Kane hopes to return to action Friday

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Kane hopes to return to action Friday

Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010
12:16 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Patrick Kane looked like he hasnt missed much of a beat as he skated this morning at the United Center. And while the Chicago Blackhawks wing wont play tonight against the Colorado Avalanche, he could be back Friday.

Kane, who went down with what appeared to be a left ankle injury against Calgary on Dec. 5, is hoping to play Friday when the Blackhawks host the Detroit Red Wings.

(Friday) is a possibility, he said after participating in this mornings pregame skate. Ive really got to see how I am in practice and (Friday) pregame skate and make a decision then. Personally, Id love to be playing tonight but its not realistic. Friday, well see.

Kanes been sidelined about 10 days, but for a player whos not used to missing any time, its seemed longer.

It feels like its been a month or two, said Kane. I think theres a lot more time on your hands than you realize, especially when the boys left town, no one to hang out with. It was a long weekend, so Im glad to see them back.

Meanwhile, Dave Bolland (upper body) was skating again this morning and will play tonight. Corey Crawford, who came in relief against Colorado on Monday, will start tonight.

Rebounding

The Blackhawks defense didnt have a great night on Monday. Brent Seabrook, who was a minus-4 in that 7-5 loss to Colorado, said he and the rest of the defensemen will find their niche again.

We gave them a lot of chances and they capitalized. We got off our game. Myself, I felt like I played awful with giveaways, turnovers. Seabrook said. We played well over last 10-12 games, so theres no reason why we wont bounce back tonight.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Mondays game was about the group of defensemen, not just Seabrook and Duncan Keith.

We need to be better in that area, he said. (Scoring) five goals puts us in position to win a hockey game. As a group the defense can be better. We should all absorb some responsibility. The six of them have to be more focused.
Other injuries

Marian Hossa did not skate today, although Quenneville said he has been out there the past few days. He will not play tonight.

Well get him back on the ice and get a better idea (of when he plays), Quenneville said.

Fernando Pisani, who suffered an upper-body injury against Anaheim on Nov. 26, did skate this morning but said he will not play tonight.

Its just an injury that takes time, he said. Im just focusing on getting better every day right now and its coming along pretty good.

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.”