Hawk Talk: The Shutout Shuffle From Rinkside

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Hawk Talk: The Shutout Shuffle From Rinkside

Sunday, Mar. 28, 2010
5:32 P.M.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

One of the more frequent criticisms of Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is that he doesnt manage goalies well. While a glimpse at Coach Qs time in Chicago might immediately elicit a suggestion critics take a gander at what the mentor has had to work with, but the point is that this has been persistent criticism that stretches much earlier than just Quennevilles days piloting the Blackhawks.

By any measure, Cool Hand Q was slow to warm to rookie Antti Niemi, who authored a shutout in his first game of the season and, certainly when compared with incumbent veteran Cristobal Huet, hasnt looked back. Quenneville was also a bit disingenuous coming right out of the blue before the Olympic break with sudden talk of defending the net as the main criteria for determining his goalie starter.

But one criticism that seems most unfair of Quennevilles handling of his netminders has been for his propensity to sub in a new goaltender after one pitches a shutout. The traditional thinking is to let a goalie coming off a shutout skate onto the ice the next game, even if facing a back-to-back.

Its interesting to note that while switching out a goalie after a shutout seems counterintuitive, Quenneville has played his hunches correctly this season. In the six games the coach has switched out a starting netminder after a shutout, the Blackhawks are 4-2-0. When Q has kept his shutout goalie in net for the next game, Chicago is 2-1-1.

Of course, the biggest sting of the season, Thursdays 8-3 shellacking at the Columbus Blue Jackets, came after Huet was given the start in spite of Niemi recording two shutouts in his previous three outings. Overall, Niemi is 1-0-0 when starting the next game after a Huet shutout; Huet is 3-2-0 when starting after a Niemi whitewash.

Brett Ballantini isCSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnikon Twitter for up-to-the-minute Hawksinformation.

Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook out vs. Rangers

Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook out vs. Rangers

Brent Seabrook is out and Jonathan Toews will miss his eighth consecutive game when the Blackhawks host the New York Rangers on Friday night.

Seabrook suffered an upper-body injury in the second period of the Blackhawks’ 4-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night. The defenseman fell awkwardly along the boards and was down for a few moments. Coach Joel Quenneville said Seabrook is day-to-day. Quenneville added he’ll decide tomorrow who takes Seabrook’s place in the lineup.

“Seabs has played really well for us on the back end this year and we’ll definitely miss his contributions,” Quenneville said. “We’re looking for someone to step in.”

Toews is feeling better and could skate on Friday. Quenneville would not rule out the possibility of Toews returning Sunday against the Dallas Stars.

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Duncan Keith did not practice on Thursday but he’s expected to play vs. the Rangers. Scott Darling will start.

Quenneville said Corey Crawford, who had an appendectomy on Saturday, is “status quo.”

Meanwhile, Nick Schmaltz, who was assigned to Rockford over the weekend, scored two goals in the IceHogs’ 3-2 loss to the San Antonio Rampage.

“I talked to Norm (Maciver, Blackhawks assistant general manager) about his game, they were extremely happy with how he played,” Quenneville said of Schmaltz. “He scored twice and there could’ve been more.”

Eric Semborski gets his own hockey card as Blackhawks' emergency goalie

Eric Semborski gets his own hockey card as Blackhawks' emergency goalie

Eric Semborski lived out his childhood dream by calling himself a National Hockey League goaltender for one day, and he will never forget it.

Now there's proof nobody will.

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Topps revealed Wednesday that it has produced a trading card for the 23-year-old after he signed a one-day contract on an amateur tryout basis to serve as the emergency backup goaltender for the Blackhawks in Saturday's contest against the Philadelphia Flyers.

While he didn't see any action, Semborski said after the game that absorbing shots during warmups from some of the best players in the league was “the best 20 minutes of my life.”

Add this to the memory bank of a story that keeps getting better.