Kane hopeful, Hossa hesitant about return date


Kane hopeful, Hossa hesitant about return date

Friday, Dec. 17, 2010
1:36 p.m.

By Tracey Myers

Ryan Johnson has faced these Chicago Blackhawks when he was with the Vancouver Canucks.

We were given two stabs to try and beat them, he said Friday morning. It hasnt worked out so I figured Id come over to the other side and give it a go.

Johnson signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks and will be in the lineup tonight when they face the Detroit Red Wings here at the United Center. Johnson was signed to a professional tryout contract with the Rockford IceHogs recently and has played in 667 career NHL games. He has 37 goals and 79 assists in his 12-year NHL career.

For Johnson, who broke each foot last season while blocking shots, this is another opportunity.

The last two years with my feet has been an arduous process, he said. If your feet are bothering you, youre in trouble. I had 90 minute practices every day and I continue to train as hard as I ever had. I felt good the other night, so Im ready to go.

Johnson can play center and left wing; coach Joel Quenneville wasnt sure where hed end up in the lineup tonight.

Hes got experience and speed, he can take faceoffs, block shots and kill penalties, Quenneville said. Hes got flexibility, being able to play both positions.

Fernando Pisani will play again tonight. Viktor Stalberg is still out after being hit face-first into the boards against Colorado on Wednesday.
Kane, Hossa updates

Patrick Kane (ankle) and Marian Hossa (lower body) both skated this morning. Kane came off for a few moments at one point, but finished practice

Part of the injury I have is that youre going to feel pain, whether in practice or a game, he said. For me, its something Im going to have to deal with a little bit. Hopefully it stops sooner rather than later.

Kane said he was hopeful to play on Sunday but knows he may have to be patient with his injury.

Its something you dont want to set a time for because you dont know. Hopefully it progresses the next couple of days, he said. Its definitely tough. When youre out for a little bit you realize how much you love the game and how much you want to be out there.

Hossa said he felt much better this morning than he did the past two days, when he did not skate. Still, he was hesitant to say he could return on Sunday.

It all depends how it is after the skate tomorrow morning. If its good Ill skate Sunday morning and well see, he said. I didnt feel good Wednesday and Thursday. I was making it stronger with different exercises. I feel better and its progress.

Jassen Cullimore was placed on waivers on Friday morning. He will play tonight against the Red Wings.

Corey Crawford will be in goal tonight.

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

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Special teams struggles continue

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Special teams struggles continue

Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Tracey Myers discuss the Blackhawks' penalty kill woes in the latest installment of the Blackhawks Talk Podcast. 

They also break down the defensive pairings and Joel Quenneville's coaching after seven games. 

Check out the latest episode of the Blackhawks Talk Podcast below: 

Artem Anisimov collecting points but knows faceoffs need to improve

Artem Anisimov collecting points but knows faceoffs need to improve

It took a little bit for Artem Anisimov to get going this season.

Much like the second line overall, he wasn’t making an immediate impact or collecting many points. Oh, how things have changed in a week or two.

Now if he can get his face-off victories on the same level as his production, he’ll be happy.

Anisimov, who was named the NHL’s second star for last week, continued his point-scoring run with an assist in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday night. Entering Tuesday’s games, Anisimov is one of four players with a league-best nine points.

“It was a very good week,” said Anisimov, whose focus quickly turned to the Blackhawks. “But we need to play better as a team. Better on the [penalty kill], better on the power play, too. Just play better.”

Anisimov wasn’t giving himself too much credit so Patrick Kane, the beneficiary of Anisimov’s assist on Monday, did.

“He made a great pass to me. Not that he didn’t do that last year. He was there, but sometimes we’d score a goal, he’d be the third assist or the guy in front of the net creating traffic and could be the biggest reason we score,” Kane said. “Good to see him get the points and get the recognition, for sure.”

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Now, about those faceoffs. After winning 44.2 percent of his faceoffs last season, Anisimov has won just 35 percent so far this season. As soon as the subject came up, Anisimov shook his head in frustration.

“The faceoff situation. It’s not great, actually. I try to do so many things right now but it doesn’t work,” he said. “You have so many different things. Try to worry about the opponent, how they do it, and not focus on myself. I just need to focus on myself and what I’m doing. keep working.”

Jonathan Toews is by far the Blackhawks’ faceoff man right now; he’s winning 60.8 percent of the time. Marcus Kruger is at 50 percent. The Blackhawks as a team are 29th in the NHL in faceoffs won in the offensive zone (42.5 percent), 27th overall in faceoffs (46.6 percent). Coach Joel Quenneville needs the team, including Anisimov, to be better in that department.

“We started off in a tough area – across the board except for Jonny – where we’re starting against it, chasing the puck and a lot of times we’re out there in the offensive zone and we don’t get that pressure, sustain offensive zone time or puck possession time. That’s an area where we’d like to get 50-50 or close to that and get a little help along the lines as well,” Quenneville said. “That’s definitely area where we need [Anisimov] to get better and get a little stronger, and [have] an awareness to what the opponents are doing or how the officials are dropping it as well. We have to get better.”

Anisimov has gotten his production going. He’d like to do the same with his faceoffs. Much like his scoring, he knows getting confidence in faceoffs could turn things around.

“Of course, yes,” he said. “I just need to straighten out a couple more games in the faceoffs and it’ll build confidence. Just build confidence.”