Hawk Talk: Rumblings from Vancouver

Hawk Talk: Rumblings from Vancouver

Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010
6:25 PM

By Tracey Myers

Day 4

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- First of all, I just about face-planted when I got off the plane here in Vancouver this morning. I was that excited to kiss the ground in a Canadian city that wasn't suffering sub-zero temperatures. So thank you, Vancouver, for having a climate more like the Pacific Northwest than the North Pole.

But I digress.

I've always loved coming to Vancouver ever since my first long excursion up here in the spring of 2007, when the Dallas Stars played the Canucks in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. The hockey atmosphere is always fabulous -- probably moreso tonight, considering the Canucks can't stand the Chicago Blackhawks. You wouldn't be too fond of a team that's eliminated you two straight postseasons, either. But even more than hockey, Vancouver does one thing tremendously well: sushi.

Finding a great sushi place in Vancouver is like finding a good Italian place in Chicago. Just pick one. Chances are you'll be happy. So I and a fellow scribe checked out Honjin in the Yaletown district of the city. There were about three pages worth of sushi rolls, platters and Japanese BBQ selections. I wish I would've had a bigger stomach and two more hours. But two rolls and three cups of green tea later, I left a happy girl.

There's just a certain level of peace you get in this city. At least I do. It's gorgeous, a perfect blend of water and mountains that you just have to enjoy on a beautiful day, which I got this afternoon.

The Blackhawks will be looking to find their little slice of peace -- well, actually they need points and a much better performance than they got in Calgary on Friday -- when they play the Canucks tonight. They, however, won't be going into a calm environment. Rogers Arena, the former General Motors Place, will be full of rabid Canucks fans who loathe the Blackhawks. But the team says they love playing in Canada, love playing in front of those passionate fans, even if they're unfriendly.

Hey, whatever makes them happy -- and whatever gets them back on track.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews named NHL's second star of the week

Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews named NHL's second star of the week

Jonathan Toews was named the NHL's second star for the week ending Feb. 26 after recording four goals and five assists in three games, all of which resulted in Blackhawks wins.

The 28-year-old captain kicked off the week with a hat trick and five-point effort in a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild, then followed that up with two assists in a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. 

He wrapped up the week by scoring a goal and adding an assist in a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues to extend his point streak to six games. He has five goals and eight assists during that span.

Toews now ranks third on the team with 46 points and is tied for fifth with 16 goals.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (eight goals and two assists in four games) and Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (two goals and six assists in four games) were named the first and third stars, respectively.

In midst of career season, Artem Anisimov still not satisfied with overall game

In midst of career season, Artem Anisimov still not satisfied with overall game

In terms of points this season, Artem Anisimov is closing in on some career numbers.

His goal against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night was his 22nd of the season, tying a career best set with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2013-14. One more point and he'll equal his career best (44) in that department from 2010-11, when he was with the New York Rangers.

And all of this is with 20 games remaining in the regular season. So is this Anisimov's best career regular season?

"Ah, no," Anisimov said recently. "Close to it, but not good enough."

Anisimov would list a few things he still needs to improve upon – we'll get to that later – but even "close," Anisimov has had another strong season for the Blackhawks, once again centering Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane. It's easy to focus on those two wings, given their dazzling play-making ability. But every line needs at least one blue-collar guy, the one who does more of the dirty work and perhaps takes the punishment in front of the net.

For the second consecutive season, that second-line guy is Anisimov, and his net-front play, especially, has led to more production this season.

"Arty's a smart player. He knows getting there, there [are] rewards for being around the net," coach Joel Quenneville said. "He finds his positioning. Sometimes he gets there at the right time and his arrival times are due to his anticipation with his wingers. [It's] the willingness; there's some abuse you have to take over the course of a regular season and it doesn't distract Arty from getting there."

Anisimov's game-winner against the Blues came the way so many others have this season: around the net. This one was off a slick pass from Panarin. Be it scoring goals like that, limiting a goaltender's vision or cleaning up rebounds, Anisimov's net-front presence has been steady. 

"He's coming up with pucks, gets those loose pucks to Kaner and Bread Man and they do their thing and create some magic there. Or you have Arty in front and you have Kaner and Bread doing their thing back and forth across the zone and you have that big body in front," Ryan Hartman said. "It makes it difficult, and not just when one of them are shooting. Sometimes the goalie can't see the pass because Arty's there and it's really deceptive and a big part of our team."

So the production has been there, no doubt. But where does Anisimov feel he's lacking?

"I just need to improve in all aspects: skating, back check, forecheck, stick position," Anisimov said. "All the little things have to be a little bit better."

Most players are never satisfied with where their games are. They're always looking to improve. Anisimov will keep working on what he thinks are some deficiencies but his constant net-front presence has filled what used to be an issue for the Blackhawks.