Hawk Talk: The Ugly Truth

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Hawk Talk: The Ugly Truth

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

Its a good lesson.

Thats how Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville described his teams unfathomable, fall-from-ahead, 6-5 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild three months ago. With the Blackhawks slipping to 15-12-4 since that fateful Jan. 9 night in Minnesota, its clear that whatever lesson that horrific game taught, it wasnt soaked up by the Hometown Heroes.

So lets take a minute out of the current free-fall and compare that Blackhawks team, all blustery and confident and healthy and full of promise, to the current incarnation.

If you are a fan more fascinated with the agony of defeat than the thrill of victory, dig back into the archives for the promise-filled look at that Jan. 9 game or an assessment of the current club written just a few days ago, and thus shorting them just a couple of losses.

For the rest of you less-hearty souls, heres the side-by-side.

Blackhawks Before and After
on 1-9-10
on 3-31-10
Wins3146Losses1022Last 10 Games
8-2-03-5-2Points6599Points Percentage
.739.660NHL Ranks
Simple Rating System
1.27 (1st)
.660 (fourth)
Power Plays
.207 (T-seventh)
.183 (T-14th)
Penalty Kills
.868 (second)
.846 (fifth)
Faceoffs.532 (third)
.524 (second)
Penalty Minutes
12.4 (14th)
11.4 (seventh)
Team Leaders
GoalsPatrick Kane (19)
Patrick Kane (28)
AssistsDuncan Keith (32)
Duncan Keith (54)
PointsPatrick Kane (50)
Patrick Kane (82)
Plus-MinusBrent Seabrook (22)
Sharp, Hossa (21)
Penalty Minutes
Ben Eager (79)
Ben Eager (116)
ShotsPatrick Sharp (146)
Patrick Sharp (248)
Shooting Percentage
Troy Brouwer (.186)
Troy Brouwer (.184)
Ice Time
Duncan Keith (26:32)
Duncan Keith (26:44)
Central Division Lead
105Western Conference Seed
12Projected Quarterfinals Opponent
L.A. Kings
L.A. Kings
InjuriesDave Bolland
Brian Campbell
Adam Burish
Kim Johnsson
Top Line
Toews-Kane-BrouwerToews-Sharp-HossaSecond Line
Sharp-Hossa-LaddVersteeg-Byfuglien-Brouwer
Third Line
Madden-Versteeg-Byfuglien
Bolland-Ladd-BrouwerFourth Line
Fraser-Kopecky-EagerMadden-Burish-Eager

Other facts about the Jan. 9 loss that dont really fit above:

Cristobal Huet had won three of his last four games vs. the Wild, with a sparkling 1.26 goals-against average. In Chicagos first two wins of the season vs. Minnesota, he allowed just one goal.
The Blackhawks entered play Jan. 9 with power-play goals in eight of their previous nine games.
Minnesota out-hit the Blackhawks 46-12 on Jan. 9, Cal Clutterbuck leading the way with nine.
With the win, the Wild became the first NHL team to earn at least a point when trailing by four goals entering the third since the Philadelphia Flyers did so on Dec. 11, 2008.
It was the first time the Wild had ever won a game in which they were four goals down.

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

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.