Flyers ground Hawks in Stanley Cup rematch

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Flyers ground Hawks in Stanley Cup rematch

Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011
Posted: 2:04 p.m. Updated: 3:46 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks needed a second consecutive complete game on Sunday. Instead, they got behind in the second period against a Philadelphia Flyers team that was more than ready to capitalize.

Jeff Carter scored twice and Claude Giroux had four assists as the Flyers beat the Blackhawks 4-1, their first meeting since the Stanley Cup Finals. The loss snapped a four-game home winning streak for the Blackhawks, who didnt push back after the Flyers grabbed control in the second period.

Jonathan Toews played nearly 20 minutes one day after he said he sustained a lower-body injury against Detroit. Toews sat out the final few minutes of that game, which the Blackhawks led late, and said the injury was nothing serious; obviously it felt pretty good (today).

I look at it two ways: youre either good enough to go or youre not. I felt I was good enough, Toews said. Whether playing with something or 100 percent, have to find a way to produce.

The Blackhawks, however, couldnt find that way on Sunday. Marian Hossa scored the lone goal, a penalty shot awarded to him after Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn put his hand on the puck near the crease. But Flyers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopped the other 30 shots, most of which were one-time Blackhawks offerings with no second or third attempts.

It seems like there were a few rebounds around him but we couldnt get there, Hossa said. We have to be, especially in these games, maybe more dirty going to the net and get those little rebounds there.

Both teams brought energy and venom in the first period, which ended scoreless. Bryan Bickell and Scott Hartnells fight added a little more fuel to the opening frame.

But the Flyers turned it up in the second period, swarming around Corey Crawford and fighting for those extra shot opportunities. The Flyers went up 1-0 when Carter, in the midst of a scrum, poked the puck past Crawford.

A lot of it comes from good defense, breaking plays up, and getting odd-man rushes, Carter said. I think weve been pretty solid in that area and hopefully we can keep going at it.

The Flyers outshot the Blackhawks 19-9 in the second. Crawford stopped 30 of 33 for the game.

The bottom line is they started to outwork us, Niklas Hjalmarsson said of the second. They played real good, at the same time we didnt play like we did (Saturday). If you have a couple bad moments against a team like Philly theyre going to score on you.

Nikolay Zherdev scored the game-winner, a wraparound, early in the third. Carter scored his after Giroux grabbed an errant Blackhawks pass less than three minutes later.

We werent on the same page and that made it harder to be predictable, especially in the offensive zone, Toews said. We came out flat, and against a team like that its not easy to come back.

More on Toews

Toews played nearly 20 minutes on Sunday, playing through that lower-body injury. Asked if Toews needs to rest on Monday, coach Joel Quenneville said, well see. We have a big game coming up on Tuesday (against Minnesota, so well see whats going on.
The Cup rematch

The Flyers made their first trip back to Chicago since Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals last June. If the Flyers were thinking about redemption, they werent talking about it.

Its obviously nice to beat Chicago with the way last year ended; nothing was said in the room before, Jeff Carter said. Each guy individually knew what was going on today and it was a big two points for us.

While the Blackhawks have had their ups and downs, the Flyers have just been up. Their 69 points leads not only the Eastern Conference, but its also tops in the NHL.

Theyre a top team for a lot of reasons, coach Joel Quenneville said. Theyve got a lot of weapons and their goalie was strong in net.
Marian Hossa's goal on a penalty shot was the first by a Blackhawk at the United Center and the first overall for the franchise since 1987. (AP)
Murrays reign over

When Hossa converted his third-period penalty shot, he became the first Blackhawks player to score one at the United Center. He was also the first Blackhawk to do it in Chicago since Troy Murray, who put one past Minnesota North Stars goaltender Kari Takko on Dec. 30, 1987.

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

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.”