Hidden past: Carcillo a captain, altar boy

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Hidden past: Carcillo a captain, altar boy

SUNRISE, Fla. Gino Carcillo playfully dodged the question of his son Daniels childhood.

You dont want to know, the elder Carcillo said with a laugh, as he watched his son practice in person as part of the Blackhawks dads trip here to Florida.

Growing up, actually, in his younger stages he was captain of his team, Gino continued. He took care of his club and any problems; any fights or misunderstandings, he would be there. Hell go to war for you, right to the end.

That part hasnt changed for Carcillo, who will be back in the lineup Thursday night when the Blackhawks play the Florida Panthers.

The Blackhawks have made these family trips an annual event the fathers get theirs this year, the mothers went on a California trip last year. This isnt the first one for the Carcillos, who went on two together when Daniel played for the Philadelphia Flyers.

But the fun of it never ends, and this was the first time Carcillos been able to spend time with his dad since the summer. The two also teamed up on the golf course with other teammatesdads, where Daniel said, I carried our team for sure. The Lepistos were busy eating hot dogs and staring at birds they dont see in Europe.

Daniel, the middle son of three in the Carcillo family, concurred that there wasnt a whole lot of unordinary moments in his altar-boy, youth-group childhood.

Thats true, actually, Daniel said. I had pretty strict parents; if I didnt do well in school wouldnt play hockey. I was a really good student, believe it or not. It was a pretty normal childhood.

Carcillo didnt want to dwell on his suspension, other than he was glad it was done. A few days ago he joked that he thought about changing his last name, hes under such scrutiny in the league. Gino laughed that off, too.

He was born a Carcillo and hell die a Carcillo, said Gino. Sometimes (hes targeted); but hes built that reputation on his own, though, you have to remember. But when he was younger, I dont understand it, he never fought. He was a 20-30 goal scorer. When he went to the AHL (Wilkes-Barre) for Pittsburgh, thats when he started fighting. That carried him through.

Still bothered by suspension

Daniel Carcillo didn't want to dwell on the two-game suspension he completed earlier this week but he's still not happy about it. And the Blackhawks forward insinuated that Carolina's Joni Pitkanen, who went into the boards on the hit, may have embellished a bit.

"Its Joni Pitkanen. Ask around the league. Hes a big guy but he goes down easy," Carcillo said of Pitkanen, who never missed a shift in that game and logged the most ice time of any Carolina player that night. "It's a quick play and it happened. Thats that. I honestly dont want to dwell on it."

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.