Flyers flip the script on Kane, Blackhawks

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Flyers flip the script on Kane, Blackhawks

Updated: Thursday, Jan. 5 at 9:24 p.m.

The first scoring opportunities the Philadlephia Flyers were getting were one thing. The second and third opportunities were quite another. The Chicago Blackhawks gave up too many or didnt clear away enough of those. And it cost them.

James Van Riemsdyk scored twice, including the power-play game-winner with 32.8 seconds remaining in regulation, as the Flyers beat the Blackhawks 5-4 on Thursday night. It was the third loss in the last four games for the Blackhawks. Coach Joel Quenneville called it a brutal, brutal loss.

The Blackhawks return to Philadelphia, where they won the Stanley Cup a season and a half ago, wasnt nearly as memorable. The Blackhawks had some good stretches, but gave up too many opportunities 46 shots total.

And a team like Philadelphia is going to take advantage of that.

Were just not stopping in those dangerous areas, Jonathan Toews said. Were swooping through hoping to get offensive breaks go the other way on odd-man rushes. Were just swinging through areas and not stopping. You have to move your feet, stop and start. If youre lazy youre going to miss pucks and extra chances. (Ray Emery) did his job of stopping the first chances but we have to help him on the second ones.

The Blackhawks rookies had a memorable night, as Jimmy Hayes scored his second goal in as many games. Andrew Shaw, playing in his first NHL game, also scored his first career goal and fought with Flyers center Zac Rinaldo, an old sparring partner from their Ontario Hockey League days.

In net, Emery was indeed busy with those 46 shots. He had a solid game, all things considered, but didnt get enough help in front. The Blackhawks had to deal with a few penalty kills, including a Patrick Sharp double minor midway through the third period.

Despite all of that, the Blackhawks still just about forced overtime. Brent Seabrook scored as the second Sharp penalty expired, and Patrick Kane scored 25 seconds later to tie the game 4-4. But Kane went to the penalty box with 1:38 remaining in regulation, and Van Riemsdyk scored about a minute later.

Obviously we wouldve liked to get it into overtime and get a point out of it at least, Seabrook said. You give a team like that a bunch of power plays theyre going to capitalize on them. Theyve got some skilled forwards and they can put the puck in the back of the net. We have to stay out of the box.

The Blackhawks, meanwhile, did not have one power play on the night. Asked if he was frustrated at the lack of man advantages, Quenneville said, Im frustrated we didnt get it to overtime.

When the Blackhawks are smart, disciplined and defensively sound, theyre tough to beat. When theyre not, they have losses like this.

We know how good we can be, Toews said. Its just disappointing we dont come with that effort right away. The last couple of games it just hasnt been consistent enough.

Blackhawks Notes: Coaching changes and Marcus Kruger’s status

Blackhawks Notes: Coaching changes and Marcus Kruger’s status

Coach Joel Quenneville didn’t mince words. Finding out his good friend, former assistant coach Mike Kitchen was fired not long after the Blackhawks’ postseason ended, frustrated him.

“That day, I was not happy. I was a little disappointed,” Quenneville said on Thursday. “We lost a great coach and somebody I had been working with for a long time. It was tough and we’ve moved on now, but I wasn’t excited at the moment.”

In moving on the Blackhawks have revamped their coaching staff, adding another old friend and teammate of Quenneville’s in Ulf Samuelsson and a former member of his St. Louis staff in Don Granato. Quenneville said Samuelsson will take over Kitchen’s responsibilities while Granato will handle a number of tasks.

“Whether he’s pre-scout, helping Kevin [Dineen], helping Ulfie, helping me. He’s helping the young guys like Stan [Bowman] said,” Quenneville said. “We have input with all areas and all coaches and it’s a fun thing, drawing up practices or talking to guys, preparing meetings and evaluating performances. But I think he’s excited to be a part of that as well and Ulfie, he’ll be doing something he’s been doing and he’s excited to work with some of our defense as well.”

As far as the Blackhawks’ defensive style, Quenneville doesn’t foresee it changing.

“I think there are some areas how it ended or after a playoff series, there’s always some tweaks we like to do in games, in playoffs or in series," Quenneville said. "It’s obviously disappointing. But I think there’s a lot of positive things we accomplished last year and how we played without the puck, I don’t think that was too much of an issue.

"But we have a defense that can play both ways and we still want offense from our defensive part of our game. That’d be one of our strengths. But when it’s time to defend, how we want to play in our own end without the puck is something that’ll be very close to how we play.”

Kruger’s situation

There’s been plenty of talk regarding Marcus Kruger, and whether or not he’ll remain with the Blackhawks. Whatever the future holds for the center, general manager Stan Bowman wouldn’t say on Thursday.

“Yeah, there have been a lot of these rumors around, but Marcus is no different than any other player. I’m not going to comment on rumors out there, but people are stating it as if it’s a fact,” Bowman said of Kruger being at the center of trade rumors. “There’s a lot of speculation, but it’s not fair to the players for me to be commenting on what’s been rumored out there. I don’t really have anything to add on that front.”

Trevor van Riemsdyk was Vegas’ selection in Wednesday night’s expansion draft. But a source said it’s still possible the Blackhawks trade Kruger to the Golden Knights.

Why placing Marian Hossa on long-term injured reserve wouldn't help Blackhawks' cap issues

Why placing Marian Hossa on long-term injured reserve wouldn't help Blackhawks' cap issues

When the news came down that Marian Hossa would miss the 2017-18 season, most first thoughts were about his health. But it was only natural to look at the business implications, and the possibility of Hossa going on long-term injured reserve (LTIR).

That would solve the Blackhawks’ cap issues, right? That would give them more money to spend, right? Well, not exactly. See, the LTIR can be a bit complicated. It can also be tricky to explain. And right now, even Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman is trying to figure out how this all develops for the team.

“I think there’s a little bit of a misconception on the LTI provision in the salary cap, and understandably so. It’s very complicated. It’s not as simple or as easy as people think it to be,” Bowman said on Thursday, the day before the Blackhawks hosted the 2017 NHL Draft. “I don’t want to get into too many details because it’s hard to explain it all, but there’s a couple different ways it can work.

"You can use offseason LTI and in-season LTI and there’s drawbacks to both, and there’s limitations the way that the league handles those things. It’s not as simple as people might think that we just have this ability to suddenly replace Marian with another player. It’s way more involved than that.”

Here are two basics about the cap: a team can be 10 percent over it during the summer, and a team must be at or below it the day the regular season begins. If the Blackhawks place Hossa on LTIR, it wouldn’t take effect until the second day of the regular season. So on Day 1 of the season, the Blackhawks would still be carrying Hossa’s $5.275 cap hit.

Once the LTIR would take effect, though, the Blackhawks would have wiggle room. If they spent to the $75 million cap, they could utilize Hossa’s entire $5.275 million cap hit on other players.

It’s not about the Blackhawks finding a guy this summer that makes an equal cap it.

“If you did that you would be essentially starting the year with an inability to make any transactions," Bowman said. "And that’s why, it’s a harder discussion to have because you’ve got to give you examples of if this happens. But it just doesn’t work that way. I wish it were that simple, but it’s not. It’s a much more complicated provision than people think. It’s not some easy cap solution where we just go sign a player for the same amount and off we go. It’s much more problematic than that.”

The NHL will be looking at the situation, although there doesn’t seem to be anything that would keep the Blackhawks from putting Hossa on LTIR. Bowman wasn’t concerned about it.

Still, the Blackhawks will still be doing their share of offseason math.

“I know how it works. What’s going to happen is a different question," Bowman said. "You don’t make those decisions overnight, but I think that understandably there’s probably a lot of confusion, because it’s not your job to run the salary cap for a team. So, I can get why you don’t know all the little details, and it is a very intricate provision in the CBA. So, we understand it. We’ve used LTI before, so it’s not like it’s something we’ve never been faced with. It’s just a factor that we’ll get through.”