Current, former Hawks ready to go as season returns

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Current, former Hawks ready to go as season returns

The what if game was part of the lockout lexicon last week, when a potential deal was looming. What if things get done ASAP and players are looking at a very brief training camp? Like perhaps a week, or just a little more?

Well, be it the excitement of getting back or counting the workouts theyve already done, players said a shorter training camp is just fine by them.

I cant speak for everyone but most of us would be ready to go, former Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell said. Im sure first couple days will be tough, but were all hungry to get going.

Many players have been skating at Johnnys IceHouse West for a few months now. Current and former Blackhawks who have been consistent participants include Campbell, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Jamal Mayers and Troy Brouwer. For them, the informal skates, which were Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, were a good way to stay in shape.

A lot of guys are skating as hard as they can, staying in as much of a game shape as possible, Brouwer said. Camp is going to be intense; guys are going to be pushed pretty hard. I have no doubt the intensity and pace will be high when the season starts.

MORE: Details of tentative deal reached between NHL, PA

Still, theres a big difference between skating and doing drills and game action; and theres no way to simulate it other than going through the real thing. In that respect, those who played in Europe these past few months (including the Blackhawks Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell, Viktor Stalberg, Michael Frolik and Michal Rozsival) will have an obvious edge.

The rest will have to adjust quickly, but Campbell doesnt see it being a problem.

Im sure the first three or four days are going to be tough days; the bodys going to be worn out from that. But itll catch on pretty quick, Campbell said. Hopefully everyones ready, especially our team (the Florida Panthers). Hopefully we can go forward and get off to a good start.

The fact that this hockey season is finally starting at all may be just the motivation most players need to be perfectly fine with the brief camp.

Its always tough to re-create that game-like situation, that intensity, Brouwer said. Guys may be sucking wind the first couple of games. But theyll be so amped up to get back that the pace of play will be high.

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.