Deadline Day: More on The Core

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Deadline Day: More on The Core

Stan Bowman addressed whats been his top priority the last couple of months. The question is whether thats all his team needs now. A lot of Blackhawks fans feel they needed more, based on recent returns.

Whats clear is the Vice President and General Manager is putting his faith in the same core that led the team to the Stanley Cup two years ago to get the team consistently back on track, finish strong and be a playoff force. Hes putting his faith in Jonathan Toews getting back on the ice soon, as well as members of the supporting cast hes assembled to step up their games.

Theyre even more on their own physically for the rest of the season with their big bodyguard dealt away in their only other trade.

Though he probably shopped around and wished another part or two wouldve been easier to pry loose, the prices that were paid for those that moved were fairly steep. Some might argue the second- and third-round picks he sacrificed for Johnny Oduya may have been too much. But the current four-point cushion his team has between being in, or out of, the playoffs with 18 games left is all on the current group.

From kids like Jimmy Hayes, Dylan Olsen and Andrew Shaw, to veterans Andrew Brunette, Bryan Bickell, Michael Frolik and Viktor Stalberg stepping up more consistently and the stars needing to play more like stars. Not to mention the goalies needing to stop the pucks they see, he had to make a call whether he wanted to sacrifice a first-rounder, or a Hayes, Olsen, Brandon Saad or Mark McNeill for a new piece to the supporting cast that may or may not make a greater difference.

Disgruntled Hawks fans believe the team needs a shakeup. Bowman chose to stay the course, but probably saw what the rest of us saw over the weekend: They need to be a lot better. He believes they will be.

Sellers were few. Prices were high. It was patience over pulling the trigger, which is difficult for those impatient after watching them lose 12 of 16 since leading the league, slipping to sixth place and seeing their playoff margin for error shrink with a brutal schedule down the stretch to understand.

Hes expecting his group to respond. Now its up to them and the coaching staff to get back on track and prove him right.

Ryan Hartman returns for Blackhawks vs. Penguins

Ryan Hartman returns for Blackhawks vs. Penguins

PITTSBURGH — Ryan Hartman has played on the right side of that line for most of this season. Now back in the lineup, he knows he has to stay on it.

Hartman will play after missing Monday's game as a healthy scratch when the Blackhawks face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. Hartman took a few bad penalties, including an unsportsmanlike conduct, against the Florida Panthers last weekend, so he sat vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning. The rookie knows he has to get back to the more disciplined hockey he's played most of the season. 

"I don't change my game. I think you take the message and deliver the message," Hartman said. "Obviously, no one likes to not play, everyone wants to play games and no one likes to sit out games. It's definitely something that I took to heart. I'm just going to go out there and just try to play like I've been playing and get on the scoresheet. Just stay off it for the wrong reasons."

Coach Joel Quenneville said Hartman has to stay on the right side of the line.

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"Know there are boundaries and sometimes you get watched a little bit more," Quenneville said. "The way they're calling the game, the way it's being officiated, be respectful. You still have to be hard to play against and find that limit, how far you can push it but you get a good feel on that early in games."

The Penguins are on a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) and are dealing with some injuries. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that, while Evgeni Malkin (shoulder) is close to returning, he won't play against the Blackhawks.

Broadcast information

Time: 7 p.m.
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: NBC Sports app
Radio: WGN 720 AM

Blackhawks lines

Nick Schmaltz-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Tanner Kero-Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
John Hayden-Dennis Rasmussen-Tomas Jurco

Defensive pairs 

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Johnny Oduya-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries 

Artem Anisimov (left leg)

Penguins lines

Conor-Sheary-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Chris Kunitz-Nick Bonino-Patric Hornqvist
Scott Wilson-Carter Rowney-Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl-Oskar Sundqvist-Josh Archibald

Defensive pairs

Brian Dumoulin-Justin Schultz
Ian Cole-Chad Ruhwedel
Cameron Gaunce-Mark Streit

Goaltender

Marc-Andre Fleury

Injuries

Evgeni Malkin (shoulder), Trevor Daley (knee), Daniel Sprong (shoulder), Jake Guentzel (concussion), Olli Maatta (hand), Kris Letang (upper body), Carl Hagelin (foot), Ron Hainsey (upper body)

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd discuss the latest slump and how much does Artem Anisimov's injury play a role in their struggles?

Konroyd tells us he was surprised by Ryan Hartman's benching in Tampa.

The guys play the game, playoff minutes or press box minutes?  They run through the players who are on the bubble when it comes to postseason play.

They also discuss the Hawks chances of overtaking Washington for the President's trophy.

Plus, Konroyd breaks down possible first round opponents: St Louis, Calgary and Nashville.