Frolik scores, but Blackhawks Staal-ed in third

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Frolik scores, but Blackhawks Staal-ed in third

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011
Posted: 8:28 p.m. Updated: 9:34 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com Blackhawks InsiderFollow @TraMyersCSN
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VIDEO: Coach Q defends Emery
VIDEO: Frolik feels strong
VIDEO: 'Funny' goals on Emery

PITTSBURGH -- Brandon Saad watched the CONSOL Energy Center video screen as it flashed some of his high-school highlights. The product of Gibsonia, about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh, Saad was greeted with great applause from the hometown fans.

A few seconds later, he was on the video board again after taking a penalty.

"Yeah, not the best play," Saad said with a laugh.

All kidding aside, the young Saad has impressed the Chicago Blackhawks in his first training camp. The team's second-round selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Saad played 16 and a half minutes in the Blackhawks' 4-1 loss to the Penguins on Thursday night. Coach Joel Quenneville has been happy with Saad this entire camp, and it continued on Thursday.

"He's had a real nice camp," Quenneville said. "We've liked him since Day One. In these games he looks like he belongs. His upside is great. The puck looks like it follows him around."

Saad had two solid scoring chances in the second period but came up empty. Nonetheless, his talent and work ethic have been evident all camp. Saad said he just recognizes he's got plenty of company in trying to garner notice.

"I'm just trying to work hard day in and day out because there are a lot of good players out there," he said.

READ: Modano an inspiration for current Hawks

Whether or not there's room for Saad on this year's team is uncertain. He's nevertheless making a statement, whether it's for this season or in the future. And he was able to do some of it in front of the home crowd.

"It's awesome to play in any NHL game," he said. "But to be back home makes it more exciting."

Frolik scores

Michael Frolik had the Blackhawks' lone goal on Thursday, as his solid camp continues. Frolik has said he started feeling more comfortable with the team late last spring. It showed in the postseason and has filtered through to camp.

"It's the first game (for me) and you have to get used to it a little bit," said Frolik, who had one of his old linemates with him on Thursday -- Bryan Bickell. "Physically I felt pretty good. My legs were there and I feel strong. As the games go on I'll feel better and better."

Emery evaluation

Although he allowed four goals on 19 shots on Thursday, Ray Emery said he felt better in this game than he did on Tuesday.
Ray Emery is unable to make the save on Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke. Emery stopped 15 of the 19 shots he faced. (US PRESSWIRE)
"Those are kind of funny goals going off shafts and stuff," he said. "I don't know how to play them different besides the last one. But you want to control rebounds when things like that happen."

Quenneville said it was hard to blame Emery for the third period.

"We had two empty side goals that we call cardinal sins. We don't want to give those up; those have to be cleared," he said. "They came at us a little bit in the third. We had some good opportunities, but I wasn't blaming the goalie."

Emery said he's feeling more comfortable as camp continues.

"I feel better, my hands are feeling better," he said. "It'd be nice to see it translate into a game here but you have to get the tough ones out of the way I guess."

Briefly

Quenneville said Corey Crawford should play all of Friday night's preseason home opener against the Washington Capitals.

WGN will stream the Blackhawks' Sept. 25 and 28 games against the Detroit Red Wings on wgnradio.com.

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.”