Hawks to honor legends on Heritage Night

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Hawks to honor legends on Heritage Night

Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011
7:32 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The 1960-61 Chicago Blackhawks, who won the Cup 50 years ago, can relate to the remaining Blackhawks who won it last season. They remember the joy of claiming the Cup and the feeling of being on top. And since most were there again in 1961-62, they remember just how hard it was to do it again.

We had our eyes on it (in 61-62). We could beat certain teams. But there was always something in the second or third period, wed hit the post or it bounced off the guys stick or went off our ass. And everybody had a good club, said Stan Mikita, one of several 61 Blackhawks who are here to be honored at Sunday nights Heritage Night. Anybody can repeat. But you need luck to go with the talent.

Several of the 61 Blackhawks, including Mikita, Bill Hay, Bobby Hull, Glenn Hall and Ab McDonald will take the ice Sunday night before the 2010-11 squad hosts the New York Islanders. The 61 team will remember how great it was to hoist that Cup. On Saturday, they recalled how tough it is to hold onto it.

When you get to the top, everyone wants to knock you off. Its always that way, no matter what, McDonald said. Everybody wants to knock off No. 1. Whether they become No. 1 or not doesnt matter. They want to beat No. 1.

Wayne Hicks said, its just that it was so tough to win in those days and still is. It takes dedication and very hard work to do it. Any player whos won knows that.

The 61-62 Blackhawks finished the regular-season 31-26-13, third in the then six-team league, but lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup Finals. This years team has struggled, and was eighth in the Western Conference entering Saturdays games.

As for advice for this years team in weathering the storm, Mikita had this to say.

I would say to anybody if youre going to beat a guy, beat him with your best effort, Mikita said. The same goes for defense. You have to think, that guys not getting by me. Give him your best shot. If you dont have your best shot youre in trouble. If its the other way, youve got a chance.

Whatever advice comes, captain Jonathan Toews said its worth heeding.

No matter how good you are, you never know when youre going to be back there. To even get two rounds of the playoffs is a pretty tough thing. Obviously were learning that, he said. Last year we worked hard and now you see how difficult it is to get back to where you want to be. But were not going to let that shake us, thats for sure.
Halls take
Glenn Hall said Saturday hes amazed with how fast the pro game has become since his days. He was also struck by the size of the players and, of course, that goaltending equipment.

Even if it hits you, it doesnt hurt, he said. We had very little equipment. You used to beg to get new stuff. You figured you must be on the trading block because you asked for new equipment.

Hall faced his share of big shooters in his day. The biggest, however, was teammate Bobby Hull.

He had the hardest shot. Dont tell me how lucky I was that I didnt have to look at him in a game. I had to look at him 10 times a week in practice. It wasnt much fun facing Bobby.
They said it

I was president of the Calgary Flames for five years and I had to shower alone because I had the Indian head tattoed on my rear end. I didnt want to show them that. Former Blackhawks center Bill Hay

Lets see, whos the best-looking guy? Stan Mikita, on what current Blackhawk reminds him of himself.

Isnt he a super person? So humble. Hes an all-around hockey player. He does it all. Ab McDonald on Jonathan Toews

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

Blackhawks will consider breaking up Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane

Blackhawks will consider breaking up Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane

Saturday morning’s potential lineup looked different for a few reasons. First, there were more familiar faces, thanks to players trickling in after their World Cup of Hockey work.

Second, Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane weren’t on the same line. While part of that is because the Blackhawks are still short a few players, it’s also an experiment that could carry over into the regular-season.

Kane was with Nick Schmaltz and Artem Anisimov and Panarin was with Vinnie Hinostroza and Richard Panik and they’ll see how that works starting Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues. Granted, this is only part of the change. The main gist is to give Jonathan Toews, who hasn’t joined the Blackhawks for camp yet, a good playing partner on that top line. Still, it’s a first look coach Joel Quenneville would like to take.

"It’s definitely a thought process and we’re saying ‘Let’s have a look at it in camp," Quenneville said. "And maybe we can have a different look or something to think about, at least, going into the season with Johnny and Kaner being on different lines and having more balance on both lines."

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The Blackhawks struggled with finding the right combinations, outside of that top line, last season. Panarin did play with Toews for a few games but the combination didn’t click as well as the Panarin-Kane one, and that second line of those two and Anisimov was quickly restored. This season the issues facing the Blackhawks’ forward depth are obvious, so it’s worth another look to see, once Toews gets here, if he and Panarin can get something going.

"[It’s] more so about having balance on both lines and having more depth and scoring throughout the lineup," Quenneville said.

BRIEFLY

- Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger and Brent Seabrook will also play vs. St. Louis.

- Quenneville said Duncan Keith (knee) is progressing well and, "we’re hoping that he can get a [preseason] game in or so."

- Scott Darling is slated to play the entire game against the Blues.

Blackhawks release G Jake Hildebrand from tryout agreement

Blackhawks release G Jake Hildebrand from tryout agreement

The Blackhawks released goaltender Jake Hildebrand from his tryout agreement, the team announced after a 1-0 preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.

The 23-year-old netminder signed a one-year contract with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League in June as an undrafted free agent.

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Hildebrand's best season at Michigan State came during his junior year in 2014-15 when he was named the best goaltender and player in the Big Ten after registering a 2.18 goals against average and .930 save percentage, including six shutouts which was tied for second in the nation.

The Blackhawks' active roster now includes 28 forwards, 16 defensemen and five goaltenders.