Hawk Talk: Kane's injury hurts to the very core

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Hawk Talk: Kane's injury hurts to the very core

Monday, Dec. 6, 2010
Posted: 1:46 p.m.

By Chris Boden
CSNChicago.com

We knew a week ago, coming off a successful Circus Trip, that the Blackhawks were entering their most important stretch of the season. December would be spent at home, except for three games, and they'd be facing other Western Conference playoff contenders.
A week later, they've already been playing without Marian Hossa. Now the degree of difficulty increases for a team whose resources aren't as deep as a year ago as they prepare for this stretch without Patrick Kane, too. When Joel Quenneville says afterwards he'll be out "a bit," or "a while," I'm thinking more in terms of weeks, not days.
Someone once told me how quickly things can change in the NHL.
Yep.
Hossa's practice injury was originally estimated to need a 2-to-3-week recovery time. No matter when he returns, Joel Quenneville said after Sunday's game that, regardless of his team's star power, the most important thing will be stick with their offensive principles. This team is always better when they're the Blue Collar Blackhawks, and if they can commit themselves to do that on their home ice most of this month, they just might be able to get through their health problems.
They've had two months now to adjust to, and get to know, each other. They'll have to win games not necessarily by being more conservative, but more disciplined and smart, and improving their penalty kill. They managed to get through the penalty parade without 1 killers Hossa and Fernando Pisani Sunday night after an 0-for-2 first period. Now's the time they need the Bollands, Bickells, Brouwers, Skilles, and Stalbergs to make a greater impact. And as long as they're winning with Corey Crawford in the net, don't expect Quenneville to mess with a good thing while it lasts, especially at this crucial juncture.

The Head Coach was asked, hypothetically, before Sunday's game (and before Kane's injury) if he had a number in mind about the number of points that'll be necessary to make the playoffs in the West. After a short pause, he threw out 95. With all the games they've played, they're slightly behind the curve, requiring 63 points over the final 53 games, no matter who's in uniform.
For the very immediate future that won't include Jeremy Morin, either. The 19-year-old winger had his best game against St. Louis last Tuesday, but leveled off a bit his last two games and was sent back to Rockford of the AHL Monday. General Manager Stan Bowman said recently the salary cap is not a concern right now in who he calls up from the minors. He's also indicated in the past they wouldn't be shy about giving other hungry Icehogs opportunities, which we could see come Wednesday, if necessary, to round out his lineup. Or, if Hossa andor Pisani could be ready by the weekend, try to get through Wednesday with what they have, including Jordan Hendry.
Wednesday marks Adam Burish's first game against the Hawks, leaving only Kris Versteeg as the only Cup-winning ex-teammate they haven't faced. Burish is part of a Dallas team that's been hot and presently has the West's second-highest point total. After that, it's a roadie to visit two teams the Hawks will try to stay in front of with the games they have in-hand, San Jose and Colorado, before re-matching with the Avalanche here next week. With this latest health challenge, it'll be about finding ways to pile up the standings points they need, without worrying about style points.

Chris Boden is the host of Blackhawks Pre and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet.

Ryan Hartman returns for Blackhawks vs. Penguins

Ryan Hartman returns for Blackhawks vs. Penguins

PITTSBURGH — Ryan Hartman has played on the right side of that line for most of this season. Now back in the lineup, he knows he has to stay on it.

Hartman will play after missing Monday's game as a healthy scratch when the Blackhawks face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. Hartman took a few bad penalties, including an unsportsmanlike conduct, against the Florida Panthers last weekend, so he sat vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning. The rookie knows he has to get back to the more disciplined hockey he's played most of the season. 

"I don't change my game. I think you take the message and deliver the message," Hartman said. "Obviously, no one likes to not play, everyone wants to play games and no one likes to sit out games. It's definitely something that I took to heart. I'm just going to go out there and just try to play like I've been playing and get on the scoresheet. Just stay off it for the wrong reasons."

Coach Joel Quenneville said Hartman has to stay on the right side of the line.

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"Know there are boundaries and sometimes you get watched a little bit more," Quenneville said. "The way they're calling the game, the way it's being officiated, be respectful. You still have to be hard to play against and find that limit, how far you can push it but you get a good feel on that early in games."

The Penguins are on a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) and are dealing with some injuries. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that, while Evgeni Malkin (shoulder) is close to returning, he won't play against the Blackhawks.

Broadcast information

Time: 7 p.m.
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: NBC Sports app
Radio: WGN 720 AM

Blackhawks lines

Nick Schmaltz-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Tanner Kero-Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
John Hayden-Dennis Rasmussen-Tomas Jurco

Defensive pairs 

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Johnny Oduya-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries 

Artem Anisimov (left leg)

Penguins lines

Conor-Sheary-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Chris Kunitz-Nick Bonino-Patric Hornqvist
Scott Wilson-Carter Rowney-Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl-Oskar Sundqvist-Josh Archibald

Defensive pairs

Brian Dumoulin-Justin Schultz
Ian Cole-Chad Ruhwedel
Cameron Gaunce-Mark Streit

Goaltender

Marc-Andre Fleury

Injuries

Evgeni Malkin (shoulder), Trevor Daley (knee), Daniel Sprong (shoulder), Jake Guentzel (concussion), Olli Maatta (hand), Kris Letang (upper body), Carl Hagelin (foot), Ron Hainsey (upper body)

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd discuss the latest slump and how much does Artem Anisimov's injury play a role in their struggles?

Konroyd tells us he was surprised by Ryan Hartman's benching in Tampa.

The guys play the game, playoff minutes or press box minutes?  They run through the players who are on the bubble when it comes to postseason play.

They also discuss the Hawks chances of overtaking Washington for the President's trophy.

Plus, Konroyd breaks down possible first round opponents: St Louis, Calgary and Nashville.