Flames too hot for Hawks to handle

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Flames too hot for Hawks to handle

Monday, Feb. 7, 2011Posted: 10:57 PM Updated: 11:59 PM
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

CALGARY, Alberta You would think that being in 11th place on Monday morning wouldve sparked the Chicago Blackhawks. Or that even the November drubbing they took to Calgary up here last time wouldve sparked them.

But no. And no.

On a night the Blackhawks desperately needed production, urgency and points, they got very little of one and none of the other two.

Patrick Kane scored his 15th of the season, but the Blackhawks came out sluggish and couldnt make it up in late in a 3-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday night. It was another disheartening loss for the Blackhawks, who have now lost four of their last five.

Be it the slow start or the 0-for-4 performance on the power play, the Blackhawks could generate little on the offensive side.

It reminded me of the first period here last time, said coach Joel Quenneville, referring to the Blackhawks 7-2 loss here in November. The play was in our end, we got behind early. We had some stretches in the second period we had moment, but we cant give up that winning goal tonight.

The Blackhawks managed just three shots on goal in the first while the Flames countered with 10 and a 1-0 lead at the end of the first 20 minutes to show for their work.

They had a good start to our game but ours was flat, there wasnt much to it, not a whole lot of intensity, Troy Brouwer said. To have a start like that in such an important game for us is disappointing.

The Flames, meanwhile, were strong throughout the night. A surging squad that distanced themselves a little more from the Blackhawks on Monday, the Flames were tenacious and determined. They got on top first a Mikael Backlund goal off a pretty Lance Bouma pass and didnt relinquish much momentum.

Curtis Glencross scored midway through the period and Rene Bourque added an empty-net goal for the Flames.

The Blackhawks had their chances to tie it, go ahead and build a decent lead with four power plays. But much like their game against Vancouver on Friday, the Blackhawks came up empty. Theyre now 0 for 9 on the power play that not long ago was their modus operandi.

The guys on the power play are the guys can get it done and we just have to find way to bang one home, said Jonathan Toews, who assisted on Kanes goal. There are a lot of times pucks are bouncing around us and not giving each other flat passes. Its frustrating. You can pinpoint one thing like that that makes big difference in your game.

The Blackhawks end Monday as they began it: sitting in 11th in the Western Conference. The desperation level should be growing by now. But as defenseman Brian Campbell said, I hope it grew a while ago.

Its not easy to win hockey games; for us, I dont know if we expect its going to be easy, Campbell said. There are a lot of good teams in the conference. Were not making it easy for ourselves and we have to start proving were a playoff team. Right now, obviously were not a playoff team.

Late call

Defenseman Brent Seabrook was whistled for an unsportsmanlike penalty with 1:14 remaining in the third period. Why Seabrook was sent off wasnt exactly clear when asked if Seabrook said something to officials, Quenneville said likely.

Quenneville said hes fine if the Blackhawks start getting angry with the way things are going, as long as its directed the right way.

I think were better with anger, but it being channeled properly has to be part of it, he said. Thats an undisciplined penalty at the end we cant take.

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

Jonathan Toews practices but won’t play vs. Flyers

Jonathan Toews practices but won’t play vs. Flyers

Jonathan Toews sounded somewhat frustrated but cognizant of the situation.

If it were the postseason there’s no doubt he would be playing right now. That’s not a surprise to hear, considering what hockey players put themselves through when the playoffs start. But this is early December. There are too many games remaining. And with it coming down to making sure he’s healthy for the long haul, it’s an easy call.

Toews practiced on Friday for the first time since being hurt, but he won’t travel to Philadelphia when the Blackhawks face the Flyers on Saturday afternoon. It will be the fifth consecutive game Toews has missed since he was hurt against the San Jose Sharks on Nov. 23. Still, him skating on his own and then practicing with teammates for a few minutes is a good sign that Toews is closing in on a return.

“Just come back and check in again [Saturday], see how it is and hopefully, I guess as they say, re-evaluate for Sunday,” Toews said on Friday. “It’s never fun to miss any time, especially when the team is playing as many games as they are. So nice to get back out there and move around and get going a little bit.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Toews was placed on injured reserve on Friday, retroactive to Nov. 24, the day after he was injured.  Coach Joel Quenneville said he’ll see how Toews feels on Saturday and, “we’ll get a better idea going forward. But he’s not on the trip.”

“You gotta be fully recovered and want to make sure guys are 100 percent before they can play,” Quenneville said. “Jonny plays at a certain pace and it’s all out, so let’s make sure he’s more than ready when he’s coming back.”

Several have reported that Toews has a back injury, and the captain was doing several back stretches during Friday’s session. Toews left in the second period of the Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss to the Sharks, moments after he went down awkwardly. But Toews said he wasn’t hurt on that play. 

“I think it was just something that started to aggravate in the first period. I tried playing in the second and that instance right there, just went down like a ton of bricks,” Toews said. “I was trying not to aggravate the injury more than I already had. That wasn’t where I got hurt; [it was] probably the instance people were looking for to see what the explanation was.”

If this were April and the playoffs were about to begin, Toews probably wouldn’t be as patient with his injury. But it isn’t, and he will be. It’s not worth making worse. The Blackhawks have managed to get points in his absence, going 3-0-1 so far.

“It’s the type of thing most guys would be able to suck up and play if it were a playoff game and putting everything on the line. But at this point, with the amount of games left in the season, it’s not something you want to continuously deal with,” he said. “If you aggravate it, it’ll keep coming back to haunt you. It’s tough to hold back and do less than you know you can, but in the long run, trying to make sure I get back to 100 percent.”

BRIEFLY

- Trevor van Riemsdyk was activated off the injured-reserve list and is expected to play against the Flyers.

- Marian Hossa took practice off. He is expected to play.

-  Corey Crawford will start vs. Philadelphia.

Blackhawks Road Ahead: Feasting on the East

Blackhawks Road Ahead: Feasting on the East

Pat Boyle, Steve Konroyd and Jamal Mayers have the latest on Joel Quenneville's group in this edition of the Blackhawks Road Ahead, sponsored by Chicagoland NW Indiana Honda dealers.

The Blackhawks are once again taking care of business, going 3-0-1 with their captain Jonathan Toews on the sideline. They're also 6-2-2 against the East this year, and they'll get another chance to add to that record when they take on the Flyers this week.

Here's what our Blackhawks Postgame Live crew had to say about the team's upcoming matchups in this week's Honda Road Aehad.