Hawks looking to add to the mix at trade deadline

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Hawks looking to add to the mix at trade deadline

Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011
4:20 PM
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

With a day and change remaining until the trade deadline, Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman still has his eye on depth and defense.

Bowman, who spoke as the Blackhawks wrapped up their Saturday afternoon practice at Johnnys Ice House, said theres still plenty of talk going on but nothing to report yet.

Were still looking for depth at center and a defenseman to eat up some minutes for us, said Bowman. Its the same thing weve been looking for over the last month or two. I think its about trying to find the right fit with salary and there are a lot of higher-price guys who dont fit into our plans. I think there are a lot (of teams) looking for a similar thing. Well keep talking. Hopefully something will work out.

The trade deadline is 2 p.m. CST on Monday. The Blackhawks will be in Minnesota playing the Wild that night.

The Blackhawks freed up roster and cap space when they put Nick Boynton on waivers on Friday. The 31-year-old defenseman was picked up by the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. The Blackhawks have about 2 million in cap space as the trade deadline looms.

Bowman said were not adding an All-Star player to the mix. Were looking for a situational-type upgrade.

The Blackhawks traded Jack Skille and two others to Florida for Michael Frolik and goaltender Alexander Salak in early February, but Bowman said hed rather not touch the main roster again.

Were kind of starting to come together as a group. Its taken a while, but were not looking to change the core guys. Were looking to add to the mix instead of take from it, Bowman said. Were continuing down the path we charted a while ago. We dont think we need drastic changes here and hopefully we can do something.

The Blackhawks have won three in a row and four of their last five heading into Sunday nights game against the Phoenix Coyotes. If the Blackhawks stand pat, Bowman said hes happy with the product on the ice. If they can tweak, theyll do so.

Youre looking at things to make us a better hockey team. Things are always tight when you look at the economics of our situation. Deals are hard to make and its always a tough situation, coach Joel Quenneville said. At the end of the day we still like our team in a lot of ways, but if we can add depth or improvement in some areas, thats what were looking for.

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

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd discuss the latest slump and how much does Artem Anisimov's injury play a role in their struggles?

Konroyd tells us he was surprised by Ryan Hartman's benching in Tampa.

The guys play the game, playoff minutes or press box minutes?  They run through the players who are on the bubble when it comes to postseason play.

They also discuss the Hawks chances of overtaking Washington for the President's trophy.

Plus, Konroyd breaks down possible first round opponents: St Louis, Calgary and Nashville.

Tanner Kero latest to try and fill Artem Anisimov's skates

Tanner Kero latest to try and fill Artem Anisimov's skates

PITTSBURGH – Tanner Kero's been thrown into a lot of different situations in his time with the Blackhawks, be it third- or fourth-line center or penalty kill.

But with Artem Anisimov out, the second-line center spot has become new top-line, left-wing spot: The Blackhawks will keep trying guys out until they find one that works. Kero's the latest to get that opportunity, and since it worked well on Monday, he'll be there again on Wednesday.

Kero will center Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane again when the Blackhawks host the Pittsburgh Penguins. The line had a good start to Monday's game against the Lightning in Tampa, scoring the team's first two goals — Kero assisted on Panarin's opener.

Coach Joel Quenneville liked Kero's first go-around there.

"Defensively he's in a good spot — he's usually in a reliable spot in his own end — he made a couple of nice plays offensively and didn't change his game too much," Quenneville said. "It's not easy playing with guys at that next level. It's certainly a great challenge and a great opportunity, so I thought he did a great job, took advantage of it. We'll see how he does going forward but we'll keep him in there for [Wednesday's] game and that gives us some more options."

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Learning on the fly can be part of a rookie season, especially when injuries arise. Jonathan Toews said Kero's handled everything well this season.

"Come to think of it, it's one of those little things that maybe goes over my head but he's definitely one of those versatile players who's as consistent as ever," Toews said. "He has, for his age, an incredible level of maturity and he carries that with him wherever he goes. You're seeing offensive improvement, too. He was making some good plays with Bread Man and Kaner. He's showing he can do it all and I think his work ethic and attitude's a source of that success."

Earlier this season Kero was with guys like Ryan Hartman and Vinnie Hinostroza. They were all familiar with each other from their Rockford days, and that showed. Playing with two guys you don't know so well? It's a bit of a challenge, and one the three talk out. But ultimately, Kero said you have to rely on your instincts. 

"You go over things before the game and on the bench, get a feel for what you might want to do. But then you just have to play hockey," Kero said. "You have to trust your game, make plays. You know they're going to make plays with the puck so you try to use your speed and get open and try to go to the net, create space for them and a little traffic in front and try to capitalize on opportunities."

Anisimov will be out another 1-2 weeks. Asked if Anisimov has started skating back in Chicago yet, Quenneville said, "I don't think so but I'm not positive. But he's progressing." Filling Anisimov's skates isn't easy, as evidenced by the Blackhawks' search for his temporary replacement. Kero is the third guy to get that shot, and he took advantage of his first showing.

"Obviously it's a great opportunity to play with two great players," Kero said. "You just try to do everything you can and do the little things right."

Briefly

- Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith didn't practice on Tuesday but both are expected to play against the Penguins.

- Corey Crawford gets the start against Pittsburgh.

- Hartman, scratched after a rough game against the Florida Panthers, is probably back in against the Penguins.