Halak, Blues quiet Hawks

693834.png

Halak, Blues quiet Hawks

ST. LOUIS The Blackhawks got pushed around physically against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. Nevertheless, they could have delivered a few blows of their own on the power play.

But once again they were punch less on it.

Andrew Brunette scored an early third-period goal but the Blackhawks went 0 for 5 on the power play en route to a 5-1 loss to the Blues on Tuesday night. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Blackhawks, who remain in sixth place in the Western Conference.

The Blackhawks lost defenseman Sami Lepisto in the second period when he collided with David Perron and Perron fell on the back of his left leg. Lepisto struggled to get to the locker room, putting no weight on that leg; coach Joel Quenneville said hes day to day, and that it wasnt serious.

The Blues came with their usual brawn and bruising style hometown man Brandon Bollig had a long and impressive fight with Ryan Reaves in the first period. The Blues came with scoring, too, with TJ Oshie giving them a 1-0 lead a little over five minutes into the game.

Yeah, that was probably one of their goals tonight was to play physical against us. It seemed to work for them. But we have to have a better start than that, Patrick Kane said. We knew they were going to come out hard. Giving up a goal that early its tough to come back, especially against a team like that thats content to just play defense and not give up anything.

But the Blackhawks had their best chance to fight back with their power play.

But on a night when they needed it most, it disappeared.

We didnt push back in certain areas but I thought we had a chance to get ourselves back in with the power play and thats where we lost the momentum, coach Joel Quenneville said. Certain guys tonight didnt have the pace or intensity you need on the power play. You have to work harder on the power play, its not a given.

As good as the Blackhawks had played the Blues recently, they didnt have that same energy and fight against them on Tuesday. Their puck possession was rough and the Blues were more than happy to take advantage of mistakes. That included a mishandled puck on one of the power plays, which the Blues Vladimir Sobotka, to be specific turned into a short-handed goal.

We clicked (on the power play) in three games but tonight we couldnt settle the puck down, couldnt make a pass, said Marian Hossa. We didnt deserve to win tonight.

The Blackhawks didnt have the punch they needed against the Blues, especially on that power play. Their special teams had been strong in recent victories. They failed them tonight.

Special teams are something to get momentum off, even when its not scoring a goal maybe its puck possession or a couple blocks on the PK. Tonight they won that, and thats tough, Stalberg said. We have a lot of games this year where those kinds of chances take us out of the game.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Blackhawks Convention Opening Ceremonies

saad.jpg
AP

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Blackhawks Convention Opening Ceremonies

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, we're live at the 2017 Blackhawks Convention. 

Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp join David Kaplan and Pat Boyle to talk about returning to Chicago. 

Later Boyle, CSN Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers, Chris Kuc and Sam Panayotovich discuss the huge roster changes this offseason. 

Listen to the STL Pod below. 

Don Granato thrilled to be working with 'calm' Q again

Don Granato thrilled to be working with 'calm' Q again

For Don Granato, working with coach Joel Quenneville again was a chance he couldn’t refuse. Granato was a young coach with the Worcester IceCats, the St. Louis affiliate when Quenneville was the Blues’ head coach, and Granato learned plenty.

“The presence,” Granato said of Quenneville. “He has a really good presence, a calming influence.”

Wait. Quenneville calm?

“Without a doubt, calming,” Granato said. “It was almost like, ‘Hey, we’re in it together.’ And again, that’s the calm behind the scenes. He helps players and in that case he helped me perform as well as I could at that point. I think he’s good at that, because he’s a people person. That’s what I remember most. It’s more of a feel.”

Granato, who general manager Stan Bowman called “a great communicator,” is happy to be back in the Quenneville coaching fold this season. Granato will be watching the games from upstairs and will bring another voice to a Blackhawks group that is looking to take a fresh approach after a second first-round loss. Assistant coach Kevin Dineen said having another perspective will help.

“I’m looking forward to having Donny here,” Dineen said. “I like to talk. I sit there and talk through things. When you have someone working with you on a specific area of the game you can have those debates. It’s the same thing with players but you’re teaching. With another coach a good, healthy voice like that with Donny’s experience can be great for us.”

Where Granato will help most – and where that calm he learned from Quenneville could be most critical – is with the Blackhawks’ younger players. He’s worked with several already through the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, including John Hayden and Nick Schmaltz, both of whom appreciated Granato’s tutelage.

“It’s so obvious he knows the game so well. I think coaches who know the game well and know how to teach the game well are hard to come by,” Hayden said. “It goes back to what I’ve said about meeting the coaching staff and the rest of the players. You feel comfortable in that regard. With coaching changes that process happens all over again, but I was fortunate to spend two years in the World Juniors with coach Granato, who did an incredible job with coaching and development.”

[MORE: Who goes where? Quenneville already plotting options] 

Granato will have a voice with the Blackhawks and will especially have an impact with their young players. The impact Quenneville made on him is still being felt.

“When he left St. Louis, he and my brother [Tony] coached together in Colorado. So the connection stayed. And I’ve always tried as a head coach to play the system that Joel played. So I’ve always tracked and watched the Hawks and the Avalanche and whoever Joel was playing,” Granato said. “That was fun, that’s the impact he had on me, from not only a presence, but the tactics, as well.