Intense Blackhawks drill Oilers for crucial win

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Intense Blackhawks drill Oilers for crucial win

Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011
Posted Feb. 9, 10:55 p.m. Updated 12:19 a.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

EDMONTON, Alberta The Chicago Blackhawks had to get their focus and emotions together quick.

They had just said goodbye to teammate Jack Skille, who, along with two others in the Blackhawks system, was sent to Florida for forward Michael Frolik and Alexander Salak. But about an hour later they had to face the Edmonton Oilers.

MORE: Stan Bowman thrilled with trade

With all that was going on, the Blackhawks got what they needed: a quick start, a solid game and two much-needed points.

Patrick Sharp scored his 27th goal of the season and Patrick Kane added a power-play goal and an empty-netter in the Blackhawks 4-1 victory over Edmonton at Rexall Place on Wednesday night.

The victory snapped a two-game losing streak and kept the Blackhawks in 11th place; most of the teams in front of them also won on Wednesday. Corey Crawford stopped 23 of 24 for the victory and Bryan Bickell added his 13th goal of the season.

The Blackhawks didnt have much time to digest the trade, as it happened minutes before they took the ice.

Its weird, especially right before the game. Jacks getting ready just like everyone else and the next thing you know hes not in the locker room, said Jonathan Toews, who had two assists on Wednesday. Hes a good guy, a good teammate and we wish him the best. At the same time were looking forward to the player coming in.

But the Blackhawks got focused quick, coming out fast against the Oilers and taking a 1-0 lead after one on Sharps goal.
Bryan Bickell made a nice move in tight on a breakaway for his 13th goal of the season and first since Jan. 16. The goal gave the Blackhawks some breathing room with a 2-0 lead in the second period. (AP)
A good start can give you confidence through the rest of the game to keep that going, said Duncan Keith. Its nice to get the lead and we used our speed and puck possession. We didnt throw pucks away. We were holding onto those pucks and causing them to commit penalties.

The Oilers went to the box plenty on Wednesday, giving the Blackhawks six power plays. The advantage was still quiet for the Blackhawks until their final one, when Kane took a pretty Tomas Kopecky pass to beat Devan Dubnyk.

That last power play was kind of a bang-bang play, Kane said. Well take the goal but (the power play) wasnt very good at all. You get six, especially with the talent we have here, you have to score some goals.

Still, the Blackhawks got enough of everything on a night they needed something positive. They used their speed. They stayed out of the penalty box until late. They switched up their defensive pairs and coach Joel Quenneville was happy with the results of the changes sometimes a fresh look you discover things. All the pairs added a little more pace to our game, he said.

The Blackhawks will meet their new teammate in Dallas when they fly in on Thursday night. Lineups will change. The Blackhawks need to get results like Wednesday night cant.

This was a very important game, Quenneville said. You look at the standings, everyone in our neighborhood had winning nights. We had to take care of our own business and we did.

Saying goodbye

The Blackhawks said it felt strange to have a trade come so close to game time and it wasnt easy saying goodbye to Skille.

Its kind of tough to see a guy traded before the game. Thats the first time its ever happened to me, Kane said. Frolik is a pretty good player; Ive played against him. Hell definitely help our team. Jack was good in the locker room and someone I got close to the past couple of months. Hopefully its better for the team and hopefully it works out.

Duncan Keith said a few emotions were felt.

That was kind of weird but thats hockey for you, he said. Its always sad to see a teammate go. Ive known Jack for a long time. Hes a good guy, a good teammate and I wish him nothing but the best in Florida.

Defenseman Brent Seabrook said its tough to lose a teammate right before the game. But were professionals and its part of the game. You know we wish Jack the best. He was a great player for us and we wish him well.

Hossa hurt

Marian Hossa suffered an upper-body injury in the second period on Wednesday and did not return. Quenneville said Hossa is day-to-day, and his injury is not serious.

WATCH: Coach Q explains injury
Briefly

Ryan Johnson and Jordan Hendry were back in the lineup on Wednesday. Johnson played 10 minutes, 31 seconds with two shots and a blocked shot. Hendry, who was paired with Brian Campbell in the defensive switches Nick Leddy was with Keith and Seabrook was with Niklas Hjalmarsson played 13 and a half minutes.

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

Blackhawks: Abbott happy to be back after season in Sweden

Blackhawks: Abbott happy to be back after season in Sweden

Spencer Abbott enjoyed his short stint in Rockford, which came after he was acquired by the Blackhawks in February 2015. At the time, he thought staying here was his most likely plan.

Then he got an offer Frölunda in Sweden.

“I thought, ‘why not give it a shot? Maybe it’ll be a good experience and bring it back with me,’” said Abbott on Monday. “It was worth it, for sure. I have no regrets.”

Abbott, who’s back with the Blackhawks, had never been to Europe prior to getting that Frölunda offer. But his first trip across the pond was a good one as Abbott was part of Frölunda’s run to its Swedish and Champions hockey league titles. Abbott had 14 goals and 21 assists in 51 regular-season games. Abbott got plenty out of the games, but not nearly as much as he did in the team’s training camp.

“The first month and a half you’re over there, you’re there from 8 [a.m.] to 4 [p.m.] every day. I think over here there’s a rule against being here for more than 3-4 hours, but not over there. It’s like a 9-5 job for a month and a half, a lot of working out, a lot of bike riding. So for me, that was good because I had never been in that kind of shape before,” said Abbott, who added he’s trying to incorporate some of that into his routine here. “Training camps here are hard but they’re just different over there. There’s a lot of ice, bigger ice [overseas], so they really condition you. So my conditioning may be a bit better.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]​

As much as Abbott loved his time in Sweden, he ultimately wanted to be back in the NHL. So when the Blackhawks offered him a one-year deal, he jumped at it. He’s gotten off to a good start this training camp, scoring a few goals in the team’s early scrimmages.

“I wasn’t sure how it would play out, to be honest. I’m 28 and pretty early in the summer they were showing interest,” Abbott said. “This is one for the places I really wanted to come, because I did l really like the organization when I was here for that brief period of time. Now I get the full effect as long as they’ll have me. It’s such a good organization.”

Abbott probably could have kept playing overseas but he wanted another chance in the NHL. He’s happy it’s once again coming in the Blackhawks’ organization.

“It’s overwhelming. There are so many places to play hockey nowadays in Europe. There are tons of leagues over there. But it didn’t interest me,” he said. “I wanted to come back and give it one more shot.”

Blackhawks: Keith unlikely to play first four preseason games

Blackhawks: Keith unlikely to play first four preseason games

Duncan Keith was already deemed unlikely to play in many, if any, Blackhawks preseason games, when training camp opened. As of now, it doesn’t look like he’ll be in the first few.

Keith will probably not play in the Blackhawks’ first four preseason games, assistant coach Kevin Dineen said following Monday’s training camp sessions. As for whether or not Keith will play in any, that’s still up in the air.

“That’s a question that Dunc and the medical staff, Stan [Bowman], Joel [Quenneville], we’ll all get to that. I wouldn’t foresee him certainly in these first four games. I would say that’s not going to happen,” Dineen said. “We’ll let him keep progressing on his timetable that he’s on now.”

Keith has been participating in one practice each day but has not been in any of the scrimmages. Assistant coach Mike Kitchen said Keith has asked to skate in the team’s second practice each day – each session is about 20-25 minutes – but the Blackhawks have told him no. As of now, both Dineen and Kitchen figure Keith will be ready for the regular-season opener but the Blackhawks will continue to be prudent with him.

“He’s out there wheeling around, doing well,” Dineen said. “We had a good chat with him today. He feels like he has a lot of jump but not a lot of stamina right now. We’ll continue the way we’ve handled it so far. We’ll keep moving forward that way.”

Players returning soon

Patrick Kane, who was at the United Center on Monday afternoon, will skate with the Blackhawks on Tuesday. Defenseman Michal Kempny will also join Tuesday’s sessions. Dineen said Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger, Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin are expected to join the Blackhawks on Friday.

Neither Kane nor Kempny are expected to play Wednesday vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]​

Pokka is back

Defenseman Ville Pokka, who played for Team Finland in the World Cup of Hockey, skated with the Blackhawks on Monday.

“Anybody coming back from Toronto over the last two weeks is going to have a heck of a lot of confidence,” Dineen said. “A young kid like that getting the chance to represent his country on the international stage is a great honor and a pick-me-up heading into training camp and the season.”

First cuts made

The Blackhawks made their first round of cuts on Monday, sending Radovan Bondra, John Dahlstrom, Nathan Noel and Roy Radke to their respective junior teams. The active roster is now at 57 players.