Kane, Blackhawks veto Senators in shootout

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Kane, Blackhawks veto Senators in shootout

Friday, Jan. 7, 2011
Posted 10:08 PM Updated 11:22 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks didnt play their prettiest game against the Ottawa Senators on Friday night. But for a team thats looking to get points any way they can, it was effective.

Patrick Sharp scored his 24th goal of the season and Patrick Kane scored for the first time in his last eight games as the Blackhawks took a 3-2 shootout victory over the Senators at the United Center.

The Blackhawks had another slow start and held a slim 2-1 lead in the third before Milan Michalek tied it with 1:25 remaining in regulation.

But the Blackhawks, who have lost a lot of points late, forced it to the shootout, where Jonathan Toews got the winner.

We were looking pretty good at 2-1 and it was tough to give up (the Michalek) goal there, Kane said. But we kept our composure. All of us knew this was a game we had to have.

It was also a welcome night for Kane, who had been trying to get his scoring touch back since returning from his left-ankle injury. Kane caused Erik Karlssons turnover, then beat Ottawa netminder Brian Elliott 5-hole to put the Blackhawks up 2-1.

I thought he made a great play there and got better as the game progressed, coach Joel Quenneville said. It was nice to see the timeliness of the goal.

Defenseman Brent Seabrook said Kane has been scratching at the door the last couple of games here. Hes been getting some points, but its nice to see him put one in and get that excitement back.

WATCH: Patrick Kane excited, optimistic

But it was Sharp with the resuscitating goal in the second period, a deflection of Brian Campbells blue-line shot that woke up the Blackhawks and the fans.

Sharp is just one goal shy of his total all of last season (25).

The timeliness of that goal was huge for us, Quenneville said. We didnt have a lot going offensively until that went in. Whether its power play or timeliness, game in-game out hes been the one staple for us all year.

The Blackhawks got just enough on Friday night.

No, it wasnt the most stylish game and the Blackhawks definitely would like a better start. But the two points they got are nevertheless vital in a tight Western Conference race.

Weve had a lot of games where we havent gotten two points out of the third and it was disappointing to give up the tying goal, Sharp said. There are definitely areas we can be better at, but were all going home with the win.

Leddy returns

Nick Leddy, who was recalled from Rockford Friday morning, logged 15:41 of ice time against Ottawa. Quenneville was happy with the rookie and partner Jordan Hendry.

I thought he did a good job; that was a nice pair for us, Quenneville said. They skated well together, skated out of trouble. They had good zone presence in the offensive end, very nice and patient with the puck.

Briefly

Toews shootout winner was the sixth of his career. He has now converted 17 of 30 (57 percent) shootout shots in his career.

Ryan Johnson, Nick Boynton and John Scott were the Blackhawks healthy scratches on Friday night.

The Blackhawks were credited with 44 hits to the Senators 37.

The Blackhawks will have a Heritage Night for the 1961 Stanley Cup championship team on Sunday night when they face the New York Islanders.

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.”