Blackhawks shoot blanks as skid reaches three

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Blackhawks shoot blanks as skid reaches three

Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011
Posted 9:33 PM Updated 10:39 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

ANAHEIM, Calif. The Chicago Blackhawks have had trouble keeping other teams off the scoreboard in third periods. Too often this season, a tie or slim lead has turned into a loss late.

But on Sunday, the Blackhawks had one of their stronger third-period performances against the Anaheim Ducks. Unfortunately, it still didnt reap any rewards.

Bryan Bickell scored his 11th goal of the season but the Blackhawks could manage nothing else despite a late flurry of shots in a 2-1 loss to the Ducks at the Honda Center on Sunday. The Blackhawks lost their third consecutive game.

It wasnt for lack of trying in the third, when the Blackhawks fired 19 of their 40 shots on Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller. But whether it was Hillers stellar stops or bad luck, the Blackhawks couldnt muster a goal.

Hiller stopped Jack Skilles tying attempt with a goal-line glove save that was briefly reviewed. Viktor Stalberg thought he tied it late but his shot, aimed for a gaping net, deflected off Dave Bollands stick.

We almost tied it at the end and it goes off one of our guys stick right before its going into the net. That pretty much sums it up right there, goaltender Corey Crawford said. We played good enough to win this game.

Stalberg was about to raise his hands to celebrate before seeing what happened.

I just saw the puck go past the goalie and past everyone else, so I assumed it was in the net, Stalberg said. But it hit a blade and its not even their player. We had a couple of bad breaks in that period that shouldve gone in the net. Thats the way it goes.

The Blackhawks had 21 shots in the first two periods combined. But the quality chances were definitely in the third and not getting at least one of those in left the team frustrated.

It just seemed like the puck was just in front of the net bouncing over our sticks at the last second for some reason. It was just unlucky, Skille said. We just have to get grittier in front of the net, get into puck areas and make sure the next time we have opportunities we have to bear down.

Patrick Kane said it seems like we turned it up in the third and played a different style of hockey. We play like that the whole game I dont think many teams are going to beat us.

The Blackhawks could be getting captain Jonathan Toews back for Monday nights game against Los Angeles, which is definitely good news. The bad news is theyre missing opportunities to get valuable points. The Western Conference is tight and will continue to be so. The Blackhawks dont want to get too far behind in the race.

Every games going to be important all year long. They keep getting bigger and bigger as we go along here, coach Joel Quenneville said. We have to respond to the challenge and we have to play inspired hockey. That was a good third period for us. We needed to generate more scoring chances in the first 40.

Briefly

Blackhawks center Jake Dowell did not play at all in the third period. Quenneville said Jakes fine, but didnt elaborate on why he didnt play during the final period.

Crawford stopped 16 of 18 shots in his first game back from the flu that he suffered from through the Christmas break. My timing was a little off in the first and felt pretty good in the second and third.

Nick Boynton and John Scott were the Blackhawks healthy scratches on Sunday.

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

Blackhawks mailbag: Trade rumors abound

Blackhawks mailbag: Trade rumors abound

We interrupt this mid-January Blackhawks mailbag for an important announcement:

We are reaching that time of the season when trade rumors abound. There will be names galore, some that could make sense, some that will make absolutely no sense. Unfortunately, the latter will get as much attention in some circles as the former. That's the way this time of year goes.

One more note: On any name that's bandied about right now, check where his team is in the standings. If it's close to reaching a postseason spot, tap the brakes until things shake out a little more. I know, kids, I know: patience is not a virtue for many people, let alone Twitter. It'll all be OK.

With all that said onto the mailbag which, as you can imagine, asks a few trade-centric questions.

I agree on not trading the first-round draft pick. The Blackhawks have done that in the past but, with the draft in Chicago this summer, they’re going to want to hold onto that as well as a good amount of draft picks. This is their showcase.

I agreed with Jamal Mayers on CSN's latest podcast that the Blackhawks will likely look for someone with no term left on his contract past this season. I know there's been mention of guys with several years and big cap hits remaining on their deals, but how do the Blackhawks do that, especially with Artemi Panarin's new contract also kicking in next season? They'd have to get rid of a big contract and most of their big contracts also have no movement clauses.

Piggybacking off the last question, I do believe the Blackhawks have to do something to bolster their forward depth. They need someone who has some experience but won't cost them a lot (easy for me to say). Who that guy is right now, I'm not sure (don't worry, I'll be doing one of these in February, too). I wouldn't go for a Jarome Iginla or Shane Doan, as much as I like both of those guys. The Blackhawks don't have the forward depth to take a chance on a player who, while he may have been great several years ago, may not have much left now.

I've got three thoughts on this one.

First, the Dallas Stars fall into the above-mentioned category regarding potential playoffs. Despite a slew of injuries and inconsistent play, the Stars are 11th in the Western Conference but are just two points out of a playoff spot.

Second, Sharp has struggled with his health this season, as concussions have led to two lengthy absences.

Third, and this is my biggest question: Can you go home again? The Blackhawks have brought back Cup winners a few times, from Kris Versteeg to Andrew Ladd to Brian Campbell. Versteeg’s return here was up and down, Campbell's has been OK (there have been a few healthy scratches in there) and Ladd's didn’t work at all. Yes, six years passed from when Ladd left to when he returned; a lot changes over six years. But the bottom line is the attempt to rekindle line magic between Ladd and Jonathan Toews failed. Just wonder if this would go the same way.

We talked to Jonathan Toews on Tuesday morning and he said the back is not the issue. I don't believe it's another injury. The problem is, I don't know what the problem is. Toews has snapped out of these slumps before but this one seems to be lingering. I'm sure the confidence is shaken; how can it not be? We're all human, and even the best question themselves at times. I still think Toews will find the offense again but I don't think his current performances have anything to do with an injury.

Let's address Toews’ faceoff percentage first: it's fine. For the season, he's winning 57.5 percent of his faceoffs, good for sixth in the NHL. Outside of that awful Washington game, he's been around 50 percent or better in recent games.

Regarding Kruger, it's tough to say. The Blackhawks are looking for more balance and more scoring, and if those two categories don't improve the changes will continue regardless of who's in the lineup. Does coach Joel Quenneville go back to the third line that was working before Kruger was hurt (when he was with Dennis Rasmussen and Richard Panik)? He could. Just depends on how the Blackhawks are trending when Kruger does return.

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They could. Whether or not they do, I'm not sure yet. The Blackhawks did that with Brandon Saad back in the spring of 2012 once the Saginaw Spirit’s season ended. He played in two postseason games. My opinion, if the Blackhawks did it with anyone it would be DeBrincat. Even if he doesn't play, it’s a good chance to be around and practice with the team.

I know what you're referring to and all that article said was Vanek could be a possibility. As of Wednesday, the Red Wings are 14th in the Eastern Conference with 46 points. Sounds like they’re out of it, until you see they’re only four points from eighth place. As I said above, some of these teams are going to want to see where they are in a few weeks. As for cost, I wouldn't give up much past a pick, maybe two, but not high ones.

As of now, according to Cap Friendly, Hartman is eligible for the expansion draft. As far as the likelihood that Las Vegas takes him, it’s possible. It depends on what Vegas wants and needs. The Blackhawks, like everyone else, will lose one (and only one) player. Will Vegas want defensemen? Will they want a two-way player? But absolutely, Hartman would be available.

I'm guessing I've had a few of those and, to my recollection, I didn't dislike them. Honestly, I'm not as much of a wine aficionado as I've led the Twitter world to believe. Pinot noirs aren't my favorite (pretty light), love Malbecs, most French and Italian wines and you really have to talk me into a Chardonnay (I do like the ones that are out of steel drums now; just not a fan of the oak taste). Cheers!

Which current Blackhawks would Jeremy Roenick like to play with?

Which current Blackhawks would Jeremy Roenick like to play with?

Is there anyone who wouldn't want to play with Patrick Kane?

Jeremy Roenick joined In The Loop on Wednesday to discuss which current Blackhawks he would like to play with, and naturally, the reigning MVP topped his list.

"He would be my No. 1 choice," Roenick said. "There's no question about it."

But Roenick said there are two more Blackhawks he would like to lace them up with.

"I wouldn't mind playing with (Artemi) Panarin also," he said. "I would love to play with Jonathan Toews. I think I'd play well with all three of them."

Roenick also gave high praise to coach Joel Quenneville, saying he is one of the best coaches in all of sports. Roenick even compared Quenneville to "the Bill Belichick of hockey."

See what else the Roenick had to say in the video above.