Hawk Talk: A night to remember, a result to grow on

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Hawk Talk: A night to remember, a result to grow on

Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010
3:24 p.m.
By Chris Boden
CSNChicago.com

"Some guys...across the board - we need more."

With that subtle (or was it?) insight at the podium Saturday night, Joel Quenneville let everyone know how he felt about the one-goal loss in the home opener that followed the one-goal loss in the road opener. Welcome to the new bar that you've set, boys.

Just as their journey to the Stanley Cup that was so magnificently celebrated was a learning process, so is what comes after all of that. The team the Blackhawks lost to Saturday night knows a little something about that. Detroit may not have dominated the team they'll now try to knock off, but they were strong enough, and, in some cases, lucky enough against a champion without two key, injured ingredients.

The "fourth" line of Dowell, Skille, and Stalberg was the Hawks' best over the sixty minutes. None of them have their names on the Cup. Who knows - maybe that's why the were so effective against a Detroit team that may have been unfamiliar with them. They got a majority of the ice time late, when Quenneville was looking to tie the game. But Jake, Jack and Vic should be supplementing, not highlighting, this team's offensive play. All three drew penalties in the loss. While the Blackhawks will probably take 25 percent accuracy on the power play over the course of the season (as they've been through these first two games), coming up empty in the six minutes they had over an eight-minute span of the third period - looking to equalize - left a bad taste. The absence of Patrick Sharp and Brian Campbell hurt, and I think we're now all starting to understand this team isn't quite the same without Campbell, no matter how you feel about his salary cap hit. Niklas Hjalmarsson misses him, too, being on the ice for
all seven of the opposition's goals thus far with varying partners.

Coming up empty added to the frustration because the eventual game-winner was so...weird. It started with John Scott's tumble that cleared a path for Valtteri Filppula. It ended with Filppula's semi-whiff on his shot, Hjalmarsson's semi-whiff on his block attempt, and the off-speed puck sneaking past Marty Turco. Scott and Turco both stood up afterwards and blamed themselves for the loss. That's nice of them, but they're hardly the only reasons. The new goalie's first two games have included some spectacular stops and a couple of exasperating shots that've slipped past him. He now has the pair of openers behind him, and can move on past those two emotional hurdles. With Quenneville indicating he sees Turco's game count being somewhere in the fifties, Corey Crawford will get his first action of the season with four games over six nights this week.

And the rest of the team can now move past the celebrations and pats on the back that the returnees have earned, and try to get back to a normal hockey routine. One couldn't help but get emotional Saturday night when the rare prize that's been so central to our sporting consciousness the past four months was given a final smooch, a twirl for all in the building to see, and a final pat on its side by Jonathan Toews as the captain skated away, and the Stanley Cup was turned back over to the NHL. Then the banner being passed from the '61 champs to the current ones, and raised to the rafters as The Madhouse roared. One last pose, one last group hug.

Now it's on to the business at hand and the challenges ahead. The opposition will treat the remaining 80 regular season games like Game 7 of the Cup Finals. As great as the party's been, the Hawks are admittedly weary of the Cup celebration questions. Now they'll have to figure out ways to prove the Cup Hangover questions will not apply to them.

Panarin’s rep: 'He’ll forever cherish his time in Chicago'

Panarin’s rep: 'He’ll forever cherish his time in Chicago'

A little more than two years ago Artemi Panarin had many NHL teams vying for his services, the Blackhawks winning the bidding war and signing him. On Friday the Panarin-Blackhawks union was over, the 25-year-old traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

But according to his agent, if Panarin had it to do all over again, he still would have signed with the Blackhawks.

Dan Milstein, who represents Panarin, said the Russian left wing is forever grateful to the Blackhawks for the past two seasons in which he put up stellar numbers in consecutive regular seasons.

“The experience, playing on the same line with [Artem] Anisimov and [Patrick] Kane, having coach [Joel] Quenneville and many other members of the organization help him along the way, providing the translation services and being there for him, the entire process made his transition to North America extremely easy,” Milstein said. “He’ll forever cherish his time in Chicago.”

Milstein was in Chicago on Friday morning when he got the call from Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman on the trade – Bowman told the media on Friday that the deal “came together pretty quickly.” Milstein immediately called Panarin, who was about to get on a plane for a fishing trip in Russia.

“Initially he was shocked. But as the day went on we kept in touch and he understands,” Milstein said. “He said, ‘I understand it’s a business. I accept the challenge.’ His last words were, ‘I accept the challenge.’”

The deal, which sent Panarin and his upcoming two-year deal worth $6 million per season to Columbus, brought Brandon Saad back to Chicago. Saad will likely bring stability to the Blackhawks’ top line, which has missed his presence since he was traded in the summer of 2015. Who Kane’s left wing will be this season remains to be seen. Quenneville said on Saturday that Nick Schmaltz will probably get a good chance there; he played with Kane when Anisimov was hurt last season.

Still, the chemistry between Kane and Panarin will be tough to match. Milstein said he saw Kane briefly at the NHL Draft on Friday night, and that he told Milstein, “just let [Panarin] know that I love him.”

Panarin, like most of the Blackhawks, had a very quiet postseason. After recording seven points against the St. Louis Blues, Panarin had just one assist in four games against the Nashville Predators. Not long after the playoffs Panarin was interviewed in Russian. One of the quotes, translated into English, read, “I was not in the best shape and didn’t have enough strength” for the playoffs. Milstein didn’t believe that was an accurate translation.

“If you know Panarin, in his native tongue he’s very funny. If you use a translator, sometimes it takes things out of context. But I don’t believe that’s what he meant,” Milstein said. “He put a good [regular] season together, a fair season, but the performance in the playoffs, obviously, he was disappointed. He was frustrated with his performance.”

Milstein said Panarin will probably head to Columbus in a few weeks; he’s currently waiting on visa issues. Panarin’s time in Chicago was shorter than most thought it would be but his agent said he’s ready for the next challenge.

“Artemi is looking forward to coming here,” said Milstein, who was in Columbus on Monday. “This will be a good opportunity to shine.”

Blackhawks ink Anton Forsberg, Tomas Jurco

Blackhawks ink Anton Forsberg, Tomas Jurco

When the Blackhawks traded to get Brandon Saad back, they also acquired Anton Forsberg, who they believe is ready to be their latest backup goaltender. On Monday they signed him to a two-year deal.

The Blackhawks inked two players on Monday, Forsberg, whose contract runs through the 2018-19 season, and Tomas Jurco, who agreed to a one-year contract extension.

Forsberg joins the Blackhawks having very little NHL experience – he’s played 10 career games at this level, going 1-8-0. But the Blackhawks’ previous two backup goaltenders, Antti Raanta and Scott Darling, hadn’t made an NHL appearance before joining the Blackhawks. Forsberg led the Cleveland Monsters, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ AHL-affiliate team, to a Calder Cup title in 2016; during that run he went 9-0 with a 1.34 goals-against average and .949 save percentage.

On Friday, when the Blackhawks acquired Saad and Forsberg from Columbus for Artemi Panarin and Tyler Motte, general manager Stan Bowman said the team is, “optimistic about Anton’s potential.”

“We like his profile as a goalie,” he said. “He’s a big guy, takes up a lot of net, has that mobility and makes good positional saves as well as athletic saves. A year ago, led his team to the [Calder] Cup championships, so he knows what it’s like to put a team on his back. It was the AHL but he’s had a lot of success there. He’s earned the right to be an NHL goalie.”

Jurco, acquired by the Blackhawks from Detroit in February, played 13 games with them down the regular-season stretch. Bowman said shortly after the trade that Jurco would get a chance here.

“We’ll be patient with him but we really think there’s a good fit there, looking at his skills and the style of hockey we play,” he said. “I think a lot of ways, sometimes guys need different opportunities. It doesn’t work out in every place. A fresh start will be great for Tomas.”