been taking for years for other reasons.

He added that he figured he was getting the same flu bug the rest of the team had last Tuesday night before heading to the emergency room.

I actually didnt feel that bad, particularly, that night, he said. I thought I was coming down with the flu like everyone else. We were waiting and all of a sudden it wasnt just the flu.

Quenneville said he learned a few things in his down time and his stay in the hospital, from where he was discharged on Saturday.

I got to observe the value of teamwork (in the hospital) and you watch that process and equate it to what we do, he said. We know how fortunate we are and the position we are in and the team that we can be. Its a different perspective sitting back and observing it from a different angle. There are some things you can take from it.

Quenneville missed four games, during which the Blackhawks went 3-1-0 under assistant coach Mike Haviland. Quenneville said he felt good enough to come back for the last three games, but we had to get our blood work up to a different level.

The Blackhawks were obviously happy to have their coach back on Wednesday.

Its good energy. It looked like the first day of training camp for him, defenseman Brian Campbell said. (His return) is definitely going to help us. It brings a fresh person in the locker room after having a few days off, so its good to see.

Troy Brouwer said having (Quenneville) back brings familiarity to the group, line calls and play calls. He expects us to continue to play like we have been. He jumped right back into it; he was excited and moving pucks. We had the usual practice.

Quenneville hopes the Blackhawks learn from this latest surge, and from the final 40 minutes they played against St. Louis on Monday. The Blackhawks enter Wednesday night in 10th place in the West, and

(The Monday victory) puts you at 68 points, where everybody is. There are six or seven teams fighting for that space, so that really put us in a good spot, Quenneville said. Weve got games against teams that are all in the airspace were in, so lets gather that momentum from St. Louis.

Pisani better

Fernando Pisani (concussion) practiced on Wednesday and has been cleared to play. Pisani has been out since sustaining his injury against the Dallas Stars on Feb. 11.

I skated for a couple of days and havent had any problems. I feel 100 percent, said Pisani, who hasnt seen replays of that Mark Fistric hit that knocked the back of his head into the bench railing. I felt it, so I dont think I need to see it again. Its one of those hits where I got caught in vulnerable position and my head hit the boards. I feel good now and thats the focus.

Quenneville said Pisani is a game-time decision against Nashville on Thursday.

Leddy ill

Defenseman Nick Leddy was sick and did not practice on Wednesday. Leddy was sent to Rockford on Tuesday and was set to be recalled on Wednesday but his illness scratched that. Quenneville said Leddy could be recalled Thursday for the game.

Briefly

Corey Crawford will start against the Predators.

Nashville is 3-2-0 against the Blackhawks this season.

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

Jonathan Toews donates $1 million to community center in Winnipeg

Jonathan Toews donates $1 million to community center in Winnipeg

Jonathan Toews was the highest paid player in the NHL this past year, and he's giving back to the community that helped him become one of the best players in the league.

The Blackhawks captain donated $1 million to the Dakota Community Centre in Winnipeg, where he was born and raised, making it the largest ever private donation to a community centre in Manitoba.

“From my earliest days playing hockey, Dakota Community Centre has always played a pivotal role in my upbringing and my career," Toews said in a statement. “Today, I continue to be honoured to have my name associated with the Sportsplex on the Dakota campus. My parents have instilled in me the importance of giving back, and I believe that in supporting Dakota, we will see endless possibilities for the Community Centre’s future and transformation in the lives of our community members.”

[SHOP: Buy a Jonathan Toews jersey here!]

Toews will also serve as the honorary chairman for the Dakota Futures Capital Campaign, which will support the construction of a new 60,000-square-foot, $20-million fieldhouse and future development of the campus.

The fieldhouse will include a 30,000-square-foot gymnasium that will contain multiple court sports, such as basketball and volleyball, sport training and conditioning, all of which will be connected to the Jonathan Toews Sportsplex. It's expected to open in the fall of 2017.

The Sportsplex was named in Toews' honor in 2010, and includes two indoor ice rinks, a gymnasium, and strength training facilities, among others.

“We are so proud that Jonathan has chosen to give back to the community in this way," said Toews' parents Andrée Gilbert and Bryan Toews. "Our family has such fond memories of hockey practices and friendships made at the Dakota Community Centre. We look forward to the opening of the new Fieldhouse and the continued growth of the Dakota  campus. Through programs for all ages and acting as a gathering place in our community, the Dakota Community Centre transforms thousands of lives each year."

Blackhawks: Dennis Rasmussen's defensive roots run deep

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks: Dennis Rasmussen's defensive roots run deep

In Sweden, the defensive tutelage apparently starts very early in your hockey career.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a decent or a great forward: you’re learning to play defense and you’re learning to play it well.

“When we were younger the coaches always taught us to play a team game and be responsible,” Dennis Rasmussen said on Tuesday morning. “I think they have a program in Sweden where they teach the coaches to be a certain way, and that’s one of the things they say: even if you’re a skill guy, you have to play defense, too.”

Outside of the fact that it sounds like Sweden is full of coach Joel Quennevilles, the defensive-minded approach has served Rasmussen well with the Blackhawks. An injury gave him a chance when the season began but thanks to his steady play, especially on defense, he’s carved out a solid spot in this lineup. On Tuesday night he was back at center, where he’s most comfortable, and adding a little offense in the Blackhawks’ 4-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.

Rasmussen had a strong training camp. That, coupled with Andrew Desjardins’ injury in the final preseason game meant Rasmussen stayed with Chicago. It’s worked out well, with Rasmussen providing reliability among the bottom six.

“He’s been good,” Quenneville said. “I think he’s helped out penalty killing wise. I have to commend him on how he’s approached the whole year. It looks like he’s taking advantage a little bit more of the opportunity.”

Speaking of that penalty kill, that’s another part of the game Rasmussen was required to do in Sweden. It was one more thing that’s proven beneficial in his time with the Blackhawks.

“If you’re one of the best players when you were younger you were playing PK, too,” he said. “I always played a lot of power play and PK. if I’d only been playing power play when I got here, it would’ve been more of an issue. But I’m used to the PK before.”

If Rasmussen’s a little frustrated with any part of his game, it’s generating offense. He pointed to Sunday night’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, when he came up empty despite opportunities – “I created a lot of chances but of course I’m not happy with how it developed,” he said. “I had a couple of really good chances last game I should have scored on. That’s one thing I need to do better.” He did capitalize on Tuesday, scoring off a Richard Panik feed in the second period; he nearly scored a short-handed breakaway later in the game.

Rasmussen has been working for a long time on his defensive and penalty killing games. The Blackhawks like what he does and have made him a consistent part of this lineup. He’d like to get the offense going too but if he capitalizes the way he did on Tuesday, it will.

“That’s one thing I have to develop a little bit: take the puck to the net, use my body, have some zone time. That’s been better the last couple of games here,” he said. “As I said before, I need to score on my chances. Hopefully that’s going to come.”