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

333300.jpg

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.

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

On April 22, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman vented his frustrations on the team’s all-too-abrupt exit from the postseason, adding that he and coach Joel Quenneville, “are going to work together to make sure that this never happens again.”

There will be plenty of decisions for the two to mull between now and September, when the Blackhawks convene for training camp. When it comes to the assistant head coach vacancy, however, that might need to be decided with a more one-sided approach. That choice ultimately should be made by Quenneville.

In a recent podcast, Pat Boyle and I discussed the Blackhawks’ need to work together on some upcoming decisions. But with the assistant coach, the head coach has to have the loudest voice. The head coach probably should even have the final vote. The relationship between coaches has to be there because they’re around each other constantly. They’ve got to be on the same page. There has to be trust from Day 1.

As for when the Blackhawks name that assistant, there appears to be nothing imminent. A source said Monday that the Blackhawks and Ulf Samuelsson have been in communication about the job — Chris Kuc of the Tribune first reported on Samuelsson on Sunday. On paper it looks like it would be a great fit. Samuelsson and Quenneville played several seasons together with the Hartford Whalers, along with current Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen. The relationship with Samuelsson has been there for a long time and it would make for a smoother transition. It might also provide somewhat of a panacea for Quenneville after former assistant Mike Kitchen, whose friendship with Quenneville also went back to their playing days, was fired last month.

Earlier this month Bowman told the Sun-Times that Quenneville will have a big role in the Blackhawks’ finding their next assistant coach, with the final choice being a “joint collaboration.” We get that there’s an order to these things and everyone has to be in agreement with the final decision. But in the end the head coach has to be 100-percent happy with his immediate staff. So whoever the next assistant coach is, the decision has to be 100 percent Quenneville’s.

Blackhawks share condolences after passing of six-time All Star Bill White

Blackhawks share condolences after passing of six-time All Star Bill White

The Blackhawks shared their condolences after the passing of former defenseman Bill White on Monday.

"The Chicago Blackhawks organization extends its thoughts and heartfelt condolences to Bill White's family as we mourn his loss," the team's statement read. "He will be remembered as a leader, generous teammate and tough player to play against. His energetic style helped the Blackhawks see great success during his tenure with the team."

White spent seven seasons with the Blackhawks — part of a nine-year NHL career — scoring 30 goals and tallying 149 assists.

He appeared in six consecutive All-Star Games from 1969 to 1974 and helped the Blackhawks to the playoffs in all seven of his seasons in Chicago.

White also had a brief stint as the Blackhawks' head coach, manning the bench for the final 46 games of the 1976-77 season.