Hawk Talk: A Look at the Numbers from Rinkside

Hawk Talk: A Look at the Numbers from Rinkside

Sunday, Apr. 4, 2010

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

.233: Antti Niemi has seven whitewashes in just 30 starts in 2009-10, a .233 percentage. Every NHL goaltender with five or more shutouts has started at least 50 games.

.269: The Blackhawks .269 winning percentage when trailing after two periods is third-best in the NHL, trailing just the Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks.

.538: Jonathan Toews is second in NHL history with a .538 shooting percentage in shootouts.

.812: Niemis .812 save percentage on shootouts (26 of 32) is the best in the NHL among goaltenders who have faced 20-plus shots.

.886: Chicagos penalty kill at home is the second-best in the league.

.926: Niemi has a .926 save percentage over his last nine starts.

2: Fridays loss to Chicago marked just second time this season the New Jersey Devils had lost when leading at second intermission (30-1-1).

7: The Blackhawks have won seven consecutive regular season games vs. Calgary (Chicago swept the Flames in 2008-09).

8: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville (then with the St. Louis Blues in 1999-2000) coached the last team to win the Central Division before the eight-year run of titles by the Detroit Red Wings started.

11: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has guided his teams into the postseason in 11 of his 12 full seasons as a head coach.

14: Fridays win over the Devils wasnt just the first win for Chicago in New Jersey since Dec. 30, 1997, it was the teams first multiple-win season vs. the Devils in 14 years (since 1995-96).

15: The Blackhawks have won five of their last seven shootouts and nine of 15 overall in 2009-10. Combined with their 6-1 record in OT, Chicagos 15-7 record in extra time is second in the NHL only to the Phoenix Coyotes, who are 17-6.

16: Its been 16 years since Chicago has swept back-to-back season series from a Western Conference opponent. The victim was the Flames, in the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons.

19: Chicago finished the regular season vs. the East at 11-5-2, their best since going 21-9-3 vs. Wales (the old Eastern Conference) 19 years ago, in 1990-91.

30: Niemi has authored seven of Chicagos 11 games of 30-plus saves this season.

53: Niemi has stopped 53 of the past 54 shots hes seen in his past two games.

95: Calgary starting goalie Miikka Kiprusoff has stopped 95 of 100 shots hes seen over his past three starts.

203: Chicago has now lost 203 man-games to injury so far this season; last years season total was 179.

Blackhawks: Abbott happy to be back after season in Sweden

Blackhawks: Abbott happy to be back after season in Sweden

Spencer Abbott enjoyed his short stint in Rockford, which came after he was acquired by the Blackhawks in February 2015. At the time, he thought staying here was his most likely plan.

Then he got an offer Frölunda in Sweden.

“I thought, ‘why not give it a shot? Maybe it’ll be a good experience and bring it back with me,’” said Abbott on Monday. “It was worth it, for sure. I have no regrets.”

Abbott, who’s back with the Blackhawks, had never been to Europe prior to getting that Frölunda offer. But his first trip across the pond was a good one as Abbott was part of Frölunda’s run to its Swedish and Champions hockey league titles. Abbott had 14 goals and 21 assists in 51 regular-season games. Abbott got plenty out of the games, but not nearly as much as he did in the team’s training camp.

“The first month and a half you’re over there, you’re there from 8 [a.m.] to 4 [p.m.] every day. I think over here there’s a rule against being here for more than 3-4 hours, but not over there. It’s like a 9-5 job for a month and a half, a lot of working out, a lot of bike riding. So for me, that was good because I had never been in that kind of shape before,” said Abbott, who added he’s trying to incorporate some of that into his routine here. “Training camps here are hard but they’re just different over there. There’s a lot of ice, bigger ice [overseas], so they really condition you. So my conditioning may be a bit better.”

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As much as Abbott loved his time in Sweden, he ultimately wanted to be back in the NHL. So when the Blackhawks offered him a one-year deal, he jumped at it. He’s gotten off to a good start this training camp, scoring a few goals in the team’s early scrimmages.

“I wasn’t sure how it would play out, to be honest. I’m 28 and pretty early in the summer they were showing interest,” Abbott said. “This is one for the places I really wanted to come, because I did l really like the organization when I was here for that brief period of time. Now I get the full effect as long as they’ll have me. It’s such a good organization.”

Abbott probably could have kept playing overseas but he wanted another chance in the NHL. He’s happy it’s once again coming in the Blackhawks’ organization.

“It’s overwhelming. There are so many places to play hockey nowadays in Europe. There are tons of leagues over there. But it didn’t interest me,” he said. “I wanted to come back and give it one more shot.”

Blackhawks: Keith unlikely to play first four preseason games

Blackhawks: Keith unlikely to play first four preseason games

Duncan Keith was already deemed unlikely to play in many, if any, Blackhawks preseason games, when training camp opened. As of now, it doesn’t look like he’ll be in the first few.

Keith will probably not play in the Blackhawks’ first four preseason games, assistant coach Kevin Dineen said following Monday’s training camp sessions. As for whether or not Keith will play in any, that’s still up in the air.

“That’s a question that Dunc and the medical staff, Stan [Bowman], Joel [Quenneville], we’ll all get to that. I wouldn’t foresee him certainly in these first four games. I would say that’s not going to happen,” Dineen said. “We’ll let him keep progressing on his timetable that he’s on now.”

Keith has been participating in one practice each day but has not been in any of the scrimmages. Assistant coach Mike Kitchen said Keith has asked to skate in the team’s second practice each day – each session is about 20-25 minutes – but the Blackhawks have told him no. As of now, both Dineen and Kitchen figure Keith will be ready for the regular-season opener but the Blackhawks will continue to be prudent with him.

“He’s out there wheeling around, doing well,” Dineen said. “We had a good chat with him today. He feels like he has a lot of jump but not a lot of stamina right now. We’ll continue the way we’ve handled it so far. We’ll keep moving forward that way.”

Players returning soon

Patrick Kane, who was at the United Center on Monday afternoon, will skate with the Blackhawks on Tuesday. Defenseman Michal Kempny will also join Tuesday’s sessions. Dineen said Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger, Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin are expected to join the Blackhawks on Friday.

Neither Kane nor Kempny are expected to play Wednesday vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]​

Pokka is back

Defenseman Ville Pokka, who played for Team Finland in the World Cup of Hockey, skated with the Blackhawks on Monday.

“Anybody coming back from Toronto over the last two weeks is going to have a heck of a lot of confidence,” Dineen said. “A young kid like that getting the chance to represent his country on the international stage is a great honor and a pick-me-up heading into training camp and the season.”

First cuts made

The Blackhawks made their first round of cuts on Monday, sending Radovan Bondra, John Dahlstrom, Nathan Noel and Roy Radke to their respective junior teams. The active roster is now at 57 players.