Carcillo's injury provides big opportunity for Saad

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Carcillo's injury provides big opportunity for Saad

GLENDALE, Ariz. Daniel Carcillo will miss about a month with what looks to be a right knee injury, and Brandon Saad will likely start in Carcillos place on the top line when the Chicago Blackhawks face the Phoenix Coyotes tonight.

Carcillo will not need surgery for his injury, coach Joel Quenneville said after Sunday mornings skate. It was a tough blow for Carcillo, whose right knee got pinned between the boards and Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty late in Saturdays 5-2 victory over the Kings.

I thought that was the likelihood of what was going to happen, Quenneville said about the length of time Carcillo will miss. Quenneville was impressed with Carcillos game with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa on Saturday.

Its very unfortunate, Quenneville said. He finally gets back in and has 10 great minutes of ice time. I thought he looked very good on that line and it was a dangerous line for us. But you keep your spirits up, work through it and get excited to come back again.

Carcillos been down this injury road a few times now. He had season-ending reconstructive surgery on his left knee last January and suffered two right-knee injuries when he played for the Coyotes several years ago.

He knows the process of working in that rehab area and the commitment needed to get his game back to where it is, Quenneville said. Itll be a process but we look forward to getting him back.

Meanwhile, its an opportunity for Saad. The 20-year-old will make is 2013 debut tonight, and it sounds like hell just take Carcillos place with top liners Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa.

Saad is a young kid, has some ability. He sees plays and makes plays, Quenneville said. Danny has a little more versatility, that tough element. Guys are aware when hes around. But I thought Hoss and Johnny had strong games, and that lines (players) complimented one another. They got off to a good start, and hopefully (Saad) will just fit right in.

Saad said hell draw on previous experience, including his brief time here during the playoffs against Phoenix.

(The experience) is huge for me, he said. I played in Phoenix, too, so Im familiar with them a little bit. Its huge for my confidence and being comfortable out there.

Andrew Shaw, who played with Saad in Rockford, too, said Saad should contribute.

Hes unbelievable. He just has to do what he does, do what got him here, Shaw said. Hes a great offensive player and uses his speed well. He just has to take pucks to the net and play with confidence. Its a different, faster, higher-paced game up here. We all worked on it over the summer and got better.

Blackhawks, Tanner Kero agree to two-year contract extension

Blackhawks, Tanner Kero agree to two-year contract extension

The Blackhawks have agreed to terms with Tanner Kero on a two-year contract extension that runs through the 2018-19 campaign, the team announced Thursday.

Kero, 24, has five goals and seven assists in 38 games with the Blackhawks this season, along with six goals and nine assists in 55 games across two seasons.

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He has become a reliable, versatile forward on the bottom six for Joel Quenneville and has also played a role in the team's penalty-kill unit that has been terrific in March after a rough start to the year.

Kero signed a two-year deal that carries a $667,500 cap hit with the Blackhawks on April 2, 2015, as an undrafted free agent.

Former Blackhawks prospect Stephen Johns in the midst of frustrating season with Stars

Former Blackhawks prospect Stephen Johns in the midst of frustrating season with Stars

Former Blackhawks prospect Stephen Johns was like the rest of the Dallas Stars entering this season: he was optimistic, for his own game but also for the Stars, the team coming off a solid postseason and bringing a strong lineup back.

The season has been nothing but a disappointment, however, for the Stars, for a lot of their players and definitely for Johns, who has been in and out of the lineup.

“We have a pretty young team and most of these guys have played on teams that have always had the chance to win the championship of whatever league,” Johns said. “It’s tough for a lot of us right now. I’ve never been on a team that’s missed the playoffs. You have to stick together and get through it together and win as many games as you can. But it’s tough. It sucks.”

Johns will be a healthy scratch on Thursday when the Stars face the Blackhawks. The Stars are coming off a 1-0 victory against the San Jose Sharks and, like most coaches, Lindy Ruff is hesitant to change a lineup after a victory. Johns has played in 55 games this season. For the 24-year-old defenseman who was considered a great present-and-future piece of the deal that sent he and Patrick Sharp from the Blackhawks to the Stars in the summer of 2015, it’s been frustrating.

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“It’s all about confidence at this point and trying to find it,” Johns said. “It’s easy to lose your confidence and hard to get it back. It’s just finding it and sticking with it, blocking negative plays out and not letting it affect you, but it’s tough.”

It would be easy to think forward to next season. The Stars are all but eliminated from this postseason and, with some good health, perhaps they could get back to where they were in the 2015-16 season. Johns, too. Instead, he’ll focus on trying to make the final games of this season as positive as possible.

“You can’t look too far ahead into the future. Right now we have 10 games left and we just have to focus on those 10 games because nobody knows what’s going to happen in the summer,” Johns said. “It’s more about focusing this year on a positive note and then whatever happens, happens.”