Hawk Talk: Squandered points can't be recovered

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Hawk Talk: Squandered points can't be recovered

Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011Posted: 7:15 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

CALGARY, Alberta Coach Joel Quenneville recognized what positives came out of Friday nights loss, especially the good pace and the hard-fought outing.

But for those positives, there was one big negative. Or more to the point, there was one big zero. As in points, or lack thereof. For as close of a game the Blackhawks played the best team in the league, they still came up empty.

So as much as the positives can be built on, the squandered points cant be recaptured. And once again on Friday, the Blackhawks were right there late, tied with minutes ticking away, and they couldnt grab any points.

Its the 11th time its happened this year that at the end of the night theres nothing to show for it, Quenneville said. Right now we need wins and we need points.

Yes they do. The Blackhawks were sitting in ninth place early Saturday evening, just one point out of eighth and not many more points out of the middle of the top eight. Thats been said a few times already. And while the hard-fought games are a welcome sight for the Blackhawks and their coach, points would be even better.

So the Blackhawks need their 5-on-5 game from Friday night, their power play converting like it did on Tuesday night and their penalty kill to, well, kill.

And the Blackhawks remaining opponents, with the exception of Edmonton, are going to be point-hungry themselves to keep hold of or get closer to a top-eight spot.

Theyll start with the Calgary Flames on Monday night. Remember those Flames, the ones that battered the Blackhawks up here in November? Thats when they were bad and considered tearing apart their team and starting over again. Now theyre surging; theyve gone 8-1-1 in their past 10 games, have 58 points just like the Blackhawks and are 11th in the conference.

Later this week they face Dallas. The Stars are faltering a bit and are down three players from their fracas-filled loss in Boston, including former Blackhawks forward Adam Burish (fractured orbital bone). Theyre also trying to stay in the top four. Phoenix, meanwhile, is one measly point ahead of the Blackhawks.

No, the Blackhawks latest road trip didnt start easy and it isnt going to end easy.

Everybody is playing desperate hockey right now. Nobody wants to play hard and have nothing to show for it. With only 30 games remaining, the Blackhawks can only be so positive about the moral victories. The ones in the standings are still the only ones that are going to count.

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

Blackhawks agree to terms with Nathan Noel on entry-level contract

Blackhawks agree to terms with Nathan Noel on entry-level contract

The Blackhawks strengthened their organizational depth Thursday, announcing the signing of forward Nathan Noel to a three-year entry-level contract that kicks in next season and runs through the 2019-20 campaign. 

Noel, a fourth-round draft pick (No. 113 overall) in 2016, tied a career high with 24 goals — including six game winners — and added 26 assists for 50 points in 52 games during his fourth regular season with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He was sidelined for a little more than a month in December and January due to an upper-body injury.

The 19-year-old center has raised his game in the postseason, racking up eight goals and 18 assists in 33 games from 2015-17, including six assists in 12 contests so far during the 2017 QMJHL playoffs. Across four years at Saint John, he amassed 208 points (85 goals, 123 assists) in 242 career regular-season games.

Noel is teammates with forward Matthew Highmore, who leads the Sea Dogs in scoring and was signed by the Blackhawks in March to a three-year deal as an undrafted free agent.

Noel is an undersized forward at 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, but he's a fast skater with offensive upside. He'll likely start the 2017-18 season in the American Hockey League with the Rockford IceHogs, who desperately needed scoring last year. 

Blackhawks' Nick Schmaltz added to USA's roster for 2017 IIHF World Championship

Blackhawks' Nick Schmaltz added to USA's roster for 2017 IIHF World Championship

Nick Schmaltz will be joining Blackhawks teammate Trevor van Riemsdyk on Team USA at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, the club announced Thursday.

It will be his first career appearance on the U.S. men's national team and third time representing his country in world-championship play, most recently winning a bronze medal at the 2016 World Juniors. He scored two goals and added six assists in seven games during that tournament.

Schmaltz just completed his first professional season with the Blackhawks, where he tallied six goals and 22 assists in 61 games. 

After the year ended, he spoke about the possibility of playing for USA in this tournament and what it would mean to him.

"I think it's a great tournament," Schmaltz said. "You get to play with a lot of great players. Look like a lot of great players are going to the tournament, so it's definitely a big stage. It would be a fun tournament."

The roster now includes 13 forwards, seven defensemen and three goaltenders. Among the other NHLers going for the Americans: Danny DeKeyser, Noah Hanifin, Jimmy Howard, Dylan Larkin, Anders Lee, Charlie McAvoy, Connor Murphy, Brock Nelson and Jacob Trouba.

Blackhawks forwards Marcus Kruger (Sweden) and Artemi Panarin (Russia) will also compete in the tournament, which begins May 5 and runs until May 21 in Cologne, Germany and Paris, France.