Jokes aimed at Bolland; but is joke on Canucks?

Jokes aimed at Bolland; but is joke on Canucks?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Posted: 9:02 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Dave Bolland received a good-natured ribbing from his teammates after his great Game 4 performance on Tuesday night.

We were joking he was well rested and had lots of legs left, Patrick Sharp said on Wednesday.

Bolland definitely had the legs and the game the Blackhawks needed on Tuesday. With Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik on Tuesday, the Blackhawks had a line that was sharp offensively and stingy defensively, holding the Sedin twins to one goal and a combined minus-7 rating.

Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo said after Game 4 that one guy wasnt going to change a series. Maybe not, but Bolland altered momentum with his performance, and the depth his return adds can effect the rest of it.

No matter who you're playing against you have so many more (options) as far as putting lines together, said coach Joel Quenneville, who now has Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Bolland as his top three centers. He's a competitive guy and he gives you a different look as a team. He certainly brings more weapons in the lineup and does pretty well against the Sedins.

Sharp said he really noticed the Bolland lines impact when he watched the game again late Tuesday.

Froley goes back to the wing and he was flying all night, Sharp said. With his speed he created a lot of those goals; it was a very underrated game from Froley. You can see what Bicks is capable of doing when he plays that way. He's big, he can move and he has some great skills. That line was big.
Seabrook and Scott

Brent Seabrook traveled with the Blackhawks when they headed to Vancouver on Wednesday and Quenneville said there is a possibility of him playing in Game 5 on Thursday.

John Scott filled that vacant defenseman spot in Game 4 and could again in Game 5. Scott was never out there to take Seabrooks place and pick up his duties, specifically that was a concerted effort among all the defensemen. Scott was there to do what he does best: pick up some minutes and be a big body to keep havoc from breaking out.

If Seabrook plays, Quenneville said theyd look at Scott maybe playing at forward.

A lot of people rolled their eyes Tuesday morning when we announced he'd be on the back end, he said. But we played five big games down the stretch with John Scott on the back end. He played meaningful minutes in those games but they were important. He settled things down, played well defensively and he has purpose to his game.
Froliks time

Michael Frolik isnt used to playing past early April. But the Blackhawks forward, who was acquired from the Florida Panthers for Jack Skille in early February, is starting to soak up the postseason vibe.

It's amazing, so different than what it was in Florida, he said. Its my first playoff so I didn't know what to expect. Its a great experience for me.

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

Blackhawks notebook: A busy draft, free agency and RFAs

Blackhawks notebook: A busy draft, free agency and RFAs

Eight draft picks in about 3 ½ hours. It was a busy Saturday for the Blackhawks, and when general manager Stan Bowman talked that afternoon about the team’s Day 2 haul, he came prepared.

“I have my little cheat sheet,” Bowman said of the paper on which he had written the Blackhawks’ eight newest prospects.

After a few days’ worth of moves the Blackhawks focused on the future, taking nine players over two days at the NHL Draft. It was a successful weekend for the Blackhawks, who hosted the draft for the first time and built up assets, especially on the blue line. Five of the Blackhawks’ nine selections were defensemen.

“One of the things we talked about was looking at the market. There’s a high value on defensemen. We’re not necessarily looking at the draft but our team this year and over the next couple of years; those are the assets that are valuable around the league,” Bowman said. “Look at the trade Calgary made [for Travis Hamonic], defensemen are a valuable commodity. That was a priority coming in and we were able to accomplish it.”

What comes next

The Blackhawks got what they wanted at this weekend’s draft but the focus will soon shift, as free agency opens on July 1. It remains to be seen what the Blackhawks will have cap-wise come a week from now. Currently, according to CapFriendly.com, they’re $1.445 million over the $75 million cap. It’s doubtful the Blackhawks apply the long-term injured reserve tag on Marian Hossa during the offseason. It’s possible they could still trade Marcus Kruger to gain some space. Bowman said, one way or another, “there will be some movement.”

“We’ll bring some players in, I don’t know how many, what position or what level,” he said. “This is where there’s a lot of activity, the couple weeks in the middle of June until the middle of July. That’s when the most changes happen. We’ll go to work, now that we’re past this.”

Wait for it

The Blackhawks also have to decide whether or not to qualify restricted free agents Dennis Rasmussen and Tomas Jurco. Bowman said that’ll be decided by Monday.

“I’ve had discussions with both agents,” he said. “I don’t have an answer right now but we’ll have that worked out in the next day and a half.”

Niklas Hjalmarsson reflects on time with Blackhawks: 'I had the best time in Chicago'

Niklas Hjalmarsson reflects on time with Blackhawks: 'I had the best time in Chicago'

Niklas Hjalmarsson heard some of the rumors, but not to a large degree. The former Blackhawks defenseman wasn’t spending a lot of time on the internet reading up on his potential fate. He figured he’d still stay put in Chicago.

“But when my agent called me about the 10-team list, I understood it was serious. Stan [Bowman] wouldn’t ask for that unless they made up their mind already,” Hjalmarsson said via conference call on Saturday. “That’s when it hit me that I’m probably not going to put the Hawks jersey on anymore.”

Indeed, Hjalmarsson’s next jersey will be that of the Arizona Coyotes, who acquired him in exchange for defenseman Connor Murphy on Friday. Hjalmarsson’s departure marks the end of the line for another Blackhawks core player, and this one is jarring in how it will change the team’s defense.

Speaking of change, Hjalmarsson faces a lot of it himself now. Sure, there’s the obvious change for a guy who’s played his entire career in one place. It’s new surroundings and a new team, on which he knows former Blackhawks teammate Antti Raanta and fellow countryman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

But the Coyotes have dealt with a lot of upheaval lately. Goaltender Mike Smith is gone. So is veteran Shane Doan. On Thursday, head coach Dave Tippett and the Coyotes parted ways.

“They’re on a rebuild, a lot of new faces, lot of changes,” Hjalmarsson said. “It’s tough to know what to expect but I think they’re a hungry organization that wants to win like other teams. I’m looking forward to try to contribute with playing my game, just try to get the organization back in the playoffs.”

Hjalmarsson should find chemistry with Ekman-Larsson – the two were teammates in the Winter Olympics in Sochi – and Hjalmarsson will likely play a bigger role with the Coyotes. Arizona will probably look to Hjalmarsson a lot during its rebuild, given his Cup-winning history.

The first 24 hours were full of mixed emotions of Hjalmarsson. With his limited no-move clause, he was always a likely candidate to be moved from a Blackhawks team laden will full no-move clauses. He’s turning a page, but he won’t forget his time in Chicago anytime soon.

“I’m trying to always be a positive guy,” Hjalmarsson said. “I spent my whole 20s in Chicago, 10 unbelievable years. I didn’t think I’d win three Cups. Hopefully I can get one more before my career is over. I had the best time in Chicago, enjoyed every single year, playing in front of the best fans in the league. I’ve been spoiled. Now it’s time for me and my family to move on and seize the opportunity in Arizona and create some new fond memories.”