Hawks 'outplayed,' shut out by Bruins' Thomas

430145.jpg

Hawks 'outplayed,' shut out by Bruins' Thomas

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Posted: 9:03 p.m. Updated: 11:12 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

BOSTON The Chicago Blackhawks were coming off one of their most critical victories on Monday night when they faced the same situation on Tuesday.

They needed points, were playing a gritty, defensive-minded team and they needed to rinse and repeat that effort in Detroit.

They couldnt.

Tim Thomas stopped all 32 shots he saw for his ninth shutout of the season, as the Chicago Blackhawks fell 3-0 to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.

The Blackhawks held onto eighth place in the Western Conference, but that was little consolation to the opportunity lost to jump past the idle Anaheim Ducks and into seventh. The Blackhawks looked like they were starting to feel the effects of Monday nights overtime victory in Detroit halfway through Tuesday nights contest. But coach Joel Quenneville wasnt buying it.

(The Bruins) were a hard-working team tonight. The first 10 minutes we were on our heels, we got back into it, but we didnt do much after they scored first, he said. We were looking for more tonight. You play good hockey teams on back to back nights, getting two is OK, but you cant be happy with just that.

Corey Crawford stopped 31 of 34 for the loss, including 12 in the first when the Bruins were pushing and the Blackhawks mustered just five shots. Zdeno Chara put the Bruins up 1-0 with 12:02 left in the second period, and the Blackhawks could manage little past that point.
CSNNE.com: Thornton gash requires about 40 stitches, Blackhawks chirping

They out shot us pretty good in the first and we didnt really get rolling, if at all, until later in the game, defenseman Brian Campbell said. They got a couple of deflected pucks go in on Crow and thats tough for him. They outplayed us.

Johnny Boychuk and Nathan Horton also scored for the Bruins, who kept the defensive pressure up throughout the game. Thomas allowed few rebounds, and those he did allow the Blackhawks were unable to capitalize upon.

Theyve got a big defense and thats part of their game. They love to box you out, Quenneville said. There were some good opportunities around the net but we werent hungry enough. (Thomas) saw too many pucks.

Crawford said the Bruins worked for their chances and crashed the net hard. They did what they wanted to do.

The Blackhawks wont play again until Friday when they face Columbus. Where theyll rank in the Western Conference by then, who knows.

Were not just trying to play our best hockey but were trying to get points and thats all that matters, Duncan Keith said. There are no excuses (on Tuesday), no tired legs, nothing. Its all battle and heart and thats what it comes down to.

Injury updates

Patrick Sharp (left knee) is still progressing well, Quenneville said, and the forward could start skating when the Blackhawks get back to town.

Hell be skating soon, but how soon I dont know, he said. I dont think hell be on ice the next couple of days, but we could see him in not too long.

Asked if Sharp could be back for the Blackhawks April 8 game in Detroit, Quenneville said, wed love to have that situation. Whether it happens or not is a question mark. Were optimistic. But I dont think it would be before (that).

Thornton injured

Shawn Thornton said the skate he took near his eye that he needed 40 stitches to close was accidental. But he wasnt too happy with chirping he allegedly heard from the Chicago Blackhawks bench as he skated off.

Thornton skated off under his own power after taking Fernando Pisanis skate near his eye as he fell behind the net in the Bruins 3-0 victory over the Blackhawks. But Thornton said something was said by the Blackhawks that left him angry.

There was some stuff said that Im not happy about, he told Boston media. Im going to find out who it was and Ill deal with it in my own way.

I dont know if its right when someones face is half across the other side of their face, continued Thornton. But its a tough game and people have to live with their actions. If you guys even find out who it is dont be afraid to send me a Christmas card.

Briefly

John Scott was the Blackhawks lone healthy scratch on Tuesday.

The Blackhawks headed home after Tuesdays game. Theyll fly to Columbus on Thursday.

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

Ed Belfour reflects on fulfilling 'childhood dream' of playing for Blackhawks

3-23_ed_belfour.jpg
AP

Ed Belfour reflects on fulfilling 'childhood dream' of playing for Blackhawks

While Troy Murray was attending summer school at the University of North Dakota he was also working out in offseason skates and practices there. Getting goaltenders for those skates wasn't easy. But a guy from Carman, Manitoba would drive down to Grand Forks, N.D., play in those games and then drive back home that night.

That guy was Eddie Belfour.

"He'd come in, put his gear on, and we thought this was just some kid that came from somewhere and, ‘Hey, thanks for coming, kid.' Little did we know, that's how he was making himself better," said Murray, who would later play with Belfour with the Blackhawks. "He walked onto UND, made there and the rest is history in how good he was at the collegiate level and as a pro."

The drive was there for Belfour then and it lasted throughout his career, which included eight seasons with the Blackhawks, a gold medal with Team Canada in the 2002 Olympics and a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999. On Thursday night the Blackhawks honored Belfour in their latest installment of "One More Shift."

For Belfour, it was a chance to be back where it all started – "it's always emotional coming back to Chicago. I had a lot of great times here," he said – with his favorite childhood team.

"The fans are always fantastic for me here in Chicago. I'll never forget the "Eddie, Eddie" chant. They're the ones who started it," Belfour said prior to taking his shift. "For me, getting a chance to play in Chicago stadium in front of the fans and how close they were and how loud the building was and the anthem was amazing. It was boyhood dream come true."

Ask Belfour's former teammates how best to describe the goaltender and the answer was pretty unanimous: intense.

"Intense is a good word. I think competitive is a really good word, too, because he was one of the few guys, few goalies who took working out very seriously [then]," Steve Konroyd said. "He used to train for triathlons, and this was in the late 80s, early 90s. For NHL players that was probably odd, but for NHL goaltenders that was crazy. He was ultra-competitive, different in ways but in a good way. He was a real character."

Denis Savard said Belfour's preparation for games was, "second to none."

"He always came prepared for a game, from focusing on that night and sharpening his own skates. He'd work on his own skates after practices sometimes for two hours. He was very meticulous about everything," Savard said. "We already know goaltenders are on their own program with how they prepare, but he was a special one. He was a battler, he was a winner and he was a great goalie for a long time."

Murray would face Belfour in 1996, when Murray was with the eventual Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche and Belfour was still with the Blackhawks. Patrick Roy got the best of that postseason series (Belfour led the Stars past the Avalanche in 1999 and 2000 playoff matchups). But Murray remembers Roy's confidence no matter who was in the other net, and Belfour had that same mentality.

"You need that as a goaltender. You want that challenge," Murray said. "You have to have that mindset because if you think you're second best, you're not going to succeed. That's what drives all these great players and Eddie had that mindset."

[Buy Blackhawks tickets]

For Belfour, those Chicago days were bittersweet. His first trip to the Stanley Cup final came with the Blackhawks. There were a lot of great times. There were a lot of tough times. But it was all worth it.

"Going to the Stanley Cup final was awesome to do in my first couple of years. Unfortunately, we didn't win and that's probably my biggest regret is that we didn't play well. It still haunts me some days," Belfour said. "But that happens sometimes when you're a younger player and you learn from it and get better. That's what I tried to do."

Belfour's body of work speaks for itself. The kid who first started honing his craft in pickup games at North Dakota had a tremendous NHL career. As for that competitiveness, he's still got it – even in jest.

"I was joking, ‘If I'm doing this [One More Shift], I gotta play at least five minutes,'" he said.

Blackhawks, Tanner Kero agree to two-year contract extension

Blackhawks, Tanner Kero agree to two-year contract extension

The Blackhawks have agreed to terms with Tanner Kero on a two-year contract extension that runs through the 2018-19 campaign, the team announced Thursday.

Kero, 24, has five goals and seven assists in 38 games with the Blackhawks this season, along with six goals and nine assists in 55 games across two seasons.

[BLACKHAWKS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

He has become a reliable, versatile forward on the bottom six for Joel Quenneville and has also played a role in the team's penalty-kill unit that has been terrific in March after a rough start to the year.

Kero signed a two-year deal that carries a $667,500 cap hit with the Blackhawks on April 2, 2015, as an undrafted free agent.