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.

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LAS VEGAS — As soon as the Blackhawks’ season ended, the questions began for Trevor van Riemsdyk and Marcus Kruger. They were two of the most likely candidates to be exposed to the expansion draft and the two most likely to be part of the Blackhawks’ attempts to get back under the salary cap.

One is now a Vegas Golden Knight (for now). The other remained with the Blackhawks on Wednesday night but could nevertheless be on the move soon.

Van Riemsdyk was one of 30 players selected by the Golden Knights at the NHL Expansion Draft on Wednesday in Las Vegas, but will he stay there? A source said that van Riemsdyk, one of 13 defensemen the Golden Knights picked, could be traded again soon and that Carolina and Dallas were possible destinations. The 25-year-old van Riemsdyk played in 58 games with the Blackhawks last season, recording five goals and 11 assists. Van Riemsdyk has one season remaining on his current contract with a $825,000 cap hit.

As for Kruger, who has two seasons remaining on his current deal ($3.083 million cap hit per season), he was still with the Blackhawks as of Wednesday night. Will he remain there this season after all? Marian Hossa will not play in the 2017-18 season, and the Blackhawks may be able to place him on long-term injured reserve, which wouldn’t make their salary cap situation nearly as dire as it originally was going to be. But a source said Kruger could still be traded to the Golden Knights for one of their defensemen. If that happens, the Blackhawks would miss Kruger’s defensive work and his penalty killing.

When asked about this uncertain summer back in April, Kruger said he wasn’t paying much attention to the rumors. But he knew what the possibilities were.

“If that happens, that’s the situation,” he said then. “We all know what’s going on and stuff like that can happen. You have to get ready for that.”